The Young Men's Club of Bloomington is part of a long and proud tradition. It has been a source of lasting friendship and public service for over 95 years. The membership consists of more than 90 local businessmen and professionals.
Since the club was founded in October, 1916, it has been known as the most relaxed business and professional club in town. Attendance at the regular Tuesday noon meetings at the Ozark House has never been required, but members attend regularly to enjoy the companionship, entertaining programs, and friendly heckling of officers and fellow members.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the 2016 President of the Young Men’s Club during its Century Anniversary Year. This is truly a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for all of us to celebrate what this “unique” Club has meant to our community over those 100 years and to each of us during our membership tenure as well.
In an early historical remembrance, Wm. H. Gronemeier (the 1916 city editor for the local Daily Bulletin newspaper who was not only the founding inspiration for this organization but also its first chairman) wrote “this is a ‘unique’ club,” “no other club just like it” anywhere else in the world – hosting years of notable speakers and entertainers at weekly meetings (including William Jennings Bryan, Knute Rockne, Illinois governors, US Congressmen, and State of Illinois politicians as well as local community leaders); sponsoring charitable fund raisers during World Wars as well as recreational activities for local orphanages; organizing many memorable social outings; and even being deputized by the local Sheriff to help keep the peace in the community during a very divisive railroad strike (1922). Their early motto still rings true: “The Young Men’s Club: A Boost for Each Other and a Boost for Bloomington!” ... indeed, it continues to be “a place where a tired business man can come and relax and forget for a time his problems.”
We have much to celebrate this year and will be doing so over a series of interesting programs reflecting on historical events and culminating in a gala centennial celebration on Friday, October 28, 2016, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington. We are hoping many former members as well as all our current members and guests will gather for an evening of good food, great entertainment, many laughs, and a special glimpse of the YMC’s continuing “pleasant fellowship.”
The Club has also set before itself two BHAG’s for the current year – they are two Big, Hairy Audacious Goals! Over a three-year period (2013-16) we are hoping to “Add 100 New Members by the 100th Anniversary.” We are two-thirds of the way there and its achievement is in sight! Members are actively inviting guests to weekly meetings and many are saying “I didn’t even know this group existed – I like it! I want to join!!” Why it seems the Young Men’s Club is such a secret, we don’t know, but we are working hard on changing that reality. If you want to check us out – give me a call and we’ll work out the details. Everyone is always welcome.
Secondly, our primary charitable work is currently done through our 501(c)3 Youth Opportunity Foundation. We make annual grants to individuals and organizations focused on building up and encouraging the youth in our community. To commemorate our anniversary, we have established within a Legacy Endowment Fund and an initial goal of raising $10,000 that will provide income forever to the Foundation’s grant-making programs. Each member is being encouraged to donate $100 toward the Endowment during this anniversary year – we are about one-third of the way there.
I invite you to learn more about our history and our current programming. This website will offer you many details and pictures of our programs, social activities, and members. You can also check us out on Facebook at Young Men Club of Bloomington.The Young Men’s Club is a great group of gifted and interesting men who have a lot of fun together; and, we are always interested in welcoming more into this historically “unique” group and getting acquainted with other community leaders of all ages. Check us out!!
(Home Phone 309-454-4080)