Dear future Key Clubbers,
There are a few things you should know about Key Club: We do not make keys. We aren’t supposed to be a sorority (although we sometimes look like one). And most importantly, we are a family.
For the past four years, I have been a part of this incredible family. Key Club has taught me how to become a leader, how to aspire toward making a difference in people’s lives and, of course, how to make sure cookies are a part of every food-related event.
However, in order to appreciate all that Key Club has to offer, you need to be willing to join this crazy, sometimes dysfunctional but usually pretty amazing, family.
Here are a few tips to do just that:
Rule number 1: Do not eat the peanut butter (excuse me, ‘WOWBUTTER’) and jelly sandwiches we make for Salvation Army.
I know it may be oh-so-tempting, and perhaps you didn’t eat lunch, but restrain yourself. Even if Ally Moyer is eating one in the background. We’re servant leaders first, and a food-sharing club second. Unless cookies are involved. Then all rules go out the window.
Rule number 2 (in hindsight, this should have been rule number 1, but food is always a priority): Make friends. And make memories with those friends.
One of the wonderful things about Key Club is that you have countless opportunities to meet new people. Some of my closest friends come from Key Club – some are seniors, but many are alum, juniors or even underclassmen from both Pine View and schools all across Sarasota and Charlotte County. Attend divisional council meetings, go to DCON and take part in service projects outside of school.
All of these opportunities provide bonding experiences like no other. There’s nothing like sitting with a bunch of friends at iHOP at 2 a.m. after 15 hours of volunteering. Sorry.
Rule number 3: Appreciate the icebreakers.
This ties in with rule number 2. Although you may not realize it, those super embarrassing ice breakers (throwback to last year when Pedro Rubiano sat on Sam Gallahan during one of our first meetings) will make some great memories and some even funnier stories.
Rule number 4: Reach out to the officers and the other upperclassmen.
They are your mentors, so don’t be nervous about asking them questions. They have experience, and they’re always there to help you – whether it’s about Key Club, school, or your nonexistent dating life.
Rule number 5: Ms. Shannon, Brie, Shannaconda – whatever you know her by, our lovely faculty advisor is a Key Club goddess.
Ms. Shannon also happens to be my rock. She helped give me and so many other past Key Clubbers the courage to break out of our shells and reach new heights. She, like the officers, is an incredible resource for any Key Clubber.
Also, if you don’t need a rock, selfies with Ms. Shannon are always great.
Rule number 6: Reach for the stars.
Yes, I know it’s cliché. Sam Gallahan, you can stop judging me now. But when I joined Key Club, I thought, at the very most, I would become vice president. Three years later, I was running for lieutenant governor to serve on the statewide board.
Key Club is an international organization. We have 260,000 members and are in 37 countries. You can aspire to be an officer in your club or the International President of Key Club – both choices are available to you, and that should be a motivation in itself.
That being said, run for whatever you want. Dream really big or dream not-so-big. Just don’t doubt yourself. Regardless of your grade or your past experience in Key Club, don’t convince yourself out of running for a position in Key Club. I nearly let myself do that, and I can only thank Amanda Moyer and Ms. Shannon for giving me the courage to run for lieutenant governor (refer to rules 3 and 4).
Rule number 7: Don’t give up if you don’t reach the stars right away.
One election isn’t the end all and be all in your goal to become a leader in Key Club. If you don’t win, so what?
Key Club has countless committee chair positions available. Even as a member, it is easy to serve as a leader. You can head a service project or become the liaison with a community organization.
The opportunities are endless, so don’t give up an organization that has so much left to give to you.
Rule number 8: Reflect.
In high school, we become so centered on ourselves; keeping up with social media, enhancing our résumé, doing well in school.
Although Key Club certainly helps with the résumé, it has a much more meaningful purpose, and that is to give you perspective. When you go shopping with a family who doesn’t enough money to buy gifts for their children, it’s a reality check. Your problems can seem a lot smaller, a lot less earth-shattering. And that can be a huge relief for many of us.
If we take a moment to reflect on our lives, we’ll realize that one bad grade (or several, in my case) in AP Physics I or even a subpar SAT score isn’t the end of the world. No other club has reminded me of that fact as much as Key Club has, but I promise you, it helped me survive through the many ups and downs of high school.
Four years of Key Club. Hundreds of service hours. Millions of memories.
Whether you’re a current member or considering joining, think of this. Think of everything that lies ahead of you. You have the opportunity to be a part of a family.
We’re a family that goes to Daiquiri Deck for officer installation ceremonies, a family that completes a total of 12 million service hours annually and a family that will be there for you, no matter what (that is, unless you eat all the PB&Js).
Yours in service, always,
Lieutenant Governor (2015-16)
Key Club member (2012-who knows when I’ll finally admit I’m no longer in Key Club)