Archive for the ‘Leo Club’ Category

By Elijah Q.
Cougar News Blog

     The Leo Club set up a game night on Friday, January 23, to recruit new members for the group at Cactus Canyon.
     James Gibson, an eighth-grade social studies teacher, threw a game night inside the 500 building and had the members set up games like Clue, Apples to Apples, and Headbands. There was also music and refreshments for the people who attended the event.
     Mr. Gibson said he hoped more seventh graders would join this year.
     “I have no set number,” said Mr. Gibson. “But we have difficulties in middle school getting opportunities to help because of transportation and students not being old enough.”
     Anybody could come to the event but to enter students would need two non-expired pop-top cans of food, which were going to be donated to Project HELP. They also wanted to raise awareness for the local need of food.
     “The Leo Club is a community of hard-working students working toward helping the society,” says Leo Club member, Natalie Erb. “I believe that the the event was a great outcome.”
     The Leo Club started was started by Lions Club member and school board member, Mike Weaver. He wanted to start a junior-high group to help the community, so he asked the principal, Courtney Castelhano, who put Gibson as the director of the group.
     Gibson plans to throw another event to recruit more kids.
     “I wish new kids would join the club,” said Mr. Gibson. “I want the group to be student run and the events build friendships that can help us in life.”


By Sami Groneberg
Cougar News Blog

     Best Buddies and Leo Club are two of the many clubs at CCJH. Both are starting on their second year and looking to make to try new things.
Desirae Davis is the teacher who started the program Best Buddies at CCJH. The program helps students that sign up get to know other students and talk with them and to learn how to become a friend.
     There is also the Leo Club that is run by James Gibson. Leo Club is for a group or students that like to serve the community by volunteering.
     “Leadership and service to others, these are really important traits that help people with all aspects of life,” said Mr. Gibson. “It is also very fulfilling to other who are in need.”
     Leo Club plans to take a trip to help clean a summer camp for kids with disabilities. They will be going on an overnight outing and it will be lots of sweat and hard work, but very rewarding for the students.
     On Nov. 29 Best Buddies will be participating in the Buddy Prom. Buddy Prom is through Best Buddies Arizona for all chapters in the state.They also will be participating at the Friendship Walk and raise money to support Best Buddies.
     Best Buddies meetings and events are bi-monthly. Students in the club sometimes will go to lunch with their buddy, see them between classes, or before school. They also see them at their events. The last party they had was carnival themed. Buddies could get glitter tattoos, do art projects, and different activities.
     Mr. Gibson was approached by the Gold Canyon Lions Club about starting a Leo Club which is for a group of junior high or high school students. He started to the club at CCJH last year and this will be the second year of Leo Club. This year some things are going to be different.
     “I am really allowing the students to run and organize the club,” said Mr. Gibson.
     Best buddies helps students with intellectual developmental disabilities to have students without disabilities come in and hangout with them sometime during the day.

By Alysa Rippee
Cougar News Blog

After months of preparation, the Leo club is finally getting started on some service work projects. They are aiming to help out the people around them and make a difference in the community.
The projects include a pancake breakfast, a water drive for the homeless, and having a fundraiser for CAFA, a women’s shelter. The club will also be participating in future events like going to Camp Tatiyee for a weekend clean up. James Gibson, the club advisor, said he hopes the club can come together and start deciding on some other projects as a group.
“My plan was to take things slow with the students this year… keep them encouraged and interested in the idea of volunteering,” Gibson said. “We have officers elected and they are starting to take charge of meetings and communication to the Leo members. I am getting ready to order shirts and get things rolling.”
The Leo Club plans on doing a water drive in the next few months to collect tubs of water for the homeless. Their goal is the eventually create a tower of water. The water will go to a homeless shelter.
“A group of Leos will participate in our pancake breakfast on Feb. 15 and we are planning a work weekend to Camp Tatiyee in May,” Lions Club member, Mike Weaver said. “There are other projects under consideration such as a book drive, used eyeglass and hearing aid collection, and other possible projects. The ideas are open to the membership to meet the many needs of the community.”
Leos at the high school will also be doing a fundraiser for CAFA to collect money and supplies. The CAFA president will be going to one of the Leo Club meeting to talk to them about what her organization does and how the club can help. The fundraiser will include hearts that people pay money for and they will be put up on a wall to show everybody who has donated. The project will take place around April.
“I love the Leo Club; I’ve met so many new people. I have learned that there are so many ways to solve a problem,” Leo member Noelle Franklin said. “Everyone brings a different quality to the group. Projects like the breakfast are sure to be helpful and I always make sure to participate.”
The latest project that will be coming up on Feb. 15 is the pancake breakfast. Leo members will be up early in the morning to set up and serve anybody who comes. The Lions and Leo Club will be working together on this project. The Lions is the Leo Club’s father organization.
“I will learn the value of helping my community and I believe as youth that if we can take care of others around us then we make just that much of a difference,” Leo club member Jane Rector said.

By Alysa Rippee
Cougar News Blog

The Leo Club has been recruiting students around both Cactus Canyon Jr. High and Apache Junction High School. To get the club together for bonding, eighth grade teacher James Gibson and high school teacher Alec McDaniel set up a special movie night for the members.
The movie night was held at Cactus Canyon and all middle school and high school Leo Club members were invited to attend. Although it was too cold to watch the movie outside like the group originally planned, the club was able to move into the 500 building. The event occurred on Dec. 6 from 6-8:30 p.m.
“It (was) a time for us to hang out with some friends, watch a movie, and have some fun,” eighth grader Yasinya Peterson said.
Since LEO Club is new, Gibson and McDaniel said bonding is important because they want the members to get along.
“I want the students to get to know each other and have a chance to socialize,” Gibson said. “I also want the students to begin taking charge and creating a direction for the LEO Club.”
The club watched the first Spiderman together. Nine members showed up and voted for a president, vice president, treasurer, social events director, and service events director. They also discussed possible future projects including an Adopt a Highway and collecting water for the homeless when it gets warmer outside. These are the kinds of things that the LEO Club will be participating in since it is a service club to help out the community.
“Serving your community takes teamwork and cooperation which starts with getting to know each other and trusting each other,” Gibson said.


Alysa Rippee
Cougar News Blog

A new club for students looking to help out the community is soon to start. The Leo Club is a program that will help students at Cactus Canyon volunteer and do more for their community. The Leo Club is an international program that takes place in different countries around the world.
Leo Clubs are set up by sponsors in the father-program, the Lions Club. A Leo Club has two parts, Alpha and Omega. The Alpha Leos range from ages 12 to 18 and the Omega ages range from 18 to 30. From the Omega, if the Leo decides to continue, he or she will join the Lions Club.
“I think it will be a good experience for the members, and it is definitely a good idea,” eighth grader, Brandon Lofgreen said.
The Lions Club sponsors are mainly looking for students who genuinely want to make a difference in their community. Leo stands for leadership, experience, and opportunity. This means that members are able to develop different leadership skills, know how to cooperate and input ideas for your community, and can understand the rewarding feeling of serving your community.
“They can help collect donations for a specific groups in our local community,” said co-sponsor Jason Gibson. “A person can volunteer to help kids or elderly people…at the library, a church, or maybe a community event or center, like the Multigenerational Center.”
Other projects that the Leo Club will be participating in are things like soup kitchens, repairing library books, clean ups, and raising money. The club also contributes to organizations like Project HELP, a food drive, and Camp Tatiyee, which is a 100 percent free camp for children and young adults with special needs.
“The Leo Club is open to anyone who really wants to improve their community and help others,” Lions Club member Mike Weaver said. “It’s an opportunity for students to learn leadership and service for others.”
Members of the club have an option of moving up from the junior high to participating in a Leo Club in the high school where they could have a chance to gain a scholarship, go to a good college, and get a job. Weaver said the program is both long- and short-term. Short because students get the satisfaction of helping others and long because of the many opportunities that it can lead club members to.
“Volunteering builds character and a sense of community,” Gibson said. “Giving back to your community through service-centered activities allows for a person to grow inwardly.”
Since the starting of Leo Clubs, over 50 years ago, they have expanded to over 152,000 members in 138 countries all over the globe. To learn more about the Leo Club, visit the website at, or like the Facebook page.
“Whenever you work hard as a volunteer you get a real and gratifying memory that helps to anchor yourself as a member of society; a real contributor,” Gibson said.