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History

Leo District 306 A1, Sri Lanka

About sixty years ago, Coach Jim Graver started the Leo ball rolling. Back in 1957, Graver was the coach of the Abington High School, Pennsylvania, USA, baseball team. 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. "The Kiwanians had their Key Clubs and the Rotarians had their Wheel Club (since changed to Interact Clubs)," Ernst is quoted as saying in an October 7, 1976 newspaper article in "The Evening Bulletin".

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.

"We needed a nucleus, a group of kids to start with," stated Ernst. "So we got Jim's son to come to the first meeting with his whole baseball team." Nine sophomores, junior and senior boys joined the group of 26 baseball players. Together, the 35 teens formed a club. On December 5, 1957, the Glenside Lions presented a charter to the Abington High School Leo Club.

To celebrate this historical moment, December 5 is celebrated as the International Leo Day every year.

In October 1967, the board of directors of Lions Clubs International adopted the Leo Club Program as an official program of the association.

History in Sri Lanka

History of Leo clubs in Sri Lanka goes back to 1969. In this year, Leo Club of Wattala was chartered as the first Leo club in Sri Lanka which was sponsored by Lions Club of Wattala.

Currently, Leo Club of Colombo (Host) is the oldest active Leo club in Sri Lanka. It belongs to Leo District 306 A1.

Formation of Leo District 306 A1

Since the begining, the Leo club program became popular among Lions which they paved way for many youth by organizing more Leo Clubs. In order to better fulfil both administrative and service requirements, District 306 was divided in 1978, to two Districts – namely 306A and 306B.

With this division, Sri Lanka’s Multiple District 306 was born. Under the new structure, the two sub District 306 A and 306 B were able to serve more effectively. With the passage of time, District 306 A and B expanded their network steadily. For administrative purposes, the need for redistricting was once again necessary and in 1998 the Multiple District 306 re-demarcated to three Sub Districts, 306 A, B & C.

Due to the rapid growth of the Leoism once again in the year 2004 / 2005 another redistricting programme was carried out re-demarcating to 6 Sub Districts – 306 A1 & A2, B1 & B2, C1 & C2. So, from 2005 onwards, Leos of Leo District 306 A1 work as an outstanding group helping thousands of people in their community.