New area youth service group ready to roar

Leo club gets students involved in service projects

There’s a new club in town for 12- to 18-year olds that focuses on developing leadership and service project organization in the communities they serve.
The Leo Club is a sponsored affiliate with Lions Club international, with about 5,700 Leo Clubs in 140 countries worldwide. The St. Croix Valley Lions are sponsors of this new youth club.

The Leo Club objective is providing youth with opportunities to develop and contribute individually and in a group and be responsible members in a local, national, and global community by focusing on leadership, experience and opportunity.

“My husband and I were very involved in Lions when we were in Springfield, Va., and we moved back here because of the grandkids. We’ve been talking for a long time about how active we’ve been in the community and what we’ve done as well,” said Leo Club advisor Cheryl Kelly. “Our granddaughters have just been gearing to go since last year. The whole group has kind of just took off and spread because my granddaughters told all their friends about it.”

The group focuses on service projects. This year the Leo Club hopes to hold a children’s book drive for Lake Elmo Elementary School. Their object is sending every student home with a book this summer. Other projects include helping Community Thread, and tutoring at schools after class.

Club leadership includes president Emma Fischer, vice-president Ally Bumgardner, secretary Maggie Germundson and treasurer Lauren Fischer.

“I like that they’re wondering when the next meeting is and they’re anxious and ready to go. There’s a lot of fun people in the group and they’ve all stepped-up to volunteer to be chairperson for committees, like membership committee, which is much different than adults. It’s a group that very much wants to get involved.” Kelly said.

And involvement is part of the core that drives the club, according to Fischer.

“I’m part of the junior high honors society and I don’t think we do enough in there for community service,” said Fischer, a ninth grader at Oak-Land Junior High School.
“I wanted to do more and do projects that are big and small. Everyone has a role in this club, and we have the power to do whatever we want now. It’s open to anyone who wants to volunteer and anyone can join,” she added.

The group meets monthly and although Fischer understands not everyone can make every meeting, she said that as long as they are committed to helping out at volunteer events new members are welcome.

“I know some of the members can’t make it to every meeting because of sports and stuff but attendance is not a requirement and we’re volunteering for all kinds of service projects,” Fischer said. “A lot of them are setting aside the dates we have for the projects on their calendar already.”

“I’m just really touched and excited that kids from ages 12 to 18 want to help somebody else. And I’m enthusiastic about working with them and getting more people involved with the club going forward.” Kelly said.

Fischer hopes in the future the club work more with the elementary schools on tutoring and any other place that needs help. She wants to establish a partnership with Community Thread and help with Special Olympics.

“We have a whole bunch of ideas and our goal is to help people get their ideas into action,” Fischer said.

The Leo Club induction ceremony is 6:30 p.m. April 19 at Oak-Land Junior High in Lake Elmo. For more information on the club call Kelly at 651-337-2976.