Kiwanis Indiana District Convention convenes in Switzerland County this week

411

After months of preparations, the Kiwanis Club of Vevay is proud to welcome the Kiwanis Indiana District Convention to Switzerland County this week.

Nearly 200 members of Kiwanis Clubs from throughout the Hoosier State are expected to begin arriving at Belterra Casino Resort and Spa today (Thursday), and will be here until this Sunday, August 5th.

The convention will feature several educational and leadership development opportunities on Friday and Saturday. Two priority projects of the Indiana Kiwanis – Riley Children’s Hospital and the international effort to eliminate Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus disease – will also be spotlighted.

The 2012 Indiana Kiwanis convention marks the first time the service organization has chosen Switzerland County to host the annual convention. And this year, the timing is perfect. On the last day of the convention, a Switzerland County native is expected to be elected as the organization’s leader for the coming year.

Ted Sullivan of Madison, a Switzerland County native and 1967 graduate of Vevay High School, is the uncontested candidate for 2012-2013 Kiwanis Indiana District Governor. The election will take place Sunday morning as the last official event of the weekend.

Although he is a member of the Madison Kiwanis Club, Ted Sullivan attends many of the Vevay Kiwanis Club meetings. Vevay Kiwanians have pledged the full support of Ted’s hometown club during his term as District Governor.

Ted Sullivan will not, however, be the first Indiana Kiwanis District Governor from Switzerland County. That honor belongs to the late Jack Sullivan. Jack’s two sons both grew up to become active Kiwanis members. Bill Sullivan of Vevay has held several offices in Kiwanis and is currently the Vevay Kiwanis Club Secretary. When Jack’s other son, Ted Sullivan, leaves the convention on Sunday, it will mark the first time that a son has followed in his father’s footsteps as the Indiana Kiwanis District Governor.

The Kiwanis Club of Vevay kicked off planning for the convention early in the year. A proposal created by Vevay Kiwanis members offered to provide the Friday night activities for the attendees in downtown Vevay and share in the monthly ‘First Friday’ celebration.

The convention committee approved the Vevay proposal, and the club sought help from the community’s professional organizations. Vevay Main Street director Michele Thompson provided encouragement for the effort and pledged to deliver a full schedule of activities for the evening. VMS also offered to help make sure there would be enough food available for the additional people downtown that evening, and to make extra ‘First Friday’ maps available to our visitors.

The convention planning hit a snag when club members were informed that no financial assistance from Switzerland County Tourism was likely due to budgetary and management issues facing the organization at the time.

“I’ll be honest, it was disappointing at first,” said Mike Busch, chairperson of the Vevay Kiwanis Host Committee. “But we didn’t make a big deal over it. Kiwanis is service club and we saw this as an opportunity to serve the community and let the new leadership at tourism sort things out. We have dedicated people in the Vevay Kiwanis club, and with the support of local merchants, Vevay Main Street and others, they’ve worked very hard to pull this off.”

Vevay Kiwanis club members decided to spend the club’s reserve funds to pay for the host committee’s obligations. The club is providing four shuttle buses over five hours Friday evening. The shuttles will bring visitors from Belterra to the Art Center at Main and Ferry streets. Visitors will return to the Art Center to board buses back to Belterra, with a stop for an optional visit to the Ridge Winery Tasting Room on the way back to Belterra.

Switzerland County High School Key Club members will join the Vevay Kiwanis club in serving as greeters at Belterra throughout the weekend. The club has purchased “Welcome Kiwanis” yard signs and will place them along State Road 156 between Vevay and Belterra before the start of the convention. Club members created a Facebook page welcoming convention attendees and providing information about Switzerland County and our merchants. Vevay Kiwanians will be on hand to welcome guests Friday evening when they arrive downtown and will be providing refreshments for them at the Art Center. Switzerland County Tourism has provided welcome bags for the visitors upon their arrival at Belterra.

The Vevay Kiwanis Club hopes all Switzerland County residents join us in welcoming nearly 200 fellow Hoosiers to our community this weekend.

– Mike Busch,

Kiwanis Club of Vevay Host Committee Chairperson.