Friday, March 12, 2010

Three Civitan Club Charters and North Carolina West

This blog is written by Mark Eisinger, the President of Civitan International for the year October, 2009 to September, 2010. I chronicle the times, travels, stories, ideas for service projects, fellowship and knowledge. Come back often and I will alert you to updates if you follow me via and/or Previous Blogs are available, please see panel on the right. I encourage you to read "Cancun Rocks", a blog about Cassi and my preview visit to Cancun in preparation of the 2010 Civitan International Convention September 3-6, 2010. More information for the Cancun Convention now available at

Tennessee and Arkansas, Two Charters in Two Days!

I left on Monday, November 30th on Delta Airlines for a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee. Past International Director Howard Yarnell and Past Appalachian District Governor Cathy Yarnell picked me up at the airport for an hour drive to Kingsport. We arrived at the Michael Dunn Center where individuals with disabilities go to school, learn skills and work. There I saw my Governor Terri Honeycutt, Past International President Betty Harrelson, International Director Sheila Idol and Becky Brunton, all club builders of the new Avery Trace Civitan Club. The new Civitan Club has 33 members and 26 members were present. I performed the initiation of new members, the installation of officers and presented the charter with Sheila and Terri Honeycutt to the President. The club is now looking at the many projects that they will be working on in the next few months. I provided a Presidential Visit patch for their brand new banner.

The next day, December 1st, Becky Brunton drove me back to the Knoxville airport for my Delta flight to Little Rock, Arkansas. I was headed to another charter banquet in Hope, Arkansas. Master Club builder Mike Blackwood picked me up at the airport and we drove for about 90 minutes to Hope. Hope is the birthplace of President Bill Clinton and Former Governor Mike Huckabee. Mike had arranged for an interview for me and the charter President Kim Smith with the local television station KTTS TV 50 Jerry Westmoreland, the Hope Star newspaper and the local radio station. Great publicity for the charter of the new Civitan Club. I was able to go recruiting with Mike and saw his effective methods! After a few stops to talk to a few more candidates for membership, we headed to the Hope Country Club for the charter festivities.

We arrived and the Master Club Builders Connie Black, Ellen Vohs and Rita Blackwood were present. Others arrived including Heartland District Governor Debbie Juhlke and Tim, club builder Peter Zargari and Region 7 International Director Fred Norman. Then almost 30 of the charter members arrived for the banquet. Mark Keith from the Hope Chamber of Commerce provided the welcome to the city. After a keynote speech titled “Why?” and quoted the Civitan Creed “My Hope is for a better world through Civitan”, I initiated the new members with the assistance of the club builders.

Fred Norman installed the charter officers. I provided members with First Member recruitment pins and many qualified for the Member Sponsorship Team (MST) pins already. I also presented President Kim Smith with a Presidential Visit patch for their brand new banner.

Fred Norman provided me with ride back to Little Rock. We talked about upcoming events and meetings and brainstormed on many ideas for recruitment and retention. I awoke the next morning to rain! Caught the hotel shuttle to the airport and discovered that I was an hour earlier than I expected for my non-stop flight to Las Vegas. I found a little take-out called Yarnell’s Ice Cream, wonder if they are related to Howard and Cathy Yarnell? There were many cowboys and cowgirls from Arkansas that were headed to Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo that runs from December 3 to 12th. Yeehaw!

(Note of thanks to Holiday Inn for providing two free nights lodging for this two day trip.)

Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Chelsea Civitan Club in Chelsea, Alabama chartered on December 9th, but unfortunately, I was not able to attend the Charter Celebration. The Albuquerque Women’s Civitan Club chartered on December 31st, but scheduled their Charter Celebration for December 16th. I arrived that Saturday afternoon and Governor Dan Brown picked me up at the airport. We drove around Albuquerque and Rio Rancho before arriving at Dan’s home. Unfortunately Jan Brown was traveling and was not home for the weekend. After unpacking and a little rest, Dan and I headed to the Embassy Suites Hotel for the charter celebration. The club was rockin’ as everyone arrived. They were at 38 charter members up to that time and were hoping that two more guests would join so they would have 40 members.

That night six more women joined. Carol Kline-Watson was the MC. I initiated most of the 44 charter members and installed the officers and directors using the rocks and the world speeches. I also had time on the agenda for the keynote speech and spoke about the new special interest clubs, about the Lovely Ladies Civitan Club in Las Vegas and the dynamic women’s clubs throughout the world. Dan and his co-governor Tony Cook told me that this was the fastest club they had ever built, noting that this may be an avenue that should be duplicated in other cities. After the celebration, Dan and I headed back to his house and watched two football games in fast motion using his DVR.

Sunday morning, Dan and I went to West Mesa Christian Church, a small but mighty church near Dan’s home. Then to Dan’s office where many Civitan clubs were going to come together for a workshop called “Mark”eting, my view on Recruitment and Retention for clubs. We had about 20 Civitans from the Great Southwest Civitan District that attended. After the workshop, I returned to Dan’s home, Tony joined us and we sat and watched another two football games in fast motion and discussed Civitan’s positive future, the Cancun convention and many other topics.

Monday morning, Dan took me back to the airport and I headed to Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville and Statesville, North Carolina

Many months ago, I had received a request from the Hendersonville Civitan Club’s long-time member John Bradke. The Hendersonville Club requested my presence at one of their meetings. To save the organization’s money, I try to utilize my trips to visit multiple clubs, I called my Governor Dan Allen and asked if there were any opportunities that I could visit more clubs during my visit. He stated that there were two area meetings in January, one in Asheville on Monday, January 18th and one in Statesville on Tuesday, January 19th. John was amenable to this so plans were made. I arrived at the Asheville airport and was greeted by John and the Hendersonville Civitan Club president Wayne Wesson. We drove to John’s home in Hendersonville for coffee and cookies. John’s wife Rusty was a fine hostess. John showed me his art work, most of which was painted by himself! We discussed recruiting, the Civitan International Research Center and Civitan efforts to help legal residents become citizens of the United States.

We headed out toward Ryan’s steakhouse in Asheville for the area meeting. There was a very large attendance from many area clubs. Unfortunately the Asheville Civitan Club did not participate, I was hoping to meet the local Civitans. I was warmly welcomed and spoke on the many aspects of Civitan, including the special interest clubs and the Civitan International Research Center. I stayed at John’s home that evening.

At breakfast, John showed me his moustache cup collection, over 25 were displayed on a shelf in his living room. Dan Allen and I had some time to be tourists. We decided to visit the Biltmore Estate. America’s largest home is now open to the public for tours. It was built in the late 1800’s by George Vanderbilt, a wealthy bachelor with railroad money. He wanted to build a self sustaining estate with a dairy, vegetables and animals for food. The house was like a castle with 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, electricity throughout, an electric elevator, a rotisserie in the basement, an indoor pool and a two lane bowling alley. It was quite an amazing castle. The dairy is now a winery and Dan and I toured this as well and tasted some samples.

Then we headed toward Statesville for the next Area Meeting. We arrived at Trinity Episcopal Church and helped set up the tables. Many clubs arrived, after a meet and greet, we had dinner. I provided the keynote speech again highlighting the same Civitan efforts. Dan Allen headed home that night, I stayed a local hotel and Paul Blackwell picked me up in the morning to drive back to Asheville for my return flight home.

North Carolina is a beautiful area, green trees and grass, mild temperatures. However, they did have some snow remaining from an unusual snow storm before I arrived.

1 comment:

  1. We should help our african charpters to stand and develop their communities. Civitan clubs in Sierra Leone and Liberia are doing their best to make the world a better place fo the less fortunates and children in need