Kiwanis International Convention
A Time for Renewal, Rejuvenation
The 101st Kiwanis International Convention is in the books. Kiwanians from around the world gathered in Toronto to conduct the business of Kiwanis. Among them were representatives from Indiana’s Kiwanis clubs. And though their reasons for attending are many, they all left with new friends, new insights and renewed vigor for helping our great organization fulfill its mission making the world a better place for children.
Matthew Vanover, president of the New Albany Kiwanis Club and lieutenant governor of the Scenic Hills Division, found inspiration.
“My favorite part of the convention was getting to meet other Kiwanians from around the world and hearing what their clubs are doing in their communities,” Vanover says. “I benefited from attending the convention because of the great ideas and inspiration that were presented. I got to see the global impact that may not always be felt at the club level. I learned that as Kiwanians, we are a part of something much greater than just local clubs.”
Vanover also learned many things that will help him become a better Kiwanian and help his club develop a stronger service presence in its community.
“I learned a lot more about the media resources, especially the 30-second commercials the International staff has developed, that can be used to promote our clubs,” he explains. “I also have a better understanding of the strategic plan, including The Formula and I-Plan. I know feel more confident in going back to my club armed with a lot of materials and ideas that will help my club be successful in serving the children of the world.”
For Elaine Cummings-Bullard, 2010 Indiana District Governor, engaging in the political process in the House of Delegates was a high point.
“This year, we had four candidates for vice-president, which is unusual,” Cummings-Bullard, a member of the Seymour Kiwanis Club, notes. “A run-off was necessary to declare a vice-president. All four candidates were extremely capable to serve as our International president in three years. We also elected three trustees. Our president and president-elect were elected by a unanimous vote. I wish all our clubs would send delegates to participate in the election process of our leadership. The caliber of our candidates is outstanding and all convention attendees are offered the opportunity to meet and greet with the candidates.”
For Holly Barnett, the International convention was a time of rejuvenation.
“When you see the impact Kiwanis has in all corners of the world, it rekindles your passion for the organization,” Barnett, president of the John Chapman, Fort Wayne Kiwanis Club, says. “And going to convention is beneficial because it helps you form new ideas for your club. You get to see how other clubs function, get ideas for projects and discover a wide variety of service projects. Many new ideas and concepts really sparked my interest and I will be sharing them with my club.”
Other highlights included the rousing Opening Session with an inspiring keynote address by Col. Chris Hadfield, an astronaut from the Canada Space Agency selected as a NASA space engineer; the gala dinner, featuring singer/songwriter Jewel; and the World Showcase.
Of course, Indiana Kiwanians took part in the House of Delegates, electing Jane M. Erickson of the Bellevue, Nebraska, Kiwanis Club, the 2016-17 Kiwanis International president, with James M. Rochford of the Peoria, Illinois, club elected president-elect, and Florencio C. “Poly” Lat, Manila Métropole, Philippines, vice president. Delegates also discussed several proposed amendments to the Kiwanis International Bylaws. (You can find a summary online.)
President-designate Erickson closed out the convention by sharing some of her personal Kiwanis stories and encouraging Kiwanians to draw upon their own.
“These are my stories, but they’re really our stories because we all have stories to tell,” she said. “That’s what keeps us coming back for more. It’s our pay from our investment in Kiwanis. It’s our handprints on the world.
“So this is where the energy will happen in 2016-17, as we create our own club strategic direction that helps us to open at least 300 new clubs and strengthen our existing clubs, fulfill our commitment through our Eliminate project, support our Service Leadership Programs, and work our projects to keep our kids happy, healthy, safe and loved.”
Kiwanis ‘Spokesman’ to Take Quest For 3 Wishes Campaign
Jim Bare is an ardent supporter of the Indiana District’s 3 Wishes Campaign. Soon he will become a true “spokesman.”
The Maple City, Goshen, Kiwanian will hit the road on his bicycle May 2 for a 73-mile trek to Valparaiso, beginning a 150-mile whirlwind tour of clubs in the Duneland and Calumet divisions. He hopes to arrive in Merrillville in time for the May 5 start of the 98th Annual Indiana District Convention and its Rockin’ for Riley event, a lively evening celebrating the district’s special partnership with the Riley Hospital for Children. He’s not doing this for his health, though; he’s raising cash for the Kiwanis/Riley initiative.
Bare is a veteran of running and biking charity events. Three years ago, he rode his bike to the district’s annual convention as a way to raise money for another Riley campaign, Path to a Cure. He decided to try a similar quest this year after some good-natured ribbing from fellow Kiwanians.
“So this spring,” he says, “someone at a Land of Lakes Division past lieutenant governors luncheon, says, ‘Hey Jim, are you going to bike to the district convention this year?’ I said I didn’t know and another person said, ‘Well, you’re going to do it’ and immediately there was $200 on my plate. That was the moment I became fully committed to doing this.”
The cyclist believes his Biking for 3 Wishes ride is the perfect way to build enthusiasm for the 3 Wishes initiative, which focuses on children with autism and related disorders. When he visits clubs during his bike hike, he will be asking for “above-budget donations” to the cause.
“I don’t want money the club already has budgeted for 3 Wishes,” he explains. All the money he collects will go to the campaign.
If you or your club would like to support Bare in his quest, drop him an e-mail, or you can send a check to the District Office made out to the Indiana District of Kiwanis with “3 Wishes – Jim’s ride” in the memo line.
“Since one in 68 children have autism or a related disorder, almost all of us have faced this issue, either in our immediate families or in our extended families,” Bare says. “I encourage others to take this issue as seriously as I do and support me in my mission.”
The district convention unfolds May 5-7 at the Radisson at Star Plaza in Merrillville. In addition to the Rockin’ for Riley event, the annual gathering of Indiana’s spirited Kiwanians includes a Kiwanis Soiree, an evening of celebration with a Parisian flair on Saturday; the Memorial Breakfast Sunday morning; and the Kiwanis Town Hall.
Registration for this event is required for all attendees. You’ll find a registration form and additional information online. If you register before July 25, the fee is $90, which includes materials, Friday evening’s Rockin’ for Riley event, Saturday breakfast and lunch. After July 25, the fee jumps to $105.
SPECIAL REMINDER: The deadline for making hotel reservations with guaranteed availability and the discounted convention rate is July 16. (Any paper registrations must be mailed by July 15.) Reservation information can be found online.