Though he may consider himself an aging veteran, there is no denying when clinical director Tom Dewese retired after 28 years at TriCity Family Services last week, the agency lost one of its star players.
Dewese met with colleagues and friends at the Batavia Public Library last week for a session on how his craft has and has not changed since he joined TriCity Family Services in 1984.
Families and individuals in the Tri-Cities who spent time with Dewese in trying to solve personal problems know he lives up to what he called the most valuable aspect of his trade.
"You have to respect the people you are working with," Dewese said. "Respect is the most valuable."
Taking that a step further, Dewese explained that if a therapist is going to ask a client a question, listening to and respecting the answer is a key.
"Otherwise, don't ask the question," he said.
While the world around Dewese and his clients rapidly changed with the advent of the Internet and, eventually, social media and its troubling aspects, Dewese said people's problems have not.
"People still get sad, or they get anxious, or angry," Dewese said. "It's really not much different from years ago."
And despite all of the technologies at the fingertips of psychiatrists, "the talking cure is still alive and well in therapy," he added.
Dewese's clients should be grateful for that. He built a reputation among his clients and co-workers alike that he has a gift for gab, but only with the best intentions of his clients at the forefront.
He has based his philosophy and therapy process on a George F. Will statement that he said has actually guided his career.
"It is extraordinary how extraordinary the ordinary person is," Dewese said in repeating Will's quote. Under that premise, Dewese generally tried to help clients assess their strengths and encouraged them to take advantage of those traits.
"You want them thinking about moving toward something related to their strengths, not thinking they are trying to get away from something unpleasant in their lives," Dewese reasoned.
Still, a therapist must "listen closely to what a person is searching for," Dewese said.
There is little doubt Dewese has helped many people complete that search. In the end, he views therapy as a complicated process with a simple goal:
"To get people to walk the walk, and talk the talk, after awhile."
For guts and butts: Jackie Kold has taught enough fitness classes to know what women are mostly looking to shape up -- guts and butts.
Kold, operator of Jackie Kold Fitness and Yoga, will conduct her boot camp for women June 9 to 27 in a setup in which women can choose which days, from 9 to 10 a.m., they would like to attend. The camp will be held outside the fitness studio at 5N201 Shady Oaks Court in Campton Hills, and will include nearby parks and trails.
She's again enlisted the help of her son Garrett, for whom she first designed the camp as he prepared to join the special forces of the Air Force.
Now, he's on leave from his tasks with the Air Force to come back and help his mom conduct the camp.
The camp boosts a good cause as well. Ladies who donated items for Lazarus House during May had a chance to win a free day of camp.
"My workouts have a strong 'guts and butts' component because these are key areas where women want to lose weight and tone up," Kold said. "For flexibility and strength, we warm up and cool down with yoga."
Council on course: A confession to make: I thought the St. Charles Arts Council would result in a good idea that just didn't have enough juice behind it.
I can't say for sure how smoothly the daily business and marketing activities of the council unfold, but it's apparent the number of ideas and supporters is not lacking.
It's not so much the council's support or involvement in big shows like the St. Charles Arts Festival last weekend, it's more about the consistent pop-up galleries, special events, and issuing information to the public about upcoming events and people.
Mostly, the council is hitting its marks on the most important task -- keeping its name out there.
The one thing it can't do, however, is make sure the weather is perfect for the St. Charles Arts Festival. Last year, stormy weather dampened the event, this year it was just too darn hot.
Amazing academic feat: Congratulations must go out to Mill Creek Elementary students in Geneva for recently taking second place in the national Thinking Cap Quiz Bowl competition for fifth-grade teams. The students stood out as some of the finest in the nation in answering questions about math, geography, government, spelling, sports and other topics.
This is amazing to me, considering my only concern in fifth grade was whether I could keep the Beatles cards and Bazooka bubble gum in my desk hidden away from nuns who were notorious for confiscating such items.
Jamie's perfect fit: The Geneva History Center board made a good move in recently naming Jamie Daniel as Historian Emerita.
Daniel recently retired after a long career at Miscella Real Estate, so she's got the time to devote to the center. Plus, her dedication to Geneva has stood out as a key trait for many years.
Past Genevans in this role were Alden Odt and Merritt King. It means Daniel will spend plenty of time compiling stories and information about Geneva for the center to preserve.
A riverbank view: It's still one of the better ways to see the trail along the Pottawatomie River and check out the new sculptures in Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles.
Plus, it's a good cause operating in memory of a good guy who cared a lot about how the riverbanks looked in his hometown.
The River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles has already sent word out that the annual Bob Leonard 5K Run and Walk-a-Thon will be held Aug. 11. The run starts at 8 a.m., the walk at 9:30 a.m.
The event represents the major fundraiser for the organization that has cleaned up segments of the riverfront in the city for the past several years. Information is available at stcrivercorridor.org.