Rotary Club of Sycamore, Illinois

We meet Wednesdays at 11:45 AM
Blumen Gardens
403 Edward Street
Sycamore, IL  60178
United States
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President Elect
Immediate Past President
Assistant Treasurer
Rotary Foundation
Membership Chair
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Denny Kolkebeck
Sep 26, 2018
Physical Therapist and Owner of Moose(L)-Up Redemption Club
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Sycamore Rotary News
Joe Ryan, head coach of the Sycamore High School Spartan football team, shared his story and some facts about the team with our group. Joe also brought four players from the team along with him. Joe has coached for 31 years, and had great mentors to show him the way including his brother who was a Hall of Fame coach. He is also helped by great assistants. 
Joe has been at Sycamore for 15 years, coaching the football team for all of those. Of the four different places he’s coached, Joe remarks that he likes Sycamore the best. As of our meeting, all of the Sycamore teams are 3-0 for the season and have the most playoff points in the state. The team faces its biggest “challenge” of the year in the First National Challenge Game this Friday against DeKalb. The team has failed to post a win in that game for the last four years.
The new school year has kicked off and with it the resumption of the Student of the Month program. The chosen student for the month of September is Griffin Nelson. Mr. Nelson is ranked 4th in his class with a weighted GPA of 4.483 and an SAT score of 1450. Aside from excelling in the classroom, Griffin also volunteers his time with a plethora of local organizations and extra curricular opportunities included Feed My Starving Children, Track & Field, Football, Basketball, Zumba for a Cause, Business Leadership Academy and others. A quote that always inspired him was from Bruce Lee, "The most dangerous person is the one who listens, thinks, and observes."
Griffin was joined at the meeting by his parents. Of them, he remarked that his household provided him the opportunities to explore, experience and learn. For his future plans, Griffin plans to pursue aerospace or mechanical engineering and would eventually like to travel, having already visited 10 countries and half the US, experiencing different cultures. He believes that immersing yourself in other cultures is one of the best ways to learn. He also hopes to use his degree to be a part of the innovation of the future.
Griffin decided to donate his $100 from the Sycamore Rotary Club to Opportunity House.
Conceived as a way of addressing needs in the local community, the Spartan Food Pantry will soon have its debut opening. Operated out of West Elementary School, the Spartan Food Pantry will provide health foods to any member of the community that currently has a student with the school district. Originally conceived as a project for her Masters in Social Work through Our Lady of the Lake University, the Spartan Food Pantry has been spearheaded by West Elementary’s Health Assistant, Atlee Mathews.
The first year of the program is entirely funded by the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB), including the costs for all equipment. If the first year pilot is successful, then a 501(c)(3) organization will be formed to continue the operation of the program. An initial Board of Directors has been formed consisting of Kristina Crawford (West Elementary School Principal), Courtney Walz (Director of OSCAR), Allyson Cooley (West Elementary School Parent), Riley Oncken (Attorney), and Eric Jones (Financial Advisor).
The pantry will open biweekly starting October 3, 2018, from 4:30 PM to 6:30 pm. The program will only be possible thanks to volunteers who will help with setting up the pantry and operating it during the two monthly openings. Groups or individuals interested in volunteering or donating are encouraged to call West Elementary at 815-899-8199 or email the program at
The Rotary steak fry dinner is back for its second annual iteration after being relaunched last year. The event will be held Thursday, September 20 at Becker Park off of Base Line Rd. The event will include a ribeye steak dinner (catered by Country Store), baked potato, salad, corn bread, and green beans along with a variety of adult and non-alcoholic beverages. Rotarians and any guests are invited.
Activities will include a corn-hole toss competition (with prizes), music by Craig Mathey, campfire and fraternization. Activities will begin around 4:30 PM. Dinner will be served at 6:00 PM and the evening will wrap up around 9:30 PM. Costs are $30 per person, billed to your Rotary account. A brief Rotary meeting will be held and make up credit is available. 
To sign up, contact Don Clayberg or look for a sign up form at the next meeting.
With heavy hearts, the Rotary Club of Sycamore bid farewell today to Rotarian Brian Adams. Brian has been a member of the club for nearly 18 years, having served not only as one of the club’s past president, but also as a long time chair of the public image committee, publisher of the weekly bulletin (The Spoke), and Sergeant at Arms. Known for his recognizable radio voice as the news anchor for the B95 radio station, Brian was left speechless during the farewell ceremony as fellow Rotarians Robert Hammon, Jim Buck, and Mayor Curt Lang took turns roasting Brian, lavishing him with praise, and presenting him with a letter of appreciation from the City of Sycamore. 
With the elimination of his position at the radio station due to an ownership change, Brian took a new radio news/sports host job in Knoxville, Iowa, a town even smaller than Sycamore with an estimated population of 7000 people, situated about 30 minutes southeast of Des Moines, IA. Brian’s legacy at the Sycamore Rotary Club will not soon be forgotten. His nearly unwavering attendance record, dedication as Sergeant at Arms, creator and maintainer of the club’s Facebook page, and role as the Club’s spokesperson to local media will not be easily replaced, nor will his countless achievements soon be overlooked. Brian was the inspiration behind, organizer of, and executor for many of the club's successful service projects including the Operation Warm coat drive, Toy for Tots collections, annual Rotarians at Work Days, and Shelter Box. In a remarkable show of the club's admiration for his contributions, Brian was the first and only member to receive the Dr. John Ovitz Rotarian of the Year award twice.
Jennifer Newman is one of the co-founders of Cashew Cow Dessert Parlor, makers of a dairy-free dessert treat made from raw cashews and other natural ingredients. Located in Tuscon, AZ, Cashew Cow might not exist except for generous help from Sycamore Rotarian, Ahmed Kamel, who consulted with Jennifer on the financial aspects of the business during fund the initial development of the company. Jennifer shared with us the company's interesting history, including an early confrontation with the other co-founder that nearly led to the company's demise. Fast forward three years, and Cashew Cow is thriving, readying itself for franchise opportunities. With a masters degree in Nutrition, Jennifer sees Cashew Cow as a healthier alternative to ice cream, one that appeals not only to the lactose intolerant, but to those seeking a truly vegan alternative for a delicious iced treat. Jennifer was flown out to Sycamore, IL, as a special send-off gift for departing Rotarian, Brian Adams, along with a collection of Cashew Cow’s various flavored desserts.