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Key Leader Frequently Asked Questions

What is Key Leader?

Key Leader is a service leadership education program developed by Kiwanis international for high school students and graduating 8th grade students. The Key Leader mission is to provide a life-changing experience which inspires young people to achieve their personal best through service leadership.

Who can attend a Key Leader event?

Events are open to all students ages 14 to 18. There is no limit to the number of participants from any individual school, and attendees are not required to be members of Kiwanis programs such as Key Club.

What is the typical schedule for the weekend?

Students arrive for registration between 4 p.m. and 6p.m. on a Friday and depart after 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. All lodging, meals, and activities take place at the event site during that time. Key Leader events are organized at the local level by Kiwanis volunteers. Reach out to the Event Contact for questions about a Key Leader event in your area. 

What happens at a Key Leader event?

Key Leader programs focus on five Key Leader Principles: Personal Integrity, Personal Growth, Respect, Building Community, and Pursuit of Excellence. Students learn to follow Robert Greenleaf’s servant leadership model.

The students take part in large- and small-group activities with a combination of lectures, discussions, interactive activities, and audio-visual presentations. Participants have many opportunities to make new friends and have fun, and each event is led by a highly-qualified and trained Lead Facilitator.

Are adults present during the weekend?

Yes. A professional Key Leader facilitator leads each event. Lead facilitators come from backgrounds in education and program facilitation. Each has successfully completed a training course on the curriculum.

Additionally, the volunteer organizers for each Key Leader event recruit trained adult chaperones to help manage the event and to supervise students. Kiwanis International requires a limited criminal history background check on all adults present for each Key Leader event. (Learn more about Kiwanis Youth Protection guidelines.)

How much does it cost?

The cost is all-inclusive and depends on the location. The cost for participants are often covered in full or subsidized by a school, Kiwanis club, community organization, religious group, family, or other individuals. To learn about the cost for a Key Leader event in your area, we recommend reaching out to the Event Contact.

Are there student leadership opportunities during a Key Leader Weekend?

Yes! Students in 11th and 12th grade who have previously attended a Key leader event may apply to be student facilitators. Student facilitators lead small group discussions and help the Lead Facilitator throughout the large group sessions.

Can my school or community center host a Key Leader Event?

Yes. Most Key Leader events are organized by Kiwanis volunteers and organizations, but many events are planned by schools or other organizations. Because Kiwanis Organizations receive a discounted rate, we suggest working with a Kiwanis District, Kiwanis Club, Key Club, or Circle K Club to organize a Key Leader event in your area or at your school.

Connect with our staff to learn more about hosting a Key Leader event, and check out the “Marketing and Logistics Guide” to better understand the expectations of sponsoring organizations.

Where can I learn more about Key Leader?

Explore the website. Find events in your area on our Register page. Use the contact form to get in touch with the Key Leader staff.