GHS Kayettes and cosponsors Kelly Burnick and Kayla Pruitt hosted the annual Kansas Association of Youth Unit Conference Jan. 31.

GHS Kayettes and cosponsors Kelly Burnick and Kayla Pruitt hosted the annual Kansas Association of Youth Unit Conference Jan. 31.

Two hundred forty-seven students from eleven area schools, including Altoona-Midway, Independence High, Girard, Northeast, Altamont-Labette, Southeast, Yates Center, Oswego, Erie, Independence St. Andrews and Independence Middle School, participated in the conference.

The day began with meetings for all club presidents and a student activity for all other members.

At 9 a.m. Cheryl Gleason, KAY administrator, welcomed members to the opening session in the auditorium, which included an introductory video by the Girard Kayettes and a performance from the GHS drumline.

Members then split into different groups to come up with ideas for their own clubs in the areas of leadership, character, health, service, recreation and appreciation.
Gayle Price, a registered dietitian employed by KSU as a professor and extension specialist, and Christy Vulgamore, vice president of the Girard National Bank, spoke to KAY members about community service and leadership.

Mrs. Price, who has served on the USD 248 Board of Education 13 years, talked about being a leader and said that if a person has the courage to stand up and stand out, others will eventually start following that person’s lead.

She also talked about the characteristics of a leader and how it is difficult to tell who has leadership qualities.

“It is not always the person at the front of the room talking but sometimes the person at the back of the room listening who is the leader,” she said.

Mrs. Vulgamore talked to the members about community service and how to get involved. She told them about her shy childhood and how she never would have believed that she would become so involved with her community and serve on so many committees.

Her service began when she started working at GNB 15 years ago and agreed to volunteer on a committee without realizing what she was signing up for. She told the group that after that, she never looked back.

Mrs. Vulgamore told the students that it is important to be a part of the community and that fairs, homecomings, and similar events do not happen without community service.

“I challenge you to step out of your box, volunteer, and be a part of community service,” she concluded.

Following these presentations members assembled in the gym to do a service project, making Valentine wreaths and cards for residents at The Heritage.

The day ended with a talk about KAY camp from District President Taylor Evans and a closing speech from Mrs. Gleason.

Regarding the conference, Kayette Board Member Danielle Gull said, “We put a lot of hard work into this day, and it was really rewarding to see everything come together.”

Cosponsor Kayla Pruitt said, "Hosting the KAY Unit Conference provided our members a great opportunity to demonstrate their service and leadership skills. The preparation took a lot of work, and I'm very proud of our members for their time and effort."

The next KAY Unit Conference will be held Wednesday, Nov. 7, at Altoona-Midway High School.