ICON 2017: San Antonio, Texas
Heart to Serve, Call to Lead and Courage to Engage. These were the three service leadership models expressed at the recently concluded Key Club International Convention. Also known as ICON, the Key Club International Convention is the largest event on the Key Club calendar where hundreds of Key Clubbers from across the USA, Canada and the Caribbean join together to share service project ideas, train for board positions, engage in educational workshops, have lots of fun as well as making new friends in the proceedings.
This year’s convention was held from July 5th-9th, 2017 in the city of San Antonio; A major city in Texas, USA with rich colonial heritage. It is also home to the famous River Walk, just a few steps away from where the convention was held. Key Club International wasn’t the only branch of Kiwanis who had their convention in San Antonio at the time. Circle K International, another branch of Kiwanis International for college students also had their conference resulting in twice the amount of persons in San Antonio with a common reason: to celebrate another year of service.
The convention got off to a great start with the opening session where we were introduced to the new governors of the Districts as well as the candidates for President, Vice-President and International Trustees. After the opening session we had the most anticipated part of the entire convention; the Meet and Greet. Here, we traded pins with the other districts, took part in activities such as designing cards and door hangers for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, partaking in multiple obstacle courses, video games, Jenga and more. The next morning, we had our first service leadership model, “Courage to Engage”. We were taught that learning to develop the ability to interact with others face-to-face is an important asset to possess.
Not only does this help to develop strong human connections through conversation but it also enhances your knowledge on how to build partnerships to address community needs. We were then invited to the Exhibit Hall where we learned more about Key Club International’s preferred charities and service partners such as the Thirst Project, UNICEF, March of Dimes, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and what we can do to help out.
In the afternoon we took part in various educational workshops such as Planning a District Event, Power of Professionalism, Electrifying Key Club meetings, Public Speaking 101 and many more. There was also an opportunity for district and board officers to train for their positions.
On day 3 of our ICON trip, we then had our second service leadership model, “Call to Lead”. Someone with the “Call to Lead” will decide to step forward even though the easier choice would be to stand still. It was in this session that we learnt that the Key Club experience can help you accept your identity as a leader, enhance your knowledge of how to be a leader who focuses more on others, and develop your ability to move an idea into purposeful action.
Afterwards, we had more workshops that focused more on you as a person instead of you as a Key Clubber. Workshops, such as Power of Professionalism, Mindful meditation, Discovering Yourself Abroad and many more, were available to the Key Clubbers.
After Lunch, we had Caucusing: That is, all the candidates running for international Key Club positions present their speech for 3 minutes and are open to questions for 2 minutes. At International level, each candidate caucuses in “sister district” rooms. Sister districts are districts that have the same International Trustee. Our sister districts for the 2016-2017 Key Club year were Florida and Georgia. We were then allowed to vote for who we think should make it through to the House of Delegates.
In the evening, the Recognition session occurred where Key Club International recognized Outstanding and Distinguished Board Members and Advisors for a job well done in the previous year as well as clubs and special individuals for their part in serving others. Our very own Ethan Muller of Aruba as well as Chelsey Austin and Jadeja Springer, both from Barbados, received the Robert F. Lucas Award. In addition, IP Governor Whitney Williams received the Distinguished Governor Award and Harrison College in Barbados received the Diamond Club Award.
On the 4th and final day of ICON, we discovered our “Heart to Serve” during the morning session. We decided that serving others is a new, exciting way of life and accepted the fact that we have the ability to make a difference, enhance our knowledge of our passions and convictions as well as develop our ability to euthanize with those in need in our communities. In the afternoon, we had our House of Delegates session where we listened to the candidates one more time before we decided on who should be the next group of trustees as well as the new President and Vice-President.
That night, we all came together one last time for the Closing Session, where the International Board gave their final remarks before installing the new Board. All in all, ICON 2017 was definitely an unforgettable experience. Everyone who attended had a better understanding of what Key Club stands for, what they do and what they can do to help further their vision and that is to care for others and create competent servant leaders who can transform communities worldwide.