By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – In the wild, a young lion is called a cub, however, in Tyler County, a group of young Lions is committed to serving the area under the name “Leos”.
The Leos (which is an acronym for “Leadership, Experience, Opportunity”) are the youngest members of Lions Clubs International. According to Lions International’s website, “Leos embody the best qualities of our incredible organization. They are devoted young people who realize the power of action.”
Tyler County has had a Leos chapter since October 2016, and Ken Jobe is its sponsor. Jobe, who also serves as president of the Woodville Lions Club, said the organization provides a valuable opportunity for the youth of the county to serve in various projects, as well as earn scholarships.
“My goal is to always get a graduating senior some money,” Jobe said.
The Leos meet every second and fourth Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Lions Den in Woodville. Jobe said the club currently has nine members, but he hopes those numbers will increase. The age of Leos is 14 to 18, and to be a member, one must live in or go to school in Tyler County, Jobe said.
The club members enjoy the fellowship aspect of Leos, but also recognize the value in putting service above self. “You meet new people, but at the same time you are doing things that impact the community,” said club member Annie Rayburn.
Another member, Abby Wilson, said it makes her happy to do service projects for others. “Doing service makes me feel like a better person…makes me happier,” she said.
Wilson added that being a Leo gives her something that she can put on her resume that not many others can.
Some of the projects the Tyler County Leos have had a hand in include cleaning the Kirkland Springs park near Woodville, helping with the Lions’ annual rodeo and travelling to the Hill Country to help out at the Lions’ Children’s Camp.
Some of the Leos who took part in the trip to the camp reminisced fondly on volunteering there and of the shared fellowship on the trip, and all of the members share respect and affection for Jobe—and his lingo.
During last Monday’s meeting, many of the members used the word “stupid” as a positive adjective. “This pizza is stupid good!” one of them chimed in, as Jobe shook his head and said “I gotta stop using that phrase.”
Rayburn, with a chuckle, said “Being a Leo is stupid good,” which in turn elicited a hearty laugh from everyone else in the room.
All of the current Leos said they want to join Lions Club after graduating high school and remain active in service. Chester junior Brianna Kort said being a Leo helps her realize how much good can be put into the world through volunteering.
“It helps to show how many people go without, and how you can help in any situation there is,” she said.
Anyone interested in joining the Tyler County Leos Club can contact Jobe through the club’s Facebook page.