September 2019
HCI Monthly News & Updates
Message from our Board Chair

Happy Fall Everyone!! Like many families, this time of year is busy for us. Kids are jumping back into school, back into fall activities, back into the busyness of life. As many of you know, I have four children and they keep my husband and me going, going, going. We have dance, volleyball, marching band, weightlifting, football, cross country and church activities filling our wall calendar at home, and I’m sure there is more I’m forgetting. 

There is so much going on at HCI too! Registration for Fall Forum and Peer Group is open. These events are two of the reasons we signed up to be members of HCI, right? Great education and priceless networking! Don’t hesitate, sign up now!

Enjoy the cooler weather!   

Melanie Davis, CBCD
Farmers Savings Bank & Trust
Vinton, IA

Leadership 101
The Path to Extraordinary Leadership

Sign up today to attend this all day training event for bankers. Learn the characteristics of effective leaders and hone your leadership skills in order to be successful in every role in which you serve.

Join us at the Prairie Meadows Events & Conference Center in Altoona, Iowa on Friday, November 8, 2019. The session begins at 9 am and concludes at 4 pm.

The $95 cost for this full day of training includes the seminar materials, lunch and break. Hotel accommodations available for $119 per night.

Congratulations to Karissa Norine (formerly Wikert) of Hills Bank in Iowa City, Iowa. She married her sweetheart Tyler on May 11!

Club Member Surveys are a great way to learn what your members want - destinations, activities, interests - so you can provide trips and events that are well-attended. To access the survey templates (and all of our helpful resources), log in to the HCI Website and go to our "FOR MEMBERS" menu and select "HELPFUL RESOURCES" to be directed to the full list of available documents.

HAVE YOU REGISTERED FOR PEER GROUP YET? Don't wait, get it done today.

HCI 2020 Peer Group Conference Independence, Missouri
February 24 - 28, 2020

by Ted Nelson
Beth and I were very proud to represent Heritage Clubs on the FAM Tour Mayflower offered to HCI banks to cruise the Danube River on their Scenic Pearl Cruise from Budapest, Hungary to Nuremburg, Germany from July 28-August 5th this summer.

What an experience! From the very beginning, before ever leaving our home on Cape Cod, the arrangements were handled with expertise and courtesy. The documents we received were attractive and very clear, so we knew what to expect throughout our journey. 
OLD TOWN SQUARE                                           PRAGUE  CZECH REPUBLIC
We were provided a Suite Balcony cabin on the Diamond Deck, which is the top level of cabins just below the sun deck. The cabin was spacious and had a small balcony, that allowed us to sit outside and close the sliding door to the cabin. There is something very special about sailing leisurely and majestically along the river viewing small towns and large cities as we traveled through the three countries of Hungary, Austria and Germany. Side excursions also included Slovakia and the Czech Republic - 5 countries Beth had never before visited.

Before getting to Budapest, we spent 4 nights in Prague, which we had arranged on our own. The Scenic Cruise also offers this as an Add-on at the end of the cruise, but this did not fit our schedule, so we went on our own and stayed right in the heart of the Old Town Square at the U Prince Hotel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The picture below is from the rooftop restaurant directly above our room overlooking the Astronomical Clock and the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn.

What a magical city! Definitely plan to add Prague to your cruise itinerary. It is filled with ancient history, stunning architecture, beautiful people and spectacular sights. From the Old Town to the Prague Castle and Royal Gardens and the enormous Petrin Park we crisscrossed the Vitova River over the famous Charles Bridge multiple times to take in the city's sights.

Once on board ship, we truly learned what it meant to cruise the way we wanted to cruise. Every day - we had our choices of things to do. Every meal - we had our choices of dining locations and menu. All day - we had our choices of beverages and even a mini-bar that was kept stocked.

Before leaving Budapest we had a private concert by one of Hungary's foremost pianists and organists as he played several pieces by Franz Liszt famous for the "Symphonic Poem" and even a Bach fugue on the organ. We were in a small performance hall in an historic building and only our fellow cruise passengers were invited to attend. This was followed a couple of days later by a truly magnificent private concert held at the Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna. Here, performers from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Ballet and the Vienna Opera came together to entertainment us in the spectacular Hercules Hall with its 30' ceiling painted with depictions of the Labors of Hercules from Greek mythology.

One of our favorite days was Day 5, where we began the morning in Durnstein, Austria, climbing straight up hill to the historic ruin of Durnstein Castle, where in the year 1192 King Richard (The Lion Hearted) was held captive and held for ransom.  Beth hiked up to the top in about 15 minutes while I labored behind by at least 20 minutes, so that when I finally reached the top there she was sitting amongst the ruins enjoying the stunning view of the Danube below and her struggling husband trying to catch up!

After breakfast we then mounted bicycles with a group of about 25 cruise guests and traveled 20 miles along the Danube to the village of Melk, famous for the incredible Melk Abbey, which we then visited. Needless to say, I slept well that night after another first class dinner on board ship.

Though a rainy day greeted us on our excursion to Salzburg, Austria, it could not diminish our appreciation of Mozart's hometown. One of the most rewarding parts of the cruise was the extra time we found we had in the charming town of Passau, Germany. We were fortunate as the river was too low to get all the way to Nuremburg, so we had a beautiful time entirely on our own exploring this historic town where the Danube meets the Ilz and the Inn rivers. Scenic Cruises provided us with an App that we used throughout the journey that provided tour guide notes of every place we visited or even cruised by. We just plugged in our ear pieces and walked through Passau walking from one site to another completely taking our time as we could start and stop the App at our convenience.

We loved our experience with Mayflower and Scenic Cruises on the Danube. It was a truly special way to celebrate our 42nd anniversary. I encourage all our bank club directors to contact Mayflower and arrange your own group cruise for next year!
Member Spotlight
Joy Storer
D.L. Evans Bank
Idaho Falls, ID
“I love to see how happy these trips make our members.” ~Joy Storer

Joy Storer is the newest member of the DL Evans Premier Club leadership team that we have had the privilege of meeting at Peer Group. We all know Valerie Kelsey, CBCD and Amy Evans, CBCD who work in Burley and Boise, respectively. But this year they brought their colleague from Idaho Falls to Peer Group with them in anticipation of Val’s retirement. We had the pleasure of getting to know her throughout the conference, and now we have a chance to learn a little more. Joy started as teller 30 years ago and now works as an operations officer. When DL Evans Bank opened their branch in Idaho Falls, they needed someone to handle club responsibilities for the club members in that area. Joy started working with the Premier Club in 2008.

Joy plans monthly club activities for the club in Idaho Falls. June was National Dairy month, so she hosted an ice cream social that month. In July, they went floating down the Snake River before enjoying dinner and a movie. August was a “Pot Luck in the Park” with the “Old Time Fiddlers” event. In September she will start hosting movies, and the favorite “Chili Cook Off” will be held in October.

She is just beginning to take on the planning of extended trips, and relies on the expertise of HCI PTOs to help her put together the best experiences for her members. She started out by accompanying Amy and Val to see how it’s done. The first international trip she ever took was to Australia with Valerie as a member of her group. She also went with Amy on a tour to Germany. Joy will be leading her first extended tour in January to Panama. Russ & Susan Rosenberry of Islands in the Sun are helping her with that one. She will also be leading a group to the Canadian Rockies later that Fall.

So, what did she think of her first time at Peer Group in Sarpy County, Nebraska? “I found Peer Group to be very interesting. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I thought it was great! I love all the information that was provided. I didn’t realize that we had all those resources available to us. It was really nice to meet other club directors and learn about their issues and what they’re doing to solve them.” 

We look forward to seeing Joy (and Amy) again in Independence, Missouri next February. We hope to see you there, too!
Partner Profile
Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau
The Great Rivers & Routes region is the only place in the country where Route 66 meets the Great River Road. Our region offers an interesting mix of historic attractions, scenic drives, behind-the-scenes tours, and group tasting experiences. We are the site #1 on the Lewis & Clark Trail, and home to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We have Civil War sites, Lincoln sites and an extensive Underground Railroad network.

As a Tourism Bureau, we are always asked about “what’s new” in the region and there are two new exciting attractions to feature. In Collinsville, the former Herald newspaper building has been renovated into the Old Herald Brewery & Distillery. Groups can take a sensory tour and tasting experience with their craft beers or spirits distilled onsite including gin, rum, and vodka. The restaurant also offers family-style group lunches and dinners in their private room.

Located along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, Grafton will soon be home to the new Grafton Sky Tour aerial lift. Board the lift in downtown Grafton and ride nearly one-half mile and over 300 feet up to Aerie’s resort in enclosed gondola cars and open-air seats. At the top, you can enjoy breathtaking views overlooking the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Visitors can explore the new walking trails along the bluffs and enjoy a glass of wine or beer on the expansive deck overlooking the river. The Sky Tour can be paired with a Mississippi River cruise out of the Grafton Harbor or a visit to Pere Marquette State Park to create a full-day itinerary.

We have also put a lot of focus this year on building our production tour options for groups including windshield tours of the Wood River Refinery and the St. Louis Regional Airport. Groups can also tour America’s Central Port in Granite City, the National Corn-to-Ethanol Plant in Edwardsville and the National Maintenance and Repair Shipyard in Hartford. 
For groups who enjoy tasting tours, they can visit Goshen Coffee Company and Recess Brewing in Edwardsville, Old Bakery Beer Company in Alton, and Bluestem Vodka Distillery in Bethalto, along with multiple wineries in Grafton.

As a former Tour Operator, I understand how much work goes into planning tours, and you are often managing multiple tours at the same time. Our Tourism Bureau truly wants to be your one-stop-shop for planning a new tour. We will collect hotel quotes and request hotel contracts, create your itinerary, book reservations with attractions and step-on guides, provide restaurant recommendations and more. We want to make your visit to our region as easy as possible so you can focus on helping your customers have a great time on their vacation.

The 2019 Peer Group conference was my first time attending, and I found it to be a wonderful experience. Everyone I met was so friendly and passionate about their travel groups. I learned a lot from the round table session and have had great email conversations after the conference. I look forward to continuing to attend for many years and building stronger relationships with the bank clubs.
Katie Bennett , Tourism Sales Manager
Phone: 618-465-6676 or 800-258-6645
Cell: 618-600-1330