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Leadership, Experience and Opportunity
Lions Clubs International - Great Britain & Ireland
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Who are Leos?

Over Fifty years ago, Coach Jim Graver started the Leo ball rolling. Chances are, that ball was a baseball.

Back in 1957, Graver was the coach of the Abington High School, Pennsylvania, USA, baseball team. Graver was also an active member of the Glenside, Pennsylvania, Lions Club.

With fellow Lion, William Ernst, Graver talked about starting a service club for high school boys. "The Kiwanians had their Key Clubs and the Rotarians had their Wheel Club (since changed to Interact Clubs)," Ernst is quoted as saying in an October 7, 1976 newspaper article in The Evening Bulletin.

So they asked their fellow Lions for support. Without hesitation, the Glenside Lions agreed that a Lions youth group was a good idea. Graver and Ernst set to work.

"We needed a nucleus, a group of kids to start with," stated Ernst. "So we got Jim's son to come to the first meeting with his whole baseball team." Nine sophomore, junior and senior boys joined the group of 26 baseball players.

Together, the 35 teens formed a club. On December 5, 1957, the Glenside Lions presented a charter to the Abington High School Leo Club.

As the world's first Leo club, the group created the Leo acronym - Leadership, Equality, Opportunity (Equality was later changed to Experience). And, the group chose maroon and gold - their school colours - to serve as the Leo club colours.

Other Lions clubs soon began organizing youth service clubs and in 1967, Leo clubs were adopted as an official programme of Lions Clubs International.