“Full of shock and awe”—that’s how Racheile Ricklefs felt when she was elected the 2015–16 Circle K International President at the program’s convention in June.
Racheile started her CKI journey at the University of Central Florida. Now a graduate student at Indiana University, Racheile is earning her Master's degree in Library Science and specializing in archives. In fact, Racheile spends some of her time volunteering in archives. She also enjoys volunteering for charities, hanging out with friends, reading, going to concerts, eating at new places and occasionally, binge watching TV.
Racheile has served in several leadership positions in Circle K, from club vice president to international trustee. Each leadership position came with its own set of trials and accomplishments. “Serving in these positions has taught me a variety of skills that I can apply to serving as international president,” Racheile explains.
Among her various roles, Rachelie’s time as UCF CKI vice president taught her the most. In fact, she was practically thrown into the position, the club’s elected vice president had stepped down. At the time, Racheile had just joined Circle K and knew very little about the organization. Racheile was the only non-executive board member who had attended the Leadership Training Conference, and she had just been appointed a committee chair—so the board asked her if she would step up. Racheile saw this as a great opportunity for growth and decided to go with it.
“Throughout my whole experience serving as vice president, I was able to learn the ins and outs of CKI, what it meant to be a servant leader and a variety of other skills that I needed to develop throughout the year,” she says. “While the practical skills I learned were important, I think the most important thing I got out of this was a passion for CKI.”
For anyone who’s hesitant about getting involved at the international level, Racheile suggests one consideration: how passionate about Circle K are you?
“Regardless of whether an individual is elected or not, the experience of running for international is beneficial in itself,” she says. “It gives you experience in preparing and presenting ideas and speaking to your peers.”
Racheile’s favorite service project is volunteering with Give Kids the World, a nonprofit resort in Florida for children who have life-threatening illnesses. The resort is designed to look like a “storybook town” and provides all kinds of fun things for the children. The goal of Give Kids the World is to provide children and their families a relaxing time away from the stress of doctor’s appointments and treatments—allowing them to have fun and just be kids. While she attended the University of Florida, she did a lot of volunteer work with the organization. Racheile has dressed up as Christmas tree in their winter wonderland parade, helped serve ice cream, helped serve cake at the mayor’s birthday party, given airbrush tattoos, and much more.
“I get to meet such inspiring individuals,” Racheile says. “I have many great memories of volunteering here. Without Circle K, I probably would have never had the opportunity to volunteer at such a wonderful place.”
Racheile believes that Circle K Alumni are a great resource to current CKI members. Some of the ways CKI alumni can get involved is to keep in contact with their local CKI clubs, she says. “Attend their events and service projects. Provide advice and networking opportunities. Host CKI Alumni events and invite active CKI clubs. The possibilities are endless.”
Racheile is still getting used to the idea of being the international face of Circle K. “I was definitely overwhelmed and excited,” she says, “but I don’t think the full weight of being elected really hit me until later. Actually, it is still odd for me when I am referred to or introduced as the international president.”
Racheile is hoping to have an impact on Circle K and be able to create something that will continue long after her term is over. “I feel both excited and nervous,” she says. “It’s a big responsibility, and I really want to make sure that this year is an awesome year and the board is able to accomplish a lot.”