VOICE-ing Your License to Serve

When many hear the name James Bond, fast cars, good looking sidekicks, and beating the bad guy usually come to mind. But here in New Jersey, his many roles were inspiration for a different story line – the 2011 New Jersey CKI District Convention.

During the weekend of March 25-27, 2011, Circle K’ers from every corner of the New Jersey District joined forces to celebrate a full year of service, leadership, and fellowship while preparing for a fresh slate for the service year ahead. From club cheers to the introduction of distinguished guests including 2010-11 Circle K International President, Amanda Marfisi and Kiwanis International President-Elect, Alan Penn – Friday night was nothing short of a golden kickoff. Wrapping up with the first round of caucusing into the wee hours on Friday. Saturday jump-started with even more questioning for the District Board candidates, an affair any secret agent would approve of. Saturday afternoon came and went with a classy celebration of the club level’s head honchos at the President’s Luncheon. House of Delegates did not disappoint with undivided attention not only from the delegates, but from the candidates as well. The Executive Board was first elected not only from the delegates,but from the candidates as well. The Executive Board was first selected in the following order: Jennifer Hsieh of Rutgers University CKI was elected District Governor, Jacqueline Zakaras of The Richard Stockton State College of New Jersey CKI was elected District Secretary, Sonya Shah of Monmouth University CKI was elected District Treasurer, myself – Amanda Parks of The College of New Jersey CKI was elected District Editor. Each division was then able to select their representative and the following make up the rest of the NJ CKI District Board’s voting members. Edwin Valdez of Saint Peter’s College CKI was elected Metro Division Lieutenant Governor, and way down “South” Ashley Walgreen of Rowan University CKI was elected Garden Division Lieutenant Governor.

Saturday’s festivities rounded off with a celebration of achievements and fellowships. The NJ CKI District Board gave everyone the sense that t he night was going to last “Forever” with their surprise introduction dance and welcomed all guests and CKI members to the coveted Governor’s Banquet. Awards were rewarded to the hardest workers, talents were showcased by the bravest, and tears were cried by those moving on to bigger things with Circle K near and dear to their hearts. But the fun didn’t end there, shortly after following the banquet, our International Godfather Floyd Adams graciously offered up his daring deejay skills that provided NJ CKI members with a night of bonding and board dance auctioning that couldn’t be topped by any television dance show!

Bright and early on Saturday morning, it was hard to believe that the weekend was nearly over and that we had spent it with new and old friends from near and far who lived to serve and loved to serve, just as we did! While enjoying and delicious and nutritious breakfast, the 2010-11 New Jersey District Board of Circle K International was retired with accomplishment and fond memories in mind. Passing on the torch to a new bunch of eager secret agents, ready to protect, serve, and lead on of the mightiest district’s in all of international is no daunting task, but it had to be done. And with that, the 2011-12 New Jersey District Board of Circle K International was installed by their Immediate Pasts and NJ Kiwanis District Board counterparts as excitement and fellowship filled the air.

Who would think that those days would seem like yesterday as summer has nearly come and gone right before our eyes? No worries thought, the 2011-12 NJ CKI CKI District Board still has as much fire and drive as ever, that would give any secret agent a reason to do some further investigation, not just 007!

Summer & Semester of Service

International Convention (ICON) is held every year to give members of Circle K the chance to meet fellow Circle K’ers from all over the world. This year, ICON took place from June 22-26 in Virginia Beach! There was a great turn out to ICON despite the cost to attend and having to travel far. In fact, New Jersey district had the most members attend with 31 attendees! Way to go New Jersey!

Opening session was great because it got everyone excited fro the next couple of days by giving each district the opportunity to perform a cheer. New Jersey had their own take of the song: Party Rock. New Jersey is in the house tonight!

ICON also consisted of a keynote speaker, workshops, an awards night, and a dance. Jason Barger was the keynote speaker at this year’s ICON. He wrote the book: Step Back From the Baggage Claim where he talked about his experience living in an airport for about a week observing people. He was a great speaker and I feel everyone enjoyed listening to what he had to say.

There were a number of different workshops that attendees could go to. Jason Barger held a workshop, March of Dimes, Eliminate Project, Better World Books, and so on. There was always a workshop available for people with different interest to go to.

Awards night was so inspirational. New Jersey was recognized multiple times and I could have not been prouder! So, keep up the good work, New Jersey! The dance was a lot of fun. It was great to have the time to relax and enjoy the night with your district after a long business week.

ICON was a great success and I encourage all members to try to attend ICON at least once during their time in Circle K. Not only do you get to vote on new Bylaws and learn more about Circle K, but you also get the opportunity to create strong bonds with your district!

Insight into a Magical World of Service

Greeted by headmasters/mistresses upon arrival, newly enrolled students of the New Jersey District of Circle K International were divided into their Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry houses through the one-of-a-kind sorting hat.

After a round of introductions, house bonding was well under way on the first night of Insight Weekend 2010 when a house anthem competition ensued. Many wizards and witches showed off their singing, dancing, and team spirit talents among many other things.

The night wrapped up with group break-out discussions regarding how magic can be made in the community through the service of leaders and working together despite our differing leadership approaches is necessary to obtain teamwork not only at Hogwarts, but at our separate colleges and universities.

Saturday morning started off bright and early after our first nights on the toasty, heated cabins.

With our assigned houses, we then took our shot as separate groups at different team-building courses in the woodsy hills of Camp Mason. Whether we were collectively trying to keep a single wooden platform balanced without touching the ground, or tip-toe through a spider web of twists and turns, these activities only boosted our house connection and ability to work with leaders not like ourselves.

Later on in the afternoon, an Amazing Race themed challenge was thrown upon each other of the houses to be completed in a two-hour time limit, in which every house vied to tackle the most tasks with the greatest display teamwork in the allotted time. Following this intense extravaganza of unique wizardry through working together, each Hogwarts student was afforded the opportunity to choose which community service activity they wished to partake in before a bounty feast for dinner.

A choice ranging from raking leaves to installing drapery in the cabins, the New Jersey District of Circle K International was more than willing to brighten up the looks of Camp Mason through the magic in-stilled in their giving nature.

Wrapping up quite a busy day of team building and volunteering, all of the houses regrouped to attend the Host Club’s, Brookdale Community College, sponsored event. Full of eliminating rounds ending in the free-for-all soda can balance test. Brookdale’s Club Co-President Danielle Sammut ended up showing up all of us aspiring wizards and witches with her skills.

Followed up by the Great Hall Speak-Out and Candle Light Reflection, it was quite apparent that less than 24 hours had brought each one of these houses and Hogwarts students closer through fellowship and made all the difference in defining what was taken away from this insightful experience.

Ending the night with the Yule Ball, the New Jersey District of Circle K International was able to celebrate the lessons that had been learned that weekend and take part in further establishing the new friendships that had sparked.

Sunday came too quick for all us, dspite Daylight Savings Time. While there was a hurry to eat breakfast, finish up Owl Post, and discuss bids for the Pie-the-Board Auction, the frenzy in the air was magical to say the least.

After an intense auction to support district fundraising efforts, District Editor Jennifer Hsieh shared a video of photos to reflect the weekend, and then the pie-ing was well under way.

Saying goodbye was probably the hardest part of the whole weekend, as each Hogwarts wizard and witch knew they would have to return to their original collegiate dwellings to attend academic classesthe next day. But they would never forget the Magical World of Service they immersed themselves into at Insight 2010.

We hope that you will join us das Insight 2011 to shape an experience similar to this based off of your unique leadership characteristics!

Training NJ Circle K’s Finest

Annie, Cait, and I made the trip to Brookdale Community College of September 12th to attend the District officer Training. Monmouth University was one of many Circle Ks from the New Jersey District there. All three divisions were represented: metro, Seabreeze and Garden.

After a pizza lunch, District President Rob Acerra and Lt. Governors Roseanne and Teddy gave the opening speeches. The speeches were followed by some icebreakers and then group meetings for various officers. Each of us got a chance to share tips and gain advice about being better at our respective positions.

We also attended different workshops on topics ranging from recruiting members to service project ideas. One of our members, Caroline lay, gave a presentation on the upcoming District events including INSIGHT and Fall Rally.

Overall, the day was a chance for us to get to know our fellow District members and gain a better sense of our roles as club leaders.