Lions International Youth Exchange Visits Clarke County

Camper with a Virginia pin - Photo Sharon Hart

By Sharon Hart

Thirty five students representing the countries of Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mongolia, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States arrived at the Northern Virginia Lions Youth Camp in Boyce on Sunday July 17.   The students are participating in the 31st Annual John M. White International Youth Camp.   The camp is one of the top ten Lion’s youth camps in the world.

Clarke County Lions Greg Hart, Sharon Hart, Bill Propst and John Blaine   prepared a traditional chicken barbecue along with potato salad, macaroni salad, tossed salad, rolls, ice cream sundaes, and local tomatoes and sweet corn.   Most of the campers had never eaten sweet corn on the cob and many didn’t know that people ate corn on the cob.   After a quick demonstration of how to roll the corn in butter, the campers enthusiastically enjoyed the local corn.

One way that Lions promote fellowship is through pin trading.     The Lions Pin Trading Club of Virginia provided Lions trading pins for the campers to select from.     The campers had a great time looking over all the pins and then selecting their favorites from the wide variety pins.       Lion Verle Malik from Winchester Host Lions Club   and Lion Brian Grounds from New Zealand also gave each camper a pin that they had personally designed.   Lion Brian Grounds is the youth Leo Program Chairman for New Zealand and he spoke with the campers about the Leo Program.

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The camp gives the students a chance to be with people from different countries.     Prior to arriving in Clarke County they spent two weeks with host families.     For the next two weeks they will be participating in the camp program.   The campers will visit Washington, D.C., local sites, and Baltimore while staying in Clarke County.   After departing Clarke County they will go to Virginia Wesleyan University and will visit the Lions Eye Bank, work with less gifted children, participate in team challenges and training, and enjoy many different recreation opportunities while visiting Virginia.

Lions are well known for their service to the blind and visually impaired.   However, the scope of Lions projects includes international youth exchange programs, youth Leo Club Program, environmental service projects, art and photography competitions, diabetes awareness, hearing and speech service and work with the deaf, Leader Dogs for the Blind program, Bland Music Scholarship Program named in honor of American Music Composer James A. Bland,   and projects tailored to the needs of each Lions Club’s community.     For additional information please contact Lion Sharon Hart, Secretary, Clarke County Lions Club at or visit the website at