Right or Wrong, Don Deweber disappointed and dissatisfied about the attendance of the Pennsylvania State Open said he did not consider three or four players at a checker tournament worthy of any interest from the Keystone Trust, so he gifted the Keystone Trust to The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania (BGCWPA) in April 2015.  He also knew his health was failing and he didn't know anyone who he wanted as directors, officers, or trustees of John Caldwell-Irving Windt Library of Checkers, Inc, a non-profit corporation 501(c)(3), so his instructed his attorney to distributed all assets upon dissolution. In 2010 he gave away, sold, and finally bequeathed most of his book to Loras College, a Catholic Liberal Arts College in Dubuque, IA and the larger balance of his collection went to Cleveland Public Library in Cleveland, OH.  In the summer of 2015 he arranged to move his collection of checker trivia and memorabilia to the World's Largest Toy Museum located in Branson, MO.  Here are some notes leading up to and after the transfer of the Keystone Trust.


Don Deweber <checkers21@hotmail.com>:  "New Keystone State Checkers Trust" | Sat, Apr 11, 2015 at 11:41 AM

Thursday the new "Keystone State Checkers Trust" will be signed.  Also on the ACF Forum at the bottom of the page where it says--"Whos Online" there is an "Error" that has been there since July 15th, 2007.  Perhaps you will remember an old TV program entitled--"An You Were There" hosted by Walter Cronkite.  Well I was there on that day in 2007 and no such thing as 163 players being online at that time ever happened.   I do remember talking to a bunch of youthful hackers who were running those numbers up and down--.  When I asked them what they were doing then they left.  Take care and God Bless.  Mr. Checkers

Don Deweber <checkers21@hotmail.com>:  "New Keystone State Checkers Trust" | Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 10:35 AM

Mikes Boys and Girls Clubs deal with the needs of thousands of youth--to get them off of the streets and into a more positive environment.   The Board of Directors and Mike are looking forward to implementing an annual checkers tournament which they feel will benefit the youth of their organization.   The ACF dropped the ball for decades in not approaching this organization to promote youth checkers.   The new trust fund will be focused on the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pa. only; for the purpose of setting up and maintaining an annual checker tournament within their clubs.  This is only a small start that will hopefully spread to other such clubs.    Yes Mike has a budget, but the board of directors has asked him to make many budget cuts within his proposed budget.  Mike has the drive and resources to make things happen within his clubs--and I liked the enthusiasm he showed in wanting to bring about an annual checker tournament within his organization, which was why the Keystone State Checkers Trust Fund will be made available to him for that purpose.   Mikes organization promotes the involvement of youth into many activities, not just one as does the ACF; therefore his budget is much more costly and he spends a great deal of his time in fund raising activities.  He even had to kiss a pig for his latest fund raiser activity.  So let’s give him a chance and all the help we can to bring about this annual checker tournament--if successful it will also be a much needed positive for checkers.   Keep in touch!!  Take care and God Bless.  Mr. Checkers

Don Deweber <checkers21@hotmail.com>:  "New Keystone State Checkers Trust" | Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 5:03 PM

Mr. Checkers,

Just wanted to let you know that I received a copy of the "Restated Revocable Trust" document in the mail Friday from Roger J. Kurt.  Pretty straight forward and we are pleased to be part of this.

I did meet with my Branch Directors last week and we are good to go.  Plan of action is to begin this activity in an instructional phase to recruit and expose children to the game.  Once our summer Day Camps start up in mid-June, we will infuse this into the menu and social development activities and test the waters with small scale tournaments in all eight of our Branches.

Staff are on board and we are ready to go.  Thanks again for adding value to the things we do for children.

Be in touch -- God Bless.

Mike Hepler

From:  JR Smith NC Checkers   "ACF Youth Program Sponsorship " Sun, July 26, 2015 at  9:05AM

To: Alan Millhone <alan.millhone@gmail.com>,
Richard Beckwith - H <beckwith24@msn.com>,
"Michael H. Holmes" <holmes_cdfm@yahoo.com>,
Kim Willis <vincomomma@yahoo.com>,
Joe Moore, Jr. <chexnchips@yahoo.com>

This is an email I wrote back to Charles from some follow-ups from Charles Walker about promoting youth programs...

Hello Charles,

Yes, I agree at least a $1,000 or more toward the Youth Nationals will do more good that putting the money toward the Master Players' Prize Fund.  We need school programs across the country and competition amongst them so there are good numbers and talented players at the Youth National. 

We have made several good stabs at the youth checker program:  Kim Willis' School Program, “Arthur  Niederhoffer National Youth Championship”, Watson Frank’s school program, Bob Murr and John Cardie, and of course, your Mississippi Youth program, so what has happen to them?  We need to review and improve on what was started, what has worked, and what perished because of non-support or we burn out the individual.  What was good and what needed improvement.  A few dedicated members cannot do it alone.  

North Carolina Checker Association has supported and donated time, money, and checker sets & boards to several Boys and Girls Clubs in 4 NC cities (Boys and Girls Club of America) and The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Greensboro and Sanford, NC in 2000-2005.  It was probably a good thing to help boys and girls but it didn’t produce any checker player because it was accepted as temporary entertainment for the club’s evening activates available to the kids.  There was no structured supervision and development for checker players. There was no follow through or follow up toward player development so there would be future tournament and competition. Both organizations are basically involved in after school programs that provide a place where underprivileged, underserved neighborhood kids who are often from single parent homes of poverty can go after school.  There they have after school care programs and summer programs with activities like arts & crafts, fitness sports, recreation, homework help, and tutoring. This is an alternative environment so these kids can get off the streets and get positive nurturing, encouragement, and values they can relate to later in live.  I related our experience to Don Deweber.  We also did about two years of middle schools checker sessions while my wife was a lead teacher at a large middle school in Greensboro, but this requires an invitation from the Principal and plenty of dedicated members willing to work and continue the program.  We started checker clubs and set up competitive tournaments.  It's a slow and time consuming project... You can't rely on others running it or keeping it going.

Don Deweber recently (4/2015) gave the PA State Checker Association - Daniel Frank’s Keystone Trust Fund to the Western Pennsylvania Boys and Girls Clubs of America http://www.bgcwpa.org.  Don said his health was failing and he needed to close his John Caldwell-Irving Windt Library of Checkers, Inc, a 501(c)(3) and could only gift or dispose of its assets to another 501(c)(3), but what about ACF?  Deweber is relying on the Board of Directors and Mike Hepler, President/CEO to use the money wisely. Their plan of action is to begin this activity in an instructional phase to recruit and expose children to the game.  They will implement it in their Summer Day Camps which start up in mid-June, 2015. They will infuse this into the menu and social development activities and test the waters with small scale tournaments in all eight of their branches. Don thinks ACF dropped the ball for decades in not approaching this organization to promote youth checkers.

I personally think Deweber did his homework on picking The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania (BGCWPA), from their website, and all I can find out, it was not a bad choice other than give the Trust Fund back to PA Checkers from where it was taken, and probably more aligned with the original intentions of Daniel Frank, or at least let the officers of ACF decide what to do with it. 

What will happen with the checker program at BGCWPA is a “wait and see”, but it needs to be monitored.  Someone should follow up and review it at the branches this summer, and see if they continue promoting checkers after this initial kick off.  It will fizzle out if a fostering checker enthusiast is not involved.   

I think the public mid-school youth program is the ideal approach with a sustained effort knowing you are going to grow checkers from the ground up. This would be at least a committed 20 year program.

This is one thing John Acker had going for him, new ideas and a fresh approach to checkers, but he could not stop offending members and he became aggressively defensive about accepting corrective criticism or subjective critiques. Michael Holmes is currently work with youth checker at “Nativity Academy at Saint Boniface”  in Louisville, KY which I think is in the right direction.

Let's get the word out about what you think can improve and grow checkers.  This is the only way it’s going to happen.  One other thing it takes plenty of young energetic people to work with youth and relate to them.  You also have to keep it fun! They won't come back because, if you don't keep it fun and something kids like and want.   A Checker Friend, JR

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