By Clifford Young ‘17
In the interest of full disclosure, Clifford Young is a member of Key Club.
Key Club members from all over New York State gathered at the 68th Annual Leadership Training Conference ‘LTC’ on March 18 – 20 to celebrate a full year of giving back to the community.
Key Club International is a worldwide student-led organization that provides community service opportunities, character building, and leadership development. Within the organization, there are 33 formal areas ‘districts’ of Key Club ranging from the west coast to the Caribbean. Every year, each area of Key Club hosts an annual year-end convention to educate members on the the ideals of service, what it means to be apart of Key Club, and to train upcoming club leaders for their year of service.
This year, 840 members of New York State Key Clubs met at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany, NY. The conference consisted of informational workshops, general sessions regarding leadership and fellowship, and social events.
“[Students] were given information about applying to colleges, public speaking, and how to create successful action committees,” said Ms. Angelique Alexander, faculty advisor of Midwood’s Key Club.
Josephine Wu ‘18 said, “[The workshops] were very informational and thought provoking. They didn’t just talk about Key Club, but a variety of topics that helped you think about the future and how to become a better person.”
Christine Tsang ‘17 said, “The workshops ran by the students were phenomenal! Different activities were carried out during the workshops to make them more interesting and I was able to learn a lot from them.”
The Midwood High School Key Club took 20 students to Albany, this year, and won various awards such as the Perfect Paperwork Award for filing all club paperwork on time consistently, Early Bird Dues for submitting all monies required to join Key Club before the due date, and contained the members awarded the Distinguished Key Clubber Award for outstanding service to Key Club and the community.
“I am so honored to be apart of the club that won so many awards at the conference,” said outgoing Vice President Najah Thurston ‘16. “I think the club really expanded its horizons by trying to incorporate our new [service] events and build relations with other Key Clubs in the city. It’s been a great year!”
One of our own, Raymond Liao ‘17, was awarded a Distinguished Webmaster’s award for his service as Midwood Key Club’s Webmaster over the past year.
“To me, it meant that I stood out among hundreds of club webmasters,” said Liao. “In my mind, everything I did was not for a certificate but to see how my home club could grow with me as an officer. The award was a wonderful way to acknowledge my service and to end the service year.”
Throughout the conference, Key Clubbers heard from many speakers including candidates for statewide and international office, representatives from our adult counterparts in Kiwanis, and our Keynote Speaker from Swiftkick (an organization dedicated to inspire individuals to foster a more inclusive environment).
“This year the real highlight of the conference was Tom Krieglstein’s presentation, the keynote speaker, which talked about depression as a real problem amongst American teens,” said Ms. Alexander. “He was very engaging and passionate about the subject which made a huge impact on all of the students.”
Students were given opportunities to increase their social capability. As soon as attendees arrived they were immediately thrown into a social environment.
“Key Clubbers were able to meet like-minded students that were dedicated to service and to giving back to the world, as well as to receive recognition for all their hard work,” said Thurston.
Anthony Annunziato ‘17 said, “My experience was amazing because I was able to hang out and meet new people at LTC. I was able to catch up and talk to people who I’m friends with that live in other parts of New York City.”
Another opportunity to meet new people was the conference-wide icebreaker, Playfair. This icebreaker brought together all 840 attendees on the first night of the conference.
According to the New York District Key Club, “PLAYFAIR is the most popular attraction in history for student programs, it’s totally unlike anything else you have ever experienced. It’s entertainment! And PLAYFAIR is more than just an entertainment event – it is a team-building experience that has a long-lasting effect on the members of your community. PLAYFAIR is more than just a non-threatening way for your new students to meet each other – PLAYFAIR is a powerful program for unity and school spirit.”
As a result of attending the conference, many underclassmen said they will return for next year’s LTC.
“Coming back from the conference I learned that I shouldn’t be shy, but be more outgoing which makes life a lot more enjoyable,” said Alfredo Lozano ‘18.
Anna Wong ‘17 said, “This was my first LTC and I would love to come back next year. I met so many members from all over New York and made so many friends.”