Port Orchard Lions hoping to offer new kind of scholarship

Since there seems to be no shortage of scholarships for kids who excel in sports or academics, one local club hopes to begin rewarding teens who might otherwise never get recognized.

“We know they are out there,” said John Campanelli, a member of the Port Orchard Lions Club, explaining that his club is looking to reward teens who are being good citizens, either simply in their homes or in the surrounding community. “Teenagers have gotten kind of a bad name here in our community, but I see them volunteering at places like South Kitsap Helpline, or the Kitsap County Fair.”

Campanelli called the recognition a “citizenship award,” and said anyone can be considered, not just those who are officially volunteering.

“It could be a kid who is being raised by a single mom, and he or she is taking care of their brothers and sisters, or making dinner,” he said, explaining that while other kids may be out skateboarding after school, others kids are home helping out.

And since a lot of the kids he is thinking of may be doing the majority of their good deeds at home, Campanelli said his club needs the help of the public to find them.

“We are asking for nominations,” he said, adding that any South Kitsap child between the ages of 13 and 18 is eligible. “We will read every letter very carefully.”

Campanelli said he is also planning to meet with someone from the South Kitsap School District, and hopes to have chosen the first recipient by the time school starts in September.

“We will then give them a monetary award and a plaque,” he said, explaining that it is not technically a scholarship, because it does not have to be used to pay for tuition. “It can be used for anything. They can go out and buy candy bars, or video games.”

And after the money is gone, the recipients will always have the plaques, he said.

“A lot of kids go through life without being recognized for anything,” he added.

Of course, Campanelli said the awards — which he hopes eventually will be given out two, or perhaps four, times a year — are being given out for completely unselfish reasons.

“We would love to start a Leo Club here,” he said, explaining that a Leo Club includes members aged 13 to 28.

To nominate a teen, Campanelli said you can send a letter to him at: 3524 SE Navigation Lane, Apt. 102, Port Orchard, WA. 98366.

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