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Chamber News

Junior Leadership Students Organize "Holiday Hoorah" Week of Giving

Holiday elves will be making an early stop in Spencer in an effort to help the family of Lane Frederick, Spencer High School student who was seriously injured this fall.
Student leaders at Spencer High School came up with the idea of giving and caring about others earlier this year following the health challenges of Austin Crew, a graduate of the Spencer Chambers Junior Leadership program this past spring.
That's when they approached the Spencer Chamber of Commerce about involving the community in caring for others.
Emma VerSteeg, a Spencer High School Junior, sent an email to the Chamber, asking for a meeting.
"The community of Spencer - and those living nearby - unified around Austin Crew, and we knew there would be support for this effort," said Bill Campbell, Executive Director of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce.  "We encouraged our chamber leaders to attend this meeting with students from this year's Junior Class at Spencer High School."
And the effort took off.
After the first 7:30 am meeting, the group identified two projects to pursue - the first one dubbed a "Holiday Hoorah," will benefit Lane Frederick.
Lane is currently receiving rehabilitation treatments in Omaha.  Family members continue to commute and spend time with him in Omaha and the students realize that comes at a cost.
The student leaders - all who had applied for the Chambers Junior Leadership Spencer program - plan to launch the "Holiday Hoorah" (with assistance from the Chamber) on Monday, December 4th and complete it on Tuesday, December 12th.
Interested individuals who wish to contribute are encouraged to donate the following items as outlined by Haley Schwenneker, a member of the student group.
"We are asking for donations of cash, gas cards, Chamber Dollars and restaurant cards to help this family as they are going through a tough time this Christmas," Schwenneker said.
Donations may be dropped off or mailed to Spencer High School, 800 East 3rd Street; or the Spencer Chamber of Commerce, 1805 Highway Blvd.  Chamber Dollars can be purchased at the Spencer Chamber office and financial donations can be writted to the Chamber's newly formed foundation.
"We didn't know what would happen with these ideas, yet those of us involved in the project are truly getting a chance to gain leadership skills as we plan this donation campaign," said VerSteeg.  "We hope others in the community will open their hearts and donate to the cause."
Those who wish to communicate via Social Media are encouraged to use #COWBOYTOUGH.  General questions may be directed to the Spencer Chamber of Commerce at 712-262-5680.
The team also plans to hold an event in February to invite young people from area communities to Spencer in a show of unity with plans to benefit others in the future.
Team members include Emily Beehler, Katie Halverson, Cayann Knoer, Haley Schwenneker, Emma VerSteeg, Jace Wiemers and Charlie Zulk.  Those assisting the student team include High School Principal Ellie Wiemers, Chamber Executive Director Bill Campbell, Chamber Board Chair Kevin Brown, Chamber Past Board Chair Cindy Tigges and Jane Campbell of Iowa Lakes Community College.


Clay County Advances in Active Health Index

Clay County is teaming up with Live Healthy Iowa to improve the health of the county's residents and improve its overall ranking in the newly released Active Index.  Since 1988, the obesity rate in Iowa has increased from 14 percent to 32 percent.  Iowa's less than desirable national rankings for obesity and inactivity have contributed to the overall health of the state's residents, which led to development of the Active Index.
Currently, out of the 99 counties in Iowa, Clay County ranks 2nd in the Active Index, with a participation rate of 16.87%.  The 2017 ranking improved from the 2016 ranking of 67th.  This significant improvement gave Clay County the honors of most improved county in the state and 2nd place behind Mitchell County at 16.90%.
Live Healthy Iowa's Active Index provides a measurement of where each county ranks across Iowa.  Rankings in the Active Index are based on county members' participation in select Live Healthy Iowa and Iowa Sports Federation challenges and events, including the 10 Week Wellness Challenge, Live Healthy iowa 5K, the Next Step Challenge, Kid's Fall Fitness Day/Healthiest State Walk, Summer Iowa Games and Winter Iowa Games.
"Like other counties in Iowa, we know that the obesity rate and overall health statistics of Clay County are something that we need to address," says Candice Daniels, Spencer Hospital Employee Benefits & Wellness.  "We were very proud to hear that our county did such a great job improving our numbers in the index.  Clay County has so many opportunities for activity and good deal of wellness-minded citizens, it's exciting to see the numbers reflecting that."
"Forging a closer partnership with Live Healthy Iowa by working to achieve a better Active Index ranking will provide us with a roadmap for improvement and help us to engage our residents-of all ages and activity levels-to participate in healthy and active opportunities to improve their health."
In July, county members met with Dr. Amy Michelle Willcockson, director of Live Healthy Iowa and Chuck Long, CEO and executive director of the Iowa Sports Foundation for former NFL and University of Iowa football star to discuss Clay County's health rankings and develop a plan for improvment.
"We're excited to be working with Clay County to develop a countyside activity plan, set goals for improvedc health and rankings, inspire and motivate individuals and companies, provide turnkey programs and attractive incentives, and foster accountability among participants," Willcockson said.
"When individuals start to care more about their own health that can extend to family, friends and neighbors-people within one's community-contributing to a healthier and more active county."
There is no charge for counties to be a part of the Active Index; there are only minimal participation fees in the annual challenges.
To learn more visit www.livehealthyiowa.org



Spencer Chamber Dollars Support the Community

This holiday season and all times of the year, consider giving Spencer Chamber Dollars, the perfect gift for any occasion.
Chamber Dollar Checks give back to the community by supporting local busineses while allowing the recipient the flexibility of choosing a gift from any of over 400 Spencer Chamber members.  You decide the amount of the check and in what increments you desire.  Member businesses simply endorse the checks as they would any other and deposit them into their bank account.  It's simple and easy and there are no fees associated with buying or receiving the checks.  Stop by the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Office at 1805  Highway Blvd during regular business hours.  We'll make up the checks while you wait.  If ordering a large number of checks for employee benefits or awards, consider calling ahead and we'll have them ready for you when you arrive with no waiting.
For more information contact our office at 712-262-5680 or stop by Monday - Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 8 am to 4 pm.
Shop Spencer First this Holiday!


Chamber Board Establishes Spencer Chamber Foundation

One of the goals of the Chamber Board Chair for 2016-2017 was the formation of a Spencer Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  Final documents are being put in place for the Articles of Incorporation that were approved in October from the Iowa Secretary of State.
The board has identified several areas for which this foundation could be of assistance with the primary goal being to benefit projects and programs in our community.
The mission documents submitted stated the purpose the corporation was organized which is  to sponsor and fund community and educational programs exclusively for charitable, religious, educational and scientific purposes to better and promote our community.  Activities such as the recent Dave Ramsey presentations, school related activities, attractions and events would be good candidates for distrubution of funds from the foundation.
More information will be available soon as by-laws are put in place and the account for the foundation is secured.


Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award Recipient Named

One of the highlights of the Spencer Chamber Annual Celebration is the announcement of the Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award.  This years recipient is lifelong resident Bob Whittenburg.  Nomination materials for Bob included his involvement in many areas of the community including; Spencer High School Career Experiences Program, Spencer High School Technology Education Metals Manufacturing Advisory Board, Spencer Middle School Tiger Mentoring Program, Spencer Family YMCA Endowment Committee, Spencer Community School Board of Education and the Clay County Iowa Democrats.  Bob joined his family business in Spencer after graduating from the University of Iowa.  During this time he volunteered time to the Chamber for several events and activities but was normally found behind the scenes allowing others to share the spotlight.
Congratulations Bob!


Spencer Chamber Business of the Year Awarded

The 2017 Spencer Chamber Business of the Year, nominated by fellow members of the Spencer Chamber, is Northwest Bank.  The award was given as part of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration held on October 12 at the Clay County Regional Events Center.
The nomination letter stated the solid community support and involvement of Northwest along with its promotion of economic growth, volunteerism among staff and partnerships with educational and civic organizations.  Northwest Bank has also been named a Top Workplace in Iowa for three years running.
Previous winners of the Business of the Year Award were:  KICD, Big Country 107.7 & More 104.9, Farmers Trust and Savings Bank, Spencer Hospital, Community State Bank and Solutions.


Spencer Chamber Unveils Refreshed logo

As part of the 85th Anniversary Celebration of the Spencer Chamber, a new refreshed logo was unveiled at the Annual Celebration on October 12.
Local graphic designer Kipp Davis, a student at Iowa State University, took it upon himself earlier this year to work on the project with the idea of using the circled area of the logo to more of a Spencer design.
The result showcases our riverfront area, the bridge and trail system and highlights the quality of life we enjoy in Spencer.  Although the image area of the logo is small it was determined we could use it to be depict an area of the community that is recognizable and not a clip art type of illustration.  In addition, a new tag line has been introduced that will appear with the logo in specific instances.  The new line, "Explore, Connect, Grow" better exemplifies what the Chamber is doing in the community.
The Chamber will roll out the new design as the weeks and months move forward and as the budget allows.  The Chamber website will be one of the first areas to incorporate the new refreshed look.
Special Thanks to Spencer native Kipp Davis for his work on the project and to all who submitted ideas.

 


Spencer RAGBRAI Gives Back to the Community

The Spencer RAGBRAI 2017 Executive Committee hosted a Thank You Reception on Tuesday, September 12th at the Clay County Fair.  Hundreds of volunteers stepped up to be a part of this very successful event on July 23rd.  It was due to the efforts of the Committee and its volunteers that hosting the thousands of riders was such a huge success.
As part of the celebration, the committee gave back to the community monies raised during the event.  It was revealed that nearly $32,000 was raised through vendor fees and the beverage garden.  The Committee had made the decision early on that vendor fees would be returned to all the non-profit groups if the hosting was a success.  That committment was carried out with the remaining funds of $27,000 going to groups and organizations selected by the committee.
Recipients of Spencer RAGBRAI funds were:

  • Clay County Trails Association  $10,000
  • Pedersen Park Lighting Project  $7,000
  • Spencer Main Street Lighting project  $5,000
  • Clay County Fair Centennial Plaza project  $5,000


A Record 335,670 Attend the 100th Clay County Fair

With nearly perfect weather, the 100th Centennial Edition of the Clay County Fair brought huge crowds. Total Attendance for 2017 was 335, 670 making it one of the largest attended Clay County Fairs.   After 9 nine days of family fun, the Fair was capped off by the Centennial Birthday Bash at the Grandstand Sunday night.  Local high school bands, high wire acts, motorcycle stunts, comedians, the Karl King Band and the area High School Mass Choir brought the fair to a close highlighted by the largest Fireworks display ever in northwest Iowa.This year a milestone will be reached for the World's Greatest County Fair.  The Clay County Fair in Spencer, the 2nd largest tourism event in the state of Iowa, will be celebrating its 100th Year!
The 2018 Clay County Fair will be held September 8 - 16.


Spencer Named One of 20 Best Small Towns to visit in 2017

Smithsonian Magazine has named Spencer one of the 20 Best Small Towns to visit in 2017.  The article takes note of our "fantastic trail system" as well as the amenities that we have come to enjoy by living in this great part of the state.
Other highlights from the author include the public art piece in East Leach Park, the beauty of the Little Sioux and Ocheyedan Rivers as they merge near Grand Avenue, the art deco buildings located throughout the downtown area and of course the "World's Greatest County Fair," the Clay County Fair which celebrates its Centennial Year in 2017.
Other communities named by the magazine include; Talkeetna, Alaska, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Rockland, Maine, Kent, Connecticut, Makanda, Illinois, Grand Marais, Minnesota, Ojai, California, Snowmass Village, Colorado, Abilene, Kansas, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, Hana, Hawaii, Bell Buckle, Tennessee, Oakland, Maryland, Rincon, Puerto Rico, De Smet, South Dakota, Cheraw, South Caroline, Page, Arizone and Hill City, South Dakota.


2017-18 Spencer Chamber Community Guide Now Available

Hot off the press is the NEW 2017-2018 Spencer Chamber of Commerce Community Guide and Member Directory.  Each spring the Chamber partners with the Spencer Daily Reporter to publish this popular informational guide tailored to meet the needs of those new to the community, those visiting and for those who simply are in search of a resource guide on the Spencer Community.

In addition to information on attractions and important city services, the guide features a complete directory of members supporters of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce listed by category.  The smaller size and format introduced last year allows for easy storage of the guide in a glove compartment, magazine rack or at home.

Businesses and Organizations wishing to have the guide available at their should simple call or email the office and we'll get them delivered to you.


Spencer Chamber "Community Patron" Memberships Available!

Did you know that as an individual, you can still support the community by being a member of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce?  Enjoy the many benefits of being a Chamber Member with our "Community Patron" Individual Memberships.  Several in the community have already discovered the benefits of knowing what's happening in the community and by being able to attend Chamber functions and events.  As a "Community Patron" you are entitled to the same opportunities as any other member of the Chamber.  Attend Business Before and After Hours, participate in events such as the Golf Outing, Bowling Outing, Annual Celebration and much more.  The best part is that your commitment is just $124!  Your name will appear in the newest Spencer Chamber Community Guide as well as the Chamber Online Membership Guide as being a supporter of the Chamber.  No business name or business relationship can be attached to this membership.

 For more information please contact the Chamber Office at 712-262-5680, or email at: info@spenceriowachamber.org
or go to our online membership application at: http://spenceriowachamber.org/jointhechamber.php


Spencer Selected as Overnight Stop on RAGBRAI

At the Official RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party on Saturday, January 21, it was announced that Spencer will again be an overnight host for the ride which will begin in Orange City on Sunday, July 23.
This will be the fifth time Spencer has been selected as an overnight stop for the thousands of riders as they take a far northern route in 2017.  After Spencer, the ride will continue to Algona followed by Clear Lake.
An Executive and Advisory Board is in place to begin the planning for the ride with other assignments to follow including those who will be in charge of housing, publicity, food, entertainment, public safety and much more.
The last time the ride spent the night in Spencer was 2007 with the theme "License to Thrill".  One of the first tasks of the committee as they begin planning for this year will be to develop a theme and corresponding logo.
As you can imagine this massive undertaking takes many volunteers.  If you would give of your time to assist in the planning of the event as well as working in many areas the day they arrive please fill out a Chamber Volunteer Form at:
http://spenceriowachamber.org/volunteer.php


Members Assemble for 2016 Spencer Chamber Annual Celebration

The Board and Staff of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Celebration on October 13 at the Clay County Regional Events Center.
This annual event highlights the activities, accomplishments and goals of the Chamber over the past fiscal year and is capped off with the presentation of the Chamber Business of the Year and Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award.
The keynote address of the lunchtime gathering looked at Leadership in Business and was presented by nationally known speaker, trainer and author David Aaker.
The meeting is also a time to recognize those dedicated individuals that are leaving the Chamber Board and those Directors taking new positions.  Outgoing board members were:  Jarrett Smith, Melissa Cunningham, Tony Niese and Rod Meendering.  Those elected to the board from the recent election include:  Kevin Brown, Mike Carlson, Mary Faber and Nate Schmidt.

This year's award recipients were:
Solutions - Chamber Business of the Year
Kelly McCarty - Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award


Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award Goes to Kelly McCarty

A highlight of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration is the presentation of the coveted Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award.  Each year nominations are accepted for an individual or group that has dedicated themselves to volunteering with community agencies and organizations.
This year, Kelly McCarty, who serves as the Regional Director of the Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center of Iowa Lakes, was the recipient of the award presented by last year's winner Rod Meendering.
Kelly has given an unselfish amount of time to the Spencer Daybreakers Kiwanis Club, the Y's Men's Club, Spencer Betterment Committee, Spencer Sacred Heart Church, Clay County Heritage and serves in a managing role for the Clay County revolving loan fund and the Rose Retail Revolving Loan Fund.  Kelly has also assisted the Chamber many times over with those interested in opening new small businesses in the community.


"Solutions" receives Chamber Business of the Year Award

As part of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration, Solutions of Spencer received the Chamber Business of the Year Award following a nomination process.  In business for 30 years, Solutions, a privately-owned technology business located in west Spencer, has seen continued growth since their beginning in 1986.  The business and its employees have  given back to the community in many ways including the support of the Chamber and Spencer Mainstreet, SPACE, Shayla Bee, Upper Des Moines Oppportunity and many other agencies and organizations.


Home Base Iowa - Clay County

in 2015 Clay County was officially designated a Home Base Iowa Community following an effort by many Spencer City and Clay County agencies and organizations. 

With around 300,000 military men and women leaving active service, communities in Iowa are encouraging these retirees to relocate and fill job opportunities matching their skill sets.  Over 100 Clay County businesses made a pledge to hire returning military veterans if a job opening takes place that matches their skill levels.  In addition, Clay County has developed an incentive package as part of this process including housing and rental assistance, hotel, gas,  food vouchers and much more.
Clay County was the first in the northwest Iowa region to receive this important designation and stands ready to assist those seeking to relocate to Spencer and Clay County.


For more information on the Home Base Iowa program and detailed information on opportunities in Clay County please visit the Home Base Iowa website and click on Clay County.

https://www.homebaseiowa.gov/clay-county-community-information





Spencer Chamber Young Professionals

Young Professionals of the Spencer area are invited to learn more about the many Spencer area opportunities and activities available to them through Spencer U.S.A., the Young Professionals of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce.
Spencer U.S.A. is made up of a core group which organizes social activities such as the popular "Lunch Gig," held monthly at various restaurants throughout the community.  Recently, the group introduced a new evening social gathering "Thirsty Thursdays," held the the first Thursday of each month from 5 - 7 pm at various Chamber Member lounges. 
In addition, Spencer U.S.A., in 2015 introduced the "Chamber Chill," a Friday night community social event that is open to the entire community.
There are NO dues associated with being a member of Spencer U.S.A., just your willingness to promote and be active in an effort to better the community.

For more information on Spencer U.S.A., the Young Professionals of the Spencer Chamber, visit their webpage at:
www.spenceriowachamber.org/youngprofessionals.php or join them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/SpencerUSA

Along with their mission statement and event schedule, you will find an online submission form to obtain more information or to join the group.  You can also email the group at:  spencerusa@smunet.net.


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