Key Club is a service organization for high school students and, although the club operates under the school's regulations, it is different from other clubs. Key Club is unique because it blends service with outstanding leadership training. The projects and activities undertaken by the Key Club provide learning experiences outside of the classroom and encourages students to become involved in their school and community.
Key Club, along with serving the community, also provides many services to the school. Participation in Key Club service activities helps to develop initiative, leadership, and good citizenship. This involvement helps to heighten awareness of the community's needs.
Key Club was started in May 1925 in Sacramento, California, by the local Kiwanis club. The original purpose of Key Club was to provide an active, vocational guidance program for the student body. Later, in response to many other opportunities for service in the school, Key Club began to expand. Today Key Club is the largest high school service organization in the world. It has become the high school service club.
At the outset, Key Club grew with the help of Kiwanians who visited the Sacramento club and came away with the idea of introducing the high school service club to their own communities. This idea spread quickly, and soon Key Clubs began to form across the United States.
By 1939, Florida had enough clubs to hold a state convention and form an association of Key Clubs, thus starting the first districts. Members then traveled to Florida for the first International Convention. There, Malcom Lewis, from West Palm Beach, Florida, was elected the first International President.
Key Club experienced a banner year in 1946, during which the first Canadian club was established, and the official publication of Key Club International, KEYNOTES, was first published. Also in that year, at the convention in New Orleans, the Key Club International Constitution and Bylaws were adopted.
With the Constitution and Bylaws as a guide, Key Club International has since spread across North America and to seventeen countries, which have now been divided into 31 districts.