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Evans City Lions looks to engage young members in Leo Club

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 4:49 p.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Prospective members of what would be Butler County's first Leo Club have begun holding organizational meetings. A Leo Club is the youth arm of the Lions Club.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Brennon Pintado (center), 15, Dominic Natali, 15 (left), and Brad Carlin (right), 17, all of Evans City, listen during the second organizational meeting for what would be Butler County's first Leo Club at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Evans City on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Evans City Lions Club member Carl Bromley, 62, of Kittaning, speaks to prospective Leo Club members at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Evans City on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
From left to right: Robin Swank, 60, of Evans City, Dominic Natali, 15, of Evans City, Carl Bromley, 62, of Kittaning, Danielle Gross, 17, of Renfrew, Brad Carlin, 17, and Brennon Pintado, 15, both of Evans City pose for a portrait during the second organizational meeting for the Leo Club at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Evans City on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.

The Evans City Lions Club might expand its ranks by going young.

It hopes to start a Leo Club, the youth arm of Lions Club International, said Lions Club President Robin Swank. It would be Butler County's first Leo Club, open to students ages 12-18.

“The primary focus is doing community service, things that will make Evans City a better place,” Swank said.

The Lions Club International is the world's largest service organization.

The Leo Club also serves as a way for 18-year-olds to transition into Lions Club membership, Swank said, which would help inject young blood into the membership.

“Ultimately, we hope that they will ease into an existing Lions Club and possibly bring their parents with them,” Swank said.

At an organizational meeting this month, prospective founding members Brennon Pintado, 15, Dominic Natali, 15, and Brad Carlin, 17, all of Evans City discussed possible service projects with Swank and Lions Club member Carl Bromley.

Initial plans include shoveling snow from the borough's sidewalks and volunteering time with senior citizens. The Leo Club also will work alongside the Lions Club during its service projects.

“It's a fantastic idea, and the kids are doing 99 percent of the work,” Bromley said. “Robin and I are just helping.”

Bromley said involvement in the Leo Club looks good to colleges and potential employers seeking well-rounded and community-minded young people.

“Those are the people that business leaders and colleges are going to want to hire or at least look at,” he said.

The idea to start a Leo Club took root last fall during Evans City's Oktoberfest celebration. Swank said the Lions Club had a booth set up for a fundraiser and many teenagers approached the booth, expressing interest in joining if there was a youth component of the organization.

The group had its first meeting in late December 2013.

Anyone from Evans City or Seneca Valley School District can join, but most of the community service will be based in Evans City, Swank said. The group needs 20 members to start a charter with Lions Club International, and Swank said she'd like to see at least 30 or 40 young people to account for first year membership drop-off.

When enough members are recruited, the group will form an executive board and officially begin organizing fundraisers and service projects.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902.

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