Nancy Waters, president
of the Pewaukee Chamber of Commerce, left, and Lynn
Minturn, president of the Hartland Chamber of Commerce,
at a silk rug factory on a recent trip organized by the
PEWAUKEE - Most think of their local chamber of commerce
and consider those well-intentioned individuals in the
community who show up at ribbon-cuttings, and
occasionally spearhead civic improvement projects.
does not usually associate the local chamber of commerce
with trips to the Great Wall of China, or Iceland or
Ireland, or Europe’s Danube River.
chambers of commerce in Lake Country are becoming as
well-known for trips as they are for promoting
businesses and encouraging economic development.
recent years, the chambers of commerce in both Hartland
and Pewaukee have sponsored trips overseas as a means of
has really been a wonderful benefit to the community,”
said Nancy Waters, president of the Pewaukee Chamber of
Commerce. “It’s a lot of work. Lynn and I built this
program from scratch.”
Minturn is president of the Hartland Chamber of
Commerce. Minturn said chambers of commerce sponsoring
overseas travel as part of their business model is a
the northern part of the state, there are a lot of
chambers that do trips,” Minturn said. “We looked at it
from a broader perspective, because it’s done as a
fundraiser for the chamber.”
Minturn and Waters traveled to China on a trip through
the City of Waukesha Chamber of Commerce. The meeting of
the minds led the two to start planning.
The Pewaukee and Hartland chambers of commerce have
partnered on organizing international trips as
fundraisers. Seen here is a Shanghai by night boat tour
from a past trip.
The first international trip between the two chambers
took place in 2014. The chambers traveled to China with
three dozen people. The two chambers went to China again
in 2015 and doubled the participation.
word of mouth was spread that we were doing these
trips,” Minturn said. “They were at a price point that
was very comfortable for people.”
two chambers traveled to Ireland in 2016 and took 90
people. Minturn said a group that traveled to Iceland
this past spring topped-out at 54 people, but only
because of the country’s tourism regulations.
2018 trip along the Danube River is being planned, along
with other destinations.
Derek d'Agrella visits a cloisonne factory in China as
part of a trip with the Pewaukee and Hartland chambers
Iceland also offered its own unique share of contingency
planning. The island nation is home to an active
had to have an emergency evacuation plan, should it
become more active,” Minturn said. “Not that it was
unstable - it was a possibility. It was something you
had to talk about and plan for.”
group visited a working, ancient sheep farm while in
Ireland, one that dated to the 12th century. The
attraction was a hit with those on the trip.
“Being that we were from the Lake Country area, a lot of
people grew up in that environment, or in open spaces,
if you will,” Minturn said.
Waters said the trips are so popular that friends are
pairing together and going on the trips, and that those
who traveled together previously express a desire to
travel together again.
“People have joined friends on these trips and traveled
together on the next trip, or get guests and family to
come,” Waters said. “The word has spread from trip to
Waters said she and Minturn act as the boots on the
ground for each trip, starting with recruiting travelers
through arrangements in the country of destination.
do publicity meetings, take questions and money, and
organize everything,” Waters said. “We’re really the
front lines, in terms of getting the groups together.”
chambers make money by charging a certain amount per
head on each trip, Minturn said. The trips are effective
fundraisers because they require few volunteers and
“Half of our operating budget comes from membership
fees,” Minturn said. “We are constantly having to
fundraise to offer programs for our members. This
partnership is easier than some of the others.”