Officially adopted by The International Association of Lions Clubs in 1974, the Lions International Youth Camp Program fulfills the First Object of the Lions.

To create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.

The objectives of the program are:

  • To bring young people of different countries into meaningful contact with each other
  • To permit the sharing of ideals and cultural viewpoints
  • To promote international understanding and goodwill, and to work toward the goals of world peace and human understanding
  • To develop leadership potential in outstanding youth
  • To encourage respect in young people for the thinking of others

The first international camp was organized, supervised and financed by the Lions of Sweden in 1974. Since that first camp, Lions clubs all over the world have continued to invite young people to their countries to attend Lions youth camps as a means of fostering international understanding.

All Lions international youth camps include the word "Lions" in its official title; a minimum one-week program; the participation of young people from different countries; and activities consistent with the program's objectives.

These activities include visits to places of historic, industrial, educational, scientific, religious or natural interest; visits to the homes of representative families (if applicable); structured group activities such as folk dancing or flag presentations; non-political, non-nationalistic discussions concerning world issues; physical activities such as team sports, rafting, or singing; and quiet, relaxing activities such as writing entries in a camp journal.

All Lions youth camp participants (between the ages of 16 and 22) have a Lions club sponsor.

Lions clubs, districts or multiple districts around the world have hosted international youth camps. Some camps have been held in rural settings while others have occurred in urban settings, college dormitories and on sailboats!

Examples of Lions international youth camps include:

  • A traveling camp throughout North Carolina, USA. The campers slept in tents.
  • A Massachusetts, USA, camp for young people with diabetes.
  • A winter camp in Canada for youth from the Southern Hemisphere.
  • An arctic camp sponsored by the Lions of Norway.
  • A 10-day sailing camp around Finland.
  • A camp for physically disabled young people located in Italy.
  • A "Sound of Music" camp for musicians and vocalists held in the Austrian Alps.
  • A cruise from Moscow to Saratov down the Volga River.
  • An outdoors camp held in New Zealand.
  • A cultural camp in Thailand which featured a visit to the Grand Palace.
  • A nature conservation camp in the Republic of South Africa which included a hike through a wildlife reserve.

Travel arrangements and the cost of international travel (actual fares, insurance, airport fees, customs duties and layover or overnight fees) are the responsibility of the sponsoring Lions club. Sources of income include the club (after implementing special fundraisers or using district funds), the youth and/or his family, or a combination.

 If a Lions-approved home stay is added before or after a camp program, the host club is responsible for financing. The host family agrees to provide lodging and meals for the young person.

Lions youth camp participants are expected to provide their own spending money during both the youth camp and youth exchange experiences. In some cases, campers or their parents may be required to provide some financing.

In 1999-2000, Lions clubs, districts and multiple districts organized 108 Lions international youth camps in 39 countries. There were a total of 15 camps in the United States.

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