Key Club Attends LTC Conference

Katy Gottlieb
Katy Gottlieb

This year, fourteen students from LHS’s Key Club attended the Leadership Training Conference (LTC) in Albany, New York, from Friday, March 31, to Sunday, April 2. Junior and Key Club member Amelie Duch explained the purpose of the conference: “LTC allows members of Key Clubs from all around New York to network and build connections with one another.” The club’s advisor, Benedict Tieniber, added that “LTC is a conference where our Key Clubbers go to learn the skills necessary for the upcoming service year. Additionally, the Key Clubbers celebrate their accolades for the service year that just ended.” He emphasized how the trip had been greatly expanded from past years: “This was the first time we brought 14 students to this conference. The last time we went, we only brought two students.”

The trip began on Friday afternoon when the students arrived at Bayside High School. They were then transported by coach bus to the Crowne Plaza Desmond Hotel in Albany, New York. The students arrived, registered, got their room keys, and changed into their business-casual clothes for orientation. Following dinner at 6:30 PM, the opening session began in the King Street Ballroom. Afterwards, there was time allotted for clubs to take a break before the students attended Playfair, an event where students from different schools got to meet each other. Students participated in a series of icebreakers including debates, games of rock paper scissors, and dance battles before a midnight curfew.

The next day, clubs attended the general session where awards and recognitions were presented. LHS’s Key Club won the following awards: the Achieved Increased Membership Award, presented to clubs that have increased their membership by 15% since the previous year; the Completed Paperwork Award, given to clubs that have submitted all necessary paperwork before the LTC; the Recognition for Pilot Club, given to clubs that pave the way for others; an honorable mention for the Largest Cumulative Fundraising Total Award, given to the club that has raised the largest amount of money; the Largest Single Fundraising Effort Award, given to the club that has raised the largest amount of money through a single service project; the Distinguished Club Award, which recognizes individual Key Clubs for their overall performance; and the Distinguished Faculty Advisor Award, presented to the most outstanding Key Club advisor in the state. Tieniber, the recipient of this last award, said, “I was humbled to receive the award. Without the collective effort of our members, this does not happen.” 

After the general session, the students attended four workshops that focused on professionalism, public speaking, self-care, and even karaoke. Then, at 5:00 PM, students participated in service workshops. In one workshop, students hand sewed and stuffed teddy bears. Additionally, there was a no-slip sock service project and a no-sew blanket service project. The items crafted by the key clubbers were donated to children in need. During their free time, Key Club members bought sweatshirts and stickers for their ID lanyards. Following the service project was dinner at 6:15 PM and a general session at 7:30 PM, where Key Club president Dea Pulatani delivered a speech. The night ended with the Governor’s Social, where Key Club members socialized and danced the night away. After the Governor’s Social ended at 11:00 PM, Key Club members hung out and played board games with their new friends to culminate the trip.

Sunday morning marked the end of LTC. At 9:30, Key Clubbers attended the final event–the closing session–where the district governor, lieutenant governors, and other Key Club officials retired. Then, the bus departed from the hotel and headed back to Bayside High School. The bus ride home gave Key Club members an opportunity to reflect and look back at their time at LTC. Tieniber remarked, “The best part and memory was watching our members learn and interact at LTC while coming together and becoming a family; it creates forever bonds.” 

Sophomore Kate Santoli explained that her favorite part of the trip was having fun with the other LHS Key Club members. “We all got a lot closer during the weekend and learned more about each other,” she said. Santoli also enjoyed the workshops and getting to meet new students. Duch agreed: “I thoroughly enjoyed all the workshops I attended as well as the new friendships I made. It brought our upcoming board closer together and helped us bond over our love for Key Club.” Her favorite part of the trip was getting to eat Chipotle and play UNO with new friends she had made on Saturday night. “It truly displayed the tight-knit community that is Key Club,” she said.

Ultimately, the experience was one for the books. Many friends were made, laughs were shared, and a sense of pride and accomplishment was felt by the end of the weekend. “The experience was amazing,” Tieniber said. “[We are] now off to bigger and better things for Key Club this new service year.”