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Blog

Keep up with the latest news and excitement from around the Carolinas!

Hurricane Florence Relief Initiative

Sara Pinkowski

Over the past week, the Carolinas District has been severely and unfortunately impacted by Hurricane Florence. Some areas within our own district have seen devastating damage due to this storm, including the Carolinas District Project, the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina at Lake Waccamaw.

This is why the Carolinas District Key Club is looking for your club’s help to contribute to the disaster relief efforts across North and South Carolina. We encourage your clubs to direct your efforts throughout the upcoming weeks towards fundraising for those throughout our district who are in desperate need of help. If your club is interested in submitting fundraising donations towards the cause, checks can be made out to Carolinas District Key Club and sent to the following address:

Hurricane Florence Relief

C/O J. Scott Johnson, Administrator

Carolinas District Key Club

2008 Pinecrest Drive

Greenville, NC 27858

During this trying time, any amount your club can give is more than appreciated by those who need it most. While donations will be appropriated across the district to areas impacted by the hurricane, if your club would like to collect and donate physical donations for the District Project, The Boys and Girls Homes, such donations are being received and can be brought with your club to Fall Rally on October 7.

Happiness and Hospitals: September Partner Spotlight

Sara Pinkowski

Have you ever wondered how to reach out or open up to loved ones, how to provide support and advice to others, or how to get the mental health conversation started and tear down stigmas about mental health in your community?

This month, the Carolinas District Partners and Sponsors Committee has decided to showcase two Key Club International Partners, the first of which is Project Happiness.

Project Happiness is a nonprofit organization that revolves around helping others find happiness within themselves and in others. Key Club works with this positive organization to bring awareness to issues within high schools and local communities regarding mental health, such as fear of embarrassment, bullying, and misunderstanding. Project Happiness is essentially an initiative Key Clubs can take to start the conversation about mental health and provide the necessary resources to help accommodate these often unaddressed needs.

So, how can your Key Club get involved? There are many different ways to participate in promoting Project Happiness. For instance, your Key Club could hold a fundraiser or assembly to spread awareness about the cause and fundraise for the project. Another simple way to get in on the project is by posting adhesive notes with positive messages around your school, such as on lockers. You can also contribute to the happiness effort by simply beginning the conversation at your school, opening up to others about your experiences, and promoting the importance of mental health.

Do you want to create a physical difference in millions of children’s lives by supporting their health through research and facilities? The second Partner that will be showcased this month is the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH), which is a nonprofit organization that provides facilities, funding, and treatment for families who cannot afford health care for their children.

How does this impact you? Well, over 10 million children are admitted into CMNH every year, and full treatments and support are given to the children and their families at no cost. This is only made possible through donations from large partners such as Key Club.

By supporting your local CMNH by donating uplifting cards, clothing, toys, or by fundraising, you could save a child’s life in more ways than one.

Be sure to check the blog next month for information about more of Key Club’s Partners and Sponsors!

Thrill, Friends, and Service, Oh My!

Sara Pinkowski

Key Club members across the Carolinas are excitedly discussing the biggest, most exhilarating experience offered by the Carolinas District every Fall. What is all the buzz about?

Well, it may be the invigorating heights of a 325-foot high roller coaster. Or, perhaps it is the opportunity to enjoy Carowinds on a beautiful fall day with as many friends as you can gather.

Whatever you consider to be the most exciting part of a fall excursion to one of the nation's best amusement parks, the Carolinas District Key Club Fall Rally is sure to deliver.

Furthermore, Fall Rally is an opportunity to learn more about Key Club. Looking to gain service and fundraising inspiration from other clubs? You'll find plenty here. Interested in learning more about International and District service projects? The Carolinas District Board will be happy to share this information with you at their booths prior to the morning's programming. Without a doubt, by the time your club departs the park at the end of the day, you will be brimming with ideas to strengthen your club.

Fall Rally also serves as an invaluable tool to recruit new members. Would you like a few of your friends to join you in all Key Club has to offer this year? Invite them to attend Fall Rally! By the time they return home, they will be eager to officially become a member of your school's Key Club.

Altogether, Fall Rally offers prospective members and Key Club members alike the opportunity to bond over thrilling rides and attractions as well as service inspiration. Registration must be postmarked by September 24, 2018. For more information on how you can register to attend and the incentives available, visit the Fall Rally page under the "events" tab.

"Bean" There, Done That: Chicago ICON 2018

Sara Pinkowski

From June 30 to July 9, 2018, the Carolinas District assembled over seventy Key Club members from across North and South Carolina to represent the district in Chicago at the 75th annual Key Club International Convention. Tour members enjoyed amazing theme parks along the route into and out of the city, as well as the many attractions the city itself has to offer. We hope you can feel the excitement radiating from our tour attendees in the following descriptions and photos of this truly once-in-a-lifetime trip!

Saturday, June 30

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On Saturday morning, tour attendees gathered in Kernersville, NC to load the buses that would make the journey into Chicago. While some attendees boarded bus "Juicy Fruit" and others "Double Mint," all stopped in Medina, Ohio for the night after a long leg of the drive to rest up for the busy Sunday that would follow.

Sunday, July 1

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Sunday morning began as soon as the gates to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio were opened. The entire day was spent enjoying the thrilling rides and attractions within the park, including the Maverick, Millennium Force, and Dragster. After a long day of lots of thrills (and sunscreen), the tour made its final trek into the Windy City itself.

Monday, July 2

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The first full day in Chicago was just that-full of excursions! The first outing was a walk to Shedd Aquarium. At the aquarium, Key Club members were front-row for a live dolphin show that featured spectacular flips, tricks as well as education on the marine life at the aquarium and in the ocean. After exploring the aquarium exhibits and watching a 4-D movie about sharks, members were ready to sink their teeth into Aurelio's Pizza for lunch. The lunch buffet offered an array of pizzas and toppings, from cheese to chicken. With full stomachs, the tour took a relaxing turn to the Art Institute of Chicago, where members pondered over the works of artists like Andy Warhol and Georges Seurat. The final attractions of the evening were the infamous Bean at Millennium Park and the "Tilt" windows that overlook the city at the John Hancock building.

Tuesday, July 3

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While members had the chance to admire the city's towering architecture throughout Monday's events, Tuesday's architectural riverboat tour offered a more formal, informational view of the city from the viewpoint of the reversed waterways of the Chicago River. Another staple Chicago meal was enjoyed for lunch on Tuesday at Portillo's. Some tried the Portillo's hot dog, others the classic Italian beef sandwich. No matter what was ordered, the flavors of the iconic restaurant were thoroughly enjoyed. Shortly after lunch, the Carolinas District broke into groups and hopped on the "L," Chicago's elevated train system, towards Addison Station. There, the district came face-to-face with the bright red marquee of Wrigley Field. Members experienced a live Chicago Cubs baseball game and cheered on the home team.

Wednesday, July 4

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After a few hours to shop the stores along the infamous Magnificent Mile shopping district, the Carolinas District checked in to the convention hotel for the first night of the 75th annual Key Club International Convention. The convention kicked off with an opening session to get members excited about the amazing opportunities for personal growth and leadership development in the days ahead. To conclude the first night of convention, Carolinas Key Club members gathered at the top floor of the convention hotel-48 stories up-to watch the Fourth of July fireworks light up the night sky above the Navy Pier.

Thursday, July 5-Saturday, July 7

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Over the course of three full days of International Convention activities, the Carolinas District garnered many accomplishments to be proud of. Not only did all four of the 2017-2018 Carolinas District Executive Officers receive Distinguished District Officer awards, but also, Mr. Larry Hewitt received the highly regarded Key of Honor award and immediate past Carolinas District Lieutenant Governor Leslie Truong was elected to the office of International Trustee. Furthermore, tour members represented the district exceedingly well in workshops, meet and greet opportunities, and other convention activities. Certainly many great lessons were learned about leadership, character and determination at this year's convention!

Sunday, July 8

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Early Sunday morning, the Carolinas said goodbye to the city and began the journey back home. However, there was one more attraction planned before the tour festivities officially concluded: an evening at King's Island Amusement Park in Mason, Ohio. Just as with Cedar Point a week prior, members were amazed by the exhilarating rides and used the valuable time to share one more bonding experience with their new friends.

Monday, July 9

Finally, it was time to say goodbye to the close friends made over the course of the past nine days of the tour. Tour members boarded the buses early in the morning and completed the last leg of the ride home. Members took home trophies and awards, new friendships, and lasting memories. Without a doubt, this was truly an experience all attendees will recount upon fondly for years to come!

We hope you have enjoyed learning about our amazing ICON experience. If you feel compelled by the story of this journey, stay tuned throughout the upcoming year for information about how you can join next year's ICON tour to Baltimore, Maryland!

Preparing Your Palate for Chicago

Sara Pinkowski

When you imagine the tastes of Chicago, you may immediately think of the authentic deep dish pizza. While this iconic dish is a great representation of the rich flavors of the Windy City, there is an even greater variety of delectable meals that can be found all over the area. When you’re in Chicago with the Carolinas District for our International Convention tour this summer, make sure you grab a snack at these quintessential Chicago landmarks.

Pizzeria Uno

If you’re looking for a cheesy, delicious meal and you have some time on your hands (up to over an hour), look no further than Pizzeria Uno! At this original eating establishment, you can get your hands on an authentic deep dish pizza in about an hour for $25 per large pizza.

Portillo's

Do you love ballpark food? Get ready to take your obsession to the next level with a loaded hot dog from Portillo’s hot dog stands and restaurants. These fan-favorite dogs can be enjoyed for $5-$10 each.

Smoque

Looking for a taste of home? While Carolina Barbeque is hard to beat, Chicago has taken their own spin on the delicious classic and garnered quite a name for it. At Smoque, you can enjoy the flavors of home, Chicago style for about $10-$15 a meal.

Al's Italian Beef

Chicago is for meat lovers. If you love the taste of beef, try the Italian Beef sandwich at Al’s Italian Beef for the reasonable price of $5.

Sweet Mandy B's

Did you know the chocolate brownie was first baked in Chicago? To celebrate the birthplace of the chocolate brownie, enjoy this sweet dessert at Sweet Mandy B’s in a variety of creative flavors for under $5.