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Kiwanis celebrates return of hugs and high-fives in Salt Lake City

| Jun 28, 2021

Kiwanis celebrates return of hugs

There were too many hugs and high-fives to count as vaccinated Kiwanis members from across the United States and several other countries gathered in person for the 2021 Kiwanis Education and Leadership Conference. The conference replaced the 2021 Kiwanis International Convention.

“It’s so great to see my Kiwanis friends again in person,” said one attendee. “I’ve missed them all so much.”

Laughing at the ELCAbout 500 people attended the ELC in Salt Lake City, Utah. More than 2,500 others attended virtually from around the world. A special livestream was available for anyone who wanted to register. Everyone who registered for the ELC in SLC has access to the recordings until July 26.

Hundreds of members packed physical and virtual rooms to hear speakers discuss ways to improve the club experience, engage new members and learn about post-pandemic service and fundraising projects. Thousands listened to motivational speakers, such as Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, who addressed handling a crisis in a logical and methodical manner.

Hugging at the ELCBesides the motivational boost and Kiwanis education, in-person attendees enjoyed two parties. The weather was perfect for the ELC in SLC opening party at the Gallivan Center. Built as a gathering space for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the park let Kiwanis and Circle K members spread out, enjoy dinner and meet members from other districts. The DJ had tunes cranking from all genres. By the end of the night, the dance floor was packed and no one wanted to leave.  

The Kiwanis BBQ on Saturday night was another opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Country music stars Larry Gatlin and Lorrie Morgan had the crowd on their feet or tapping their toes. The barbeque buffet filled many bellies.  

A record five women will serve on the 2021-22 Kiwanis International Board of Trustees after elections held Saturday at Kiwanis International Council. (Due to pandemic-related precautions, the council was convened instead of the traditional House of Delegates to ensure international participation in the election of Kiwanis officers. Travel to and from the United States is still limited in many parts of the world.)

Kevin Carroll at the ELCKatrina J. Baranko of the Georgia District was elected as 2021-22 vice president. She will serve a one-year term and will be joined on the board by Linda Lawther of the Michigan District, Hope Markes, elected by the delegates at the 2021 Eastern Canada and Caribbean District Convention in Canada, and Eliane Ott Scheffer, elected by delegates from the Kiwanis International-European Federation earlier this year. Current trustee Cathy Syzmanski of the Pennsylvania District has one year remaining on her term.  

Peter Mancuso of North Bellmore, New York, USA, was elected 2021-22 president, and Bert West, Divide, Colorado, USA, was elected 2021-22 president-elect. Both will serve a one-year term beginning Oct. 1, 2021.

Members are already making plans to attend the 107th Annual Kiwanis International Convention on June 8-11, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Education, motivation and fellowship will be the order of the day. Virtual and in-person registration options will be available starting in January.

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