LEO Clubs' History

In 1957, Coach Jim Graver, who was the baseball coach of the Abington High School, Pennsylvania, USA, founded the first LEO Club there was. Graver was also an active member of the Glenside, Pennsylvania, Lions Club.

With fellow Lion, William Ernst, Graver talked about starting a service club for high school boys. So they asked their fellow Lions for support. Without hesitation, the Glenside Lions agreed that a Lions youth group was a good idea. Graver and Ernst set to work.

On December 5, 1957, the Glenside Lions presented a charter to the Abington High School LEO Club whose members were mostly made up of the high school's baseball team.

As the world's first LEO club, the group created the LEO acronym - Leadership, Equality, Opportunity (Equality was later changed to Experience.) And, the group chose maroon and gold - their school colors - to serve as the LEO club colors.

Over the years the LEO Club organization grew amazingly and as per December 2007 there are more than 5,500 clubs in more than 130 countries. The total number of LEO members exceeds 140,000. In the summer of 2007 a big 50th anniversary party was celebrated during the International Lions Convention in Chicago. Many LEOs from all over the world attended this convention.

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