April 06, 2010
by Kevin M. Anderson '12 Vice President, Hampden-Sydney College Circle K
As I drove up to Crystal City for the Circle K International Capital District Convention, held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, I thought about the weekend ahead. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. After all, I was new to the Circle K and Kiwanis family. After a few days, I understood the importance and impact of CKI.
This was the 50th Annual Capital District Convention. The Capital District consists of all Circle K International clubs in Virginia, DC, Maryland, and Delaware. Representatives from all colleges within these states were in attendance. President Osric Forrest '12, Vice President Jimmy Ward '11, Treasurer Walter Anderson '12, and I represented Hampden-Sydney College at the convention.
After checking into our room, we began our busy weekend on Friday night with the CKI opening session. It began with the call to order and the reciting of the CKI pledge. Individual and club awards were given out for outstanding service, large membership growth, and outstanding newsletter. Hampden-Sydney Circle K Club was just recently chartered and, therefore, was not eligible to receive any awards. As we watched clubs claim their awards, we couldn’t help but think that next year Hampden-Sydney will be winning some of those awards for outstanding work. Also, the district board was introduced. For those who don’t know, CKI is the largest collegiate community service organization in the world, stretching across 17 nations. The most impressive part - it is completely run by students.
After the opening session, the convention members were introduced to the headline entertainer: hypnotist Dr. Larry Volz. Dr. Volz, a.k.a. Phoenix, was both amazing and hilarious. He convinced his subjects that they were Martians sent to deliver an important message in their foreign language. He also convinced one subject that he was Jackie Chan whose only mission was to fight invisible ninja midgets. Phoenix created many other situations such as these throughout his hour-long performance. The night ended with a CKI dance. The Hampden-Sydney men showed up to a dance of over 40 girls and 7 guys. Needless to say, Osric, Jimmy, Walter, and I had a great time meeting members of other CKI clubs across the district.
Saturday began quite early at the 7:30 AM Kiwanis-Family Breakfast. There were many speakers and distinguished guests who impressed us with their stories of service. Perhaps the most impressive speech of the weekend, however, came from representatives from K-Kids, Builders Club, and Key Club which are sister organizations of Circle K International in elementary, middle, and high school respectively. Enrique Crank-Brock, a fourth grader from Arlington Traditional School, described his school's past year of inspiring service. Enrique and his K-Kids Club raised over $2,000 for charity in the Arlington area, as well as completed countless hours of service to help beautify their community. This motivated me. After all, if this boy of 10 could accomplish so much, what is stopping me at double his age?
Saturday was filled with workshops for personal and club growth. Between the four of us we attended workshops ranging from public speaking, social media marketing, ice breakers, club recruitment, to making the most out of college. Following the workshops was the caucus. Each candidate was given a short period of time to convince the voting members of the convention why he or she was most qualified for their desired position. It was interesting to see how quickly active members of CKI can climb the executive ladder. Next year, I expect our President, Osric Forrest, as well as other members of Hampden-Sydney CKI to serve on the district board. At dinner on Saturday night more awards were given to clubs for outstanding service and achievements and a talent show was presented. Following dinner, the Hampden-Sydney men attended the Presidents Ball. We had a great time meeting more people from other colleges. By the end of the ball, numbers were exchanged and plans were made to meet for both social and club functions.
Osric and Jimmy attended the CKI House of Delegates early Sunday morning. The elections yielded a new class of CKI district officers. As these officers wore sworn in at the Kiwanis Inspirational Breakfast, I once again thought that next year, Hampden-Sydney should be well represented as distinguished officers. The Keynote address was delivered by Barbra Joe, a Peace Corps Representative who has spent at least a month of every year in Honduras. The stories of her work in the towns of Triumph and Hope were both heart-breaking in nature and heart-warming in the impact of the Peace Corps. The weekend came to a close with the tradition of singing “Auld Lang Syne” before formal adjournment.
Shortly after leaving the Hyatt, we made a wrong turn and came within a few hundred feet of the Pentagon. Looking beyond the massive symbol of national security, we could see the Washington Monument, standing tall against a clear blue sky background. It was a tremendous farewell for a great weekend in Arlington. On the ride home, I thought about all I had learned. I understood Circle K International’s vast impact on the district. I predict that Hampden-Sydney CKI will flourish as it will win awards and have members elected to the District Officer positions. I also remembered Enrique Crank-Brock, whose work over the past year served as a charge that inspired all in attendance. I thought about all that could be accomplished in the next year. Our club has much potential and I challenge myself, the club and the members of the Hampden-Sydney community to help us live by the CKI motto, “live to serve, love to serve.”