Young Lions prove their worth in competition

Young Lions prove their worth in competition

Gosnells Leos Lucy Hepple and Hope Lankford.

Two young lion-hearted Kelmscott ladies have done their community proud at the Western Australian Leo of The Year competition.

Lucy Hepple and Hope Lankford are proud Gosnells Leos, who embody the Lions’ junior organisation’s motto – ‘Leadership, Experience, Opportunity’.

The pair put up their hands to volunteer whenever their service is needed; in the past year they have helped to run the Easter and Christmas activities at Maddington Bunnings, have volunteered for the Community Secure Disposal Day – where sensitive paperwork is shredded, and presented at the Leos District Convention, among other things.

They were also an integral part of the Lions Children of Courage Awards state committee, and the very first Leos to ever sit on the committee.

Both Hope and Lucy were adamant that an acknowledgment of country should be included in the ceremony, and argued their case with the committee.

“There were Indigenous people there at the ceremony, and it was important for us to acknowledge their culture at the event,” Hope said.

With so much leadership and experience under their young belts, it was only natural that they take up the opportunity to compete to be named ambassadors of their organisation.

On March 3, both girls were grilled by a panel of judges in 30-minute interviews where their growth, maturity and potential shone through.

Hope particularly impressed one of the judges, MLA Lisa Munday, with her astute analysis and policy-making abilities on the very complex issue of vaping.

Then came the public speaking round, where each competitor was required to give a five-minute presentation on a topic that mattered to them in front of a room full of people.

Hope chose to speak about the future of women in sport, and how the meteoric rise in popularity of women’s sports has had an impact on her own sporting journey.

While Lucy dug deep and revealed some of her own personal struggles with bullying, loss, and the education system, and how Leos has given her an outlet away from the ‘sometimes toxic school environment’, and helped her to grow into the person she is today.

The judges deliberated for 40 minutes, struggling to choose a state winner.

When they emerged, they revealed there was only one point between the winner and person who came in second place.

Lucy Hepple was named State Leo of WA, with Hope coming in a close second.

Lucy will now travel to Darwin in May to compete on a national level.

“If I win in Darwin, I’m hoping to raise the profile of Leos in WA and grow our membership. After all, we are the next generation of Lions,” she said.

“I have to have confidence in myself. But anyone could win. I’m also hoping to use the opportunity to make new connections and friends.”

Gosnells Leos meet once a month at Sam’s Spares on Stalker Rd for fun, friendship and facilitating change. Anyone aged 12-18 who would like to be a part of the club can email