Rotary Club of Sycamore, Illinois
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St. Mary's Parish Activity Center
312 Waterman Street
Sycamore, IL 60178
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Sycamore Rotary News
The new NIU head baseball coach, Ryan Copeland, brings a winning record from his last job and clearly wants to make the same happen in his new assignment as leader of the Huskies.  Copeland is a native of Des Plaines and attended Illinois State University (ISU) in Normal.  A standout left-handed pitcher, he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and spent three years with their organization.  He later returned to ISU to complete his degree and then began his coaching career with them.  He moved on to the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS) for the 2016 season and became head coach in 2020.  Overall, his teams at UIS achieved a record of 131-38.
 
Copeland says he is approaching his new job on two levels.  There is the Micro level where he will be working to get the most each outing from the players that were recruited prior to him joining the organization.  He said he does have a couple of transfer players from his old school, but for the most part is working a playbook that looks at what his available talent has to offer, not necessarily the type of game he would ideally play.  Copeland says his other level is the Macro outlook, where he begins recruiting players to build a program that he says can be the best program in the Division.
 
Copeland admits that new NCAA rules make college sports  almost a constant recruiting activity for coaches.  He said college players can now change schools without any waiting periods before playing again and potential players are pursued very early in their high school careers.  He says things that will make a difference for building strong NIU teams are their core values stressing conditioning, studying, and mental health awareness.  The quality of campus life is also important, said Copeland, including a commitment to volunteerism in the community.
Even though there were snow flurries outside, newly appointed Sycamore Park District Golf Superintendent Paul Price laid out his vision for the upcoming season at this week’s Rotary meeting.  Price came on board in December to succeed retiring longtime golf superintendent Kirk Lundbeck who retired.  Price comes to Sycamore from the Grayslake Park District where he promoted golf participation by non-traditional age groups, especially with youth camps.  Price learned to play golf through family and friends, especially with trips to a practice range with his father.  He even admitted to an interest in golf at a very early age when he had a toy golf set.  He said he wants to see a full age-range of instructional programs available to youth, especially filling a gap for those over age 11 that do not fit into league play.
 
Although he has not had professional competitive golf experience, Price says he is a 5 to 6 handicap golfer.  He says the “short game” is the best part of his outings.  Style wise, he says he adapted techniques from multiple players, not dominated by any one specific player’s approach.  Price said he is eager to help individuals elevate their golf experience at the Sycamore course focusing on personal enjoyment.  Price said he hopes the programs, course quality, and resources available at the Sycamore Golf Club help grow interest and participation in the game.    
Sean Kingsbury, Marketing Executive for State Farm at their Bloomington, Illinois headquarters, gave Rotarians a lesson in brand strategy during this week’s meeting.  Kingsbury said the goal of their campaign is to build brand trust for their various insurance products. He noted the use of actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, plus Kevin Miles who portrays company representative “Jake” in commercials, all have appeal to certain market segments.  He said the same goes for famous sports figures who appear in their commercials.  He said they all carry the message of “why we can be someone’s trusted insurance company.”
 
Kingsbury said it is important to have one’s brand strategy clearly understood.  He gave the example of automaker Kia which has transformed itself into a more luxury brand while offering vehicles that are basically the same as Hyundai.  He said data shows that during a recent general vehicle sales slowdown, Kia was able to keep selling their cars at a premium while makes like Hyundai were forced to offer price cuts.
 
Kingsbury offered some marketing tips for Rotary.  Praising the organization’s service and humanitarian efforts locally and around the world, he said it is important to keep this brand identity at the top of everyone’s mind.  He said that means regularly sharing the Rotary story through social media, newsletters, and personal invitations for people to attend Rotary events.  He said just like State Farm, Rotarians should always be looking for opportunities to explain “who we are and what we do.”
Jim Buck began his Rotary linguistic overview by commenting on the evolution of the reply to a comment going from “you’re welcome,” to “ no problem,” and now “no worries.”  Through multiple pages of examples, Buck sought to educate, often with humor, on how different generations give words and phrases entirely new meanings.  For example, did you ever think a “dashboard” would refer to a computer screen image instead of the panel where gauges are mounted for the driver of a car?
 
Buck also noted how mistakes in grammar are now commonly accepted.  You frequently hear the phrase “hopefully we’ll win” when it should be “we hope we’ll win.”   The first phrase incorrectly uses an adverb as a verb.
 
On the pet peeve side of things, Jim didn’t hold back with his criticism.  Right at the top of his list was the almost universal adaptation of the phrase “going forward” instead of using “in the future.”   Jim asked, “why is everyone afraid of saying in the future?”
 
Among the “quirks” mentioned by Buck were “homophones.”  These are same-sounding words spelled differently and with different meanings or uses.  His list of examples included “to, too, and two” along with “rain, reign, and rein.”
 
Buck gave credit to his legal colleagues for pointing out and explaining many of the phrases and definitions he shared during his talk.  And should you ever be in a conversation with Jim and he looks at you quizzically or with irritation, you know you’ve probably used language from his pet peeves or quirks list.
Sycamore Rotarians got acquainted with new Rotarian Heather Tomlinson as she gave her classification speech during this week’s meeting.  Tomlinson helps coordinate recovery care programs and resources in DeKalb and Ogle Counties for the non-profit organization Sauk Valley Voices of Recovery.
 
Tomlinson grew up in Genoa, mainly raised by her grandparents.  She said she did a lot of travelling beginning in her 20’s but did not always make the wisest choices.  She said it was not until she was 39 that she found her path to addiction recovery.  This is what led her to focus on a career in social work, specifically helping people overcome their addictions.  She began taking classes at Aurora University and then joined Sauk Valley Voices of Recovery.  Tomlinson says she now feels she is fulfilling her full career potential by helping others.  She said a big part of helping someone overcome an addiction is making the individual strong mentally and physically, plus having a  feeling of being “grateful.”  Tomlinson says these same qualities got her interested in Rotary membership because of its commitment to service for others and community philanthropy.
 
Tomlinson says she relaxes by taking part in a Sunday morning walking group and also enjoys trips with her three children, ages 8, 12, and 17.  Please be sure to extend a warm “Rotary Welcome” to Heather Tomlinson when you next see her.
The new fire station in Sycamore is set to be built on 6 acres of land donated by Ideal Industries in commemoration of their company's 100 Anniversary year in Sycamore. The target date for construction is April/May of 2025. This project was initiated after the existing Fire Station No. 1 faced issues with its heating system, overall space challenges, and need for improved fire coverage in the community. Ideal Industries which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024 generously provided the land for the new station. 
 
The proposed 10 foot wide walking and bike path design around an ecological landscape of native plants and trees near an existing retaining pond including benches and picnic tables strategically placed, the ability for fishing, and focused on being both beautiful and educational. Ideal's $400,000 development donation is hoping for other donations to help with constructing this plan which will continue to showcase Ideal's and Others' commitment to the community and safety of Sycamore residents. Construction is estimated to begin in spring of 2024.
 
A "Safety Town" is planned to be a multi-use area for Police, Fire, Students, etc. to help reinforce the importance of community-wide safety. As currently envisioned, advertising and promotional opportunities are sought. Local businesses might promote their companies through signage and even buildings, street signs, etc. Shouldn't there be a Bank, a Law Office and/or an Insurance Headquarters...or even the World's Greatest Service Organization, Rotary! Creative, fast-moving citizens will gain the primo spots. Call Michael Hall for more information.