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February 6, 2023
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Youth learn leadership skills at Los Gatos event

Youth from around the region descended on Los Gatos Sunday for a day of fun, workshops and volunteering during the Key Club Training Conference.

Around 200 high schoolers involved in the Kiwanis International-sponsored Key Clubs gathered in Oak Meadow Park for the event.

And it was the first big get-together coordinated by Los Gatos High School student Jordan Chan, 17, since she became a lieutenant governor with the organization.

“I think it went really well,” she said, explaining the event was meant to connect students with youth in other service clubs. “We want people to feel that there’s a sense of community and bonding with high schools from across the Bay Area.”

Key Club is a student-led, high school organization with a chapter at Los Gatos High School.

youth gather at Oak Meadow Park
SENSE OF PURPOSE – Students from around the region learned leadership skills and participated in a volunteer project at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos on Sunday. (submitted)

Chan got involved with the Los Gatos Key Club as a freshman. She became a secretary for sophomore year, before taking the reins as president as a junior.

She began managing the division’s 11 clubs as a lieutenant governor at the end of March.

“It’s definitely a lot more responsibility,” she said, thinking of how the new role compares with the previous one. “My job differs pretty drastically.”

Sunday’s activities began at 10am and were based around a Sanrio theme—referring to the Japanese company that creates cute cartoon characters, including Hello Kitty.

Chan was Kuromi, a white dwarf rabbit that wears a black jester’s hat with a skull on it.

“We’re just trying to appeal to our audience as much as possible,” she said of this approach to festivities. “We really want to show people that Key Club is about more than just education.”

The leaders developed scripts for skits ahead of time and relied on the characters to share messages with attendees about event logistics and to build community spirit.

Students participated in workshops educating participants about various roles within Key Club, as well as others tackling topics like burnout and how to explain the purpose of the organization to parents.

leaders in fun headgear
LEADERSHIP TEAM – Key Club leaders sport fun headgear as part of the Sanrio theme. (submitted)

Attendees listened to a guest speaker with business experience and made dog toys for a Hollister animal shelter.

Chan said this fit neatly with the service-based mission of the organization.

“That’s sort of the aim of Key Club in general is to build our home, school and community,” she said.

On top of the volunteer project and the dramatic flavor of the outdoor event, the Key Club members also managed to take care of business.

“We did have our division council meetings,” Chan said, noting they are required to hold one each month.

During her club report, she discussed upcoming initiatives and gave tips about preparing for the inevitable return to classes in the fall.

Chan believes the ongoing pandemic was the reason fewer people than usual attended, but says it was an amazing experience nonetheless.

“The pandemic has definitely influenced the organization of Key Club as a whole,” she said, adding the group provides youth with a sense of purpose. “You really get to be part of something bigger than yourself.”

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]


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