The Program 

What is Key Leader?

Key Leader is a weekend program focusing on encouraging high school students to explore what it means to be a servant leader. The Key Leader program is built on five essential principles. These principles reflect our mission to inspire young people to achieve their personal best through service leadership:

  • Personal Integrity: Doing the right thing
  • Personal Growth: Developing in mind, body, and spirit
  • Respect: Showing consideration for self, others, and property
  • Building Community: Developing relationships to achieve positive goals
  • Pursuit of Excellence: Expecting and achieving the best

Please take time to read our Key Leader stories, and feel free to submit an article sharing your own words of wisdom or success story related to these principles. The articles you find here are written by participants of the program, both students and adults. You can submit articles yourself or by contacting the District Coordinator using the "Contacts" link to the left. 

My initial thought of Key Leader throughout my 4 years of Key Club and my 5 years of Circle K, was why do I need to go to camp and became a leader? My feelings were, I'm already a leader. I have had over 4 club leadership positions, 2 district leadership positions throughout Wisconsin Upper Michigan Kiwanis Family, and an international position with Circle K International. There was no question in my eyes, that I was not a leader. I then glanced at the quote that I had at the bottom of my signature page of my email

Key Leader is a weekend when students learn to step out of their comfort zone.  There have been many attendees over the years that have shown up the first day reserved and unsure how to interact with their peers.  Over the course of the next couple of days, those same students step up to lead a group activity, volunteer to be first on the low ropes course, and are ready to jump in with an answer to a discussion topic. 

Key Leader!  What can they teach me about leadership or, more importantly, what can I learn about leadership?

The first time I walked onto Key Leader I had just experienced my greatest struggles as a leader. Let me explain with a little background information.   

I had been in charge of a Day Camp where I had spent two previous summers working.  I had 5 staff and around 20 campers who were counting on my leadership ability.  Looking back, I realize the hubris in my thinking at 20 years old, assuming I had nothing more to learn about leadership. Over the course of that summer

When it comes to personal integrity, a couple questions you should ask are whether something is right and if it is ethical?  This applies to various circumstances that happen in everyday life, whether that is shopping at store, completing a task at work, or even spending time with friends.  One of the many situations that are presented during Key Leader involves a high school student, who is on the football team, attending a party where alcohol is involved. 

The students have large and small-group activities, with a combination of lectures, discussion, interactive activities and audio-visual presentations. Every weekend will offer a lot of fun with new friends through various team building exercises such as these:

-Low Ropes Course 

-Neighborhood Groups

-Neighborhood Chants

-Diagrams and Charts

-Various Activities


Supporting Key Leaders since 2005