Saturday, December 31, 2016

January is Filled with Leaders, Scouts and Vets

Wednesday, January 4 - Business Meeting 
Where active club members discuss their accomplishments and plans for running and developing the Rough Risers.   

Wednesday, January 11 - This is Iowa's Teacher Leader Program
Luke Wagner, one of the teacher leaders for the Cedar Falls Schools, will explain how Iowa’s Teacher Leader program works.  Then he will demonstrate how he helps teachers learn to use technology in elementary classrooms to support their instructional goals.  

Wednesday, January 18 - Scouting for the Atlanta Braves
Dave Welter retired this year after a long career as the terrific principal of Holmes Junior High school in Cedar Falls.  But his program will focus on his other career as a scout for the Atlanta Braves.

Wednesday, January 25 - Honoring our Vietnam Vets
Chris Shackleford and Tom Brickman of Waterloo’s Grout Museum will discuss their Vietnam War Memorial.  They have developed an exhibit focusing on the 866 Iowans who died in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and give us a sense of what who they were and what their war was like.  

Friday, December 30, 2016

Gary Chamberlin from Cedar Valley Lions Club

December 14, 2016 - We were pleased to have Gary Chamberlin from the Cedar Valley Evening Lions Club provide our program today.  He mentioned that they had 90 members. 

Mr. Chamberlain shared the many projects and accomplishments his club had achieved over the years. 

The most interesting project was their Iowa Kidsight project which is dedicated to the early detection and treatment of vision impairments in Iowa's young children (target population 6 through 48 months of age) through screening and public education.

Thank you for joining us, Mr. Chamberlin.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jerry Slykhuis and his wife, Jane leave us

December 21, 2016 - On Tuesday night, we lost our beloved club member Jerry Slykhuis (73) and his wife, Jane (70).  They were killed when the SUV they were driving was hit outside of Liberal, Kansas by a truck that didn't stop at the designated stop sign.

Jerry was one of our original Rough Risers who began our club in 1981. He has always been an active member who has been one of the first to swing a hammer, bag some popcorn, cook some breakfast or support another member who needed some assistance.  Recently, Jerry had joined forces with Dean Dreyer to lead our group's drive for finding sponsorship from local businesses to provide financial support for community organizations. Jerry was awarded the George F. Hixson Fellowship award this year in recognition of the selfless leadership and contributions he has provided our club.

Jerry was known as one of the "Winningest coaches around." After 32 years of coaching varsity basketball at Cedar Falls High School, he developed a 531-305 winning record which placed him among the top 20 winningest boy's coaches in state history. He was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2009 and was named the Midwest coach of the year in 2009.

Jane worked at the University of Northern Iowa for 20 years, first as an RN in the Student Health Center and then as the Coordinator of Student Disability Services. She worked diligently to develop and to expand services for students with disabilities. She was known for her knowledge and expertise as well as her concern and passion for improving the services that were available to them.  She retired in 2007.

Services are set for 10:30 AM on Thursday, December 29 at the Nazareth Lutheran Church.  A reception will follow the services at the church.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday evening from 4:00 - 7:00 PM at the Nazareth Lutheran Church.

Memorials (financial donations) are preferred in lieu of flowers:

1-  CF Community Schools Foundation / in Jerry Slykhuis' name
2- UNI Foundation / in Jane Slykhuis' name

Jerry and Jane will be missed but the world is a better place because of their lives here.

What do you remember about Jerry and Jane?  What should others know?  Leave your ideas below in the comments section.

Here is a link to dozens of Tweets that have been posted about Coach Slykhuis and Jane Slykhuis.  (You don't need to know how to use Twitter to read these, just click below.)

Slykhuis Tweets

Jerry Slykhuis Facebook Page
Lots of tribute photos and postings

Friday, December 23, 2016

Members Journey Up to Wartburg for Inter-Club Visit

December 5, 2016 - One of the fun parts about having 6 clubs in the Cedar Valley is that we get to visit each other's meetings.  Monday morning, nine of our more adventurous members took a jaunt up to Waverly to join their club members for a 7:00 breakfast.  Interestingly enough, we were there long before the Waverly Club members but maybe that was because we are used to eating much earlier.

One of our motivations for this visit was to listen to Governor Jim Dane.  Governor Dane's main message was that we need expand our club membership. He shared that 40% of Nebraska-Iowa Kiwanis clubs have 25 or fewer members. He provided some suggestions as to how to build our membership.

Perhaps the best part of this visit was the opportunity to talk with fellow Kiwanians.  This is a busy club as they sell Christmas Trees, Ring Bells for The Salvation Army, and help the Waverly community.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rough Risers Adopt a Family for Christmas

December 7, 2016 - Every year, our Cedar Falls Kiwanis Rough Risers club adopts a family for Christmas.  This year we had the opportunity to share goodness with a family of four.

Our process has become well-refined:

  • We pass an envelope around the tables to collect contributions from members. 
  • These funds are tabulated and then split throughout the family. A certain amount of the total collected is used to provide a gift card at one of the Big Box stores in Cedar Falls.  
  • Members volunteer themselves (or spouses) to shop for one of the family members. 
  • All of the presents are brought to the first meeting in December and we attempt to wrap the gifts in jovial and Santa-like manner.  
  • The gifts are delivered in one of our sleighs to the Salvation Army who then drop them down our adopted family's chimney.

Below are some photos of the jovial Rough Risers as we wrap up our presents and good intentions:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jim Larson and Rough Risers Recognized by Big Brothers Big Sisters

December 9, 2016 - It was 7:00 on a Friday morning.   Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa held their Start Something BIG Breakfast at the Cedar Falls Hilton Garden Inn to celebrate the organization's Bigs (Adult Big Sisters and Big Brothers), Littles (Little Brothers and Little Sisters), and those who have supported the organization over the past year.  The room was filled with sharing, caring, and love.  Bigs shared their experiences.  Littles shared their stories.  People were thanked for their participation and support.  Over 300 people attended the breakfast.

Fourteen Rough Risers attended the breakfast (thanks for encouraging us to come, Emily!)  The food was great and our day was about to include some BIG surprises . . .

Xavier and Jim Larson
Our first surprise was when Jim Larson was recognized by Big Brothers Big Sisters as the Black Hawk County 2016 School-Based Big of the Year.   This is an award that was a total surprise to Jim but a well-warranted recognition.
Congratulations, Jim!!!!

Prez Alan Czarnetski w/Award
This surprise was followed by an even more startling revelation as our Cedar Falls Kiwanis Rough Risers club was recognized as the Black Hawk County 2016 Service Organization of the Year. 

It was a wonderful way to start the day.  We are thankful to be able to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa and all of the work that they do to make a difference in people's lives across Iowa.

Here is the hungry gang that joined together for another breakfast.
Table 1

Table 2

Katie Orlando - Club Member & Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gift of Giving 2016 was a HUGE Success!!

December 3, 2016 - Every year, the Cedar Valley JayCees organize the Gift of Giving.  This is an event where children and volunteers join together to make the holidays happy.  Children are provided the opportunity to shop for Christmas gifts for family that they may not have been able to purchase otherwise. 

The children are selected as the JayCees work with school counselors, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Club to identify up to 100 children to participate in this event. Since 2012, our Cedar Falls Rough Risers club has been a partner in this event. We provide a cash donation and provide breakfast for the participants. 

The event began at 6:30 on December 3.  Ninety-six children and over 100 volunteers gathered at the Waterloo UAW hall.  Each child was paired-up with an adult for his/her  upcoming adventure.  The culinary volunteers went to the kitchen to begin preparing breakfast.

Once the teams were created, they climbed aboard school buses to venture over to Blaine's Farm and Fleet in Cedar Falls.  At the store, the shopping teams were given $40 credit to shop for presents for their family. This is a process where the children (and the volunteers) learn a great deal about "stretching a buck."  (I (Leigh Zeitz) helped my student purchase gifts for 7 family members and we had 2 cents left over =-)

After the shopping was completed, the shoppers climbed back on the bus to return to the UAW to wrap presents and eat breakfast. The breakfast was cooked and served by our own Kiwanis Rough Risers.  Lots of food and Lots of fun!!!

This event is a highlight of the year.  It is an opportunity for us to enjoy the company of excited kids and for us to really get the feeling of the holidays.

Visit the JayCees' site for more information about The Gift of Giving

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rough Risers Focus on the Gallagher Bluedorn PAC

Nov. 30, 2016 - Once a year, Our Rough Risers Club has the opportunity to be a Focus Group for the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.  We were honored to have Executive Director Steven Carignon and Director of Development Susan Munnik visit us and share some video snippets of some acts that they are considering.

The process is that each of the members is given a sheet of paper listing the shows that will be shared.  They show a clip of a performer or performance and ask us to raise our hands when we feel that we have seen/heard enough to make a decision. Each act is discussed and then we are asked to rank the shows as to whether or not we think we would attend.

While we are not at liberty to share the names of the acts, I can assure you that it was a healthy collection of musicals, concerts, and novelty shows.  It should be a great year.

They were given another Koveted Kiwanis Koffee mug for their wonderful service.