Jonelle Tucker received the Outstanding Service award from the Lyons Lions Club for helping them start the Leo Lyons teen volunteer group. Club president Jerry Tabor presented the award on March 10. The Club is an active group of outstanding young people, grades nine through 12, who have been involved in many local service projects since 2014. The acronym Leo stands for Leadership, Experience, Opportunity. The Lions, the Leos and Tucker are not big on broadcasting what they achieve, but this article intends to honor and summarize what the clubs do.
Sponsored by the Lyons Lions Club and chartered by the Lions Club International, the Lyons Leo Club encourages youth involvement in the community by providing leadership and team work experiences through volunteer opportunities. The group is supervised by Lyons Lions Club members who serve as advisers, but is practically a youth-managed civic organization that is not tied to the school system. It was started because, after the flood of 2013, there was no outlet for Lyons youth under the age of 18 to help with flood recovery. Initially, the Town of Lyons provided a paid staff person for some projects over the summer of 2014, but that ended. The town was missing out on the desire, skill, and helpfulness of an entire group of very capable young people because the organizations required supervision by paid staff or a parent. The group knew there had to be a way around this.
Thus in the summer of 2015 a small group of Lyons High School students (Faith Myers, Kate Berreman, Sierra Tucker, and Mikayla Roth) brainstormed with Jonelle Tucker and Ron Gosnell, a Lions Club member, to see if the Lions Club would sponsor a youth group so they could officially volunteer. The kids learned about the nationally sponsored Leo Clubs as they were preparing to meet with the local Lyons Lions Club, and this provided a legal and organized way for them to work together.
Since its inception, with a little help from their advisers, these young people have organized their membership, created standard operating procedures for projects, established a bank account with the Lions Club, and held monthly meetings (currently on hold until at least September). The club averages 15 to 30 members at meetings and projects and has given thousands of hours to the Lyons, Longmont, Loveland, and Boulder County communities. The Leos were recognized in 2015 by Boulder County Strong when then-president Sierra Tucker received the Youth Resilience Leader Award.
The first official Leo Club project involved bringing a bit of holiday cheer to the residents in the area by hanging thousands of Christmas and holiday lights in what has become known as the Confluence neighborhood. Their leadership has matured year after year. As a group, they are in demand. Leos regularly help Lyons Emergency & Assistance Fund, Lyons Community Foundation, Lyons seniors, Lyons Elementary School and Preschools, Habitat for Humanity (including participating in a Leo Build Day in Lyons made possible by a $2,000 donation to Habitat by the Lions Club), youth and adults with autism, the Longmont OUR Center, and more. In addition to hundreds of hours spent helping with flood recovery, ongoing projects include preparing and distributing hundreds of Hope for Homeless bags with supplies collected and sorted by the Leos; work for Habitat including helping build homes and landscaping; providing child care so adults can participate in fundraising events; raising money for an orphanage in Puerto Penasco, Mexico; and assisting with numerous local events by providing labor, trash and recycle services.
“Sure, I, with Ron Gosnell’s help, got the Leos going,” said Jonelle Tucker, “but I’m here to say, they are a self-directed group of the most motivated, inspiring, committed, smart, and capable people–and this includes adults–that I have ever had the pleasure to serve with. We as a society are ignoring a hugely important group of people who want to give back to their community. They need our support, trust, acknowledgement, and yes, subtle guidance. Perhaps even more importantly, they need us as adults to be examples–role models who can truly model acceptable behaviors toward one another. We as adults must be actively involved in our communities by starting and/or being part of local civic organizations. It can’t be the same small group doing the majority of the work. Those of us who are able–and so many of us are, no matter what our lot in life–need to step up and work side by side with these young people and give them not only hope, but credit, and our confidence in them as young people and future leaders.”
The founding Leo Officers were Faith Myers, Kate Berreman, Sierra Tucker, and Mikayla Roth. The current LEO 2019/2020 officers are Cate Richardson, President; Olivia Cope and Harrison Abernathy, Vice Presidents; Emily Vanleeuwen, Secretary; Nick Boggess, Treasurer; Hannah Thomas, Junior Vice President. Katie Fankhouser is a team leader. Laura Richardson and Ron Gosnell are club advisers.
LYONS LIONS CLUB
The Lyons Lions Club was chartered under the auspices of the Boulder Lions Club in July 1946. The Lioness Club, of women only, was organized in September 1948. The women assisted the men, but also had their own projects. In recent years, the Lions Club opened its membership to women, and Jonelle Tucker was its first female member. One other has joined since then.
The Lions Club is dedicated to community service. It is known for collecting eyeglasses for the disadvantaged, but do much more than that. The club has worked with Lyons 9Health Fair, Adopt-A-Highway Roadside Cleanup, and distributed scholarships to local youth. Its biggest fundraiser is the annual golf tournament. All funds raised go to the project specified.
Prospective members are welcome to attend a Lions Club meeting at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Or, contact a club member, including president Jerry Tabor, vice president Randy Pollard, secretary Scott Leiding, or treasurer Lon Clark. The club does not have a website, but it does have a Facebook page under “Lyons Colorado Lions Club.”