About Key Leader


Key Leader is a weekend experiential leadership program for today’s young leaders. This life-changing event focuses on service leadership as the first, most meaningful leadership-development experience. A Key Leader will learn the most important lesson of leadership—it comes from helping others succeed.

Participants begin by attending a Key Leader conference, which is a weekend retreat. Large and small group workshops, discussions and team-building activities take place over the course of the weekend. Students have opportunities to learn leadership skills that will help them to change their schools, communities, and world for the better. While exploring leadership in a whole new way, participants will make amazing new friends and have experiences they will never forget. Positive, ongoing interaction with other Key Leader graduates offers continuing reinforcement, encouragement and growth of leadership skills.


The Key Leader program is built on five essential principles. These principles reflect our mission to inspire young people to achieve their personal best through service leadership:

  • Personal Integrity: Doing the right thing
  • Personal Growth: Developing in mind, body, and spirit
  • Respect: Showing consideration for self, others, and property
  • Building Community: Developing relationships to achieve positive goals
  • Pursuit of Excellence: Expecting and achieving the best


How does Key Leader impact youth? It helps participants in developing important social and emotional skills, which allow them to understand self and develop meaningful connections with others. These skills enable young people to calm themselves when angry, initiate friendships, resolve relationship conflicts respectfully, and make ethical and safe choices.

The five core categories of social and emotional learning are listed below. The skill sets that are emphasized through participation in Key Leader are italicized.

SELF-AWARENESS – Accurately accessing one’s feelings, interests, values, and strengths/abilities, and maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence.

SELF-MANAGEMENT – Regulating one’s emotions to handle stress, control impulses, and persevere in overcoming obstacles; setting personal goals and academic goals and then monitoring one’s progress toward achieving them. The ability to express emotions constructively.

SOCIAL AWARENESS – Taking the perspective of empathizing with others; recognizing and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences; identifying the following social standards of conduct; and recognizing and using family, school, and community resources.

RELATIONSHIP SKILLS – Establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; resisting inappropriate social pressure; preventing, managing, and resolving interpersonal conflict; and seeking help when needed.

RESPONSIBLE DECISION-MAKING – Making decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate standards of conduct, respect for others, and likely consequences of various actions; applying decision-making skills to academic and social situations; and contributing to the well-being of one’s school and community.

Register Today!

*Sponsor – this is the organization providing FUNDING for your participation in the Key Leader weekend. (Example- Kiwanis Club, School, etc)

Note: there are no more refunds past February 13, 2024

$250 Student Participant

Any student in the 9th – 12th grade.

Cost includes all meals, lodging and program material for the weekend.

$200 Student Facilitator

Key Leader grads and 11th and 12th graders are welcome to apply to be a student facilitator. There are only a few Student Facilitator spots available and all applications are subject to review prior to camp. A confirmation email accepting you as a Student Facilitator will be sent 2 weeks prior to camp. If not selected, you may still attend camp as a participant.

Cost includes all meals, lodging and program material for the weekend.

$200 Adult Chaperone

Adults age 21 and older may apply to be an Adult Chaperone at a Key Leader Camp. This requires the adult to be an active adult participant throughout the weekend. Adults must adhere to the same code of conduct and requirements as the students and are asked to not leave the camp site during the weekend. A Kiwanis Background Check must be completed 4 weeks prior to camp and be returned cleared to participate.

Cost includes all meals, lodging and program material for the weekend.


If you or your organization would like to simply give a monetary donation to be used toward any necessary expenditures of the camp, please kindly donate here. KYDS Club of San Diego Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 organization.

Contact Us

Kiwanis Key Leader

Geoff Tobias
Valerie Hofheins-Crawford