Key Club seeks to undergo improvements

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Although the homeless food can drive had a rocky start, a few weeks into it, people started to “really turn out” and they ended up with “tons of food, so much so that we had to get volunteers to help us sort through it all,” Henner said.

“I thought that I could turn the whole club around in one year, but realistically it will take years of strong leadership and support to build an influential, noteworthy club,” Anya Fredsell, senior and president of Key Club, said.

This year, Fredsell has led major changes to improve Decatur’s longstanding Key Club.

Her first task was making sure the club was chartered with Key Club International. Nine years ago, Decatur Key Club lost their charter due to not paying dues. Fredsell saw this as an immediate area of concern and worked with a Key Club lieutenant Governor from Chattahoochee High School to fill out the paperwork and adjust into the division.

“First, it was wrong to call ourselves a Key Club if we aren’t affiliated with Key Club International,” Fredsell said. “Second, our club really needed the support system provided by the Kiwanis and other Key Clubs.”

Aside from officially becoming a part of the Key Club Charter, Fredsell and the other club officers faced a larger issue this year, member participation.

Although the club contains 110 members, only a small handful of people show up to volunteer events.

“A club of 110 people is really not that impressive if only 50 or so are active, and less than 20 sign up for events,” Fredsell said.

Part of the issue with the size of the club is that there are only five officers who are saddled with all responsibilities.

Vice President Madeleine Henner plans on changing this next year by adding more officers.

“I want to have a treasurer, a drive organizer, and someone to do the board and take pictures of events,” she said.

To jumpstart the transformative changes in the club, the officers emphasize personal responsibility from their members. Members are now in charge of keeping track of their volunteer hours and participation.

Yet despite these changes, Fredsell realized her initial goals for the club were unrealistic.

“At the beginning of the year we brainstormed how to make the club fun and interesting and I had all these big dreams,” she said. “ I wanted it to be more than just a filler for college resumes. As the year progressed, I realized that a well-run club means so much work for the officers with very little participation from the members besides showing up to meetings and volunteering occasionally.”

There were some additional setbacks for the club during the annual canned food drive as some students began to take food from the bins.

“When I saw that people stole from the drive, I was really upset,” Henner said. “I understand that some people at the high school may have truly needed it, but I bet it was just people between classes who wanted a pop tart.”

Fortunately, as the drive progressed and the club posted more flyers, the stealing stopped, and according to Henner it ended up “going really well.”

Henner is proud of the progress Key Club has made this year and sees further improvements down the road.