"Tops Down" to All of Our Volunteers

Everyone knows the term “Hats Off” used to recognize someone’s accomplishment. In the Convertible Club we have a term that means the same – “Tops Down”. Starting in the fall of 2012 I highlighted various volunteer leaders each month in the newsletter. I wanted to keep those here so that everyone can review some of the accomplishments that have made this club what it is. The next time you see any of them; tell them how much you appreciate all the time and effort they put in to help make this one of the best clubs in The Villages.

Ron Kempf, President

The Villages Convertible Club















 November 2012 – Joe Yurfest, our unique dining-out chair. I am writing this after our club dinner last night at Swampy’s in Ocala. Not only did Joe Yurfest pick another good spot for his unique dining experience but the ride there was equally good. We passed many horse and cattle farms along the way with some spectacular views. As our club grows, so does the attendance at events. We had 60 people joining the trail of convertibles on the way to Ocala. Dot and I couldn’t help wondering about the sight we presented along the way. I am sure it had been awhile since the people living on several of those roads have seen so many cars at one time.


December  2012 – Jim Judd, our founder. I have decided to highlight one of our club volunteers each month. Last month was Joe Yurfest and his unique dining experiences. This month it is Jim Judd our founder and past president. I recently reviewed the early documents from the first months of the club and while I thought I understood what Jim did, I was not aware of the incredible effort he put forth to get the club started and operating smoothly. The next time you see Jim please tell him thanks for all the hard work and his leadership in the development of one of the best clubs in The Villages.


February 2013 – Bev Garlipp, our Newsletter Editor extraordinaire. This month I would like to recognize Bev Garlipp, our VP Newsletter and Communications. Bev’s most obvious contribution to the club is of course this newsletter. She does an amazing job each month in pulling together the various articles and presenting them in a way that makes the newsletter a pleasure to read. She does a great job of making the rest of the VCC leadership look good. Her slideshows at the annual party are always a hit. She goes out of her way to help new members feel welcome. What many do not see is Bev’s behind the scene work. She has stepped in a numerous times when we needed help with a trip or event to make sure things went smoothly.


January 2013 - Joe Apichella, our 50/50 chair. It seems fitting to recognize Joe Apichella this month since we are announcing the donation of the 2012 50/50 proceeds to the Daysprings Ministry Food Pantry. Joe of course runs the 50/50 at each of our meetings. He is very active in the club activities and attends and helps out at many throughout the year. Joe is also a strong supporter of the annual Toys for Tots drive and collects toys brought to club meetings. This past summer Joe organized a convertible club car show at Cody’s Roadhouse where everyone attending had a great time. We also understand that he does a great Elvis impersonation. When you next see Joe thank him for his work in helping to make the Convertible Club one of the best in The Villages.


March 2013 - Carl Back, our VP Trip Planning. This month I would like to highlight Carl Back. Carl took over the leadership of our Trip Planning committee in 2010 and has done a terrific job in bringing organization to the trip planning process and getting volunteers to lead the trips. Our trips are the heart of our club so Carl’s position means so much to our success. He has really made a difference in ensuring we have great trips lined up and providing the support to make them a success each time. You can see Carl the second Thursday of the month at 9:00 a.m. leading the trip planning meeting. If you haven’t attended one of these sessions yet, I encourage you to take a few extra minutes and come next month. Planning a trip is a lot of fun and a great way to get more involved in the club and get to know some great people even better. There is a lot of support to help you in the planning. We are always looking for new ideas for a trip so please let Carl know if you have a great place you have been or would like to go.


April 2013 - Barb Claussen, our remarkable Treasurer and Membership Chair. This month I would like to highlight Barb Claussen as one of our most valuable volunteers. Barb took over the Treasurer and Membership post last year. This position is by far the busiest in the Convertible Club. In addition to handling dues for new and renewal memberships, Barb takes orders for name badges and sells windshield banners. She is in some way involved in every event the Club runs. Barb is arguably the hardest working volunteer in our club.


May 2013 - Judy Berge & Ron Berge, our Secretary and banner-stand builder and key trip contributors.  This month I would like to highlight two of our valuable volunteers. Judy and Ron Berge volunteered to help out almost immediately after joining the club. Ron built the stands for our banners and puts them up at meetings and events. Judy helped on the last 2 annual party committees and volunteered to be club secretary this past year. Both are active participants in trip planning committee.


June 2013 - Jim Silvey, our Assistant Trip Planner.  This month I would like to highlight Jim Silvey. With our trip activity increasing last year Jim volunteered to work with Carl Back to take trip reservations and has been a key contributor to helping make our trips successful. Jim leads the trip planning meeting when Carl has been unable to make it. Jim also volunteers to lead trips such as the recent Yuengling Brewery visit.


July 2013 – Pete Beinetti, our Trip Coordinator. This month I would like to highlight Pete Beinetti. Pete volunteered this year to help coordinate trips. In In this role he has quickly become known as the master route planner. Recently Pete co-hosted a trip to the Golf Hall of Fame and led a kayaking trip. He also did a great job of planning restaurants for our June lunch and dinner. The dinner at McLeod House Bistro was so popular that he planned 2 separate nights.


August 2013 - Arch Simonson, our Special Events Chair. This month I would like to highlight Arch Simonson. Arch has served as our Special Events Chair for a number of years. Arch is very active in the club and you can see him at many events. His most visible role is leading the annual Convertible Club drive-in at Lake Sumter Landing. Anyone attending the event can appreciate the great planning and organization by Arch.


October 2013 – Dot Kempf, our All-around Volunteer. This month I would like to highlight my wife Dot Kempf. This is the 3rd anniversary of Dot and I joining the club in October 2010. I can still remember her excitement when she saw in the Recreation News that there was a Convertible Club. Dot was one of the leaders for the club’s first ever overnight trip in October 2011 to the Golf Hall of Fame and St. Augustine. She then led trips to Fantasy of Flight and a return trip to the GHOF. When the leaders for the Winter Park trip needed help she volunteered to take over that trip. She has helped out on the annual party committee the last 2 years and researched local food pantries to make a recommendation to the board for our donation in 2013. Dot has been very active in trip planning and has only missed a few of the meetings since joining the club.


November 2013 – Bev and Art Baskin, our Annual Party Chairs. I think it is appropriate this month to highlight Bev and Art Baskin. Bev and Art have worked on the annual party since its inception and they have chaired the event the last 2 years. In addition to chairing the committee, Bev has designed the centerpieces. The food and entertainment has always been great and people really enjoy themselves. The last two years I have been approached by several people who felt this was the best party they had been to in The Villages.