Tuesday, April 9, 2013

FL District of Key Club Convention

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

As you know, I was away this weekend for the Florida District of Key Club Convention with three of my Key Club officers.  I sponsor the club at my school, and we all wanted to attend to learn more about the club and how to improve it.

Here's a recap of our weekend!  Warning: This post is long, but I tried to include a lot of pictures to make it more interesting :)

After a full day of teaching, I met up with Emili, Meghan, and Norah (the president, VP, and treasurer of the Key Club) to head on to Orlando.  We packed all four sets of our luggage in my Honda Civic (impressive, huh?) and got to the resort just in time for the Chaperone Meeting!

We stayed in the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, which also held all of the conference events.  I can't even begin to say how nice this resort is!
The rooms were spacious, the bed was incredibly comfortable, and there are a lot of different food options right insdie the hotel!  This resort is known for its golf course and spa, but we were so busy we didn't get to experience any of the spa.  They also have great staff, and their convention center has enough room to house two conferences at the same time without getting in each other's way (we shared the space with the Gospel Coalition's conference as well).

After checking everything out and attending the chaperone meeting, we got dressed up and ready for the opening ceremonies that evening!  The theme of this year's DCON was the Olympics, so the stage set-up was pretty neat.
The highlights of the evening: Senator Bill Nelson speaking.  He was a former Key Clubber and International President of the organization.  He had some grea things to say to the kids about Key Club and what it teaches them and the benefits of these lessons in their lives.

I think I speak for everyone when I say the real highlight of the night was the keynote speaker Josh Sundquist.  His leg was amputated when he was a child as a result of cancer, and he went on to ski in the 2006 Paralympics. 
Image Source--Josh's Halloween Costumes
He drew everyone in to his speech with stories of cow tipping and his first date with a girl.  Once everyone was hooked on his humor and one-legged acrobatics (I'm serious, this guy was flipping around on his crutches!), he started getting to the heart of his message: though his life didn't turn out the way he planned it, he's been able to do incredible things he never dreamed possible. 

He talked about remembering the walk toward the surgery where his leg would be removed, saying that it led to walking in to the Paralympic stadium where the USA uniform.  What a powerful message, looking at the blessings that having one leg has given him rather than the set-backs.

If you're interested, visit Josh's website.  He also has a book out called Just Don't Fall.  After hearing him speak, I am DEFINITELY going to read his book!  I've heard it's written the way he speaks, which should prove to be an entertaining, inspiring, and moving read.

After the opening ceremonies, it was time for me to grab some food.  I hadn't eaten anything since lunch except a protein bar at about 6:00 due to all of the craziness with getting there and getting settled!  Then, I headed up to bed to rest up for the next day.

The first even ton Friday morning was an Advisor's Appreciation Breakfast.  It was nice to meet some of the other advisors and have a nice meal.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the way of healthy options.  I was hoping for some fruit to go along with my eggs and bacon, but I was out of luck.

Friday's schedule featured some workshops to learn more about running a successful Key Club.  The dress was professional, and I must say, we were looking good!
Norah, Emili, and Meghan
Lunch was little...challenging.  The line was long, so we waited for a bit before going in to grab our bagged lunch.  By the time we got in there, they were out of bags!  The conference planners ordered about 500 bags short of what they needed.  Luckily, the hotel got approval to set out more lunches, and we were able to get a turkey sandwich bag (the other option was a chicken caesar salad, but they were completely out).

We filled up on lunch then headed back to the workshops.  I found them very beneficial, as did the girls!  We met up afterward and talked about things we learned.  We were all excited to share ideas we gained in our sessions.  It was so wonderful to see the girls so excited and reminded me why I took the weekend to bring them to the conference.  So rewarding :)

The late afternoon was less structured, so I went to check out the ice cream shop in the hotel market.  I got some Brownies ala Mode ice cream and sat by the pool to enjoy my treat.
Dinner was a buffet...of hot dogs and hamburgers.  I ate a lot of salad to get something healthy in, but I will say, I was disappointed again with the selection.  At least the evening entertainment was exciting!

We went back to the ballroom for a talent show and entertainment from the Run Miami dance crew.  It was an exciting night, and we all enjoyed watching the different acts.  I was pretty exhausted after the full day, so we went back up to bed afterward.

After breakfast, it was time for an awards ceremony!  Each Key Club is able to apply for awards in a variety of categories.  We didn't apply for any awards, but it was fun to watch the other clubs receive recognition for their great work during the year.  It's so refreshing to see how passionate these high schools are about helping others!  It's awesome!
We gave ourselves awards :)
We grabbed our bagged lunch (this time, I opted for the chicken caesar sald) and discussed what goals we should work toward as a club next year as we ate. 

Afterward, it was time for the House of Delegates, where the students vote on the leadership for the next year.  We had two representatives to vote, and I watched in the gallery with the other officer.  We enjoyed listening to the speeches and questioning, and I was 3/3 on my predictions of the winners!  I think the Florida District of Key Club is in good hands for the next year.  What impressive young people!

Next, it was time to Race to EliMiNaTe!  The Eliminate Project is a joint effort between Kiwanis and Key Club to raise money to prevent Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus.  Meghan, Emili, and I had a good time walking around the property for a good cause.  What a gorgeous resort!
The view from my room!

The last item on the agenda for the day was the Governor's Banquet, Closing Ceremonies, and Ball.  It was time to get all dressed up for a very nice dinner!
DELICIOUS chicken!
After a lovely three course meal, the students on the 2012-2013 FL District Board gave their farewell speeches.  You could really tell how much these students cared about Key Club, helping others, and the friendships they formed with each other.  The new board was installed, and then it was time to dance!

We stopped by the ball for a little bit, I taught the girls to Wobble (you know, just doing my part), then it was time for bed.  What a wonderful but incredibly busy day!

The only event offered on Sunday was a church service.  Usually, church is something that gets neglected while I travel, but I decided to take advantage of this offering.  There were seven people at the interdenominational service (the Catholic Mass looked more popular), but we had a meaningful time praising God and listening to how helping others brings us closer to God.

Afterward, we packed up the car and headed back to the high school parking lot.  I am SO glad that we could attend this conference for the girls.  They really enjoyed the weekend, got some great ideas for the club, and are so anxious to put all of those ideas and projects in to place!

One of those projects is currently in the works, and it may even appear on the blog :)  We will just have to see how that all pans out!

Was that post long enough for you?  Sorry for the length, but as you can see, there was a lot to share! 

Question for you: Did your high school have a Key Club?  Were you a member?  Have you ever been to a conference like this?

See you tomorrow when I return with a regular post!


  1. Wow, Josh sounds super inspirational, that's great! It looks like a great time, and the pictures look like it was beautiful!

  2. Oh that "buffet" sounds terrible! But it did make me laugh! Sounds like a great time!