By K’lena Schnack, Key Club International president
What would you do if I said a small text changed my life entirely? It is an unreachable concept, but just one tiny moment in your life can create a lasting effect. Whether this is a positive or negative effect, I had the experience of a lifetime, all because I asked one simple question: “What happens if there are vacancies on the district board?”
Fast forward seven months. I’m in the middle of Missouri, and I receive a text from Nebraska-Iowa’s district secretary asking if I was interested in serving as lieutenant governor. That small text led me to discover my leadership skills, my passion and my ambitions.
I was on a random trip to help a family friend, but when I came back, I was the new (unofficial) Nebraska-Iowa District lieutenant governor of Division 3 & 4. Because the secretary was from my home club, I was trained during a play rehearsal. We stayed so late at the library that we ended up getting kicked out and finished training late into the night. I’m not a sentimental person, but I still hold onto the original journal I used to take notes that night! I still recall the first email in which I had the privilege to write my signature, “Yours in Service, K’lena Schnack” — and how big of a deal that was to me. I truly valued the little parts of the job: the silly signature, the ability to visit other local Key Clubs and creating lasting bonds on the district board.
I recently took the Myers-Briggs personality test in one of my classes. In that process, I discovered I am a “mediator.” When I find compatible companions who share the same values and aspirations, I feel elated. Reflecting upon this, I think that is why I have my passion for Key Club and the leaders I surround myself with. My first experience with finding “my people” was at my first Nebraska-Iowa District Board meeting. The first night’s meeting of reviewing workshops, pinpointing areas of improvement, preparing documents, etc., was surprisingly enjoyable. It was especially entertaining because I learned a magic trick or two. Nevertheless, I found myself thriving in that environment, even though I was quiet as a mouse! Not only did my personal values align with the district board, but my work ethic did too. The people sitting around me were more than willing to go the extra mile to accomplish their tasks. It was definitely a nice change for once.
On the last night of the weekend, I had an impactful discussion with District Governor Reshma Baliskrisman and fellow Lieutenant Governor Alex Drahos about my future in Key Club. In that conversation, I quickly learned about one of Key Club’s highest leadership opportunities: Key Club International Board. Somewhere in the conversation, I was led to the possibility of running for international trustee myself! As I looked at the map of our districts, I thought, “I could be visiting or assisting three of those districts someday.”
It was that exact moment that I knew I belonged in Key Club. Experiencing that atmosphere where I felt accepted, smart, accomplished and determined motivated me to work so others could also feel those same emotions. You, too, can find your “Key Club moment.” All you have to do is get involved, ask thought-provoking questions and find the “why” in the service you do.