On Friday, June 22, 2018 early in the morning the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County Keystone Clubs loaded the Boss Transit Charter bus heading to Atlanta, Georgia for the 51st Annual National Keystone Conference. Keystone Club is a unique leadership development experience that provides teen Club members, ages 14-18, with opportunities to enhance their academic success while preparing for their future careers and improving their communities through service projects.
This is the first Keystone Conference in its 51 year history to be held on a university campus. This was also the first time many of our participating teens had ever been on a campus. You could feel their excitement to be surrounded by what could one day be their next step in their journey to success. This year’s conferences with 2,200 in attendance.
Presented by Aaron’s, Inc., the event united thousands of teens from diverse communities throughout the globe to connect, engage and explore relevant social issues that teens face each day, such as stereotypes, race and equality, through the conference’s theme “What’s the Move? Ignite Change.” Aaron’s partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) Keystone Program inspires teens to “Own It” by taking ownership of their choices to build the lives they deserve. The Aaron’s and Keystone Club “Own Your Future” campaign supports three principles:
- Own Your Path: No matter where you come from, the future is yours to decide.
- Own Your Decisions: Making good choices opens more doors for your future.
- Own Your Community: Use your talents to make an impact in your community.
Our Keystone Club members participated in various breakout sessions throughout the three-day event to build leadership skills, increase their awareness and appreciation of diversity and to establish positive relationships with their peers from around the world. Teens also gathered each day to listen to inspiring stories from keynote speakers such as Olympian John Carlos, BGCA Alumnus and multifaceted celebrity Nick Cannon and singer-songwriter Keri Hilson.
Some of the highlights of the conference arose when our Keystone Clubs attended the GOLD Social which is one of the prestigious levels of Keystone, being selected as guests in the VIP seating section along with our very own Mary Jane Pacheco of the Dr. Harold Reitman Unit who won an Apple IPad Mini and a Pop-A-Shot. In addition, the Nan Knox Panthers received 3rd Place for their Career Preparation Project and was awarded $500.00 for their hard work and dedication. The Keystoners capped off the National Conference by attending Six Flags Over Georgia alongside other Keystone members and Advisors.