Keystone Conference Recap by Maddie and Kaya
During the last five months of the school year, teens from the Ballard and Wallingford Keystone Clubs raised funds for the opportunity to attend the National Keystone Conference. This year’s conference took place in Orlando, Florida, from July 11-13.
Hear from two Ballard teens, Maddie and Kaya, who share their experience of the National Keystone Conference:
From Club cafés, to Club-wide events, to partnerships with local organizations and community leaders, our Keystone Clubs committed to our goal and succeeded in raising $25,000! That amount allowed 15 teens and 3 staff members to attend the conference. We want to thank everyone who donated or attended one of our fundraisers to make this trip possible!
“Imagine. Do. Become.” These were the words we lived by at the 2019 National Keystone Conference in Orlando, Florida. 2,000 Keystone teens from across the country came together to celebrate a common passion for making the world a better place. We listened to speakers, participated in workshops, and had a lot of fun bonding time. In the end, we left feeling inspired and ready to bring back what we learned to our community in Seattle.
Day 1: Introduction Day
We started with a roll call video where each of the Keystone groups put together a 15-30 second introduction cheer or dance. It was a little rough at first, since we didn’t all know each other, but it was a great icebreaker, and we had fun with it.
We attended a welcome event and got thrown into life-at-conference. Then, DJ Young Scholar showed up! The energy in the room was unimaginable!
Day 2: Achieve-Your-Dream Day
Our second day was all about giving us the skills to make things happen. We got to choose from different workshops about fundraising, leadership, team-building, mental health, self-confidence, and managing relationships. We learned mental health skills from a teen director in New York and fundraising strategies from a Keystone group from Texas.
The workshops made us feel more connected with other teens across the country and with each other.
Day 3: Service Day / A Special Outing
On day 3, all the attendees chose a service project around an issue with which they felt connected. Many in our group chose to focus on animal welfare because we love animals and want to help those in need. Our project was to make goodie bags and care packages for dogs in shelters and learn about the TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) method being used to humanely control the feral cat population.
Once we finished our service project, the Keystone Conference treated us to several hours in Disney’s Magic Kingdom! We bonded even more with each other and cheered at other Keystone groups we saw walking around in their “Imagine. Do. Become.” t-shirts!
We all learned a lot from this amazing experience — most importantly, that there are many people out there who want to make a positive change in the world. We saw celebrities like teen activist Deja Foxx, learned new ways to fundraise and increase our community involvement, and formed new friendships with Club members near and far! We can’t wait to go back next year!