Congratulations to our LEOs for achieving the following Awards!  We understand there may be more to come! 


Congratulations to EMILY WILLIAMS, the new MD18 State Secretary for the Georgia Leos! Super proud to have Towns County represented!! 


Emily Williams



LEO Recruitment Meeting A Success!

Sunday, September 7, 2014, the Towns County LEO Club held its monthly meeting at the Lions Club Board Room. This was a special meeting as we had invited 68 Eighth grade students (recommended to us by their teachers and peers) to come join our Club.  We had 9 regualr members present along with 14 potentail new members and their parents. After a discussion about the Club's purpose and goals for the year by Danielle Diehl, our LEO President, 9 of the 14 eighth grade students completed applications to join!  We are excited about the prospects of what we will be able to accomplish with these new members on board.  Thanks goes out to all who attended, and we hope to follow-up with the others invited, who may not have been able to attend so we can have a strong and vibrant club this year!


Minutes of the Towns County Leo Club: 08/03/14

Attendance: Carly Gilfilian, Danielle Diehl, Jackson Taylor, Nick McConnell, Esther Batye, Mia Manto, and Mrs. Main.

Meeting started at 2:30 @ fairground office.

Old Business:

  • Food Pantry Volunteering: Pictures has been sent to food pantry to show that the Leos can really work.
  • Lemonade Booth: The Georgia Mountain Fair gave the Leos t-shirts for their volunteer at the Georgia Mountain Fair.
    • Sales: the Leo Club got 10% of the gross sales of the 2014 Lemonade booth at the fair, which comes to about $339. We also got about $120 of donations to the camp for the blind.

New Business:

  • Dues:
    • Current member’s dues are $10. The people who are currently a member and have paid their dues are: Nick, Jackson, Danielle, Carly, Emily, and Mia.
    • New Member’s dues are $15 + $8 for t-shirt.
  • Booth at high school open house:
    • Towns County Open house is Tuesday, August 5 from 5-7.
    • The Leo Club will have a booth at open house for anyone who would like to join the Leo Club.
    • Ashley Smith is going to make the posters for open house.
    • Danielle and Nick will be the sponsors at open house.
  • Ways to involve home school kids:
    • Mrs. Main has talked to Nancy Church about getting home schooled kids involved in the Leo Club. Mrs. Main is going to send Nancy the information about what the Leo Club is about.
  • Pet Rescue Project:
    • As a club, we have decided to do the pet Rescue Project again for this up coming year. Mia Manto will be the chairman, and she has decided that we will do this project this upcoming spring.
  • Halloween on the Square:
    • The Leo Club will be participating in Halloween on the Square in October.
  • Homecoming Parade:
    • The Leo Club will have a float in the Towns County Homecoming Parade in September.
  • Can Food Drive and Food Panty Volunteering:
    • The Leo Club will be joining with FBLA to do a food drive for the food pantry in November. Chairman: Carly Gilfilian and Mia Manto.
  • Camp for the Blind Fundraising ideas:
  • The Leo Club would like to do a fundraiser for the Camp for the Blind. We have decided that we would like to do something like White Cane Day. We would like to stand at intersections and collect money, but this will have to be approved by the board.
  • Other Projects ideas for fall:
    • The Leo club would like to help with Give-A-Christmas by wrapping all the presents.
  • The Leo Club would like to involve middle school students. The students from middle school will have to be referred by middle school teachers.
  • Next Leo Club meeting is September 7, 2014 at the Fairground office building. 


Mia Manto, Miss Georgia Mountain Fair 2014 at the LEO Lemonade Booth 

Congratulations to Mia Manto of Towns County High School crowned the 2014 Miss Georgia Mountain Fair. Throughout the year Mia will serve as an ambassador for the Georgia Mountain Fair during select events, including the 2015 Fairest of the Fair Pageant held in Atlanta, Ga.

Mia is a senior at Towns County High School and plans on attending Clemson University after graduating high school to obtain a degree in graphic design and marketing. Mia is involved in many volunteer activities including being a FBLA national competitor, captain of the golf and cheerleading team, a Robotics National competitor, and LEO Club vice president.

Mia's hobbies include reading, traveling the world, shopping, and spending time with her family. Mia is the daughter of Bill and Maggie Manto. She received $200 for the competition as well as a Fossil watch from "The Loft" in Hiawassee, Ga and a gift certificate from Shear Talent.

The LEO club operates the Lemonade Booth at the Fair and receives a portion fo the proceeds to help fund the many projects the LEOs plan for during the year. And, yes, Mia did work at the booth while she was also fulfilling her duties as Miss Georgia Mountain Fair. 


Minutes of the Towns County Leo Club: Date: July 13, 2014

Attendance: Danielle, Mia, Nick, Jackson, Ashley, Esther, Kaylea, Kenzie, and Carly.

Sponsors: Laurie Main, Deborah Saylor, Doug Canup

Meeting started at 2:30 at Brother’s. We installed new officers as follows:

President: Danielle Diehl
Vice President: Mia Manto
Secretary: Carly Gilfilian
Treasure: Nick McConnell
Board of Directors: Jackson Taylor, Ashley, and Briana Shook
Historian: Kalyea, and Kenzie (but not installed yet)

Summer volunteer projects: : Food Pantry, Monday mornings at 10, and Reading at Library on Wednesday’s.

Lemonade Booth sign up: it was a success. We filled up most of the time slots for the booth. We had a few parents sign up to work too.

Annual projects will be:

Book drive, Food pantry, Recycle project, White Cane Days, GA fair, and ect..

Need ideas for fundraisers for the Camp for the Blind, Need to involve home school kids.

Nick McConnell is in charge of T-shirts, so if you need a shirt, contact Nick.

In May the Leo Club got the Club Service Award from the State Lions Club for all of the past year's projects completed and for making reports on time.

The Leo club will do a booth at the school open house, so we can try and get some new members in our club. Also we will be riding in the homecoming parade when school starts.

Next meeting is Aug. 3, 2014 at 2:30 at the Lions Club Board room at the farigrounds.



June - We had a great Summer Kickoff picnic at the GA Mountain Fairgrounds Paris Pavilion this past Sunday. With approximately 20 people in attendance, the Club elected new officers and signed up for several summer time projects this year.  More information about these will be posted here later. We were also able to share what the LEO Club is all about with several new prospective members.  

A date for our July meeting has not yet been determined due to the 4th of Luly holiday.  Once a date is set, we will email or text all members.  


Notes from LEO Meeting

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Only 4 members present: Courtney, Lexi, Elizabeth, and Esther along with Sponsors Laurie Main and Deborah Saylor.  Doug Canup was also present

Discussed White Cane Days and getting LEOs to work at McDonald’s intersection on Saturday April 26th.  Carly, Danielle, and Courtney may be able to help this year.

Discussed holding a membership drive during the month of April. Will need volunteer to speak.  Lexi may do this. Ms Main will seek permission to hold a short assembly with the 8th Grade to promote LEOs.  At end of meeting today will Make popsters to promote Club.

Discussed upcoming Special Olympics.  Need volunteers to work LEO booth.

Deborah Saylor said there is $475 in the service account.   Voted to donate $100 to the school for Special Olympics program rather than participating in raffle.

Need volunteers to help work in the Garden booth for the Rhododendron Festival. Just a few slots not filled.

The EMC is sponsoring a fishing tournament on May 10th to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Courtney to check and see if they need help for this event.

Discussed Millennium Measle Shot Challenge from the Lions International. During the month of April, there is a donor that will match dollar for dollar every donation to this project up to $500,000.  Shots only cost $1.  Agreed to do a change collection at school during the month of April for this project.  Ms. Main will check to see when is the last day to submit these funds.

Discussed meeting schedule and how to get people there.  Decided on making it a Pizza Party at May 4th meeting to see if “food” helps.

Membership for new members is $20 but this includes their T-Shirt, dues are actually $10 and membership will be through end of 2015 school year.

Discussed possibly of selling Lions Brooms at Fair and or Fall Festival.  Doug will check on the cost of these. 

Discussed purchasing a tablet to use for LEO Club meeting notes and pictures.  Will need to be wi-fi capable and can take pictures. It will stay with the Sponsors after each meeting.  Doug will check on prices and report to Ms. Main. 



Tuesday, February 25, 2014, was a night of celebration for our Towns County Honor students at the Towns County Lions Club meeting.  The Lions Club recognized 25 TCHS Honor students with certificates of accomplishment rounds of applause. Special recognition was given to the TCHS Star Student Faithe Robinson. In turn, she recognized her selection of Star Teacher in Ms. Lynn Swanson.  Robinson said that it was easy to pick Ms. Swanson because of her passion and dedication to her job.  As Robinson's Spanish teacher, she said that Swanson taught her so much in just one year.

Twenty of the twenty-five students honored were present to receive their certificates from Lion President Julie Payne and to be congratulated by Principal Jonathan Gibson, Assistant Principal Erica Chastain and teacher Melissa Bridges.  Bridges provided the club members and visiting parents with details on future plans after graduation.  Also present was school superintendent Melissa Williams and Board Member Donna Hedden.

Star student Faithe Robinson is the daughter of of Rick and Luann Robinson.  She will attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she will major in Sports Ministry in order to become a full time missionary and soccer coach.

Our guest speaker was Reverend Josh Rouse. Rouse is the teaching pastor at Village Church in Hayesville, NC and also the author of the Blue Tractor.  He challenged the students on maintaining their integrity and character.  Using the example of Reverend Billy Graham.  Rouse said that many people want to be identified with Graham because of his reputation of having integrity and strong character. Rouse said Graham's "rep" goes before him wherever he travels.  He said that every student should strive to have such character. 

In addition to presenting certificates to each student, the star student received a $100 cash award from the Lions Club. Also, each honor student received a numbered ticket for a drawing to award two $50 cash awards. 

The PAGE StudentTeacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 56th year, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education.  Since its inception, the STAR program has honored more than 24,000 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic achievement.  To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.

To close out the meeting President Payne reminded all the students that the Lions Club also awards scholarships each year that they could apply for through the Club. Applications for the scholarships can be picked up at Assistant Principal Chastain's office in the next few days. 


Give-A- Christmas

Saturday, December 14, 2013, the Lions Club held its annual Give-A-Christmas program in the Anderson Music Hall.  Leos served as "elves" to assist Santa with the children. Approximately 100 children came on this cold rainy morning to visit Santa, eat cookies, and receive gifts.  Fund was had by all as we enjoyed the smiling faces of the children as they saw Santa and received their gifts.  Thanks to the Leos who helped with this project.



NOVEMBER 25, 2013

The morning was cold and brisk but as I arrived at the Towns County Food Pantry on Monday, there was Carly Gilfilian with her car almost dragging the ground and loaded with about 900 cans of food donated by the students of TCHS.  During the month of November, the LEO Club held a food drive at school resulting in a huge amount of giving by the students. But that was not all our plans for the day.  As her car was unloaded, Nick McConnell, Jackson Taylor, Danielle Diehl, and Mia Manto arrived to help box food for the next distribution date. 

Using the assembly line process, LEO Club members along with many other volunteers from the local community put smiles on their faces, rolled up their sleeves, and proceeded to create hundreds of boxes of can goods.  In a little over 1 hour, the volunteers and LEOs had accomplished the task for the day.  Looking back at the now stack of filled boxes, smiles were even bigger. Afterwards, Richard Botting, Co-Coordinator of the pantry, took time to give the LEOs a little bit of an overview of the Food Pantry operations. The Towns County Food Pantry is a non-profit organization founded by members of Towns County genuinely concerned with the well-being of other members of Towns County

When asked which is best giving canned good to the Pantry or donating actual money, Botting said, “While we gladly accept donated food, donating money is the best way to help the Pantry as we can acquire five times the amount of food with each dollar that a individual could obtain when buying the canned food at the grocery store.”

The Towns County Food Pantry obtains the bulk of its food from the Northeast Georgia Food Bank.  To acquire the food, they have to pay an “administrative fee” for it, which is usually no more than 18 cents per pound.  If you bought a one pound can of corn at the store to donate it might cost you ninety cents. However, if you donated the ninety cents directly to the Food Pantry, they could acquire five cans of corn. 

The Towns County Food Pantry is located at 1294 Jack Dayton Circle, Young Harris, GA and can be reached at 706-896-4783 for more information.

(See picture of LEOs helping at the pantry on the Current Events page)


Important Dates fro November and December:

For November:

Nov 17 (Sunday) - 2 PM meet at the fairgrounds to decorate our "Snowman".  We will be doing this for the GMF to enter in the snowman competition.

Nov 25th(Monday) meet at the Towns County Food Pantry at 9:45 AM to pack boxes for distribution.  Park in the parking lot down the hill from the pantry (in the EMS parking lot). 

Nov 30th(Saturday) - meet at the fairgrounds at 4:30 PM if you want to ride on the Fair/Lions Club Christmas Parade float.  We have been asked to ride and would like to have a good turnout. Wear your LEO club shirt if you can but more importantly, dress warmly.

Working on the snowman, volunteering at the food pantry and riding in the parade will serve as our meeting time.

For December:

December 11th (Wednesday) - meet at the Lions Club Board room (at the fair office) right after school.  We will be wrapping presents for the Lions Club Give-A-Christmas.

Dec 14th (Saturday) - be at the Music Hall by 9:30am if you wish to participate in the Give-A-Christmas event. Dress "Christmassy" if you can.

 These two events will serve as our meetings for December.



On Thursday, November 7, 2013, the LEO Club donated $150.00 to the Mountain Shelter from funds raising during its Pet Rescue Project in October,  Pictured (l to r)  Lisa McConnell, Director Mountain Shelter; Courtney Marshall, Carly Gilfilian and Danielle Diehl.


LEO Club Presentation and New Member Installation

The Lions Club meeting Tuesday night October 8, 2013, was a very special meeting as our very own LEO Club and their parents were present to hear LEO Club President Courtney Marshall share a PowerPoint presentation with the Lions on all the activities they have accomplished last year and have planned for this year.  Then, State and District LEO Chair Steve Helwig gave a brief update on LEOs around the state and afterwards performed the ceremony of installing several new Members in the Towns County LEO Club.

LEO stands for Leadership, Experience and Opportunity.  The Towns County LEO Club is a community-based club ages 12 to 18 years old, which meets regularly throughout the school year in Sponsor Laurie Main’s classroom.  They plan activities that will help improve our community and learn valuable skills related to community service along the way.  Marshal shared with the Lions that the LEO has been active running the lemonade booth during the Georgia Mountain Fair, assisting Lions with White Cane Days to raise money for the sight impaired, participating in the Read Across America program along with a book drive that collected over 1000 books for needy children.  They also participated in the 401Bridge project that raised money for a clean water project in Kenya, assisted with the Special Olympics with a Crazy Birds booth, conducted a recycling project, held a yard sale raising $640 for the Towns County Food Pantry, and went to a work days at the Georgia Camp for the Blind in Waycross.

Marshal said while they will continue to participate in many of these same projected for 2013-2104, some new projects like raising money for Pet Rescue facilities in the Towns County area and a Fall Ball to collect funds for the Food Pantry.

Steve Helwig, State and District LEO Chair, shared with the club that there are 39 existing LEO clubs in the state with four more currently pending approval.  His goal for next year is 50 LEO Clubs in Georgia.  Helwig said,” Of the 39 clubs in Georgia, Towns County is by far ahead of the others with activities and accomplishments.”  After encouraging the LEOs present to participate in the workdays at the Camp for the Blind in March, Helwig called all the new members present to come forward to officially be installed into the Towns County LEO Club.  After pledging their faithfulness to the Club and community, seven new members received LEO Pins and a New Member Certificate.

To close out the meeting, President Julie Payne held a 50-50 drawing which was o=won by Lion Ralph Grady. Grady promptly donated the money to our Give-A-Christmas program.   Payne announced our October 22nd meeting time will be used to elect new Fair Board Directors and our November 12th meeting will be our annual auction to raise money for Give-A-Christmas. 


At the July 13th dinner meeting the new LEO Club Officers and Directors were installed (pictured above).  From L to R: 

Courtney Marshall, President; Mia Manto, 1st VP; Lexi Stephens, 2nd VP; MegAnn Bradley, Secretary; Danielle Diehl, Treasurer; Elizabeth Turner, Director

Not pictured: Carly Gilfilian and Macy Shattles



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