The end of the year is a reflective time for most. As an avid goal-setter, I often use this time to evaluate my personal and professional goals and think of new aspirations for the year ahead. This year has been a time of firsts for many of us; personally, it was my first year as executive director of Kiwanis Youth Programs. And I celebrated many firsts with our programs — from working with new leaders to launching initiatives and welcoming new partners. We didn’t just survive; we thrived!

Together, our student leaders, adult volunteers, partners and team members used new technology to find our way through 2020 — including experiencing our first of countless Zoom meetings. Many spring events were canceled, but by mid-year we found our way together online, using webinars to provide new training and create a safe space to collaborate and celebrate. Thanks to your creativity and commitment, we hosted conferences and events that broke attendance expectations.

While 2020 may not have been the year many of us had hoped for, it was a year that challenged us to think creatively, to ask ourselves tough questions, to seek silver linings and to grow continuously.

On behalf of the Kiwanis Youth Programs and Service Leadership Programs teams, I thank you. For leading, serving, listening and creating. We are nearly 250,000 strong, and we are making a difference around the world.

Together with our student leaders and adult volunteers, we have some exciting plans for 2021. We’ll grow our online training and presence, expand the Global Leadership Certificate and host exciting conventions. We expect some curveballs as well, but together we’ll be ready.

Whatever 2021 has in store, I am confident we will face it with the same grace and grit we have shown this year. I am in awe of our collective strength and commitment — and so excited to see what is next for the Kiwanis Youth Programs and our Service Leadership Programs.

Stay healthy and hopeful,

Michelle Study Campbell,

Executive Director

Kiwanis Youth Programs