KAY Clubs are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year as a unique Kansas State High School Activity Association leadership organization dedicated to helping middle and high school students learn about civic responsibility.
The organization, Kansas Association for Youth, was founded in 1945 as the KAYClub for boys and the KAYETTE Club for girls in1946. The two programs combined into a co-ed program in 1988. It has grown to an organization of 163 clubs and about 2,000 members.
Recently, Gordon Parks Academy (GPA) played host to the 2022 Area 6 Middle School Regional Conference at their partner facility, the 21st Street Boys and Girls Club. GPA has the only active KAY Club in this region.
“KAY clubs are centered around the importance of being a good, knowledgeable citizen,” said KAY State Director, Annie Diedrich. “All of our activities stress the importance of service and students are encouraged to engage in volunteer activities in their schools, neighborhoods and communities.”
The organization has 7 regional fall conferences like the one at Gordon Parks Academy on Nov. 2, a summer camp at Rock Springs 4-H Camp near Junction City and 12 Unit Conferences during the winter.
At Gordon Parks Academy, the students heard about “Service with Purpose” from Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple and Councilman Brandon Johnson. They also heard about “Mindfulness” from Paula Cazabet, school counselor.
The club standards state certain rights and privileges for youth in the “years of decision.”
Those include: to love and be loved; to think creatively; to seek the truth; to appreciate and respect all races; to enjoy fun and laughter; to share with my family and friends; to strive to be a good citizen; to live a healthy lifestyle; to give myself to a cause; and to take the long look.
KAY Club membership is open to all Kansas students from fifth through twelfth grades.