Brisbane teenager recognised on global stage as winner of Lions Clubs International Peace Essay Contest

The theme of this year’s Peace Essay contest was “Peace Through Service” and Year 8 Brisbane student, Joshua Wood has taken home the grand prize. The announcement was made as part of Lions Day with the United Nations.  

The Brisbane Camp Hill Carindale Lions Club sponsored the local contest that gave Joshua the opportunity to participate in this global event and share his words of peace with the world.  

Kai Spence awarded Leo of the Year 2021

Kai Spence of the Central Queensland Leo Club in Lions District Q4 (Rockhampton) has been awarded the title of 2021 Leo of the Year. 

“The biggest benefit for me since becoming a Leo has been the relationships and the lifelong friendships I’ve developed. I have also loved seeing how this network has given others a way to grow and heal from trauma and life experiences. I was lucky enough to meet my wife through Leos. We met in high school but reconnected at Leos and now have a wonderful marriage and two beautiful daughters.” 

Competing on-stage at the Lions National Convention in Canberra in May 2021, Kai impressed the judges and audience with a heartwarming presentation about his experience of becoming a father. 

Kai has been actively involved in his Leo club since joining, holding a variety of roles including President, Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Chairperson.   

The Leo of the Year program offers young people the opportunity to share and celebrate their passion and commitment to community service, and a platform to voice their opinions on topics close to their heart. 

Over the next 12 months, Kai will travel around Australia visiting Lions Clubs with the goal of inspiring members to open more Leo Clubs.  

Leo members compete at a local and state level before each state nominates a finalist to compete on stage at the Lions National Convention. 

Participants are awarded points based on the following: 

  • Community service involvement (25%) 
  • Leadership and contribution to Leos (25%) 
  • Knowledge of Leos and Lions (10%) 
  • Knowledge of local and world affairs (10%)
  • Impact during interview (10%) 
  • Public speaking (20%)  

Find out more about the Leo Club program.

Camp Koala – a lifechanging experience for young people living with Diabetes

Across Australia over 1.3 million people have Diabetes and 283 people are diagnosed every day. For young people, living with Diabetes is challenging, not only physically but also emotionally.  

Diabetes is one of Lions key global focus areas and one of the life changing projects launched recently is Camp Koala.  

The inaugural Camp Koala – Type 1 was successfully held for 7 days from 11-17 April 2021 at YMCA Camp Wyuna in Queenscliff, Victoria. 21 Type 1 diabetic teenagers between 15-18 years old attended the camp and benefited from a range of activities, inspirational speakers and the rare opportunity to connect with other diabetics their own age.  

The camp aims to provide attendees with knowledge and tools to promote healthy nutrition and a positive lifestyle while managing their diabetes.  

There were a a range of fun activities to participate in at the 2021 Camp Koala, including canoeing, bike riding, volleyball, basketball, walking, zip lining, tubing, laser tag and boogie boarding. 

During the camp, the young attendees also had access to one on one time with a diabetes nurse educator and nutritionist. Where it was felt necessary the camper’s own diabetes team were contacted for follow up. Campers voluntarily accessed a joint App call “Happy Bob” which monitored their levels. This App had a capability of private communications to each other and very much aided in accessing diabetes self-management. 

Attendees benefited from hearing from Type 1 and family therapist Joe Solowiejczyk who zoomed in from the USA, dietitian and Type 1 Foundation Board Member Julianne Cuthbert and nutritionist Andrea Balog who gave an insightful talk on nutrition, positive body image and confidence. 

The teens were also taken out to dinner to help gain real-life experience in carb counting and ordering from a menu. Many had never eaten out in a formal environment on their own since diagnosis due to a fear of working out injections and found the dinner extremely informative.  

Most importantly, Camp Koala provides participants with the opportunity to meet other young people who understand the challenges of living with Type 1 Diabetes.  

Participants set up an Instagram support page to keep in touch and left a number of positive messages thanking the Camp Koala team for the experience.  

    “For me, the worst thing about Type1 diabetes is the fact that I couldn’t share my experience with anyone because I would feel like a burden, so I stayed silent and let the disease win over me. Camp Koala changed this, from the word go I walked in and I knew things were different, we each connected on a level which I had never felt before and I felt in control know that there was support and safety in those around me. I just felt that the camp provided me with something that no-one in my day to day life could because these people got it. For me insulin is the control but connection is my cure.”” said Lachie Read after attending Lions Youth Exchange & Camps – Camp koala – Type 1. 

The next Camp Koala will be held from 3-9 July 2022.