The future of Lions Australia

Lions Australia’s youth programs were front and centre at the recent MD201 Convention on the Gold Coast.

Finals of the Youth of the Year and Leo of the Year competitions took place, providing great entertainment and food for thought for Conventioneers and judges alike.

With Lions Australia’s recent announcement of the Big Audacious Mission (BAM) to build membership to 30,000 by 2030 and 50,000 by 2050, the Leos and Youth of the Year programs have never been more important.


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. 


Leo Committee Chairperson Pam Bennett with the 2023 Leo of the Year Finalists.

Leo Committee Chairperson Pam Bennett says Leos are important pieces in the Lions Australia puzzle.

“Leos are our partners in service. They have chosen to join our organisation and have the same ethics and purposes as Lions and fulfil a real need in the communities in which they serve,” she said.

The final of the 2023 Leo of the Year competition took place on Saturday, April 29th.

The 4 finalists each presented a five-minute speech on topics ranging from community service to outfits.

NSW’s Georgia Bailey, QLD’s Molly Gysberts, VIC’s Clarissa Wong, and WA’s Luke Tammen all presented wonderful speeches.

Luke Tammen won the Public Speaking Award while Georgia Bailey was announced as the 2023 Leo of the Year.

Council Chairperson Steve Boyce presents Leo of the Year 2023 Georgia Bailey with a plaque.

Council Chairperson Steve Boyce presents the 2023 Leo of the Year, Georgia Bailey with a plaque.

Georgia reminded Lions of the value of Leos, particularly when it comes to technology and social media use.

“Leos understand all of this, make use of us,” she said in her speech.

Over the next twelve months, Georgia will visit Lions Clubs across the country with hopes of opening more Leo Clubs.


Youth of the Year

On the other hand, the Youth of the Program encourages and fosters leadership skills in students nearing the end of their schooling years, hoping to bring forth the next generation of outstanding young Australians.

2023 Youth of the Year Finalists.

National Youth of the Year Chairperson PDG Ken Bradford says the program is a great opportunity.

“The experiences and life skills gained by achieving this level of the challenge will, very often, give encouragement to take on projects which may have been considered unattainable,” he said.

The final of the 2023 Youth of the Year competition took place on Monday, May 1st.

The competition looks at competitors’ leadership, sporting and cultural awareness, personality and general knowledge, as well as public speaking.

The six finalists: W1’s Jonah Hanikeri, T1’s Kulani Somarathna, Q1’s Lindsey White, N1’s Frederick Kearney, C2’s Zach Pope, and V2’s Sienna Gladstone, went head to head in the final round of the competition on stage.

Lions Youth of the Year Winner, Fred Kearney delivers his outstanding speech.

Sienna Gladstone, who spoke about domestic violence, was the winner of the public speaking competition

Frederick Kearney from the Armidale School who spoke about how “tough times create tough people” was the overall winner.

Both Fred and Sienna will receive cash prizes when they turn 18 years old.


As Lions begin work towards the first goal of BAM, these youth programs are proving invaluable to the future of the organisation.

You can learn more about Leos here and Youth of the Year here – and watch all the finalist speeches on our YouTube channel.