Leo Club celebrates five years of achievements - Feb. 22, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
The Brussels Leo Club celebrated its first five years with a special anniversary ceremony over the weekend.
Held at the Brussels Four Winds Barn, the event brought together a dozen past and present members as well as friends, family and members of the Leo Club’s backing organization, the Brussels Lions Club.
Megan Exel, the club’s current president, said she was impressed by what the club has achieved in the past and said, under her leadership, the club is now looking to expand its efforts through networking.
“We’re working on getting together with some other Leo Clubs and connecting with them to work and have fun,” she said.
The group is currently seeking members to help bolster its efforts. Exel, who is currently six months into her 12-month term as president, has been with the Leos for approximately four years and says it’s a great program.
“You can join by talking to me or talking to [Lions Club member and Leo Club Advisor Kathy Nichol] and come to one of our regular meetings,” she said, referring to their gatherings on the first and third Monday of every month held at Solace Spa in Brussels. “If you like it, you can come back and we can initiate you into the group.”
Past Presidents Seth Nichol and Sean Mitchell both spoke to The Citizen at the event about the successes of the club.
Seth, the first president of the club, said it has had a visible impact on the community. He said, physically, the most noticeable project has been is the Brussels Sports Pad beside the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre, which the Leos fundraised to restore. However, he said the lasting contributions will be getting the public to know the Leos.
“ I think a lot of it has to do with community outreach,” he said. “Just getting youth in the community out and doing things for a positive cause makes great ripples.”
Mitchell agreed, saying that physical projects like the sports pad and a bicycle rack the group installed outside the Brussels Library are just one side of the coin that is the Leo Club.
“People who wouldn’t meet otherwise meet through the club,” he said. “I’ve met Lions through the club and the Lions Club have met Leos they otherwise might not have met. Those connections are important.”
As a former member, Seth said the club has a lasting impact.
“The club has made me a much more productive citizen,” he said. “It’s made me think less about myself and more about the community and made me able to take on more responsibility and taught me a good work ethic.”
Mitchell said he learned how to communicate with people and how to effectively manage a group.
“Generally, the club teaches leadership qualities and effective meeting practices,” Mitchell said.
For the future, both said they hope the club, which welcomes youths aged 12 to 18, fares well.
The two left the club to pursue post-secondary schooling, and now both offer their expertise to current club members if they need advice or a sounding board.
“I hope the club flourishes,” Seth said. “It might take some elbow grease but I think if everyone is willing to put in that effort, there won’t be a problem. I hope everyone keeps contributing.”
Kathy agreed, saying the club helps show there are positive, community-minded youth in the area.
“From my perspective as a Lion, and a grown-up, if you want to think that way, the Leo Club helps older people in the community see youth as a part of the community and not just those kids that get into trouble,” Kathy said.