I’m sure all of us love our Kiwanis family. Maybe you love it because of the people you met in Circle K. Or maybe it’s because you admire and adore those Kiwanians and alumni who laid the groundwork that our club is built upon today. If you’re like me, and I’m sure a lot of you are, you love Kiwanis for all of those reasons plus one more: your journey within this wonderful family began in Key Club.
To me, Key Club was everything in high school. It gave me a place where I could give back to the community. It gave me a place where I could be myself free of outside judgment. When I started my senior year of high school, I was worried because I didn’t know what my life would be like after Key Club. I was scared of the next step and I’m sure many of you were as well, whether you were in Key Club or not. Going from a general member to an executive officer in four years was scary enough, but now I had to do it all over again as I entered college. I was completely lost.
When I got to Cal State Fullerton, I was sure I would join Circle K because my roots traced back to the Kiwanis family. I was so certain that I would go to every service event, every meeting, and every social, but then the fear came back. I realized that Circle K was completely different from Key Club. Unlike Key Club, everyone in Circle K welcomes each other no matter where you’re from or what you’ve done, and for some reason that scared me. A part of me felt undeserving of that welcome because I hadn’t done anything in the club yet. It was because of this that I held myself back in the club. I thought I had to do something great in order to feel deserving of being welcomed.
It was only recently that I came to the realization that I don’t have to start from complete scratch within Circle K. From my perspective, it seemed like Circle K would sometimes criticize Key Club, so when I joined, I tried letting go of my Key Club past, not realizing that was my biggest mistake. Maybe some of you went through something similar or maybe you didn’t, but if you did or still are, I want to say this: you shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid of your past. You should embrace it as a tool to create your future and maybe even go further within the Kiwanis family. Key Club and Circle K may be different in a lot of ways, but we can use those differences to strengthen our club, bringing what we’ve learned from Key Club to Circle K. Who knows, maybe high schoolers can teach college kids something for once.