April 30, 2024
We were greeted by Todd Heinrich and Clark Gruber as we entered
the meeting.

At 7am sharp, we were welcomed by President Melinda Gruber. We
opened with the “Pledge of Allegiance”, followed by Art Ayers’
Guest Speaker- Dottie Meyers-Hill, Camp Director, Van Buren
Youth Camp

Bob Brickman
Brandon Hinz
Steve Larsen
Nick Tuit
Shelley Ammerman

Tech issues led Larry Wittkop to take us a bit “off script” this
“99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”
“Stodola Pumpa”
“Sing Rotarians”
+ As tourist season approaches, our last scheduled Rotary Social
Hour will be held on Wednesday, May 8th, at Three Blondes.
+ All should have received the Mental Health Survey in their
emails. Please make sure that you complete the survey.
+ Thanks to Scott Mark, Deb Davidson, Dan Thompson, and many
others, for all their work in planning and implementing a very
successful Educational Fundraiser last Saturday evening.
+ Blessings in a Backpack will next be gathering at North Shore
Elementary on Wednesday, May 1st, and Thursday, May 9th, @
+ The Annual Salmon Release at SHOUT Park will be held on
Tuesday, May 7th, at 9am.
+ Our Annual Induction Dinner/Golf Outing will be held on
Thursday, June 27th, at Hawkshead. More details to follow...
+ Former Rotarians of the Year are to meet following our regular
meeting next Tuesday, May 7th, for the purpose of selecting this
year’s winner.
+ CONGRATULATIONS to Tom Ruesink for being named our club’s
“HERO” for 2024. Tom will be honored and receive his award on
Saturday evening, May 4th, in Kalamazoo.
+ Dana Hullinger announced that those planning the May 15th car
show would like to have it “morph” into a social event. Ideas?
Please contact Dana or Todd Heinrich.
+ Tom Renner and Art Ayers are alternating weeks in the writing
of SPOKES but would appreciate more help to further share the
task. If interested, see Tom or Art.
+ John Mellein thanked all who contributed toiletries or money
to purchase toiletries in support of the District 6360 Mental
Health Project.

Bob tells the tale of a HEAD that enters a bar and orders a
whiskey. The HEAD then orders a double, only to notice that the
HEAD has now “sprouted” arms. Continuing to order more drinks,
the HEAD, with arms, “sprouts” legs and, eventually a whole
body. Deciding to have one more drink, the HEAD, now with a
complete body, “slugs” it down and disappears. The bartender,
attempting to make sense of it all, remarks that, “It should
have quit while it was a HEAD”.
50/50 RAFFLE- Tom Ruesink
Our speaker, Dottie Meyers-Hill, was chosen to draw the first
winning ticket, and Deb Davidson not only had the winning
ticket, but she drew the #4 card, winning the entire “pot”. Deb
then drew the last winning ticket for the $2 prize, and her
ticket WON AGAIN!
It appeared that Deb donated all winnings back to the club, so

+ Clark Gruber announced that his sister, Jerry Gruber’s
daughter, Amy, will be celebrating her birthday on Monday.
+ Mike Matheny’s mother recently celebrated her 99th birthday,
and his aunt, her 101st.
+ Tom Renner’s granddaughter, Carolyn, has a birthday on May
4th, AND the Cubs are in 1st place.
+ Deb Davidson’s grandson, Will, will be celebrating 8 years on
+ Sandra Reno’s twin granddaughters will be celebrating their
A traditional version of “Happy Birthday” was sung as a “round”.
+ Dana Hullinger’s grandson was recently inducted into the
National Honor Society at one of the Portage high schools.
+ Larry Wittkop’s grandson graduated from Western Michigan
+ Kaileigh Eddy’s daughter graduated from Western Michigan
+ Jean Stein mentioned that her 3 children attended Van Buren
Youth Camp and had very valuable experiences.
+ Bob Copping said, “Happy Sunshine”.
+ Todd Heinrich indicated that he was grateful to have met Robin
Van Buren Youth Camp with Camp Director Dottie Meyers-Hill
Anna, a former camper and leader at the Van Buren Youth Camp,
introduced our guest speaker, Dottie Meyers-Hill.
Dottie’s history with the camp began as a high school student.
Since that first summer, she has served as a counselor, craft
instructor, buddy board supervisor, head counselor, morning
cook, assistant Director, and Director.

She left camp in 1993 to pursue a degree in education and,
ultimately, spent 20 years in restaurant management before
returning to camp.

She lives in Kalamazoo with her husband, Brian. They have a son,
Zak, and a daughter, MacKenzie.

Highlights of Dottie’s presentation:
+ Van Buren Youth Camp is a non-profit, co-ed, residential
camping program for ages 6-18, during the summer months.
+ The camp can host all ages in the spring and fall for
weddings, outdoor recreation retreats, scout retreats, sports
camps, family reunions, and more.
+ Its Mission: The camp is dedicated to serving youth, by
providing opportunities for mental, physical, and spiritual
+ Our Community Support:
Volunteers support our workdays in the spring.
Donors and camp families sponsor camperships to help those who
can’t afford to send their kids to camp.
Supporters purchase items from our Amazon Wish List, sponsor
activities or buildings, and help to find resources for major
projects or purchases.
+ VBYC volunteers in our local communities and supports other
youth-serving organizations, like YDC and BBBS.
Dottie entertained several questions from those in attendance
and received our thanks and appreciation for an extremely
informative presentation.
PROGRAM: Southwest Michigan Girls on the Run, with Executive
Director Mustafa Karim
PROGRAM CHAIR: Shelley Ammerman

We adjourned with the 4-Way Test.
Respectfully submitted,
Art Ayers
Co-editarian with Tom Renner.