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Soul searching

Relient KMore than 1,400 convention-goers invaded Memphis, Tennessee, for the 67th Annual Key Club International Convention July 7–11. Key Club members and advisors came from all around the United States, and several more came from Barbados, Jamaica, Aruba, Canada, Germany and Australia to give the event true international flair.

The convention was full of inspiring stories, fun festivities and celebrity sightings. If you missed it, be sure to check out the sessions at www.livestream.com/keyclubinternational. Here are just a few of the moments we captured.

Rockin’ icon   Relient K opened the convention on July 7 with a rousing concert in the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. See all the convention photos at UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken with Abigail McKamey and U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Kristi Burnhamwww.flickr.com/keyclubintnl.

Awestruck  UNICEF ambassador Clay Aiken, right, poses with Kristi Burnham, left, from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and 2009-10 Key Club International President Abigail McKamey. At the Recognition Session, Aiken motivated Key Clubbers to continue supporting Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. “What is impressive to me is that your plans didn’t stop with Swaziland. You’ve all decided to continue the journey of service and raise funds for the youth of Uruguay, to help teenagers who may not have access to education, job training, family and a safe home,” he said.  “I am in awe.”

Sing along  Thanks to Past Kiwanis International President Bo Shafer’s uplifting speech, no one went home singing the blues. But they did sing along during “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” Shafer’s theme was “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Everything is small stuff.”

Bo ShaferScopin’ out service  During the Service Fair, Key Clubbers showed off their successful service projects and caught up with the Key Club International service partners.

Key’s got talent  Judges selected eight talent show acts to showcase their skills on stage, proving that Key Club members are a talented bunch. Among finalists was Aaliyah Tate, left, who sang a soulful a cappella version of a Michael Jackson song.

Light it up  Sylvester Neal, 2010-11 Kiwanis International president, encouraged Key Clubbers to get involved, saying, “We need to take some of the enthusiasm I’ve seen here this week and use it to light fires of compassion in your clubs, in your communities and in your schools so we can serve more children in more places around the world.” Neal then asked Key Clubbers to join him by lighting glow-sticks to Dancesymbolize their commitment.

Movin’ and groovin’  Key Clubbers let loose at the two convention dances, with Jailhouse Rock and 1970s themes.

Gorilla friends  Key Club members raised $13,769 to support the Friend a Gorilla charity walk. Nickelodeon’s Spectacular! star and recording artist Simon Curtis explained the Friend a Gorilla program during the Recognition Session.

Friend a Gorilla charity walkTake aways  Informational convention workshops focused on The Eliminate Project, Friend a Gorilla, environmentally friendly service projects, Key Club service partners and more.