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Leos To Lions: Paving A Future

A new organization is available in Oakdale for girls and boys ages 12 to 18: the Leo Club.

As their website says, the Leo Club’s objective is “to provide the youth of the world with an opportunity for development and contribution, individually and collectively, as responsible members of the local, national and international community.”

Karen O’Bannon, executive director of the Oak Valley Hospital’s Family Support Network, was approached by former president of the Oakdale Lion’s Club, Craig Johnson, about starting the Leo Club for Oakdale’s youth.

With 10 teens already committed to the club after the first meeting, it’s anticipated that that Leo Club will be another one of many successful programs adopted by the Family Outreach program. The club, O’Bannon explained, is “very much like a leadership class at a high school” while still being “a community-based program.”

Because the program is, as O’Bannon said, “a Lion’s Club sponsored program paired with Family Support Network,” the members are being pulled from every niche in Oakdale. The name of the club even denotes the involvement of Lion’s Club. This is fitting considering that some of the members of Lion’s Club have expressed an interest to reach out and mentor the kids in Leo Club.

“It’s a fantastic way to learn about the importance of education and growing up,” O’Bannon commented of the mentoring proposal.

When detailing specifics of what the club would be doing, O’Bannon pointed largely to community service. The program focuses on three main goals: “Leadership, Experience, and Opportunity.” Given that this club is still in its beginning stages, O’Bannon added that current members will be given a chance “to be part of something on the ground floor and watch it be built.”

Another main goal of this club is to create future Lions out of Leos. This program gives teens the opportunity to be a part of their community not only now, but pave the path to their future. Once Leos reach 18, provided that they’ve been a Leo for a year and a day, they are given the potential to transfer to a Lion’s Club. By joining a Leo Club, members gain leadership skills, make new friends, develop connections, and are able to impact their community.


The next Leo Club meeting will be on Aug. 1, though the location and time are still to be determined. For further information, contact the Family Support Network.