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and it stated, ""Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." -Ronald Osbourn"   Because of this quote, and because of some very influential Kiwanis individuals in my life, I attended my first Key Leader event at the age of 22. Yes, that's right, 22 years old. No matter the varied difference of ages, throughout the Key Leader event, I was still respected and thought of as Key Leader and a student. My own student facilitator was 3 years younger than me.  Before that weekend, the situation of having a younger individual tell me how to be a leader would of made me not want to listen or take their advice.  Due to my clouding thoughts, I thought I was an amazing leader all ready. Individuals have always followed me in the past, and I did not need to follow individuals, especially a 19 year old.  But this urge, to always want to speak, always want to have others focus on me, and always wanting to lead subsided as I became a listener and a follower the weekend of Key Leader. 

That weekend taught me how to be a KEY Leader. A leader that doesn't necessarily mean stepping up and being the center of attention, but the leader that is behind the scenes not receiving all the attention - just doing the right thing without recognition. This type of leadership that I learned that weekend is one of the greatest things that can happen to an individual. As I was taught, the Key Leader program is built on five essential principles. These principles are there to inspire "young people" to achieve their personal best through service leadership. This weekend not only helped me through my journey throughout the Kiwanis Family, it helped me in my career. Because, I was able to utilize the tools that Key Leader instilled in me that weekend, I was able to land a successful government job as a Registered Nurse. To this day, even though it has been difficult, I have developed these concepts into my daily life and empower my staff to use them also. The most important lesson I was able to learn that weekend was, a leader is someone who is helping others succeed. I've always had the attitude about giving back to my community through volunteering, but Key Leader has helped enhance my attitude when making a difference in my community and way of life. Key Leader has made me grateful for what I have in my life and has also fulfilled my life by sharing my time to serve and helping others.

Over the years I have been able to participate at Key Leader as a Site Committee member and have been able to witness the Key Leader spectrum through a new set of eyes.   I watch as Key Clubbers and Circle K'ers intermingle and blossom as new friends and leaders. The bond of friendship and camaraderie is there, a unique bond and a unique aspect of the Wisconsin Upper Michigan Kiwanis Family.