August 2017
Message from our Board Chair 

Val Kelsey
I just returned from a wonderful 16-day British Isles Tour, and once again have a new appreciation for our Preferred Tour Operators and the wonderful job they do for us.  Not only did we have a wonderful inclusive custom itinerary that "wowed" my club members and totally made me look like a "rock star", but when one of my club members had her purse with passport, credit cards and cash stolen, the PTO and Tour Manager came to the rescue arranging for a new passport and travel assistance. I understand that many tour companies would offer assistance, however the personal attention, kindness and care shown to my club member and myself came from a long standing personal relationship that the PTO has with me.
Our PTOs not only offer every travel destination imaginable, they provide significant financial support to HCI that makes it possible for us to attend Peer Group each year at an affordable inclusive cost. I gain so much from my attendance each year, and I know that my bank management is aware that the cost for our meetings is below the national average for education/training. I would like to encourage each of you look to our PTOs first for your club's travel.  Give them a chance to show you the extra value that comes from using an HCI Preferred Tour Operator!

Learn more about HCI's eight PTOs here.
Valerie Kelsey, CBCD    
Member Spotlight: Susan Evenson
First National Bank of Gillette
Gillette, WY 
Thirty-seven years ago, Susan Evenson started as a teller at First National Bank of Gillette. Everyone does everything in a small and Susan is no exception. She recalls that George Aker was invited to do a 3-day training at the bank in 2006 because the bank's chairman of the board and his wife heard of a nearby club director who was running a bank club, and they wanted to learn more about starting one at their bank. Susan attended that training and found the idea very interesting, so she applied for the position and became the bank's first club director. She has loved running the First Horizons Club and appreciates how each trip has its own great memories.
Gillette has a senior center that offers many classes and events, so she realized that it was best if she focused on travel. Today, Susan is running three to four multi-day and international trips each year. She says, "River cruising seems to be the favorite, followed by ocean cruising." Also, her members really seem to like the trips to places like Africa, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and trips like those which tend to attract new participants. Recently, her club went to Cuba (see photos below) with HCI's PTO Islands in the Sun, and it was a tremendous hit. Susan always uses PTOs for her trips because "I know that if something happens, we'll be taken care of."   She says, "I can depend on them!"

Susan values her HCI membership for many reasons and she appreciates how HCI is "always there" and "treats all members well, regardless of the size of their club." She feels that Peer Group "keeps you going." She first attended Peer Group in Galveston (2007), and hasn't missed too many since. She recalls listening to Val Kelsey, CBCD (club director at D.L. Evans Bank in Burley, ID) share her story during Peer Group one year, and going home excited to try some of the things that Val had done in her club. The exchange of ideas is another important aspect of Peer Group that Susan appreciates.

Partner Profile: ChinaPlus Tours 
ChinaPlus Tours specializes in group packaged tours to China plus Southeast Asia. With diversified experiences in serving American travelers since 1979, the company owners and chief operators personally escort every bank group throughout the tours. Our strong background in Chinese culture, comprehensive knowledge of China and Asia, higher education accomplishments in both China and the U.S., understanding of both Chinese and U.S. cultures, and professional tour operation expertise in both China and the U.S. will make your trip more enjoyable and educational.

HCI bank groups are an important part of our business. We have the greatest appreciation to the bank club directors who have traveled with us. It is our mission to take care of all HCI groups as VIPs. By attending the HCI Peer Group meetings, through working with bank club directors and personally escorting bank groups, we can proudly say that we have established close relationships with HCI bank directors.

It is the details of trip planning that determine if a group tour is successful. We specialize in managing the details for American tourists in China and Southeast Asia to ensure their greatest comfort and enjoyment. This part of the world is totally different from the United States in many aspects, particularly in culture. Born and raised in China, plus diversified experience as a tour operator for 11 years prior to moving to the U.S., we enjoy personally escorting bank groups and are comfortable taking care of our clients in the most appropriate way while they are in an unfamiliar destination away from home.
Our next HCI group is organized by Valerie Kelsey, CBCD, Premier Club Director, D.L. Evans Bank, Burley , ID. This is a 20-day tour departing September 1 to Beijing (capital of China), Xi'an (ancient capital of China), ancient Silk Road in Northwest China and multi-culture exotic areas in Southwest China. Both Valerie and Chris (ChinaPlus) will accompany the group. We really appreciate Valerie as this is her second group tour to China with us.

We have received positive feedback from HCI Bank Club Directors. Please be sure to read the letters of recommendation from Joan Gibson, Julia Terwilleger and Melanie Lisk. We greatly appreciate Bank Club Directors who have shared good words about ChinaPlus. "Word of Mouth" has played an important part in our tour promotions.

No doubt, China and Southeast Asia are great tour destinations. We look forward to assisting more bank clubs to travel to that exotic area for an incomparable experience. Travel with ChinaPlus for ease, flexibility, personal care, and reliability.

Contact Chris and Ping Lee of ChinaPlus Tours at (888) 868-8811.
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