Monday, June 22, 2020

Rough Risers Thank Peoples Clinic for their Support against COVID-19

Leigh Zeitz (Project Coordinator),
Augusta Sires (Peoples Community Relations Specialist)
and Jim Larson (Rough Risers President)
Monday, June 22, 2020 - Peoples Clinic, a non-profit health care clinic, has been helping people in Waterloo since 1976 but they really showed their commitment and dedication in their recent confrontation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cedar Falls Kiwanis Rough Risers club recognized the critical care that Peoples Clinic has been providing for the people of Waterloo and they wanted to show them their gratitude.  The club joined together to write Thank You notes for all of the Peoples Clinic team and raise the money to provide 140 HyVee $10 gift cards as well. On Monday, June 22, Jim Larson (Rough Risers President) and Leigh Zeitz (Project Coordinator) met with Augusta Sires (Peoples Community Relations Specialist) to present their gift for the employees.

Since March, the Clinic has administered over 1300 COVID tests and they have given as many as 45 tests in one day. This outpatient clinic has gone through many changes to attend to their patients' needs. The Urgent Care room was converted into a respiratory clinic to better serve patients and protect the rest of the clinic. The lobby has been redesigned to provide adequate social distancing. All patients and staff are required to wear face masks. They are now using Telehealth systems to meet with patients virtually.

Beyond providing health care services during an intense and challenging time, there have been many instances when their staff has assisted patients with personal needs. Due to COVID-19-related supply shortages and financial hardships, they have provided patients with personal care items, toilet paper, and food. They are also holding a clothing and a school supply drive right now in order to continue taking care of their patients in the most comprehensive way possible.

The Peoples Community Health Clinic is dedicated to "providing access to affordable, compassionate, high-quality health care for all."  Our Kiwanis club thanks Peoples Clinic and our support of them aligns with our mission of "Serving the Children of the World."
Written by Leigh Zeitz and Augusta Sires

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Nate Loenser Makes it to the Big Leagues

Wednesday, June 10 - "Doors will open when you work hard and treat people right."  These are the words of Nate Loenser who shared his life accomplishments with us today.  Nate is an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls but he began coaching basketball for the UNI Northern University High School in 2001. It's been a long road but he "never set a glass ceiling" for his accomplishments. He never took any day for granted.

Nate took us on his athletic journey as he played baseball, basketball, football, and golf in high school. Sounds like a typical high school athlete, but there was nothing typical about Nate because he was able to excel in these sports with a limb difference of having only one functioning arm.

Professionally, Nate followed his passion for basketball as a high school coach in Cedar Falls, Ames, and Spirit Lake. He coached basketball at the University of Southern Mississippi and Iowa State University.  In 2015, he became an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls - the team he had been rooting for all of his life. 

The most important part of Nate's presentation was when he shared his ideas about life and coaching. He has succeeded in life by never setting limits on himself nor the players he coaches. Nate views the foundation of successful coaching as building relationships with his players. He sees himself as a teacher who needs to help his players learn the "why" as much as the "what" of the game. Nate wants to make a difference in his players' lives.

Nate summed up his philosophy with a saying that guides his coaching:
     People will forget what you said.
     People will forget what you did.
     But People will never forget how you made them feel.

Nate made us feel hopeful and we look forward to watching him succeed and making a difference in players' lives.   Thank you, Nate.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Rough Risers Inter-Club w/Nebraska Dobytown Kiwanis Club


Virtual Meetings can be GREAT!!!

Now that many Kiwanis meetings are virtual, the sky is the limit for who can attend them. We have been fortunate enough to have Steve and Jane Harding join us from Tennesee on a weekly basis since we turned Zoom. We can even visit other Kiwanis
clubs in other states -  if we have the hankerin'.

Kiwanis Interclub is a program to promote interconnection between clubs.  In the past, it has involved members of one club driving over to another club's meeting to see what they are doing and make new friends. Kiwanis International even awards clubs with special points towards recognition if they engage in these visitations.  The last interclub that I took was when we visited the Greater Waverly Club at 6:45 on a Tuesday morning.

Now that we are virtual, we don't have to drive to the other club's meeting place.  We aren't limited to clubs within our locale. We can even CROSS STATE LINES for an interclub - if we have the hankerin'.

Finding the Club
Well, we had the hankerin'.  I visited the NE-IA Kiwanis District website and reviewed their list of Clubs with Virtual Meetings to find a club to visit.  While I was there, I found the Dobytown Kiwanis club in Kearney, Nebraska.  I visited their website and found that they were quite similar to our Rough Risers.  They have been around 42 years - we've been here 40. They cook pancakes as a fundraiser - we pop kettle corn. They provide backpacks filled with school supplies for kids - we've done that too. They raise and donate a substantial amount of money to support their youth - we do too. They look like a great group of Kiwanians, well . . . goes without saying.

So, I decided to contact Gordon Roethemeyer, their president, to see about setting up a date. What a treat. Turns out that Gordon is an educator - me too. Dobytown Kiwanis club is filled with educators - so are we. Gordon was excited about setting up this virtual visit so we proceeded with plans to make it a reality.

It's Time
On Tuesday morning, May 19 at 7:30 AM, 40 Kiwanians hit the Zoom waves to experience Dobytown's weekly club meeting. Twenty-six Nebraskeners were present while 14 of us from Cedar Falls made the scene. Gordon began their meeting with the pledge, prayer, and announcements. He welcomed the Rough Risers and we began introducing our clubs to one another.  Gordon provided the background story for their club and our prez, Jim Larson, shared our story.  Gordon and his band of Kiwanians shared information about their fundraisers and community service projects.  Tony Reid shared about our kettle corn sales and Sue Loy explained how one of our main sources of income comes from sponsorship by generous merchants in the Cedar Valley. I shared stories about our community service projects. When asked, Nick Teig shared the story of our newspaper bin days and how we set the world ablaze with that project It was a fascinating 45 minutes.

Interesting Revelations

  • We purchased our kettle corn popper from a place in Nebraska and for a couple of years Nick Teig et al drove to Kearney to purchase bags of special popcorn kernels from a relative to one of the Dobytown members. 
  • While they live in Kearney, Dobytown is a nearby ghost town and they took the name because of the town's interesting history.
  • We "Feed the Pig" on a weekly basis. We have to pay $1 if it is we are celebrating our birthday, anniversary, were mentioned in the media, or want to share something that is happening in our life.  Dobytown "Stuffs the Bear" for basically the same reasons.

Where Do We Go from Here?
This was a wonderful visit. We found kindred spirits in Nebraska and would like to continue this connection. One member suggested that we become sister/brother/non-gender specific sibling clubs.  It was also suggested that we do this once every quarter (next time we invite Dobytown to visit us at 6:45 on a Wednesday). We might even find some projects that we can coordinate between us to support the kids throughout America.  Who knows? 

This was a wonderful experience. It was an opportunity that we would not have had if our clubs hadn't moved to virtual club meetings. We have made some new friends and we should continue this connection -
if we have the hankerin' . . . & WE DO!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Virtual Kiwanis Rough Risers are a BIG Success!!!


Cedar Falls Kiwanis Rough Risers online
WE DID IT!!!

Our Cedar Falls Kiwanis Rough Risers club held our first virtual club meeting this morning a 7:00.
This was an opportunity to meet with old friends and share what they have been doing over the past few weeks.

After the Zoom test drive that we took yesterday afternoon, our Kiwanians handled Zoom like experienced Zoomers.  President Jim Larson led the meeting - complete with Pledge of Allegiance and Prayer.  Leigh Zeitz managed the Zoom room at the beginning of the meeting.  He took the crew on a tour of Zoom's capabilities and they even dropped into breakout rooms for a few minutes to experience that small meeting capacity.

Steve and Jane
It was heartening to see that we had 22 members attend. We were pleasantly surprised to be visited by Steve and Jane Harding. 
Click here to watch the recording of our 7:00 Wednesday meeting.

The discussion ranged from Dean sharing video of 3" of snow in the Quad Cities to how people were dealing with 3 weeks of quarantine. Sounds like many of the undone odd jobs around the house have been completed.  People are spending more time with family both in-person and in periodic online sessions.

All-in-all, it was a positive experience and we decided that we would meet EVERY WEDNESDAY @ 7:00 AM. The cool part is that we will be able to continue with programs.  We just need to invite presenters who are comfortable with working in this virtual environment. The best part is that we won't be limited to the Cedar Valley.  We can invite speakers from anywhere in the world.

Have your Best Week Ever.  Remember that Social Distancing does necessarily mean Isolation.  Keep in touch with those who are important to you.

Originally, this article said that we will meet on Tuesdays. This is wrong.  WE MEET ON WEDNESDAYS

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Pioneers in Virtual Kiwanis Rough Risers Meetings.

I just wanted to celebrate the brave souls who joined us for our trial Zoom meeting this afternoon. This is where we had a chance to see our friends again, but also an opportunity to try out the Zoom system so that things will run smoothly tomorrow at our 7:00 AM meeting.

You will notice that some of our members were broadcasting from unique locations.  Dan is in San Francisco.  Leigh is in the middle of a Van Gogh masterpiece.  Dean is in some swirly green place - don't know where.

Well, we will know where we will all be tomorrow morning - in Zoom.   

See you there!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Our February Programs involve Feeding, Voting, and Schooling

Wednesday, February 5 - Business Meeting
Our club members get together to discuss what's happening now and make plans for the future.  We talk about projects, kettlecorn, finances, marketing and a plethora of potential possibilities  

Wednesday, February 12 - The Cedar Falls Food Coop is Almost Here.  Tom Wickersham, Director of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa
Tom Wickersham will talk about how the Cedar Falls Food Coop is nearing reality, considering locations, and choosing a new name.  Tom is President of the Coop Board; he is also Program Director of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa.

Wednesday, February 19 - 100th Anniversary for Women's Right to Vote. Sasha Wohlpart, Cedar Falls School Board. 
The Cedar Valley has Big Plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Sasha Wohlpart will talk about those plans and how we are looking forward to continuing the push for equal rights for women.  Sasha is also a member of the Cedar Falls School Board.  



Wednesday, February 26 - What Do You Know about School Boards? Joyce Coil, Past President of Cedar Falls School Board. 
Joyce Coil has just stepped down after serving 25 years on the Cedar Falls School Board, four of those years as President of the Board.  She has an incredible record of serving her community.  Joyce will reflect on things she would like the public to know about school boards.  

Monday, January 6, 2020


Our Nebraska-Iowa Kiwanis District celebrated its Century Birthday on January 6 this year. We have plenty of reasons to celebrate. We have benefitted countless youth and community members.  

We have 175 individual clubs, divided into 6 Regions, made up of 24 divisions that encompass much of both states. There are approximately 5,400 Kiwanis members working toward the goal of "Serving the Children of the World."

We need to take time to heartily celebrate our past service and accomplishments, but there is still plenty to do in our communities.