On March 20, Key Club participated in the Pennsylvania District Convention held online via a Zoom webinar.
Usually, PA DCON is held in-person in major PA cities like Harrisburg, State College, or Pittsburgh. This year it was supposed to be held in Hershey, but due to COVID regulations, DCON had to go virtual and was only held on one day rather than a Friday-Sunday event .
DCON was from 10 AM-8 PM, and the day consisted of 3 public sessions, and 5 workshops. Key Clubbers did not have to attend all of the workshops but were encouraged to attend as many as they could. Hours were awarded for each session or Workshop they attended.
Those that chose to attend DCON had many different motives for attending.
“I decided to attend DCON because I wanted to attend workshops that taught me more about Key Club. ,” said Key Club President Lydia Barbour. “Also, I wanted to see the recognition session as well as see our former Governor Ashley Wheeland be retired, as well as our former Lieutenant Governor Miya Gillian be retired.”
Since DCON was one virtual day, not as many students decided to go in comparison to previous years.
Mrs. Andrea Tira promotes attending DCON because, “It is fun for members to engage with each other along with learning about how big the organization is.”
“I believe every Key Club member should go to DCON if they have the chance,” said Barbour. “DCON is a great way to learn more about Key Club, improve leadership skills and represent our club.”
The theme for DCON this year was “Nothing’s Sweeter than Service.” So all the workshops for the day incorporated this theme into them. For example, one was called “How to Sweeten Up Your Membership” which was hosted by Division 7 Lieutenant Governor, Senior Miya Gillin.
“My favorite workshop I attended was the Membership Workshop because I thought it gave really good information on how to keep members engaged and active,” said Barbour.
Despite not being held in person, the PA District Board still incorporated the fun that is usually gotten out of the experience.
One of the three main sessions was for icebreakers and fun, everyone was able to participate in a nearpod game. The game had activities such as matching the description to a board member, trivia (candy themed and key club themed), and a “draw it” section. During this session there also was a meet and greet with some of the board members.
“My favorite session I attended was the meet and greet with Miya. It was very fun and active,” said Key Club Vice President Lauren Marks.
While going to DCON might not outwardly appear to be educational, you learn a lot about how to better your own club by listening to and getting ideas from members from different areas. In the convention, many members learned how to better themselves as well.
“The most important thing I learned was how to make service projects more inclusive,” said Marks.
“The most important thing I learned at DCON was how much Key Club positively impacts communities in PA and around the world,” said Barbour.
The day ended with an awards ceremony, in which the Montoursville Key Club received multiple awards.
All the officers were awarded Distinguished Officers, and the club was awarded a Distinguished Club, in addition to the William S. Brandamore Outstanding Kiwanis Family Relation Award, First place in Gold Division for Highest Club Total Service Hours award, Second place in Gold Division for Highest Club Average Service Hours Award, First place COVID Inspiration Award, and First place in the Gold Group Single Service Award.
When asked what she thought about the clubs showing at DCON Tira said “I am so proud of everyone and hope that they are proud, especially since service does not always get recognized.”
“ I am so excited about all of the awards we won as a club,” said Barbour. “This year has been a crazy year, and despite all the challenges, we still were able to serve our school and community in many ways.”
At the end of the day, DCON was viewed as a success.
Pennsylvania Key Club District Convention from a Lieutenant Governor’s viewpoint:
During the 2020-2021 year I served as Lieutenant Governor for Division 7. In simple terms, that means I am in charge of overseeing eight Key Clubs in this area on a district level.
A few things I have done throughout the year include sending out monthly newsletters as well as biweekly emails to all of the officers, holding officer training, DCM’s and meetings to all of the officers in the division, attending a spring trainer, and summer, fall, and winter board meetings with the rest of the district board, as well as being a part of three committees – a member of the technology committee, secretary of the recognition committee and chair of the ice breaker committee.
I did committee calls at least once a month (and a lot more as DCON approached) and did committee work. It was definitely a year full of service and I enjoyed every minute.
One major thing the district board does is prepare to host DCON. Under normal circumstances, this is a weekend long convention which has workshops, guest speakers, an award ceremony and much, much more to finish off the Key Club year. All Pennsylvania Key Club members are encouraged to participate and there are normally thousands of people at the convention.
This year, however, the convention was a one day long online event for members to watch as the district board presented DCON virtually while being together at Harrisburg. The board was extremely disappointed to hear that DCON was going to be online this year and knew a lot of work would be involved considering the Kiwaninis have never experienced something like this before.
We spent months preparing for the event. I personally had biweekly committee meetings with the Ice Breaker Committee planning how we would change everything to become virtual. It was a lot of work and the final decision was to use Nearpod, which I think ended up being a huge hit!
To prepare for DCON, all Lieutenant Governor’s were also put into one or two workshop committees, I was in the membership committee. The theme was “sweeten up your membership,” and we had 30 minutes to give our presentation.
A lot of work goes into DCON, and although this year was very different compared to past years, I definitely still think it was a major success. I got to experience high-level technology, as it felt like we were on a news station when the tech team was live-streaming the convention. I am glad I got to at the very least be in person even if the other members were not able too.
We were given a tough situation and I definitely think we made the best out of it. Governor Ashley Wheeland and District Administrator Bob Orlando are really to give thanks for how well it all turned out.