Here are the details of our District 5970 Outbound Group Study Exchange team.   You will have an opportunity to meet this entire team at our District 5970 District Conference, May 1, 2 - at Kirkwood Community College.

Members of the outbound group study exchange team to Italy held their first planning session January 24-25 near Waterloo. The team will leave May 9 for district 2030 in northwest Italy in and around the city of Turin. Team members and their host clubs are, from left to right,  Kelli Stoa, Marion; Ruth Buck, Waterloo Crossroads, team leader; Jim Vowels, Waverly; Katherine Brown, Cedar Falls;  and Stephanie Hildbrand, Dubuque.

2009 GSE exchange Outbound Team PDF Print E-mail


Ruth Buck, GSE Leader writing to the GSE Team:

Hi All,
We are getting closer to a date to all meet each other.  Just need dates from one more of you and you know who you are.  It might be as December 27/28 depending on your holiday travel schedule.  Let me know if that is out for anyone.   In the mean time, why we all don't tell a little about ourselves through e-mail and if we "reply all" we'll all get the message.  One of the first things we need to do is decide on the color of the blazer that we will wear to distinguish us as a team.  Rotarians traditionally wear navy blue but that doesn't have to be us.  They have to match and we have to put the GSE logo patch on them but that's the only guideline.  Teams have worn pink (how do you look in pink, Jim?) and various other colors.  What we wear under them is up to us individually.  I might suggest one dressier outfit for the District Conference and one casual - like jeans - for nature type activities.  
A little about me, I am the oldest of the group and probably one of the older team leaders we have had.  I will qualify for Medicare February 1, 2009.  I am very active and work almost full time for a non-profit agency and am not planning on retiring. I am married with 2 grown sons a dog and a cat.  Leisure activities include hiking, biking, snowshoeing, reading, cooking and travelling - a lot of the latter.
Now it's your turns.  Let us all hear from each of you.
Ruth Buck-Team Leader

 Kelly Stoa - GSE Team Member:


I'm Kelli Stoa, 26, an elementary music teacher (Junior Kindergarten through 3rd grade) in Marion, IA.  Originally from Fulda, MN, I've been in IA the last 4 years (2 years in Marshalltown and almost 2 years in Marion).  My B.A. is in Music Ed from ConcordiaCollege, Moorhead, MN, where I happened to meet my husband.  We've been married for almost a year now.  We've got two cats, Brutus and Sulla, and no kids.  I enjoy camping, Community Theater, swimming and reading.  Lately, I've been busy playing 'Sister Sophia' in the "The Sound of Music" with Theatre Cedar Rapids.  We had four performances this last weekend and we've got 9 to go.

I agree with Katherine on blazer colors.  Let's avoid light colors and all shade of yellow.  Black is always a good choice and lately green has been my favorite color.

It's great to start hearing from all of you.  I, too, am excited to meet everyone.  I don't think Ruth has mentioned this, but we have a potential Italian tutor here in Cedar Rapids.  Hopefully, that will work out for us.


 Katherine Brown - GSE Team member:


I can't wait to meet everyone and get started on this exciting process!

I am Katherine Brown, 28-years-old. I am a MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) student at UNI. I am also working on teaching licensure in K12 TESOL with a secondary English endorsement. I have an assistantship in the GraduateCollege focusing on Graduate Student Life. Cedar Falls is my hometown. My BA is from the I.e. Iowa in Theater and English with a vocal music minor. After graduation I found an internship in Allentown, PA doing educational outreach with a theater (plus all sides of theater administration, sets, costumes, box office, etc.) I lived in Allentown for 4 years, working at a 300-seat live-music venue after the internship. I was the production and house manager there until returning to school in Iowa.

I'd like to try something different for blazer color. I don't look good in yellows, and light colors show dirt so well. Otherwise, I'm open for suggestions!


Jim Vowels - GSE Team Member:

Hello from the Token GSE Male,

My name is Jim Vowels, and I have been teaching band at Waverly-ShellRockHigh School for 10 years.  I am originally from Kentucky, a proud 1992 University of Kentucky graduate and spent this past holiday back home for the first time in nearly two years.  I can't stand the Big 10 conference and have learned to become an IowaState fan, though they make it difficult at times.  
I will be 40 in the spring, so I barely made the cut for this trip.  I have three children:  Sophie is 11, Kurby is 8 and Celia is 5.  This is my 17th year teaching overall, and I am the 4th Ward representative on the Waverly City Council. My house was hit by the flood the summer, but the kids and I have everything back to normal.  I am the one holding up the calendar and will email that to Ruth today.  I'm very much looking forward to meeting all of you and taking this trip, but I'm not sure how well I will look in pink blazer.


Stephanie Hilbrand - GSE Team Member 

My name is Stephanie Hilbrand.  Technically I'm 31, which I don't admit to very often since I have to work with college students and somehow that clearly definitive line between 29 and 30 pushes me into no-man's land.  Not old enough to be the motherly figure, but also not 'cool' like people in their 20's.  I'm originally from Mt. Horeb, WI but I've lived in 5 states (WI, ND, TX, AZ, IA) and 2 countries (US & France) since I graduated from UW-La Crosse in 2000.  I've worked in the fields of Aquatics, Student Ministry, and for the past 6 years at universities working within residence life programs.  The best thing about moving so much was seeing so much of the U.S. and experiencing the cultural differences that each region offers.  The worst thing was it's impact on my personal life and the impossibility of stability when places and people are constantly changing.  The great irony is now that I've "moved back home" my closest friends are only a flight away on the 2 coasts.  I currently work for ClarkeCollege in Dubuque, IA and have been here for 16 months as the Assistant Director for Residence Life.  I am enjoying living in Iowa and am happy to now be within driving distance of family.

  I have to veto the pink as well, but I know it was a joke :)  I also agree with Katherine about her vetoed colors.  I'd actually be content with black or the navy, but whatever you select Ruth is just fine.