Twenty-years is a long time to be producing a newsletter. That is about how long it would take to accumulate 1000 issues at 50 per year. But that is just what Rotarian and city lawyer Willem Vermeer has done with the club's weekly newsletter titled The Keyway.
 
Willem joined Dryden Rotary in January 1991, so is approaching his 30th anniversary this coming year. At the June 17th meeting Vermeer shared how the club newsletter has changed over the twenty-five years he has been its editor. 
 
When Will began the newsletter, it was already called Keyway. According to club historian, Rtn. Clare Thompson, just who suggested the name has been lost to posterity. What is known however is that the club was founded in 1942 and that its first newsletter was called the Dryden Rotarian. It is thought that the name change occurred around 1982 as Will showed a slide of an issue from May 08, 1982. That issue is interesting because it mentions then Secretary Frank Smith who is the father of current Rotarian Lucille Ayers.
 
The pre-Vermeer October 1988, issue is also interesting because it mentions a makeup by Dan Mackinnon, the father of current Rtn. Shayne Mackinnon and that the winner of the 50/50 draw that meeting was Jim Wilson  the father of current Rtn. Lea Bullock 
 
Will took over from Rtn Mel Fisher in 1995 when Mel became President-Elect.
 
A Keyway is essentially the keyhole or passage way or slot and pocket in which the key fits.  Commonly keyed components include gears, pulleys, couplings, and washers. Rotary's wheel is such a logo. 
 

Evolution of the Keyway Design

When Will began, AWCL ( Alex Wilson Coldstream Limited ) was printing the headers/mastheads on the paper and Will printed two meetings on their paper . He would then take them to Rotary to be distributed.  Those absent would be mailed their copy.

For the first two years, Will did not number the issues. however he began doing so in 1997 because that is what other clubs were doing. At some point the club ran out of paper with mastheads. At that point because he had his own computer and word processor Will began designing his own banners.

In those first years Keyway was produced on 8" by 11" paper and folded in half like a small booklet. Vermeer also joined the Fellowship of Rotarian Publishers and Editors where he discussed ideas on how to put together a better bulletin and what should go in a bulletin. 

Thus around 2004, the Keyway started showing up on 8 x 11 letter size paper and a vertical format.
By 2007, Will had created a standard format to the Keyway which listed the Club Executive and Directors a calendar of next speakers, a summary of the past meetings talk, happy bucks and fines, as well as humour.

Most members, by 2008, had email and Keyways were distributed electronically. It is at this point that Will began distributing them in PDF format. For the few without email, Will would print copies and bring them to a Rotary meeting. At about the same time Keyways started to carry more pictures.
 
Twenty-thirteen saw an increase in the number of pages while our granite sign at Rotary Park was featured in the masthead. It was also at this time that the club became more balanced in their gender and Will started to vet his humour with his wife, Marj to ensure it was “fair to all concerned” and not just the men!
 
During those times when Will was on a holiday other Rotarians would volunteer to take notes. They would then email them to Will who would use his notebook computer to put together the Keyway
and email it out to members.

With the use of a smart phone, by 2016 Will would to both take a picture and record the talk of the guest speaker so as to verify his scribbled notes!

Will stated  that "One of the most rewarding Keyways was when I put out a series of 7 or more “WHERE ARE THEY NOW” stories." I searched out exchange students from the 1980s and 90s and had them give an update on what they had done since leaving Dryden. He said "It was most gratifying to see that all of these students had made their mark in this world and were leading productive lives."

Before thanking us for supporting him over the past 25 years, Will reminded us of the need to create a succession plan so once again put out the call
 
"If you are willing to put in an hour or two a week, I have a position for you !!
Don’t feel bad that I won’t have a job in Rotary - I know that I can keep busy.
Just come and talk to me and I am willing to help you get going - and back
you up if you are away."
 
Everyone in the club appreciates the effort and volunteer time that Will Vermeer has put into producing our weekly bulletin. Our 2019-20 president, Mardi Plomp made a deeply appreciative "Thank You" to Willem for his 1000 Keyways and on behalf of the club presented $1000 to Shelter Box to commemorate all of those Keyways.
 
 
 
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