January 2017
Message from our Board Chair 

Val Kelsey
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  It is at this time of year that I take the time to review and remember the past 12 months as I celebrate my blessings and accomplishments and set my goals as we head into a new year. This year a great many of my personal and professional experiences were enriched because of my association with HCI. I was able to experience a wonderful 10 day river cruise with my husband through a FAM tour offered by an HCI PTO. We were able to spend quality time together; and now I am able to share that experience and offer the tour to the members of our club. With the careful planning and expertise of another PTO I was able to share a 23 day tour to Australia and New Zealand with the Sr. Vice President COO of our bank, who is now one of the biggest champions of our club and our association with Heritage Clubs. Through the HCI newsletter I have been contacted by retired club directors and friends and have been able to reconnect with those individuals who played an intricate part in my early years with HCI. Heritage Clubs International plays an ongoing role in the success and growth of my club.

I look forward to Peer Group each year and hope to see all of my friends and new faces in Vermont this March. Plan to join me on the FAM tour that has been carefully prepared for us.  We will be visiting iconic Vermont destinations and sampling delicious products while enjoying one another's company and the amazing scenery along the way.

Remember to renew your 2017 HCI membership. This year you can take care of it in just a few minutes online at www.heritageclubs.com.

I want to wish all members of the HCI family a very blessed 2017.

Valerie Kelsey, CBCD 

Special Announcements
  • Rob Callahan of First Midwest Bank (Poplar Bluff, MO) wants you to know that he is having hip replacement surgery on January 6 and welcomes your best wishes.
  • We have several club directors who have or will be retiring soon.  Please join me in wishing them well! (If you know of others, please let Tina know.)
    • Lois Reynolds, Iowa Trust and Savings Bank (Centerville, IA)
    • Mary Nicholson, First Citizens Bank (Osage, IA)
    • Diana Toner,Security First Bank (Cozad, NE)
    • Karol Young, Security First Bank (Thedford, NE)
    • Misse Smith, National Bank of Middlebury (Middlebury, VT)
  • Sceptre Journeys was acquired by a new owner this Fall and is no longer an HCI PTO.  They are shifting immediate priorities as they reorganize. HCI will be pleased to consider their membership again should they re-apply in the future.

Partner Profile: Vermont Tourism Network 
Whether your group is interested in history, outdoor adventure, arts & culture, culinary experiences or scenic view s - Vermont has what you're looking for. With 76 statewide attractions, a trip to Vermont offers something for everyone, and Karen Ballard your HCI Travel Partner can help you select the ones that your members will enjoy most. Whether you are starting from scratch or are just looking to fill in a few gaps in your itinerary, Karen will assist with developing a tour that is sure to please. "I am a one-stop resource for tour planners and group leaders, representing over 100 destinations for you to choose from when planning your tour," says Karen . From fine arts to science museums, chocolate making classes to working farm demos, and from scenic boat rides to ice or rock climbing, there's a depth and breadth of locally cherished attractions destined to enrich your Vermont visit. Karen also partners with other Northern New England destinations so she can suggest a multi-state adventure that will delight everyone in your group.

The Green Mountain State is the #1 producer of maple syrup in the US, and you can tour the farms of any number of family-owned syrup producers. There are several other iconic Vermont products and attractions that you won't want to miss including the Trapp Family Lodge, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Cabot and other artisan cheese producers. Vermont is famous for its food and its farm-to-table lifestyle so your palettes will be delighted during your visit. If history is your thing,
Member Spotlight: Melanie Davis
Farmers Savings Bank & Trust
Vinton, IA
Melanie Davis was drawn to the "personality" of the bank when she started there four years ago.  She worked as a teller until Sue Travis retired in July 2014, then she became the director of the Heritage Club.  She stepped down last Spring from the role so she could spend more time with her husband and four kids, but she came back to the job this Fall, and we are excited to see her smiling face at Peer Group again this year.  Welcome back, Melanie!

Not one to be content with doing the same thing year after year, Melanie has always tried to implement new ideas in order to change things up.  She says, "It's easy to get stuck in a rut." So, she encourages others to "not be afraid to try something new."  She was just out on the new HCI website looking for new ideas for her club. She appreciates the fact that HCI's "got your back" when you're working in this "crazy industry" of bank club travel.  She knows that having HCI is a real asset when it comes to providing support for club directors because you get networking opportunities that you can't get anywhere else.  The travel partners and the other club directors are a sounding board and source of solutions to club director concerns.

Though her club doesn't do many extended trips, Melanie tries to use HCI Preferred Tour Operators as much as possible.  "We like the connection that we have with them, and they understand bank clubs," she says.  She recalls a funny story from one of those bigger trips recently; 

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