News from Central Illinois Unit 208
Karen Walker, 2121 Lynwood Drive, Champaign IL 61821
Our Central Illinois Unit has 741 active members as of January 1, 2008. Here's a breakdown of our current membership by masterpoint holding:
0-5 mps: 62 members
Life Masters (300-500): 39
Bronze LMs (500-1000): 119
Silver LMs (1000-2500): 82
Emerald & Platinum LMs (7500+): 4
Our total membership is down 2.5 percent from last year and down 4 percent from three years ago. Our Unit signed up only 35 new ACBL members in 2007. On average, about 66 percent of our Unit's new ACBL members renew for a second year.
On the plus side, we're the "youngest" Unit in District 8. The average age of Central Illinois members is 66.32, compared to age 67.62 for all of District 8 and age 68.40 for all of ACBL.
What can you do? For 2008, make it your goal to introduce at least one new player to duplicate bridge and/or to recruit at least one new or lapsed ACBL member.
Our Unit Board sponsors recruitment and retention programs, but the most successful "selling" of our game is through individual, personalized efforts. Here are some ideas on how you can help promote our game and increase our member base:
Download ACBL's free Learn to Play Bridge software programs and burn them to CDs. Include them with gifts for birthdays, holidays and other occasions. Give copies to friends, relatives and members of other clubs and groups where you have personal contacts.
"Talk up" duplicate to your party-bridge friends. Invite one to be your partner at a duplicate game.
Do you have old or extra copies
of the monthly ACBL Bulletin magazine? Don't toss them in the trash.
Recycle them by:
Giving them to bridge teachers to hand out to their students.
Taking them to your local club and encouraging newcomers and non-members to browse and take them home.
Asking your doctors, dentists and local businesses if you can leave copies in their waiting rooms. Cover the address label with a card or sticker with the contact number and/or web site of your local bridge club.
Make a list of players who have "disappeared" from your club games in recent years. Call a few to let them know they're missed and invite them to rejoin the games. Ask one to be your partner or offer to help find partners.
If you're a club manager, look in your email box for periodic "lapsed member" reports from ACBL (lists of members you recruited who have not paid this year's dues). A little encouragement from you is all they may need to renew. If they've lost the forms they received in the mail, remind them that they can renew online (www.acbl.org) or by phone (800-467-1623).
District 8 Sectional at Clubs -- Monday, February 4 through Sunday, February 10
All club games during this week can award sectional-rated silver points, with the opportunity to win Districtwide overall awards. Our Central Illinois Unit is paying the extra sanction fee for you, so play often! Check with your club manager for information on games in your area.
ACBLwide Senior Pairs -- Monday afternoon, February 25
This annual event, open to ages 55+, offers extra masterpoints, pre-dealt hands and hand-analysis booklets. The same hands are being played at clubs around the nation and will offer District-wide and nationwide awards. The sanction fee is low; expect to pay 75 cents more than your club's regular entry fee. Check with your club manager for information on sites in your area. Central Illinois clubs that have hosted this game in the past are:
Champaign: Bridge at Ginger Creek (12:30 pm) -- Karen Walker (217-359-0042 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bloomington: Gayl West Duplicate (11:45 am) -- Gail Moon (309-661-8993 email@example.com
Springfield: Bridge Club of Springfield (12:30 pm) -- Janice Franz (217-546-0597 firstname.lastname@example.org
North American Pairs -- Club qualifying games in June, July & August
There's no limit on the number of these special games your club can hold. The 2008 national finals will be in Detroit MI.
Cheer on our Unit winners: The 2007-08 North American Pairs concludes in March when District winners play in the national championship in Detroit. Five pairs from our Unit will be representing District 8 in the national finals :
Flight A: Colby Vernay, Lacon & Will Engel, Freeport
Flight B: Claire Krukenberg, Charleston& Richard Brummer, Effingham
Flight C: Praveen Jayachandran, Champaign & Dan Bunde, Urbana
Barbara Bass, Princeton & Shirley Bloch, Peoria
You can check on their results in the online Daily Bulletins from Detroit. Flight A plays on March 5-6. The Flight B & C events are on March 15-16.
Visit the ACBL Unit Awards page to view lists of the top ten Unit players in each category (type 208 into the box that asks for your Unit number). Results will not be official until mid-February. Year-end results for our Central Illinois Unit will be published in the April issue of this newsletter.
We were saddened by the loss of long-time player Lee Thurber of Champaign. Lee, who was 75, passed away at home at the Inman Retirement Center on December 22.
Lee served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955 and had a long career as a civil engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Champaign. He also worked part-time as a tax preparer and was active in his church, where he was a member of the choir for many years.
A Life Master, Lee was a fixture in Champaign-Urbana bridge for more than four decades. He taught classes and directed games at many different club sites since the 1970s, including Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul and the Paradise Inn and Bridge at Ginger Creek in Champaign.
Lee loved to play bridge and he was dedicated to helping others enjoy it. He was a true gentleman at the table and was always the first to volunteer to fill out a movement, partner a newcomer or help with any job at a club game or tournament. He had mobility problems in recent years, but he continued to play at the club two or three times a week.
Our sympathies go out to Lee's family -- his brother Don, sons Kevin and Mark, and two grandchildren -- and to his many friends and partners in Central Illinois. We admired his fortitude and his commitment to the game, and we'll all miss him.
New Junior Masters (5 pts.)
Club Masters (20 pts.)
Nancy Shaver, Springfield
Sectional Masters (50 pts.)
Lynn Porter, Springfield
Regional Masters (100 pts.)
NABC Masters (200 pts.)
Sam Katz, Bloomington
Bronze Life Master (500 pts.)
WELCOME to new member:
Vilma Smith, Galesburg