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

A Magical World of Service!

On March 23rd, 2012, New Jersey Circle K’s finest gathered together for a magical world of service, leadership, and fellowship at the 48th annual New jersey District Convention! This year’s convention as in the past, had been held at the Hotel Somerset Bridgewater in Somerset, NJ.

The Disney inspired weekend kicked off with an explosive Opening Session on Friday night. Members were introduced to a variety of goodies that night, including a wonderful ‘Lion King’ themed dance introduced by our 2011-2012 New Jersey District Board, a nostalgic member’s video to commemorate our great year of service and lastly a crazy Jungle-Book themed caucus session in order to determine our District’s new executive board!

Elections were no easy feat this year. Candidates from all across New Jersey participated in two heated caucus sessions, as well as a Saturday morning Fishbowl session to weed out the District’s best of the best. While a majority of the offices were unopposed this year, the offices of District Governor and Editor were respectfully contested.

By Saturday afternoon, the House of Delegates convened, and had decided that our new executive board would comprise of Raymond Brophy from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey as the Garden LTG, Saad Shamshair from Rutgers University as Seabreez LTG, Shivam Patel from Rutgers University as District Editor, Sharukh Shamshair from Rutgers University as District Treasurer, Dawn Kreder from TCNJ as District Secretary, and last but not least, Danielle Sammut from TCNJ as District Governor.

In addition to this year’s jungle book of an election, members were treated to a bunch of great activities throughout the second day of our Convention weekend. In the morning, all of our attendees enjoyed a glamorous Snow White themed President’s Luncheon, where club presidents and their respective members were rewarded for a fantastic year of service.

Saturday afternoon, clubs from all across New Jersey competed un a canned sculpture contest using their donations from STUPH. The winning college was given the chance to decide where all of the district’s donations would be going. In the end, Drew University emerged victorious, and graciously offered to split their cans between each of our District’s clubs.

On Saturday night members partook in an majestic Governor’s Banquet themed to the tune of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Many clubs went home with both awards and scholarships that night, and ultimately all ended the day as champions. Shortly after the exciting banquet, members were given a chance to express their excitement during our annual Saturday night dance, in which officers from the District Board auctioned themselves off in order to fund raise for donations towards the ELIMINATE project. The fundraiser ended up being a huge success, and later in the night, members got the chance to witness a special dance rendition of “Captain Jack Sparrow,” starring our District’s very own Joey G and Brian Pluchino.

The weekend concluded on Sunday morning, with a Peter Pan themed Farewell Session in which our District would bid farewell to all of the magical memories we made over the past few days.

Members of the 2011-2012 District Board were officially retired after hosting a wonderful service year, and our District’s new officers took the stage in order to be inducted as the 2012-2013 New Jersey District Board.

With that, the New Jersey District would like to thank all of those whom attended District Convention 2012. We loved seeing all of your wonderful faces, and can’t wait to see them again next year!

-Shivam K. Patel, District Editor

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.

New Jersey K-Family Heats Up the Grill at Annual Picnic

On Saturday July 24, 2010, the Circle K hosted its annual Kiwanis Family Picnic. The picnic attendees included the members from New Jersey District Key Clubs, Circle K clubs, and Kiwanis clubs. One of the purposes of the Picnic is to build a stronger bond with each level of the Kiwanis Family. It allows the New Jersey District to make connections with another and get to know one another in a casual environment. We were also able to raise money for our yearly budget!

Those in attendance got to see friends that they don’t normally get to see on a daily basis and they participated in competitive team bonding games like volleyball, three-legged races, and a water balloon toss. Along with the fun and games, the New Jersey K-Family enjoyed a picnic meal made for a king consisting of hamburgers, hot dogs, various salads, and desserts.

With good planning and hard work from everybody involved, the picnic had over fifty attendees and was a huge success. A special thank you to Stockton College Circle K for being the host club (and providing games and prizes) and another thank you to Sonya and Caroline for the behind-the-scenes work on the Special Events committee! Look out next summer for the next annual K-Family Picnic!