Maria Urbina joined the high school branch of the Kiwanis Club, the Key Club, last year as a way to become more involved in community service.
Although there were about 30 paid members, she noticed only about 10 students were active.
"I realized the structure just wasn't there," she said.
So, as a sophomore and first-year member, she ran for president. She was elected in spring of last year and when her term is up this year, she plans to run for re-election.
As president, Urbina, 16, reorganized the club's structure, adding committees -- and chair people to head them -- in an effort to involve more students in leadership roles.
And it's worked. Membership is approaching 70 students with about 30 participating in service projects.
"I love how many kids there are," she said. "We have every color and every age. That's what makes it so good -- we have so many different ideas."
Urbina also credits new advisers Sarah Adler and Gary Lenshyn with the increased interest.
"They bring so much energy," she said.
About 40 members attended a luncheon Tuesday to celebrate national Key Club week.
Mayor Ray Masayko and Supervisor Robin Williamson spoke to members about the importance of becoming involved in the community.
Masayko, who has been a member of the Lions Club for more than 30 years, said being mayor gives him an opportunity to serve.
"It's my opportunity to make Carson City a better place for us all to live," he said. "I just love doing that. That's what I signed up to do."
Heather Kuhn, 16, chairwoman of the service committee, said she sees a similar drive among her peers to serve the community.
"Teenagers really do care about what's happening and really want to do something substantial," she said. "The spirit (in the club) is wonderful."
Dan Nevin, president of Kiwanis, attended the luncheon and was pleased with what he saw.
"The Key Club is our future," he said. "Whether they choose to be Kiwanians or be leaders in the community, this is the basis of building their lifetime."
The Carson High School Key Club will join with the South Lake Tahoe's club Saturday to restore pastures and reconstruct trails at the Silver Saddle Ranch.