A COTC Recap by Chris Heil

September 13th was a normal day for everyone else in New Jersey, but not for the officers and members of New Jersey Circle K.! We had our Club Officer Training at Brookdale Community College. It was a privilege to see officers from around the state gather in one room, and watch them collaborate to become better leaders.

It all began with a welcome and gathering in our main lecture hall. This is where everyone could reconnect with old friends from other schools or begin to make new connections with the newly elected/
appointed boards. Things really kicked off after the district board introduced ourselves and we began a fun yet risky ice breaker!

Once the laughter was over, it was time to start training. We split up into designated groups. Each room had a different set of board members who began explaining how to strengthen the other officers’ skill sets, and how they could succeed in their positions. The leaders did an amazing job explaining officer responsibilities, and I could tell that the audience was captivated. I had the honor of walking through the hallways and ringing the bell to let them know when their session was coming to a close.

Following the first session, we all proceeded back to the lecture hall for our very own Parth Patel’s Eliminate Project presentation, where everyone was educated on maternal and neonatal tetanus.. He did a killer job making sure everyone knew what Eliminate was all about, and how they could help bring an end to MNT. The presentation was both entertaining and informative.

For the second session, we were able to break into smaller groups where presentations were given on various charities that Circle K International is involved with. Club officers were able to learn more about organizations that they had not known of before, and everyone seemed so excited to get involved in any way they could by the end of the presentations!

Following our lunch break, Vidish Pandya and Christian Blanco gave a short presentation on Leadership Academy. Their enthusiasm about their trip to Indiana gained the attention of the audience and demonstrated all that Leadership Academy has to offer. After hearing about how they were able to become better leaders and how they were inspired to continue their personal growth, a few audience members showed interest in becoming the next Leadership Academy attendees!

The third session took a more playful tone. It consisted of a motivational youtube clip session, stress relief ,and discovering leadership types. This was where training came to a conclusion, and where everyone was able to enjoy a fun, laid-back workshop.

COTC concluded with a final presentation of the history of K-family. It was both informative and motivational to see our history and what we had planned for the future. Circle K International has big things to look forward to, and our future looks extremely bright!

At the end of the day, we all went our separate ways full of excitement, hope and determination to ensure that we continue to do great things and know that the sky is the limit for the achievements to come.

Circle K International Convention

On the week of June 17th, 2014, members of the New Jersey District had the opportunity to travel to Nashville, TN, where we celebrated this year’s 50th annual Circle K International convention and large scale service project!

Rebranded under the name “CKIx,” this year’s convention truly took our expectations for the organization to the next level- providing informative workshops, spirited sessions, and amazing service projects for our members to enjoy. The first two days of CKIx kicked off with our organization’s annual Large Scale Service Project, where members of our district split up in to teams comprised of different students across the globe. From there, teams had the opportunity to tackle unique service projects with an assigned team leader- one of whom happened to be our district’s very own governor, Dawn Kreder!

After two fun-filled days of fellowship and service, the event quickly jumped into the business items of the convention- in which former Subregion-A trustee Kathy Le had been elected our International President for the 2014-2015 service year! In addition, former New York Circle K Governor and friend to the New Jersey District Kelly Chan had also been elected in to the office of our Subregion-F trustee, and will be serving with us this year along with the districts of New York, Capital, New England & Bermuda, and Eastern Canada! Last but not least, your’s truly was elected to serve in the office of Subregion-E trustee for the upcoming year as well, providing council to our neighboring districts of Pennsylvania, Kentucky-Tennessee, Ohio, and West Virginia!

Toward the latter days of convention, members were treated with very special presentations on empowerment from Phired Up, as well as food etiquette with Momma Nonnie. In addition, the organization also held a nighttime awards ceremony, in which the New Jersey District did fantastic work in sweeping up the convention! The Circle K club of Rutgers University won first place for both Single Service and the Eliminate Project. The New Jersey District as a whole won two honors for having fundraised the second highest district total, and the highest per member total for the Eliminate Project respectively. In addition, our 2013-2014 district board went home with a record breaking total of 7 trophies, with Eliminate Chair Stephanie winning Distinguished District Chair, Lieutenant Governors Brooke, Annabelle, and Victoria all winning Distinguished LTG, Secretary Dawn in winning Distinguished Secretary, and myself in winning both Distinguished Governor, and District for the state of New Jersey as a whole.

As the convention concluded on Saturday night, we had the opportunity to reflect on our fantastic 6 day experience in Nashville by dancing the night away with members from across the nation. CKIx this past week was truly a celebration to remember, and we hope you’ll join us next year for our organizations 60th anniversary, in Indianapolis, Indiana!

The 50th Annual New Jersey Circle K District Convention: A Golden Celebration

What better way to wrap up the Circle K year than to celebrate it with friends and colleagues at the 50th Annual New Jersey Circle K District Convention! This event featured the distribution of awards to club officers and members as well as the caucusing and election of those running for District Positions. I must admit what a surreal experience it was caucusing via Google Hangout. I spent my afternoons in the rainy city of Seattle, Washington preparing for the elections process and my evenings gracing the “big screen” with the guidance and tremendous patience of former Garden LTG, Annabelle Fallarme. On behalf of the New Jersey Circle K District Board, I would like to thank the Circle K Clubs who joined us in this Golden Celebration and brought in the 2013-2014 Circle K year in a truly celebratory fashion!

What is DCON?

DCON, also known as District Convention, is a weekend long event in which the New Jersey District of Circle K International assembles. Here, immediate past officers address their district, and the future New Jersey District Board is voted upon by members such as yourself! These candidates participate in several rounds of caucusing before the New Jersey District comes to a vote. While it is certainly a very exciting aspect of DCON, District Board elections are not the only facet of our convention! DCON is also a time in which awards are presented to outstanding officers, clubs, and general members, and attendees can attend several leadership building workshops. It is the event in which recipients of various scholarships are announced, and a place where members can dress to impress at the annual dance. Most importantly, it is a time for New Jersey Circle K members to network with one another and grow as leaders and individuals!

It’s Back to School Time!

September 15th, 2012, New Jersey Circle K club officers from all across the state gathered together at Brookdale Community College, where they partook in this year’s annual Club Officer Training Conference!

This year’s conference, put together by our District’s very own Membership Development and Education Chair Annabelle Fallarme, kicked off with a basic Welcoming session which introduced our many club officers to the New Jersey District Board, as well as International Subregion F Trustee Ron Acerra.

Following the intro, members were given a brief lesson on CKI’s general premise as well as a few important details regarding the organization itself. This lecture soon segwayed into a quick explanation of the New jersey District’s buddy system, a new program designed to help clubs assist each other throughout the upcoming school year.

With the general lecture over, attendants were treated to a selection of Circle K workshops, which primarily focused on training this year’s incoming executive board members. The session’s workshops covered the positions of general committee members, editors, treasurers, secretaries, and presidents alike.

Soon after the initial session of workshops, another session was introduced with the primary focus on preferred charities. From this selection, members had a chance to learn more about each of the New Jersey District’s Service Partners, as well as Circle K International’s ELIMINATE Project (which featured guest speaker Michael Mulhaul).

With the conclusion of our workshop sessions, members were introduced to one final presentation regarding Aktion Club (this year’s NJ District Governor’s Project). Governor Danielle, as well as a few members of the Kiwanis Committee, gave a heartfelt presentation on the project.

At the end of the trainer ended on a very positive note, with members reflecting on all the lessons they’d learned from the day. That being said, NJ CKI would like to thank everyone who attended COTC and made it such a success. You’re going to rock this service year!

-District Editor, Shivam K. Patel

K-Family Picnic

On the bright (and slightly cloudy) morning of July 28, New Jersey Circle K’ers, Key Clubbers, and Kiwanians all gathered at Green Island Road, Toms River, NJ, to celebrate this year’s annual Kiwanis Family Picnic! As in the past, the picnic was once again hosted by Rowan University in conjunction with the NJ District of Circle K International.

The event kicked off with a basic meet and greet amongst the many branches of our Kiwanis family. Members from all three organizations were given a chance to get to know one another as the host club of Rowan University swiftly prepared for the day’s many exciting projects and activities.

Unfortunately, the weather became a bit murky early on, and as such the area became slightly flooded for a majority of the event’s first hour. Thankfully, the rain did subside in due time, and with that, the picnic’s volunteers began reconstructioning the beach despite its drenched appearance.

This year, members from all three of our K-Family branches banded together to pull weeds and crab grass out of the beach’s local grass plains. The weeding went on for hours at a time, but in the end, the garden was completely cleansed (and just before another storm hit)!

This year, attendance bounced through the roof with over 1110 ticket purchases! That said, the New Jersey CKI District would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s picnic. It was a huge success, and we can’t wait to see you again next year!

-District Editor, Shivam K. Patel

The Road to New Orleans

On the morning of Sunday June 24th, Circle K members from all across the New Jersey District packed their bags and traveled down to the wonderful city of New Orleans, Louisiana, where they attended this year’s 56th annual Circle K International Convention!

As in year’s prior, the weekend kicked off with CKI’s annual Large Scale Service Project (LSSP), where members were given a chance to give back to the host city New Orleans itself. The fun-filled two-day event included a variety of service projects- ranging from painting murals, all the way to planting mulch around trees!

Following the conclusion of the Large Scale Service Project, the convention itself kicked off with an explosive, spirit filled opening session! Members from all around the world gathered together in their Circle K apparel to celebrate the launch of another exciting International Convention. Yours truly even got a chance to MC the event as the convention’s proclaimed ‘voice of god!’

As the week continued, things began to heat up as candidates for International Office gathered to compete for places on this year’s 2012-2013 Circle K International Board. The competition was fierce, spanning heated debates and caucuses for two arduous days! By the end of the week however, the winners were announced, and our new Circle K International Board will proudly consist of: Daniel Tsang as our next CKI Vice-President, Josephine Lukito as our next CKI President, and lastly our District’s very own Robert Acerra as our next Subregion F International Trustee!

In addition to the intense election season this year, members were also given the chance to partake in quite a few service-affiliated activities as well. On Thursday afternoon, dozens of organizations had a chance to showcase their great new service projects at this year’s Service Fair. The New Jersey District’s one and only Annabelle Fallarme showcased our District’s very own service project, the Six Cents Initiative!

As the convention week progressed, Kiwanis International cordially invited Circle K International to this year’s annual Kiwanis International Convention (also conveniently taking place in New Orleans). Circle K members were given a chance to see just how truly fascinating their parent organization was, being treated to a variety of goodies which included: a live marching band performance to kick of the opening session, a wonderful introduction to all Kiwanis District Governors around the world, some great updates on the organization’s community service progress, a beautiful performance from some of the city’s local professional musicians, and lastly an inspiring keynote by parents of famous football player Michael Other, Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy (subjects of the hit 2009 movie The Blind Side). By the end of the Opening Session, those of us in CKI decided to give back to Kiwanis for their kindness in allowing us to attend their convention, and performed a giant ‘flash mob’ dance in their honor. The Flash Mob was met with warm praise, and the Kiwanis Family left that day with stronger bonds than it had ever held before.

Back at the Circle K International Convention, attendants had an opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills with informative workshops. Topics included learning how to recruit Key Club members, dealing with commonly faced leadership problems, and even figuring out how to score a golden job opportunity after we graduate from college!

On Friday night, the fruitful year round efforts of each and every Circle K International district, club, and member had been put to the test with CKI’s annual Awards Ceremony. After dozens of cheers and celebrations, nearly every District went home in victory that night. The New Jersey District itself won quite a few awards. First and foremost, the District achieved distinguished status, and was only one of the few to do so this year! Other distinguished awards went to our District’s very own Danielle Sammut as Distinguished LTG, and Jennifer Hsieh as Distinguished Governor. On a club level, the big winners on the night included the Richard Stockton College Circle K who won 1st place in the Emerald Growth Enhances Membership Award, The College of New Jersey who won the 2nd place Silver Award Growth Enhances Membership, and lastly Rutgers University who won second place single service for their Fall Benefit Concert.

On the final day of International Convention, members were treated to a free Leadership Luncheon, where they were given the chance to learn more about Kiwanis International’s partnership with the United States Army, and got an opportunity to hear an inspirational speech by the hit TV show Glee’s very own, Lauren Potter.

Soon enough the time came for the convention’s Closing Session. Throughout the session, a variety of highly talented Circle K acts performed for the masses one final time. The four acts included a ‘light saber’ style dance routine, an ace ukulele player, a great ballerina performance, and a breathtaking cover of Defying Gravity.

International President Steven Spriggs also took the stage one last time to offer his farewell address, and to thank Circle K International for a wonderful 2011-2012 service year. He wished us all luck, and then handed over the microphone to our newly elected International President, Josephine Lukilto, who proceeded to adjourn the convention.

-District Editor, Shivam Patel