Though the summer rays have already been scorching hot. Some of us are suffering more than others...though that is only here say. We have been busy bees at The Leadership Center. Working hard on taking the time to put in the tender, love and care our guests deserves.
Let's take a tour of what has been going on in the hallowed halls of The Leadership Center. Event's Past would tell you about Camp Summer Gold, 4-H Llama Camp, Family Reunions, Trinity Lutheran Confirmation Retreat, D4LC. Event's Present would talk your ear off about Boys Town EIPA, West Point FFA Chapter, Baby Bonanza. Event's Future would brag about the Weddings, OUR Fundraiser "An Evening Stroll", D4LC, Family Reunions, Business Meetings that are upcoming. To my knowledge though all three would talk your ear off because we have had quite the shindig of events going on. Specially the last 3 weeks!
What are these events you may ask...Well to start Camp Summer Gold brings a diverse group of teenage girls together to explore creativity, knowledge and stewardship through arts and science based mentor centered workshops and collective girl power. 4-H Llama camp is when all the Llamas come to town. No seriously I am not kidding you, there are legit Llama's on the TLC property. If you think I'm joking, you should check out some of the pictures we have. Of course it is that time of year when families decide to get together and see their loved ones that maybe they do not get to see as often as they would like. Then we get into our VERY own Leadership Conference. Built on a need from one district here in Nebraska 3 years ago to a conference that has grown to help many individuals. See here at The Leadership Center we take pride in this conference because not only do we become the facility that this group stays with, but we get to become the facilitators. I see it as a cool opportunity! Put our teaching skills to the test. This week we had a group from Boys Town that was practicing their sign language. Talk about a talkative group! Hahaha, if you did not get the joke that is okay. I obviously am not that funny. However, West Point FFA was hanging with us this week for a few days after touring a few businesses in town. Baby Bonanza will be taking over the Mather wing tomorrow with different vendors for baby and mom alike. We look forward to the upcoming events in the next two weeks. As The Leadership Center has not hit a lull yet. Which is the best way to have it during the summer! Stay tuned for more blogs to come.
We kicked the week off with a flurry of activities including having Boys Town Research Hospital move in with their EIPA Translators Conference for the week and the start of Cooking with Chemistry, which happens to be a camp we host together with the Edgerton Explorit Center. Chef Sue is working with Mad Scientist Jessica teaching 10 wonderful little chefs how to cook and the science behind all of it!
We also kicked off our very own leadership conference, D4LC (Disciplines 4 Leadership Communities), with 20 amazing attendees. This is the third year we have facilitated this conference, and this session is the first of three we are planning for the summer.
During D4LC, attendees (ranging from 7th grade to 12th grade along with their chaperones) explored the following sessions:
Community- a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
Serve- the action of helping or doing work for someone or some group; to give a helping hand.
Play- engage in activity for enjoyment.
Connect- to reach out and establish a relationship or relationships; to network with others.
Grow- undergo natural development, progressing to maturity.
Gratitude- the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness.
Relax- rest or engage in an enjoyable activity so as to become less tired or anxious.
Get Active- pursuing hobbies or activities outside of work and regiment; get moving and play.
Forward- onward so as to make progress; toward a successful conclusion.
Build- construct by putting parts or materials or people together over a period of time.
Legacy- gift left behind.
Onward- going further rather than coming to an end or halt; moving forward.
All of the sessions are planned and lead by TLC Teammates along with a little assistance from some great TLC partners. It's always a fun time when we get to transition from facility to facilitators. From the session ideas, curriculum, sets, and everything in between is researched, designed, and facilitated by our team. It's challenging, exciting, and rewarding.
The entire premise of D4LC was to create a conference that focuses on a number of important topics where attendees have a chance to work in communities and individually on enhancing their leadership skills. Its unique format encourages networking collaboration, personal reflection while having fun, learning new things, and meeting new people. Our intent is that this conference will serve students from 7th to 12th grade while also offering a session for students younger than the 7th grade and adults.
This first session of the summer was wonderful. It was full of laughter, learning, and growing. We are thankful to have been able to create a place for such meaningful experiences.
As mentioned, this is the first session of the summer. The next is July 10-11. If you are interested in participating in this session or would like to host a D4LC at another time, please contact us at 402-694-3934.
We do have a number of supporters to thank for contributions towards the success of this session of D4LC. Thank you to:
Laurie Anderson for leading water aerobics during Get Active.
Shane Hennessy for assisting with Serve & Legacy.
Tom Boyd & Renee Eckoff for assisting with fishing & boating during Get Active.
Cal Strong & Gallagher Strong for supplying the notebooks & pens for attendees.
Here are the TLC team members who led or assisted with D4LC Sessions:
May 3rd marked our third time participating in Go Big Give: 24 hours of giving which has made an incredible impact on non-profits throughout Hamilton, Hall, Howard, & Merrick Counties. The Leadership Center is one of those. We are so grateful!
This year we have tried something different. We partnered up with Prairie Plains Resource Institute to host a day of fishing on the prairie as a pre-give event. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate with us, and we had a 39 degree day with rain and wind. We tried!
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On Go Big Give Day (May 3rd), I kicked the day off watching the ticker tape kick the midnight hour off. I couldn't help myself. It's just so exiting. In the morning, we hosted our annual Coffee, Cake, & Contributions where donors were invited to join us for coffee and cake from The Chocolate Bar as a thank you for their donation. We had computers set up for donations, staff on hand to assist and answer questions, and it was so much fun! We had more people come through this year than ever. Thank you so much to all who came out.
This year, after processing fees, we brought in $5,490.97 with donations, matching funds, and incentives. While this is short of our goal, we are excited how all these funds will enable us to improve the facility! This past year, the roof on Ted Ward Lodge sustained damage during several storms resulting in it being totaled. A number of people have asked us why insurance didn't cover it. Due to how our policy is written for the size of property and policy, our deductible is 1% of our policy. The $41,600.00 it will cost to replace the roof is less than that 1%.
My main project this summer is to clean up the tree line that borders the houses on the south side of the McBride subdivision and to raise funds for the replacement trees. So far I have taken out thirty to forty trees as well as the stumps. I have also been gathering the information I need to be able to purchase new trees. The plan right now is to put in two rows of Colorado Blue Spruce on the property line. Behind those two rows of blue spruce we are thinking about putting in one row of chanticleer pear trees as well as a row of red dogwood. This project has been extremely challenging but also extremely fun. When I was first briefed on this project I was slightly overwhelmed, but as I dove in I realized how much fun taking on this challenge was going to be. With almost no prior experience I am now very confident in my tree cutting abilities. I have already learned a ton but I'm sure that I will learn much more before I am finished. I am looking forward to moving forward in the project and getting as much done as I possibly can while at TLC this summer.
If you are interested in donating funds to our tree project or would like more information please contact me at (402) 694-3934.
Summer is in full force everyone! Grab your swimsuits and sunscreen because I have a feeling it is going to be a hot one.
However, with the full swing of Summer comes our 3rd annual Evening Stroll fundraiser. You may be asking what is the Evening Stroll? Well folks The Leadership Center here in Aurora invites you to join them on Saturday, July 8th at The Leadership Center for a progressive dinner. Which in other words means an evening filled with enticing food, beautiful music, spirited auction and charming company to boot. Sounds like a lot of fun? Well go here to purchase a ticket or if your organization/company would like to par-take then you can purchase a table for them if you would like.
I mentioned before that we will be holding an auction. Yes folks that's right an auction. This silent auction consists of generous donations made by local businesses/organizations. Some even come from out of state. To entice you even more I will mention two items you will find that evening up for grabs. The first one being the gorgeous shabby chic metal letters that spell out EAT donated by Hope Home Furnishings. Perfect to spice up any kitchen. We also have a gift certificate for two to a Dinner Murder Mystery Show in Omaha donated by DoubleTree in Omaha. Sounds like a great night out with that special someone or a fun friends night out. You think I will continue telling you about all the fun goodies we have, well not so fast. I have to save the thrill and excitement for later! Stay tuned.
Thank you to the organizations/businesses that have donated items so far. However, we are still looking for items! Examples would be gift certificates, physical items or a package with items/gift cards in it. If you would like to donate one of these options to the silent auction we encourage you to do so. It is a fun way to get your name or your business's name out there. Plus who does not love being recognized for something. If you are interested or what more information please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , I would be happy to help!
If you want to learn more about our giving history you can click here or here.
For some of you that have watched The Wedding Planner you know that a lot goes into planning a wedding. The details of what color scheme to pick, the decorations, and down to the details of what song you plan on walking down the aisle too. Clearly these details are a huge part of your day. However, the person coordinating all of this or helping to make sure your special day is great is literally the mastermind behind the whole shindig. Well here at The Leadership Center we take it from that first walk through to the final moment. I guess you could say Maile and Micheala are the actual real life Mary Fiore. As for some of you that have no idea about what I am even rambling about maybe you should just stop right here and go rent the movie The Wedding Planner. I promise you will not be disappointed. Unless you are a guy that just is not sappy, then sorry you are just going to be clueless. So through the long hours and last minute details we survived our first wedding of the Summer. Well I say we survived lets see what Andrew thinks about all of this...
When I found out that there was going to be a wedding I was excited because I knew it would provide even more opportunities to learn new things. As we sat through "cheat seat" and learned about what all went into the wedding, I was eager to get started. Watching Maile, Micheala, and Dario prep for the wedding gave me firsthand experience on how much actually goes into planning a wedding. From preparing the invoices for the guests that are staying on the property to setting up chairs and tables used for the ceremony and reception. There was so much more that went into the planning than I could have ever imagined! Tonight has been a little bit stressful but overall super fun and enjoyable. I have learned a ton and am excited for our next wedding.
So if you all have been keeping up to date with what is going on with The Leadership Center you know that the interns have arrived. We introduced ourselves and told you what we were looking forward to. Well ladies and gents we are going into our third week of this internship. So I've been given the freedom to discuss whatever I would like with you all. So one thing I left out of my introduction was how much I love pineapples. Well my love for pineapples does have a point to this blog and The Leadership Center. So like I told you in the last blog I moved around quite a bit before coming back to my home roots. Well Virginia was the last place that I lived and they had such a fun symbol to represent their state; the pineapple. The pineapple means welcome and good ole' southern hospitality. Well ever since the pineapple has just kind of stuck with me. Now with being in the industry of hospitality it means so much more to me as an individual. Now, as to the point of this blog. When first meeting the staff of The Leadership center I felt welcomed and invited into "their little wonder of the world." Specially with being two hours away from home. They made me feel like I was a part of something bigger. They trusted me and guided me to knowing the ins and outs of what needed to be done. You do not always get this kind of hospitality everywhere you go. So I suggest to all of you that the next time you get the chance to hold an event here or stay here or even work here take the chance because you will not regret. You will get a pineapple welcome from the amazing staff that work here. Stay tuned for the upcoming events that will be happening as we head in further to Summer 2017!
My name is Andrew Stolpe. I am originally from Milford, Nebraska but after moving around for a while I finally ended up in Aurora going into my sophomore year of high school which is where I live when I'm not at college. Next fall I will be a junior at Nebraska Wesleyan University attempting to earn a degree in Special Education as well as a degree in History. My favorite movie/show is The Office and my favorite musical genre is country. I applied at the leadership center because I wanted an internship that would be a great/ fun experience while at the same time helping me to gain knowledge in various areas.
Hi, my name is Kiara Kocsis. I am originally from the Nebraska area, but after moving around I decided to come back to my roots to start college. I am currently living in Elkhorn, Nebraska. In the fall I will be a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Hospitality, Restaurant, and Tourism Management. You could say that the TLC internship was truly right up my alley when discovering it. I am looking forward to taking the information I have learned in the classroom and being able to apply it to my experiences here. Just some fun facts about me I personally love any movies that are romantic comedies; however, my all-time favorite is The Notebook (I may have a crush on Ryan Gosling). As for what favorite music/band I am currently listening to anything country. Once summer comes that is practically all I listen to.
As interns here at The Leadership Center, we have had two very eventful days within the start of our first week. Day one consisted of learning about the facility and meeting everyone that works within the facility. You would think that figuring out the layout of the facility would be easy, but with 43.5 acres of land and with a huge facility on top of that it is a lot of space to remember. We might have gotten lost a couple of times when starting on our first project, our intern video. If you have not watched it you should. Day two consisted of prepping for COLT. For some who may not know that this is, FFA state officers come here to lead conferences that are presented to each chapter within the state. This event runs for a week and a half. So you can imagine the prep work that goes into this. We are excited for the experiences that we will have with our internship at The Leadership Center. Stay tuned for updates on the events that go on throughout the summer.
Looking forward to sharing more with you all as our time goes on.
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Did you know we cater? Last summer, we had the opportunity to have our kitchen inspected and licensed by the State of Nebraska. This opportunity afforded us the option to get a catering license a well. We've kept the news kind of quiet because it's a work in progress. However, the word is slowly getting out there so I wanted to take a chance to address some questions.
What kind of food can you cater? If we serve it here at The Leadership Center, chances are we can cater it to your facility. We have done lunches as small as 10 to banquets as large as 200. If there is something specific you'd like to have served, just let us know and our Chef will assess the possibility!
Where do you cater to? To your table. To your office. To your event space. Right now, we're focused on Hamilton County and anything within a 50 miles of Aurora.
Can you staff an event to serve food or is it self-serve/drop-off? We can do either. Larger events we provide staff. For small groups, we can do either.
How are things charged? We charge you for the meal which includes dishes (plastic unless china is rented), silverware and napkins plus delivery/pick-up (in town). Outside of Aurora, there is a mileage fee. Depending on staffing needs, there may be another charge assessed.
What about dietary needs? If we know about them in advance, we'll be happy to accommodate them if we are able.
What is we just want cookies or rolls or scones? Absolutely. Just call and order your pastries. We can have them ready for pick-up or we can deliver.
Does this mean you can cook dessert for the holidays? Sure. They will have to be ordered in advance and we will have them ready for pick-up.
Could you cater holiday parties? We can or you can host them at The Leadership Center. Just call us with your inquiry.
How about office meals or meetings? Absolutely. We'd prefer at least 24 hours notice just to ensure supplies and staffing.
What can we expect from The Leadership Center and their catering? The same great service you get at The Leadership Center in the comfort of your office, event venue or home.
The best way to know if we are the right caterers for you, is to give us a call at 402-694-3934. We look forward to talking with you!
Nearly everyday here at The Leadership Center, we tell our staff that the work we do here is important. It is special. We create a place where moments that matter can happen. Our guests tell us that quite often as well. And for that, we love what we do.
Earlier this month, we had a very special opportunity. Our staff got to serve the Grothen Family who gathered together to celebrate the 65 wedding anniversary of Paul and Jeanette. They spent the weekend with us reminiscing, laughing and enjoying time spent together while we did the cooking, cleaning and laundry. It was such a treat.
A few days after the reunion was over, Micheala, our Admin & Event Coordinator received the most touching email thank you note on behalf of the family. As she read it to one of our lead cooks, Barb and me, tears welled up in my eyes. We shared the note with our staff as well and it really touched our hearts. So much so, we'd like to share it with you:
Dear TLC Staff,
The Grothen Family would like to thank you for offering a place where we could gather, stress free and worry free, to be together. My father (not a part of this weekend's gathering) is the Director of a church camp, so I know the hours and energy that goes in to hosting groups and running a facility. I also know that it tends to be a thankless job. In fact, often times feedback comes in the form of what "wasn't right" instead of gratitude for what was. As you enter what will likely be a busier season for you all, I wanted to pass along some of what you provided for us. Outside of your long hours, daily tasks, preparation, and clean-up, etc., here is what you provided:
A place for a family separated by distance to come together in one common space.
An opportunity to laugh, cry, and share memories.
A place to reconnect, to meet new family members, and to revive old relationships.
A place for kiddos (and Californians) to explore nature, bonfire, canoeing, and more adventure that their little hearts could stay awake for.
An opportunity to hear stories of our family history.
An opportunity to create stories for our family history.
A chance to soak each other in. To sit with one another without the distraction of TV, cell phones, and the busyness of the world. To enjoy one another, to look into each other's eyes and appreciate one another, undistracted.
An opportunity for an older man and an older woman to see their children, grand children, and great grandchildren all together, for what will likely be the last time until one of them is called to their Heavenly home. In fact, they gave a speech at the end of the weekend that ended in "now we can die happy."
We certainly hope we will be blessed with many more years with them on this earth, however we know the likelihood of that is small. For now, we are so thankful to have had such an opportunity. A gift really. The gift of time and space to be together. This. This is what you provide. It is accomplished through tasks, through early mornings, late nights, and countless hours. However, I hope that you are able to see that what you provide is so much more. What you provided us is priceless. And for that we are so thankful.
Blessings to you all,
The Grothen Family
It was such a treat to serve the Grothens. Thank you for allowing us to care for you and your family.