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Skål USA Journeys
Dear Fellow Skålleagues,
Wow, it has been a very busy 9 months!
As I look back on this year, I call your attention to a number of Skål USA accomplishments:
• Developed and implemented the first ever 3-year plan or road map as a result of discussions during the Winter Board meeting in Boston and introduced quarterly conference calls for all Skål USA Club Presidents and Skål USA representatives to facilitate better flow of communication between the Skål USA board and the membership;
• The board continues working through the 3-year plan with a newly formed committee of member volunteers who are working closely with the Skål USA board to develop a new national committee structure; they have already held several conference calls;
• Invested member funds to yield a higher return and secured a lower Euro exchange rate for 2016 SI dues;
• Welcomed 200+ new members with the first ever welcome letter;
• Implemented a new credit card program to assist clubs in generating revenue;
• Partnered with Tourism Cares for higher visibility and an opportunity to give back to our communities and promoted Skål at ABA Marketplace, IPW, IMEX and ASTA Global Conference (for the first time).
Skål USA continues to stay in the forefront of other National Committees with two clubs qualifying for Skål Club of the Year. Congratulations SI Ft. Lauderdale/ Palm Beaches and SI Tucson; we wish you both much luck in Spain later this month where the winner will be announced at the World Congress.
On June 24th I was honored to represent the Skål USA membership at SI Washington’s 60th Anniversary Celebration at the Army and Navy Club in Arlington, Virginia, more than 150 were in attendance. Mr. Bob Vaughn, who is 90 years young, did a fantastic job organizing and co-chairing the memorable evening.
SI Pittsburgh celebrated their 55 year anniversary on September 15th at the Omni William Penn; thank you for including me in the celebration and the brief tour of the city following the meeting.
Congratulations to both clubs on your successes over the years; keep moving it forward!
SI Las Vegas hosted a fabulous National Committee Meeting (NCM) and Skål USA Summer Board Meeting at the end of August. They offered a taste of Vegas which included an Elvis wedding, opportunities for members to experience a Blue Man Group show, Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys plus a tour of the Mob Museum followed by an industry panel discussion on tourism issues culminating with a Farewell dinner at the Tropicana. It was an honor having SI President Salih join us at the meeting. Well done SI Las Vegas, Thank You!
Finally, I commend SI Boise and SI Tampa Bay for taking advantage of the Membership Development Funds available from Skål International. SI awards up to 300€ and Skål USA matches the funds to assist clubs when hosting a member recruitment event. It is not too late to host an event this year, especially since November and December are consider free months for any new member you propose. SI has revised the application this year, the document can be found on www.Skål USA.org
Thank you for your membership, commitment and friendship.
Happiness, Good Health, Friendship, Long Life,
I remain yours in Skål,
Martha M. McClintock
2015 Skål USA President
In preparation for the upcoming Skål International USA annual elections, nominations were accepted for the following positions:
• VP of Administration
• VP of Finance
• ISC Councillor (2 year term)
• Region I Vice President (2 year
• Region III Vice President (2 year
• Region V Vice President (2 year
• Skål USA Auditor
Nominations are now closed. Voting will begin on November 1st and will close on November 30th at 11:59 PM Central Time. Candidates shall not be allowed to campaign, nor allow anyone to campaign on the candidate’s behalf prior to October 25th. Overall, the election process will feature the following:
a) The candidate profiles including nominating letters, Skål Curriculum Vitaes and Professional Résumés will be posted on the Skål USA website between October 26 and November 1.
Please visit https://skalusa.org/skalelection/ for this information.
b) Voting will be done by secured electronic ballot as supervised by the Skål USA Administrator. We will again utilize Election Buddy as we have for the past four years. Club Presidents will receive their ballot directly via email.
c) Each Club President, as designated on the Skål International website as of October 15, will cast the club’s vote(s) electronically between November 1 and 11:59 PM Central Time on November 30. Under no circumstances will the voting deadline be extended.
d) The number of ballots that each Club receives will be based on the membership count of Active, Life and Retired Members as of October 15. Clubs that have 66 or more members get two votes. The clubs that get two votes for the 2016 elections are Atlanta, Boston, Hawaii, Miami, New York, Orlando, and Washington.
The above is taken in part from the Skål USA By-Laws currently posted on the Skål USA website. However, some terms used here are different for the purpose of clarification or additional information.
Members are encouraged to visit the Skål USA website to view candidate information and discuss with your club’s officers. If you have any questions about the Skål USA elections, please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Vice President or Toni Koster at email@example.com.
What is the Florimond Volckaert Fund?
The Florimond Volckaert fund (FVF) was set up in 1954, in the name of the acknowledged founder of Skål, to provide assistance to Skålleagues and their immediate families who are in serious need of assistance, during times of desperation.
If a Skålleague is in need of help, an application should be sent to either the President of your Club or the Skål USA International Councillor, who will convey the application to the three FVF Trustees. They will assess the request and quickly come to a decision.
All donations to the FVF must be received by Skål USA within the calendar year for which the donation is intended. Donations received after the deadline will be considered and recognized for the succeeding year. We can no longer account for pre-payments or accept payments after the deadline based on when the funds are required to be transferred to Skål International.
Donations from the clubs help make the FVF viable and able to fulfill its special purpose. We would like to recognize the following for their contributions in 2015: SI Arkansas, SI Atlantic City, SI Boston, SI Colorado, SI Hawaii, SI Kansas City, SI Long Island, SI Memphis, SI Northern New Jersey, SI New Orleans, SI Orlando, SI Raleigh-Durham, SI Reno-Tahoe, SI San Jose, SI Sacramento, SI Tucson, SI Washington, a personal donation on behalf of Lana Gordon, and a contribution by Skål USA in memory of John McCaul.
The deadline for 2015 FVF contributions is December 1, 2015.
Skål USA would like to introduce its newest Administrator, Matt Manousoff, Program Specialist at the American Bus Association. Last year, Brandon Buchanan was promoted to Director of Regulatory Affairs at ABA and has therefore relinquished many of his previous responsibilities, including his role as one half of the Skål USA Administration along with ABA CFO Eric Braendel. On September 1st, Brandon passed the torch on to Matt.
Matt began working at ABA at the end of 2014. Over the past year, he has assumed responsibility of several of ABA’s affiliated organizations and councils, including the Hispanic Motorcoach Council and Florida Motorcoach Association. During his tenure with HMC and FMA, he has built upon Brandon’s accomplishments with these groups, placing emphasis on keeping the leadership and membership engaged, and putting best practices in place to ensure that the organizations are on a sustainable path.
Furthermore, having studied international relations and worked for organizations with an international focus prior to joining ABA, Matt can apply his skills and experience to Skål USA, facilitating a seamless Administrator transition.
An Update from the VP of Administration on the Implementation of the Skål USA 3-Year Plan (2015-2017)
Dear Fellow Skållegues,
It has been a wild ride this year. At the board meeting in January, it was brought to the board’s attention that we needed a three year plan. So as you know, we came back and developed a “Three Year Plan” and it was put on the website. During 2015, we have implemented many of what was outlined on the plan. I am pleased to inform you what has been accomplished this year:
We are currently working on a restructure proposal of the current board structure. We have a committee that is dedicated to putting together a viable plan to move forward with a new structure.
We have increased membership in Skål USA in 2015. This will add to a financial stability for Skål USA.
We have improved the internal and external communications from the Skål USA Board to its’ members by having quarterly calls between the President of Skål USA and the club Presidents. In addition, we have also done quarterly calls with Skål USA Representatives. We are offering quarterly newsletters and quarterly webinars.
All travel must be approved by the VP of Administration or the President.
We have developed strong committees with the involvement of the membership to include Fundraising, Education, Young Skal, Membership, Community, Relations, Communication and Standards & Process
The structure for the implementation of a new board structure will be presented at the 2016 NAASC and take place at the beginning of 2017 if voted for.
Sell advertising space, banner ads on the monthly newsletter, this will add to the financial stability of Skål USA and to consider other ways to generate income for the organization through possible online auctions. This is currently being implemented.
Continue with and strengthen the arbitration and communications task force.
We have continued our community awareness by participating in ABA, IPW, IMEX, ASTA and Tourism Cares.
I hope you find that we are moving in the right direction to strengthen Skål USA through these changes and procedures that we have put into place. There are many more to come!
Respectfully and SKAL!
Skål USA VP of Administration
A Message from the VP of Finance on 2016 Skål USA & Skål International Dues
While you are in the process of developing your 2016 Club Budget, the following information should be of assistance to you.
I would advise you to set your local club dues now and start to collect them during your November and December meetings.
You will receive your Clubs Roster from Skål International early in January. Please make any deletion ASAP so that you will be invoiced for the proper amount.
Your payment of dues are to be made to Skål USA by January 31, 2016.
2016 Skål USA & SKÅL INTERNATIONAL DUES
Active / Associate
SI – $57.00
Skål USA – $68.00*
Total – $125.00
Retired / Life
SI – $54.00
Skål USA – $68.00*
Total – $122.00
SI – $15.00
Skål USA – $15.00
Total – $30.00
* Includes $3.00 for Membership Development
SKÅL INTERNATIONAL NEW MEMBER INITIATION FEE
SI started collecting a New Member Initiation Fee on January 1, 2015 in the amount of EURO 25 ($35.00 USD). This will change to ($30.00 USD, Starting January 1, 2016).
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Best regards and SKÅL,
Edward M. Davis
Vice President – Finance
SKÅL International USA
P.O. Box 1709
Atlantic City, N J 08404
Skål USA Survey Results
Over 10% of Skål USA members participated in a recent survey intended measure the attitude and engagement of members towards the organization. The findings were presented to those gathered in Las Vegas for the National Committee Meeting. There was general satisfaction across the board and constructive input from members in the open ended questions. Membership development, networking and communication were the three leading attributes that the members expect from Skål USA. The presentation given at the NCM is posted online for review.
New Skål USA Member Benefit: Credit Card Processing
Do you accept credit cards for your Club meetings and events? Prepare to get an additional kick back to jump start your fundraising efforts through SIUSA’s new partnership with CBoss/Redstone.
Don’t have a Club website to run event registrations or accept credit card payments? No problem, CBoss/Redstone will customize an online landing page for you to use to accept your payments free of charge.
Take advantage of the lowest merchant rates on credit cards available! And use those percentage points saved to help a good cause, your local Skål Club.
This quarter’s SI Atlanta Community Service Project is a blood drive for the Red Cross Blood Bank. Many SI members know people who have had to rely on the American Red Cross Blood Bank supplies, so this is an important way to support future needs! Members are encouraged to donate at their own convenience between October 1st and November 30th, and to report to the Chair of the project, Richard Tilley after donating. Richard and his wife Doris Tilley (pictured above with the SI Atlanta banner) are frequent donors to blood banks and firmly believe in this way of giving support to our community.
Share your community involvement experience!
Please provide the name, dates, and a brief description of the events/causes/scholarships/services that you are involved in via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SI Columbus Volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House
On July 22nd, 22 SI Columbus members prepared and served dinner at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (RHMC). For more than three decades, RHMC has been serving families with seriously ill children by providing a home-away-from-home at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. From their beginnings as a grassroots movement established by a partnership between volunteers and local McDonald’s Owner/Operators, the charity has served thousands of families in their deepest times of need.
SI Atlanta Hosts Symposium on Human Trafficking
Taking on the challenge of making people aware of human trafficking and the solutions which are starting to be offered, SI Atlanta held a very good symposium in September as Community Outreach.
Partnering with a student organization ONE VOICE, and the Women’s Resource Center at Georgia Tech, SI Atlanta was able to use the facilities of the President’s Suite in the Student Success Center for this open event.
Opening with remarks from SI President Salih Cene, presented by Region IV VP Burcin Turkkan, Marylou Foley, SI Atlanta President introduced SI Atlanta VP Harry Huff, who moderated the event. In addition to a presentation on what students at GT are doing to raise awareness and to provide support to those fleeing such conditions, CNN Executive VP and General Manager Mike McCarthy presented The Freedom Project: Behind the Scenes – from conception, to impact to the awards these films have received.
William Hassell, Project Coordinator, International Human Trafficking Institute, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta – addressed the definitions and statistics. Then Sgt Ernest Britton, Atlanta Police Department, gave an inside view of what his unit does to rescue children and to take down traffickers – from “the tip” to the “take down”.
Jonathan Todres, Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law, and an Advisor to ECPAT-USA, spoke about prevention versus enforcement focus and the potential role of the Private Sector, and the pivotal role of the Travel Industry.
Maryann Zoldak of the Maritz Travel Company and an Advisor to ECPAT-USA spoke about client preferences based on Humanitarian Policies, and these impact and opportunities inside the sales process. A very good lesson for the travel industry!
Michelle Sarkisian, President of P3Advisors, and an advisor to ECPAT-USA spoke about her personal involvement with the private sector/travel industry sectors.
But the most dramatic and enlightening presentation was done by Pastor Donna Hubbard, the Founder of Woman at the Well Transition Center. Pastor Hubbard is a certified trainer in the fight agains Human Trafficking with Airline Ambassadors International of Washington, DC and a flight attendant with American Airlines. Her personal story made the whole subject of Human Trafficking real and personal and her courageous actions were inspiring to everyone in attendance.
After the 3 ½ hour symposium, the speakers and members of SI Atlanta, met for lunch and roundtable discussions with suggestions for productive actions which we can take to fight Human Trafficking and to help the victims receive the necessary psychological support and educational support they need to re-build their lives.
Tourism Cares Donations
Skål USA would like to recognize the following clubs for donating a total of $900 to Tourism Cares in 2015:
• SI Albany
• SI Arkansas
• Mr. Forest Cramer on behalf of SI Connecticut
• SI Fort Worth
• SI Northeast PA
• SI San Jose
• SI Tampa Bay
• SI Washington
Skål USA would like to recognize the following clubs for donating a total of $1,336 to support the Pacific Island of Vanuatu and SI Port Villa in the rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of category 5+ tropical cyclone Pam:
• SI Atlanta
• SI Fort Lauderdale & Palm Beaches
• SI Fort Worth
• SI Hawaii
• SI Northern New Jersey
• SI San Jose
• SI Tampa Bay
• SI Tucson
Skål USA would like to recognize the following clubs for donating a total of $1,370 to support Nepal and SI Kathmandu, and the rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake:
• SI Colorado
• SI Fort Lauderdale & Palm Beaches
• SI New Orleans
• SI San Francisco
• SI San Jose
In March of 1963, Larry Decker, at the request of several airline colleagues from the Los Angeles Skål Club, accepted the invitation and challenge to organize and establish an active Las Vegas Skål Club. Las Vegas, “The Entertainment Capital of the World”, a national and international tourism destination, was truly a logical city for a club, which upholds the ideals and needs of Skålleagues.
Since its inception, SI Las Vegas has hosted the following events:
• N.S.C.U.S.A. Congress – 1965
• International A.I.S.C. Congress – 1971
• Skål USA National Committee Meeting – 2015
SI Las Vegas in 2015 has come back from a recession to become a vibrant club of professionals from tours, attractions, hotels, transportation, and more. Their members enjoy coming together to promote Las Vegas in friendship to the world. They support growing the hospitality community by offering an annual scholarship to students attending the Hospitality Management Program at the College of Southern Nevada.
The Skål USA Administrators recently caught up with Jason Abbott of the SI Las Vegas Club, and asked him about his club’s success and goals for the future.
What is your club’s primary focus for this year?
The main focus for the Las Vegas Skål chapter this year was hosting the 2015 NCM. The event, like most, had a few hiccups, but was overall a great success. We also continue to focus on increasing membership, and aggressively working on improving our Young Skål program.
Why was that goal chosen?
The Las Vegas Skål chapter had not hosted a meeting in 32 years, and was long overdue. The aftermath of the recession left our membership at an all-time low, and the club has been working hard over the last six years to increase membership and strengthen the organization. This was a great opportunity for us to showcase the Las Vegas chapter, and to show our members that we are back and on track. Increasing membership should always be a main goal of any organization without new members of varying ages; the group tends to get complacent and stagnant.
What can be attributed to your club’s overall success?
SI Las Vegas had a fantastic board and members that are dedicated to making the chapter successful. Support from the Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority combined with members that believe in Skål are helping to re-establish a strong foundation.
What are some challenges your club has faced?
The greatest challenge has been increasing our membership and lack of involvement of current Skål members. Only 5-7 years ago, our club was 80% retired members. We were challenged with rebuilding the club with active members from an industry that was hit hard by the recession in 2008. Consequently, we have had a turnover of about 90%.
In what ways have you overcome those challenges?
The economy hit all businesses hard and finding venues to host became a huge challenge. We overcame that by switching our meeting format to a more informal “Happy Hour” style which allowed for more interaction and networking and was priced low enough to meet anyone’s budget since most members pay their own way.
Has your club done anything you feel is different as compared to other clubs?
We have a monthly meeting format or Happy Hour format which is very popular with our members. Meetings run about two hours with the lion’s portion focused on networking. The last 20 minutes of each meeting is focused on updates about the local Skål chapter, and upcoming events.
What advice would your club give others in their efforts to maintain current members?
Listen to your members. Be flexible. Find a way to bring in key members that will attract more members.
Does your club have certain keys for getting new members?
We stress the huge value that Skål international brings to its members; the value of networking, and doing business among friends.
What efforts are you making to keep your club vital and relevant among the local community (community involvement)?
Las Vegas Skål offers two annual scholarships to students in the hospitality industry. We also work with other hospitality organizations, and at times hold joint meetings to broaden networks, and possibly find new members.
Skål USA Club of the Year Award to be Issued in 2016
The Skål USA Board has elected to bring back the tradition of recognizing at least one Skål USA Club annually as the “SIUSA Club of the Year”, starting in 2016. The purpose of the award is to honor the Skål USA Club which best exemplifies the spirit of Skål and has achieved the objectives of the Skål Movement, during the Calendar year. In order to qualify for Skål USA Club of the year award, a club must stay in good standing with Skål International USA by paying dues on time, providing the Form 2 on time and paying all other invoices in a timely manner.
There will be four criteria that will be evaluated when considering candidates for the award:
1) B2B – Doing business with members: Documentation of business transactions within the clubs members and also with Skål members worldwide
2) B2B in the Community – Hosting or participating in local B2B event(s) that are educational or supportive of the travel / hospitality community
3) Holding Charity or Educational Support/Event (s) – Establishment and support of new or ongoing educational or charitable efforts for the good of tourism or the community as a whole
4) Young Skål – Success promoting the initiative of Skål International in growing the Young Skål effort, in either the student or young professional categories.
The award will be announced at the 2016 NAASC Congress during the Skål USA Annual General Meeting. The winning club will receive a single registration to the NAASC Congress (in the year awarded) or $1,000 to be used for a club event.
Clubs that wish to be considered for this award must submit information supporting the criteria above to the Skål USA Administrators and Skål USA VP of Administration Toni Koster at SIUSA@buses.org and email@example.com by January 1st. Early submissions are appreciated.
April 16, 2015
Presented by Ronald Flores, SI Puerto Rico
View the Recording!
This Skål International United States of America (Skål USA) webinar is intended to help equip you with the tools to help you get your message out better. Public relations can be an essential function that Skål USA clubs can harness to help you get new members. Don’t miss out on hearing new ways to connect to your members, the media, prospective members and other clubs!
In Case You Missed It: Skål USA Webinar: Selling to Millennials
June 30, 2015
Presented by Charlie Funk, SI Nashville
View the Recording!
As we continue to bring in the next generation of young professionals into the working ranks as well as the bulk of our customer base, we need to understand their motivation – needs and wants. This emerging group is very unique in their interests, communication methods and reference points. In order to better incorporate them into Skål as well as leverage their increasing buying power, we must first try to understand and relate to their lifestyles and career concepts as well as how to reach them and get them to engage.
The 2015 Skål World Congress will take place October 28 – November 1 in Torremolinos, Spain. For more information visit the Skål World Congress website by clicking here.
This meeting is the annual gathering of all of the Skål Clubs worldwide. During this event, each of the area committees from around the world get together and in addition the world body meets and makes changes in administrative and operating policies.
Skål USA to Partner with Tourism Cares: Sponsor & Arrange Clean Up Teams at Events
Skål USA has entered into a partnership with Tourism Cares for 2015-2016. Tourism Cares is an excellent way to give back to an industry that has so enriched each of us. It is also an excellent opportunity to increase the visibility and footprint of Skål USA around the United States as these events usually draw significant media coverage.
The new partnership will kick off November 1-2, 2015 at Williams, AZ. This event is part of the Tourism Cares National Park Service Volunteer Program series. This program will continue in 2016 at the following sites:
• Chattahoochee National Recreation Area / Atlanta, GA February 5, 2016
• Mississippi River National Recreation Area / Minneapolis, MN May 20, 2016
• Mount Rainier National Park / WA September 16, 2016
• Ellis Island / Statue of Liberty November 2016
Skål USA has committed to participating at the Grand Canyon, Chattahoochee and Ellis Island events and depending on the level of sponsorship interest, Skål USA may consider doing all 5 events.
The Skål USA Board is asking that each of the 52 Skål USA Clubs donate a minimum of $100 (or more) towards the Tourism Cares initiative. With a high level of participation, we will have enough to participate in all 5 of these events. Skål USA will receive a reduced rate for sponsorship by committing to three (3) events; a membership to Tourism Cares which also offers also our representatives to receive reduced rates to participate at their events.
To learn more about Tourism Cares, visit their website at www.tourismcares.org.
Any questions on how Skål USA and your club can be more involved? Contact Dave Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org or 916.752.0187. He is the liaison between Skål USA and Tourism Cares.
Your donation will be recognized on the Skål USA website, in the newsletter and at the NCM, NAASC Congress.
Skål USA Winter Board Meeting to Take Place on January 8th During 2016 ABA Marketplace, Will Assist with Skål Member Development
The American Bus Association’s Marketplace will be coming to downtown Louisville on January 8-12, 2016 at the Kentucky International Convention Center. ABA Marketplace is an annual event that brings together more than 3,500 members of the motorcoach, hospitality, travel and group tourism industry to kick off a new year of business opportunity and growth. An active, vibrant forum of buyers and sellers where business gets done, Marketplace offers a year’s worth of sales meetings in just one week through more than 140,000 pre-scheduled appointments and delegates returned to their offices with an average of $78,440 in booked business. What a return on investment!
With legendary networking and social events, attendees often turn conversations from the conference floor into long-term business relationships. This event epitomizes the maxim “doing business among friends.” The Skål USA Board will meet on January 8th at the Brown Hotel in Louisville for its winter meeting and once again, Skål USA will have a visible presence on the Marketplace networking floor in the thick of the delegates.
The Skål USA booth at Marketplace is a gathering place where all Skålleagues can feel welcome to stop by and will also serve as a rallying point for the recruiting efforts of new Skål members. At last year’s event more than 90 prospects expressed an interest in Skål. This year is a special one, as it is the Louisville club’s 50th anniversary.
We encourage you to register for and attend the ABA Marketplace. Come out and support your Club and build your business! http://www.buses.org/events/event/marketplace-2016/registration.
If you would like to support Skål USA by volunteering at the booth during Marketplace, please contact Toni Koster at email@example.com by December 22nd.
NAASC Returns to the United States for 2016 Meeting
The North American Alliance of Skål Clubs (NAASC) is a regionalized meeting of the largest organization of professional tourism leaders (16,200 members) around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry. Its members, the industry’s managers and executives, meet at local, national, regional and international levels to discuss and pursue topics of common interest.
The meeting will rotate for 2016 to the United States, and the 55th NAASC Congress will be hosted by Skål International Boise, June 9-11 at the picturesque Riverside Hotel.
For 2017, the 56th annual NAASC meeting will be hosted by Skål International Canada.
2016 Skål USA National Committee Meeting Site Selected
SI Arkansas has been selected as the host for the 2016 Skål USA National Committee Meeting (NCM). The meeting will take place September 8-11, 2016 at the Wyndham Riverfront in North Little Rock, AR.
2017 Skål USA National Committee Meeting and Winter Board Meeting RFPs Are Now Out for Bid
Skål USA is now accepting proposals for the National Committee Meetings and Winter Board Meeting in 2017. The Skål USA Board has determined that the NCM should not be held earlier than eight (8) weeks prior and no later than four (4) weeks before the SI World Congress each year and will also include the North America Young Skål Symposium.
Skål USA aims to rotate the meetings among the regions to showcase different clubs, help with membership recruitment, and even out the travel burden for attendees.
If your club is interested in hosting the NCM or Winter Board Meeting in 2017, please email your proposal to Toni Koster, VP Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Skål USA Board will select the winning bids for 2017 at the board meeting in Boise board will select location of board meeting, and the membership will select the site for the NCM during the AGM.
Please plan to budget as a Club for this meeting as Skål USA is required to hold this meeting and we would love to see more clubs represented and members in attendance. Moving forward, the Skål USA Board has decided that it would be appropriate for the Skål USA membership to consider the proposals for future NCMs and vote on future locations during these meetings.
SI Suva Invites US Skål Clubs to Upcoming International Meet – “Friends Across the Pacific” on November 13-15 in Fiji
SI Suva is pleased to invite members of all US Skål clubs to “Friends Across the Pacific” in November 2015. This event is in support of Skål’s Mission to work together to be a trusted voice in travel & tourism and to maximize networking.
Organizers from SI Suva envision an entire weekend of events and activities for all to enjoy and network over, with three official functions. The weekend starts on Friday evening with informal drinks at a member’s restaurant, and will continue through the weekend with opportunities on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the many attractions of Pacific Harbour. For example, they hope to have enough people interested for a good
game of golf at The Pearl Championship Fiji Golf Course & Country Club on Sunday morning! The weekend will conclude with
President’s drinks on Sunday evening at the Arts Village at the variety of restaurant members.
For more information and to register, please contact Stuart Gow, Secretary, SI Suva at Stuart@ResortSupportFiji.com.
SI Prague Invites Skålleagues to 20th Anniversary Celebration on November 19-21
On November 19-21, 2015, SI Prague will host their 20th Anniversary Celebration, and all Skålleagues worldwide are invited!
SI Prague was the first of its kind founded in the former communist countries in October 1995. Today, the club has around 70 top tourism professionals representing the industry and 18 Young Skålleagues representing the bright future of tourism.
The event will combine the festive and social aspect with a symposium and an open panel discussion to discuss the most relevant topics of our tourism organisation. At the same time, you will have a unique opportunity to discover the beautiful Czech Republic and the city of Prague, located in the very heart of Europe, offering an endless selection of pleasant incentives for all your senses.
For a copy of the program as well as further details and booking information, please contact Club President Heinz Reigl by email on email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more and additional details on www.skalclub.cz and/or www.ehrtravel.com.
Past Skål Meetings & Events
Skål USA Members Assemble for Second National Committee Meeting of 2015
The Skål International USA National Committee Meeting (NCM) was recently held at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 27-30, 2015, and was generously hosted by Skål International Las Vegas.
Over 40 Skål International members from 37 clubs in the United States convened for the second NCM of 2015 to discuss various tourism issues as well as to network with each other in an atmosphere of friendship and learning. The elected Skål International President, V. Salih Cene from Skål International Antalya (Turkey) participated in the meeting and presented several updates on Skål International initiatives. The Skål International Canada President and dignitaries from Mexico were in attendance as well.
Skål International USA National Committee Meetings are held twice each year in accordance with the Article of Incorporation of Skål International USA. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the North American Alliance of Skål Clubs (NAASC) Congress is the first of the two required NCMs. This meeting was the second NCM and is usually held around the first week in August.
Skål International USA (Skål USA) is a regionalized portion of the largest organization of professional tourism leaders (16,200 members) around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry. Its members, the industry’s managers and executives, meet at local, national, regional and international levels to discuss and pursue topics of common interest.
The Skål USA Executive Board kicked things off on August 28th with an open board meeting featuring reports from regional vice presidents and the committees under their responsibility, followed by updates from the Skål USA VPs of Finance and Administration and the ISC Councillor. The National Committee Meeting took place the following day. Topics discussed at the meetings include community involvement, fundraising, budget and financial reports, 2016 elections, and upcoming events. In addition to the successful meetings, the agenda also featured a panel discussion with several distinguished speakers from the region, focused on the theme “Buying or Selling a World Class Destination.”
The second annual North American Young Skål Symposium took place in conjunction with the NCM over the weekend as well. Young Skål members were treated to a back-of-the-house tour of the MGM Grand Las Vegas, a must-see for any young person interested in a career in hospitality and tourism.
Young Skål is geared towards all young professionals between the age of 20 and 29 who study or work in tourism for at least two years. The goal of Young Skål is to attract young professionals to the organization and to turn them into active Skål members once they reach the necessary qualifications. The young participants enjoy the support of their local Skål Club for social activities and professional experience, and are exposed to an international network of professionals in the field.
The 55th NAASC Congress, hosted by Skål International Boise, is scheduled for June 9-11, 2016 at the picturesque Riverside Hotel. The second NCM of 2016 and the third annual Young Skål Symposium will be hosted by SI Arkansas at the Wyndham Riverfront in Little Rock on September 8-11. Please see the following link for more information. The schedule of events and registration information will be posted later this month.
President Salih was very pleased with the outcome of the meeting, stating “throughout my travels, I have said that Skal is first friendship and amicale, then networking and business and all other benefits will follow…we talk about Rotary and Lions but they do not have that friendship, except the Masons. I tell my Skal friends that Skal is the “masonry of tourism”. I have witnessed a collaboration, a fruitful togetherness here and the result was positive. I am happy.”
2nd Annual North American Young Skål Symposium
Las Vegas, August 2015
By Llana Smith, Skål USA International Skål Councillor
The 2nd Annual North American Young Skål Symposium was held recently at the Embassy Suites Convention Center, August 28-29, 2015 in Las Vegas during the Skål USA National Committee Meeting. Nine excited and enthusiastic Young Skålleague from across North America were in attendance at the Symposium.
As Skål USA ISC for the past two years, part of my duties was to study the Young Skål Program worldwide. After lengthy exchanges of information, the ISC determined that one programme for Young Skål internationally was just not feasible. There are too many differences culturally, logistically and quite frankly understanding the need of a YS programme in certain areas of Skål. The was suggested that the implementation of a YS programme be handled by the local Club and National or Area Committees as they know their demographics much better than a “one size fits all” type of international programme.
Thus, the experiment began with a North American Young Skål Symposium. The results have been outstanding.
This year’s event in Las Vegas included opportunities for the nine attendees to network and build relationships with Skålleague from around North America and Mexico. They were afforded the opportunity to voice their suggestions for the 3rd Annual North America Young Skål Symposium to be held in North Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, in September 2016.
Four members of the newly formed Young Skål Long Island Club presented a fundraising presentation during the Skål USA Board Meeting that was well received. The YSLI Club raised over $1,600 for their registration and transportation by holding a FlapJack Challenge in conjunction with Appleby’s Restaurant. It was presented that this could become a YS Fundraiser for all of North America. The Young Skål Club in Long Island, under the direction of Skålleague, Jennifer Ackerson, has grown to a membership of 36 with their own Board of Directors and monthly programmes developed just for them. And all of this in an astonishing 9 month period. Congratulations, Young Skål Club of Long Island!
The highlight of this year’s Symposium was a full morning tour of the “back of the house” at the well-known MGM Grand. Organized by SI Las Vegas Skålleague, Vivienne Sario, an instructor at College of Southern Nevada School of Hospitality, the YS attendees (after their official photo in front of the iconic Las Vegas sign!) met with Victoria Cruz, Supervisor of MGM Concierges for a five hour tour. The YS could not decide on one special moment as they were all so informative and some even breath taking. The tour included The Grand Arena, backstage dressing rooms where everyone from Elton John to Paul McCartney have waited for their show to go on. Also, included were a tour of the Grand Suites, Skylofts, the lobby, retail shoppes and the restaurants. The back stage tour of Ka’ by Cirque de Soleil, was just overwhelming. Our tour concluded with lunch in the MGM Employee Dining Room, compliments of the head chef at the MGM Grand.
Concierge Veronica was very informative not only within the tour, but also giving examples of her career climbing up the ladder in her ten years at MGM Grand. She started at the front desk ten years ago and announced for the first time, while touring the Skylofts, that she had just been promoted to Head Skyloft Concierge, a position that deals with the most expensive accommodations in the hotel. Here’s to Veronica, who incidentally took her day off to come in and lead this tour! We thank you for an incredible morning.
With interactions like we have had the last two YSNA Symposiums, I think it has been confirmed that when Skål wants or needs to impress Young Skålleagues, the face to face time is the best. We look forward to a successful 3rd Annual North American Young Skål Symposium next year in North Little Rock with more emphasis on time together and more programs for YS to participate in. Enjoy the photos!
SI President Salih Çene Visits the United States
In September, Skål International President Salih Çene came to the United States for several important meetings. In addition to the NCM in Las Vegas, President Çene attended the ASTA Global Convention and had meetings with the American Bus Association, the US Travel Association, Brand USA, the Air China Washington DC office, a dinner organized by Skål International Washington, and a meeting with Ethiopian tour operator Yohannes Zeleke to discuss the possibility of developing a Skål International club in Ethiopia.
Skål USA Exhibits at IMEX America in Las Vegas
On October 13-15th, several Skål USA Board members promoted Skål at IMEX America 2015 in Las Vegas, NV.
IMEX America sets the pace for doing business on an international scale. Increasing in size and scope annually, this event features the largest Hosted Buyer Program in North America and attracts thousands of buyers and exhibitors from the U.S. and around the world. The energy at IMEX America is everywhere, connecting everyone with key players, generating innovative ideas and driving business with the force of global opportunities.
A new facebook page has been created to highlight upcoming meetings in the region and share additional pictures from meetings and events!
SI Washington, DC held a gala anniversary dinner on June 24, 2015, at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, with more than one hundred forty Skålleagues and guests in attendance.
The highlights of the event included the attendance of many past presidents, one of whom was Jack Freed, who served in 1976, almost forty years ago.
In addition to a fabulous cocktail party, amazing dinner, and delightful post-event soiree, SI Washington was honored to have Skål International–USA President Martha McClintock on hand for special remarks and recognitions.
One of the people who received a presidential recognition was Bob Vaughn, SI Washington President in 2008 and dinner chairman. Bob is only ninety years old and conceptualized the event, carrying it out to be one of the highlights in the sixty year history of the club.
Bob deserves many congratulations for both the dinner and his distinguished career. Starting out in Iola, Kansas, where he was high school senior class president and a triple letterman all four years in football, basketball, and track, Bob went on to serve over thirty years in the United States Army, retiring as a colonel.
He served over the years in the South Pacific, Japan, Germany, SHAPE in Paris, Vietnam, the Pentagon, and elsewhere. He attended both the Command and General Staff College and the National War College. He earned two Bronze Stars.
With an MBA from the University of Maryland, Bob was the owner of Sunflower Travel in Kansas and then Maryland for over twenty years. In addition to his long membership in Skål, Bob was also active in ASTA.
Bob Vaughn, SI Washington, an outstanding Skålleague! To Bob–“Happiness. Good Health. Friendship. Long Life. Skål!”
The Joe Kane Scholarship Benefit Golf Outing took place on July 20, 2015 at Williams Country Club.
SI Pittsburgh 55th Anniversary Dinner at Omni William Penn Hotel
Skål Member Bob Page Honored into St. Vincent College Sports Hall of Fame!
Robert D. Page earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Saint Vincent College in 1983. He was a member of the varsity soccer team and was twice honored as an All-American, and he received the E. Albert DeLuca Award. At Saint Vincent, he was active in intramurals, served as a residence hall prefect and as a member of the concert committee. A member of Rotary International’s Pittsburgh Rotary Club, he sits on the hospitality advisory board of the Pittsburgh Technical Institute and participates in the American Heart Association’s annual heart walk. Page works as the director of sales and marketing for Omni Hotels and Resorts at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh. He and his wife, Sandy, have two sons, Michael and Christopher. He is a member of St. Kilian Parish where he serves as an usher.
A new facebook page has been created to highlight upcoming meetings in the region and share additional pictures from meetings and events!
On a recent visit to the West Coast, John Rusher and his wife Robbie (SI Myrtle Beach) had the pleasure of having lunch by the Bay with some of SI San Francisco’s finest: President Brigitta Ammann, Past President Kirsti Maki, and Skål USA Rep Michael Caplin.
A new facebook page has been created to highlight upcoming meetings in the region and share additional pictures from meetings and events!
Ft. Lauderdale & Palm Beaches
In July, SI Ft. Lauderdale & Palm Beaches joined with several other industry associations and participated in the new Hospitality Industry Icebreaker organized by Discover the Palm Beaches (Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau). The event drew over 200 industry managers and sales personnel, and was a great networking and charity fundraising event with over 500 pounds of school supplies being donated for area children. The Skål booth attracted a lot of attention, resulting in a number of attendees expressing strong interest in joining Skål.
SI Ft. Lauderdale & Palm Beaches also held their 5th annual Travel & Tourism Industry Summer Social in August, which was supported by the Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureaus, the Florida Hotel & Restaurant Association, MPI and HSMAI. There was a great turnout for the networking event which raised a substantial amount of money for the club and for charity with a wine pull and live auction. As in past years, the club gained several new members.
Orange Coast Inductions
To place a jewelry order using a credit card, fill out and submit the order form on the Skål USA Shop web page ( https://skalusa.org/skalskal-usa-shop/ ). There will be a link at the bottom of the order confirmation page to pay by credit card rather than receive an invoice. Please click this link and fill out the form, selecting the “Other” box and entering “SIUSA Store” into the text box. You will only be charged once for your order. If you choose to pay by credit card, you will not receive an invoice.
Skål USA Shirts
Skål USA shirts with the official Skål logo are available from Land’s End. To place an order, visit the Skål USA Shop at www.siusa.org/siusa-shop and click the “Shirts” tab. On this page you will find a link with step-by-step ordering instructions as well as the link that will take you to the Land’s End site to make a purchase. If you have problems ordering, please contact Matt Manousoff, Skål USA Administrator at 202-218-7246 or SIUSA@buses.org.
It is with great sadness that we share the news that Mr. John P. McCaul passed away on October 8th, 2015, at the age of 79 while at Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine, FL where he has lived with his wife Rosy for several years.
John was the President of Skål International (1990 – 1991), President of NSCUSA (Skål USA) (1983-1984), President of SI Chicago (1973).
John had been suffering after a stroke in May 2014. He is survived by his wife Rosy McCaul.
The Skål USA Board hopes that you will all join us in extending our thoughts, prayers, and warm wishes to the McCaul family during this difficult time.
A Funeral Mass was held on Friday, October 16, at Saint Anastasia Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made, in honor of John, to the St. Francis House: 70 Washington St., St. Augustine, FL 32084 or St. Gerard Campus: 1405 U.S. 1, St. Augustine, FL 32084. Craig Funeral Home, Crematory, and Memorial Park is in charge of arrangements. Please see the link below for more information.