When guests check into their hotel rooms for the Ryder Cup golf tournament this week, they will be greeted by artwork and short essays by children in elementary school welcoming them to Illinois and the Chicago area.
The children tout Chicago's beautiful downtown, the Chicago White Sox, great golf courses, the Illinois Prairie Path and good people as reasons to visit.
"I'm a golfer and I love to golf," wrote 9-year-old Katie of Wheaton in a note sure to touch the hearts of Ryder Cup players and fans.
"It has great golf places like Cantigny. If you have kids, they can climb on the tanks," offered Trista, 10, another student from Wheaton.
Those warm greetings were collected by David Stewart, a member of the Medinah Country Club that is hosting the Ryder Cup and co-chairman of the club's community relations committee. The project had the enthusiastic support of the PGA and area hotels, he said.
Stewart started visiting elementary schools in Medinah and surrounding communities in April to seek their help with the project.
"It came with a lot of excitement. Almost every school wanted to participate," he said. "The teachers were so enthusiastic."
In the end, Stewart collected about 1,000 welcoming cards from students in roughly two dozen elementary schools. The art/essay project exposed the kids to the Ryder Club and gave them a part in news in the making, he said.
"It's probably one of the biggest events that we'll have in DuPage County," he said. "People are coming in not only from around the country but around the world. We wanted to make them feel welcome."