Keystone is a chartered, small-group leadership and service club for Boys & Girls Club members ages 14 to 17. Keystone members elect officers and work together to implement activities in four areas: service to club and community; education; health and fitness; and social recreation. The Keystone program teaches the members how to be caring, responsible and productive citizens.
Annually, Boys & Girls Club of American hosts the National Keystone Conference, a character and leadership development conference for Boys & Girls Club teens that brings together members from all across the globe. Throughout the conference, Keystone members engaged and socialized with peers, explored relevant issues, and developed skills to support and enhance efforts in their local communities and club. Last Thursday, two members of the Boys and Girls Club of Sierra Vista’s Keystone attended the National Keystone Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
“I really enjoyed attending the National Keystone Conference in Chicago. There were plenty of life changing sessions and activities that I know I will continue to hold onto for the rest of my life,” said 15-year-old Nathan Gauthier, a Keystone member. “I also made new friends from other Keystone clubs and I definitely plan on keeping in touch with them. Overall, the trip was a really great experience and I can’t wait to bring back all of the things I learned to help teach the other members at the club.”
The conference gives the members a chance to network and socialize with other Keystone members, as they spend time discussing the various projects they have participated in, how they make a difference in their communities, and gathering new project ideas.
“The conference was an amazing experience and I am so incredibly happy that I was a part of it. The diversity of Keystone members who attended was not only inspiring, but also educational.
said Keystone member Jordan Jackson. “I enjoyed learning about the projects and movements my peers are passionate about. Being able to listen to other people’s ideas, dreams, and opinions about the world we live in has given me much to think about, and has motivated me to take a more active role in pursuing what I’m passionate about in my club and my community.”
Members had the opportunity to attend high-energy and engaging leadership workshops, off-site experiences and a ton of fun activities designed to reinforce Keystone’s four focus areas. Workshop sessions included: a teen panel, the Keystone Vice President’s meeting, CPR training from the American Heart Association, Passport to Manhood, a SMART Girls Expo, and more. They showed their dedication to a healthy lifestyle when participating in the National Fitness Competition by doing push-ups, crunches, squats and relay races. Our teens were selected to participate in unique experiences, where Jordan Jackson took a tour of the CBS Fox news station and Nathan Gauthier participated in a panel session with the cast of the popular play Hamilton. In the general sessions, members we able to hear inspiring stories from famous stars including: musician Sevyn Streeter; Preston, a professional skateboarder from Alaska; Common, a musician and actor; and Jim Clark, the CEO of Boys & Girls Club of America. The theme of the conference focused on three main areas of learning: Activism, Teen Voice and Legacy, with the message, “Activate Your Legacy” being voiced throughout the conference.
“The members of our Keystone worked very hard to raise the funds for their trip and completed various community service projects, in order to be eligible for this trip,” said Detric Miles, club director of the BGCSV. “It was an inspiring trip for both the members and advisors that attended. Attending this conference allowed both parties to bring back different ideas that will help our community and its youth.”