Are you ready for the Lone Star State?
Here’s how to make the most of Key Club International Convention.
Story by Danielle Castonzo
It’s almost time for the Key Club International Convention—the biggest event of the year. From July 5-9, about 1,600 members from across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean will gather in San Antonio, Texas, to celebrate another year of service. Whether you’re attending for the first or fourth time, get ready to meet new people, attend inspirational workshops, hear dynamic speakers and grow as a leader. To make the most out of your ICON experience, follow these tips from been-there, done-that Key Clubbers:
1. Step out of your comfort zone. Devin Sun, Key Club International president, will attend his fourth convention this year. He recommends making an effort to talk to people from different states and countries. “At [my first] convention, I finally understood the vast nature of Key Club and that I was a part of something greater,” Sun says. “When you meet not one, but thousands, of like-minded people, you begin to connect with what underlies our mission—a will and a belief that we can make a difference.”
2. Ask other districts how to improve your club. You’ll learn a lot from the sessions and speakers, but you also can get plenty of insight from your far-flung peers. “Each district has their own personality and traditions, so don’t be afraid to ask about them or join in on one of them,” says Kennie Merbach, Student Host Committee chair for ICON. “They can give you helpful tips on how their district does things, as well as how to do some great things with your own position. Be open to new ideas and get ready to be inspired by others to reach new heights.”
3. Don’t miss the Meet and Greet session. On opening night, you’ll have the opportunity to mingle with new Key Clubbers, wear costumes, trade pins and listen to music. “The annual Meet and Greet session of International Convention is one of the most awaited events of the Key Club service year,” Sun says. “You’ll find Key Clubbers dressed to the nines as animals, fruits and vegetables and even kitchen utensils.”
3. Participate in the convention’s service project. This year, join other attendees in writing get-well letters to patients and their families at the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
4. Check out San Antonio’s unique restaurants and attractions. Merbach, who grew up in Texas, recommends visiting the Alamo, the downtown museums and the famous San Antonio Riverwalk. If you’re hungry after the sessions, Merbach recommends dropping by the Historic Market Square (El Mercado), where you’ll find some of the best Mexican food in the state, including the longtime favorite Mi Tierra bakery and restaurant. “The city of San Antonio is one of heritage, culture and passion,” she says. “There is something for everyone here.”5. Download the Key Club convention app. It’s a great way to make connections and prepare for the event before you leave home. Just search “2017 Key Club & CKI convention” on the App Store or the Google Play Store. “Go ahead and make some friends even before convention starts,” Devin says, “so you can hit the ground running when you finally arrive.”