Group: Iowa Association of Student Councils
Event: Region 5 Student Council Leadership Summit
Date: August 25-27, 2017

It is always the hope of a destination management organization that your meeting, tournament or event will immerse themselves into the community. This not only helps the attendees get a sense of place for the destination, but also spreads the economic impact directly to the attractions, restaurants and organizations in that community.

There is not a better example of an event that has embraced the Quad Cities community than the Region 5 Student Council Leadership Summit hosted by the Iowa Association of Student Councils. This summit brings the leadership of state student councils (students and advisors) together for education, best-practice sharing and networking.

The Iowa Association of Student Councils, under the leadership of Vicki Carstens, has hosted this summit in the Quad Cities for the past three years. The event has been such a success that other regions have asked to be invited to this summit in future years.

[Planner's Perspective: Vicki Carstens Discusses Bringing Her Event to the Quad Cities]

Vicki seeks different local restaurants annually to bring their attendees so they can get a taste for the favorite food in the community. She also looks for new experiences at attractions that could also be considered a learning lesson for the students and advisors.

One of her favorites is Comedy Sportz Quad Cities, a local, all-ages improv show. In addition, she identifies one or two leaders in the Quad Cities Community that could both show and tell the students about their story and how they achieved the success they did.

In 2017, she sought Garrett and Ryan Burchett of the Mississippi River Distilling Company in Le Claire, Iowa. They are former students of hers, as well as former student council members, so their message was close to home for the attendees of the summit. Their wildly successful Distilling Company has been an example of leadership and preservation in the Iowa beverage distributing industry.

They plan to visit Modern Woodmen Park, home of the A Minor League Baseball Team, The Quad Cities River Bandits. The ownership team of Dave Heller and Sen. Roby Smith have a great leadership story to tell the students and advisors. They’ve taken a historic ballpark and team to a new level.

Modern Woodmen Park is consistently voted one of the top minor league ballparks in the country and the River Bandits have been repeat Midwest League Champions over the past five years.

Attendance at the spring and summer games has been hitting record numbers, with either Dave or Roby greeting fans as they arrive each night.

Another exciting addition to their meeting is their community service aspect. Each year, they’ve partnered with the Riverbend Food Bank to help stuff backpacks of food for kids in need of nourishment during the summer. Although the warehouse is lacking in air-conditioning, Vicki would be the first to tell you that there is never one complaint from these students or advisors about the project.

Riverbend Food Bank Community Service

They actually rank this as their favorite highlight from the summit.

Finally, Vicki has gone a step further in immersing the Leadership Summit into the existing events of the Quad Cities’ community. In 2018, she is planning a leadership scavenger hunt within the largest farmer’s market in the area, The Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport, Iowa. Besides getting to experience the excitement of the event, they will also experience the nearby attraction of the 110-foot Ferris wheel overlooking the Mississippi River and Davenport and Rock Island.

The Quad Cities is happy to have this growing Regional Leadership Summit experiencing the real locale of our destination and continuing to wow the students, advisors and new regions of student councils!


Quad Cities CVB
800.747.7800 x 823