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  • Defining and developing leadership

    Leadership is not about personality or popularity—it’s about behavior. And it requires a set of skills that can be developed through practice. In Learning Leadership, Michael Brandwein defines a leader as “a person who uses skills to help a group identify and achieve its goals.”

    Let’s look closely at this definition:

    • “Person.” Leadership isn’t limited to a type of person or an official role. We can be leaders in groups and teams without being designated with a title.
    • Skills.” Leaders use skills to be effective. And skills are things that we can all learn.
    • “Help.” It’s important to remember that a leader’s job is to guide others.
    • “Identify.” A leader’s role is to help the group find a purpose or direction.
    • “Goals.” A leader helps the group accomplish a particular thing or set of things.
    As a Builders Club advisor, you help each member understand that leadership is for him or her—yes, for every member—and you help each member develop these skills. Empower your Builders Club members by discussing this definition with them—and how they can be effective leaders. 

    Here is an activity to help Builders Club members reflect, together or individually, on their own leadership activities throughout a day. If club officers have time to meet before the club meeting, have them complete this exercise first. Then have the officers lead the activity during the meeting.

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  • Icebreaker of the month: Leadership quotes

    Here’s a great precursor to the "Leadership roles" activity. Have club officers find leadership quotes and then post them around the room before a club meeting. To start the activity, the officers should ask the other members to stand by the quote that speaks to them or reflects their own leadership values. Then each member  should take turns explaining why the quote is meaningful to his or her life. Have the officers speak first to get things started!

    Here are a few examples of leadership quotes:

    Andrew Carnegie: "No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it." 

    John F. Kennedy: "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." 

    Bill Bradley: "Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better." 

    Michael Jordan: "Earn your leadership every day."

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  • November is Kiwanis Family Month

    Builders Club is a program of Kiwanis International. In fact, the Kiwanis family has clubs for every age and ability. And we’re all focused on servant leadership. So why not serve together?

    That’s the idea behind Kiwanis Family Month. This November, take some time to find out what these other clubs in your area are doing:

    • K-Kids: elementary school students (ages 6–12)
    • Key Club: high school students (ages 14–18)
    • Circle K: college and university students
    • Aktion Club: adults (18 and older) who have a disability
    • Kiwanis: over 200,000 adult members in more than 80 nations and geographic areas
    Encourage  your club to reach out and set up a shared activity, fundraiser or service project. Here are a few ideas: 

    • Clean up a street or park.
    • Hold a pancake breakfast or dinner to raise funds for a cause.
    • Volunteer at a food bank—or collect, pack and deliver canned food.
    • Volunteer at the local animal shelter.
    • Create thank-you cards/gifts for law enforcement officers or firemen.
    • Create care packages and write letters to military members.
    • Make “no-sew” blankets to donate to a local shelter.
    • Make knit caps for hospitalized kids getting chemotherapy treatments.
    And don’t forget to keep in touch with Kiwanis family members. You could invite Kiwanis club members to attend a Builders Club meeting—or host an appreciation night for your sponsoring Kiwanis club. Maybe even write notes of encouragement to members of other youth clubs in your area. 

    Let’s strengthen the Kiwanis family’s impact . . . and our bond. When you get together, it might even get to be a habit!

    Visit to learn more. 

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  • Service project of the month: Clothing drive

    In many areas, colder weather is quickly approaching. Most likely, there are children in your community whose families cannot afford coats, new uniforms or new clothes. And they often get bullied because they don’t have these items. Your Builders Club members can organize a clothing drive within your school and donate the items—either to students in need within your own school or a school nearby. Here are a few suggestions on how club officers can lead this service project. 

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    Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is one of our most important fundraisers of the year. It’s the perfect opportunity for your Builders Club to make a difference in the lives of women and babies around the world as we work together to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. Here’s how your club can take part in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF:

    Forgot to order boxes? Don’t worry! You can print out Trick-or-Treat labels or make your own displays. Let everyone know about your club’s activities and opportunities for them to donate.

    Have fun and save lives. Babies with tetanus will never have a chance to go trick-or-treating. We can change that. Encourage your club members to raise money by collecting donations while trick-or-treating, or find new ideas and inspiration.

    When going door to door, tell people why you’re collecting coins. Not sure what to say? Use one of these scripts. Don’t forget to thank your donors. Print and hand out these thank-you cards or create your own.  

    Send in your funds. When your fundraising is done, send a check or money order (payable to the Kiwanis International Foundation) and your completed gift form to:

     The Eliminate Project: Campaign Office
     Kiwanis International Foundation
     P.O. Box 6457 - Dept. #286
     Indianapolis, IN 46206, USA
     Write your club name or club number on the memo line of the check.

    Get recognized. If you submit US$250 in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF donations before Dec. 31, 2015, your club will earn a banner patch. Learn about other recognition opportunities at You can do it!

    Thank you for all you and your club are doing to help women and babies around the world. We need every Builders Club member to take part and make a difference. Visit or contact for more information.

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