Leaping from Leo to Lion: Growing up to serve
It seems as I was born to be a Lion. As a child, the Lions Park was my playground and I ran around the Lions Den while my dad worked projects for his club, the Eagle River Lions. When I was old enough, I helped my dad behind the scenes on different Lions projects. After years of unofficially helping the Lions, I was approached with an opportunity to help my community through a Leo’s Club that was forming.
But what was a Leo’s Club, exactly? A Leo’s Club is a chance for the youth of the Chugiak-Eagle River area to become involved in community service under the mentorship of our sponsoring Lions Club, the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions. With the tenants of Leadership, Experience, and Opportunity (LEO), the local Leo’s Club, the Bear Mountain Leos, were chartered in 1994.
Our club was made up of members ages 12 to 18 from around the CER area. We helped both the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions and Eagle River Lions with their projects, as well as sponsored our own projects. The Leo’s Club taught us to lead and to follow, confidence in our thoughts, ideas, and goals, and, above all, service to our community. These skills shaped us into strong, confident, respectful, service-oriented adults. It was because of this foundation that I became a Sleeping Lady Lion.
I thought transitioning from the Leo’s to the Lions would be difficult, but I found it to be the opposite. The skills I learned in the Leo’s carried through to the Lions and my mentors now accepted me as a fellow Lion, where they continued to help me develop my abilities and mentor me as I moved to a larger setting. Throughout my years, I have traveled far and wide — first for school, then in service to my country — but the Lions and their service have never been far from my heart. Thirteen years later, I am proud to say they are still my Lions Club.
To me, being a Leo and a Lion has been one of the greatest decisions of my life: teaching me valuable skills, building friendships, and giving back to the Chugiak/Eagle River community.
For more information on Leos, please visit http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/member-center/planning-projects/youth/leo-zone/index.php and contact the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions.