What is CKI?
CKI is a sponsored program of Kiwanis International, a community-service organization for professional men and women. There are CKI clubs on more than 550 college and university campuses worldwide with more than 13,000 student members.
Each club is sponsored by one or more local Kiwanis clubs. This relationship provides students the opportunities to interact with professionals within the community. Joint service projects, meetings, and other events are generally conducted each year, joining together the efforts of the community and campus leaders. Often, the Kiwanis club provides financial support to the club.
CKI is an association of clubs, and the strength of its clubs is the key to the success of the organization. The work of CKI occurs at the club level. Clubs devise, develop, organize, and implement service projects that benefit the campus and community. Clubs may undertake projects that best fit the needs of that community and those members.
Though service is the primary focus of clubs, the very nature of the organization requires that some administration take place in each club. There are dues to be collected and paid, reports to be completed, correspondence to be written, and mail to be read. Each club must have leadership to function. Each year, elections are conducted and students are placed in leadership positions within the club.
CKI members focus on making the campuses and communities better places in which to live and work. In the process, CKI members benefit from their involvement in the organization. Some of the benefits of CKI membership include:
- Learning the importance of voluntarism and altruism in our world.
- Discovering and developing leadership talents and skills that will be used in future career and professional positions.
- Applying concepts learned in the classroom to everyday situations when planning a project or organizing an event.
- Networking with professional men and women in similar fields of interest through interaction with members of the sponsoring Kiwanis club.
- Developing friendships that last because members spend time with others who have similar values and ideals.
- Applying to receive scholarships for future educational costs.
- Gaining professional training in areas such as membership recruitment, leadership skills, public relations, and organization through attendance at conventions and conferences.
- Participating in district and International conventions along with leadership development conferences known as LeaderShape.
- Receiving Circle K Magazine published twice a year.
- Being a member of the Member Community on the CKI website.
- Receiving Service Program opportunities (available to clubs including partnerships with members of the Young Children: Priority One Advisory Council).
The Three Tenants: Service, Leadership, and Fellowship
As one of the three tenets, service is a fundamental element of CKI. Collectively, CKI members perform more than one million hours of service on their campuses and in their communities annually. Without service, CKI would be just another campus activity. Through service, college students are making the world a better place.
As a service leadership program of Kiwanis International, CKI shares the focus of serving children of the world. In support of this effort, the CKI service initiative is Focusing on the Future: Children. This initiative encourages members to address the issues facing children ages six to 13 and to find solutions through service for addressing these issues.
Through the mission and vision of the organization, CKI is dedicated to the realization of mankind’s potential. The potential of CKI lies in its ability to positively influence members of society who are facing ultimate personal decisions and those who will one day create the vision of mankind for generations to come. Leadership opportunities afford CKI members the resources and tools needed to become active citizens. CKI members can assume leadership responsibilities at all levels of the organization and through various experiential training conferences.
If there is one thing that CKI members know best, it is fellowship. Whether they are planning a car wash, visiting shut-ins, reading to three-year-olds, or conducting business, CKI members across the globe take time to meet and welcome new people. With each element and aspect of CKI, members experience fellowship and develop life-long relationships with fellow collegians, advisors, Kiwanians, and citizens in their communities. Whether a CKI member is mentoring a child, networking with a businessman, or bowling with members, that CKI member is developing social skills, meeting new people, and strengthening relationships.
There are three levels of CKI: club, district, and International.
The Club Level
The club is the first and most important level of CKI. Without the clubs, there would be no need for the district and International levels. The club level is where the mission of CKI is realized. Clubs are the heart of CKI’s service. The other levels exist to provide consultation and develop program materials that will assist and support the club in attaining their service and leadership development objectives.
The District Level
CKI is divided into districts that are either a state, a combination of states, provinces, and/or countries. They are regionally identified. The main function of the district is to develop and maintain clubs within the specified region. The chief spokesperson and leader of the district is the governor. Other district officers include the secretary, treasurer, or secretary/treasurer, bulletin editor, and lieutenant governors.
The districts are further broken down into divisions that are managed by lieutenant governors. The lieutenant governor is responsible for servicing the needs of the clubs in his/her division by visiting, counseling, assisting, getting clubs involved in district and division projects, and evaluating club progress. The lieutenant governor is the club’s primary liaison to the district. He/she can share ideas and recommend strategies for your club management questions.
The district offers a number of leadership development and social opportunities. The district also involves itself in a district-wide project, in which each club is encouraged to participate. The district will conduct divisional rallies for the clubs in each division; it will sponsor a leadership training conference in the fall and a district convention in the spring. At the district convention, as many club members as can attend should represent each club. The club is allowed two voting delegates to elect new district leadership, share input, vote on district bylaw amendments, and determine the district’s future.
The International Level
The final level of Circle K is the International level. The International Board of Trustees is composed of the President, the Vice-President, and seven representatives. These students administer the organization at the International level. They identify the critical issues facing the organization and evaluate strategies to help the organization support its mission. The International Board sets the policies for CKI, develops service initiative programs, and advises and educates the districts.
The International Board provides consultation to each district via the governor to assist him/her in managing the organization at the district level. The International representative serves as a liaison between the district and International levels. Annually, the council of governors meets with the International Board of Trustees to discuss the state of the organization.
There is an annual International convention. At the International convention, as many members as can attend should represent each club. The club is allowed two voting delegates to elect new International leadership, share input, vote on amendments to the International Bylaws, and determine the future of CKI.
The Kiwanis International Office in Indianapolis, IN also maintains a team of employees designated to work solely for Kiwanis service leadership programs. It develops service program materials, processes dues and membership information, creates leadership development literature, manages the International budget, and forwards mailings to clubs, faculty advisors, and Kiwanis clubs, just to name a few tasks.
Though the structure of CKI is complex, it is designed to ensure that members receive adequate support for their organizational activities. Furthermore, the organizational structure has been developed so all levels are interrelated and interdependent. Although autonomy in operation and decision-making is maintained at each level, all three levels of CKI must interact to realize the Objects and Vision of the organization.