August, 2012

Maplewood Business: Giant Steps of St. Louis

Giant Steps of St. Louis is another great cause who has found their home in the Maplewood Community. Giant Steps is a special education school and therapy center for young people with autism who often times have struggled in larger schools. Their goal is to help students and campers develop to the point where they can attend a general education setting full time or at least as much as possible. 

Giant Steps serves students between the ages of 3-21 years dealing with autism. They have a regular school year and also host a summer camp. This past summer students at the summer camp were able to take near daily trips and adventures to different places where they could learn and be entertained. Campers were able to go swimming, to the Magic House, to an aquarium, to parks, and more. In addition to field trips campers were able to exercise their creativity while coming up with some very skilled art at the school, check out their pictures on facebook here-

During the traditional school year student instruction is given in small groups and individual sessions that focus on each individual student’s needs. Student plans include speech, social skills, service learning, music and occupational therapies, and many more programs designed to help autistic children. They learn the skills required to reach goals in math, language, and communications. For the older students they offer Pre-Vocational Instruction.

While Giant Steps is a great cause and a great member of the Maplewood community, they can use some help. They are looking for places where their students can work and volunteer throughout the community. Each student will be assisted by a helper who will help them with their duties. Currently our office is blessed to have an autistic helper who comes in on Thursday afternoons. He helps us to get a lot of work done and always brightens our day.

If you could use a helper at your business or can provide entertainment or a field trip destination for the kids please get in touch with Giant Steps. Their phone number is 932-1051 and their website is at  They are a Variety Children’s Charity of St. Louis organization.

August, 2012

Raffle Tickets

Enter our raffle for a chance to win $10,000!

Only 200 tickets will be sold at $100/ticket. If all 200 tickets are not sold, the winner will receive half of all ticket sales. The raffle will be drawn at the dinner auction (information below) on October 12th.

Purchase a raffle ticket here.

26th Annual Dinner Auction

The Maplewood Chamber of Commerce is hosting its’ 26th Annual Dinner Auction and Awards Ceremony on Friday, October 12. The evening features dinner, silent and live auctions, and will recognize and honor the Business, Educator and Citizen of the year.

The Dinner Auction is our primary fundraiser, and the success of it is critical in supporting and maintaining Chamber programs and services. The event enables us to hold events and offer services for free or at a subsidized rate to businesses. In recent years, the proceeds of the Dinner Auction have allowed us to update our website to better serve and promote businesses, publish and distribute a Maplewood Business Directory at no charge to businesses or recipients of the directory, and hire an additional staff member to focus on member communication.

Dinner Auction Information

Auction Donations:  If you are donating an item, a certificate, or making a monetary donation, please make sure to return the Donation Form.

Place an Ad in our Event Program: To place an ad in our Event Program, please complete the Advertising Form.

RSVP to Attend the Dinner/Auction: Individual Tickets are $65 and a Table of 10 is $600.

RSVP for the dinner/auction here (Online Payment and raffle tickets also available here) 

Nominate Individuals for thBusiness Person of the Year:  2012 Business Person of the Year Electronic Form or Citizens of The Year:  2012 Citizen of the Year Nomination Form electronic Form

August, 2012

Maplewood Business: Sherwood Forest Camp

Have you ever seen those signs for the Sherwood Forest Camp when walking down Sutton? I had seen the sign many times but I didn’t know anything about it and I didn’t see any kids running around. It turns out that Maplewood is home to the headquarters of the Sherwood Forest Camp, a camp with a great mission and a worthy cause. The actual camp is located in Lesterville, MO and serves economically disadvantaged kids, giving them the traditional summer camp experience while preparing them to achieve in their futures.

Sherwood Forest campers range in ages between the 1st and 9th grades. As the children grow older the camp experience broadens and increases in length. The youngest children go for a 5 day session designed to introduce them to camp life. For many of the campers this is their first time away from home. As the campers grow older the camp programs get longer and more intensive culminating in a leadership program that includes college visits, community service, interview training and camp counselor training programs along with traditional camping activities.

Campers who successfully complete the leadership program and graduate from camp are eligible the following summer to return as employees and serve as camp counselors. The beauty of the program is that it doesn’t just serve the kids as a day camp to stow the kids away during the summer; it helps the campers to become better people. The activities in camp play an important role in giving the campers positive experiences that will give them a step up later in life.

The Sherwood Forest camp only charges campers $50 for the whole camp but the daily costs incurred for each camper adds up to significantly more than $50 per day. Most of Sherwood Forest’s funding comes from contributions from generous community members and special fundraising events. Sherwood Forest Camp has been running for 75 years and to celebrate their 75th anniversary they are hosting a Blue Jean Ball and inviting back all of their graduates to share in the experience. Unfortunately, I was just able to visit the headquarters and didn’t get to experience the camp but it looks and sounds like a great program and I was happy to learn about this great Maplewood neighbor.

August, 2012

HR etc!!

HR etc!! began out of Mary Kausch’s truck 21 years ago … literally! It started as an answer to her frustration of being in the wrong job within Corporate America.

She had an unyielding yearning to learn more about her innate strengths and how to use these strengths consistently to earn her living. She was determined to know more of her own human nature and to help others overcome similar frustration.

Now with a team of six, Mary, Chief Insight Officer of HR etc!!, Turns Workforces into Forces of Nature. Mary knows people- specifically employees and employers – through studies of and experiences with human nature. She knows what employees need to be their most productive and to thrive. The key to Mary’s powerful insight is her ability to recognize that every employee is, first and foremost, a person – a multidimensional human being.

Using her proprietary tool called the Employment Partnership, Mary ensures that your company receives a return on its investment for compensating employees, and the employees consistently share their intelligence, skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes and aptitudes in exchange for the compensation.

“Think of me as your human resources department,” Mary said. “I can help you with everything from building strategic teams, to facilitating staff retreats. But mostly, I make sure your work force fits your mission, vision and values. I know how to attract, recruit, select and hire the best employees for your company. Then I help retain them, develop them and transition them to the positions that fit them and your company the best. When everyone is thriving, everyone is more productive.”

Mary saves you time, money and energy with her three-step process of Dig In, Cultivate and Grow:
She’ll dig in by using assessments, focus groups and surveys to discover valuable information and insights that provide guidance for creating and/or changing what is required for maximizing employee productivity.
She’ll help you cultivate by getting to know you, your company and your team members through structured and intentional interaction. She helps you gain clarity and confidence, so you align natural strengths and inclinations with what needs to be accomplished.
You grow through Mary’s expertise in cultivating the synergy required for employees to become naturally aligned with what they need for being their most productive.

“I’m an educator at heart,” said Mary. “Whether I’ve got your employees seated in a conference room or hanging from a zip line, my focus is to find their inner strengths so they can fulfill both your needs and their own. Because when employees are thriving, so are you and your company.”

Experiences inside boardrooms and in the great outdoors have created for Mary a unique confluence of knowledge, wisdom and insight that she brings to not-for-profits, companies and associations of all sizes. She facilitates, consults and speaks across the United States and Canada.

Mary earned her degree in Human Resources and Communications from Southwest Missouri State University. She has gained nearly 30 years of experience in the realm of human resources and organization development from her work as a self-employed, independent consultative facilitator and speaker, as well as from former positions within Health Systems Management, Citicorp, Whirlpool and the Tecumseh Leadership Center.

Mary and her company, HRetc!!, have resided in Maplewood for the past 14 years, where Mary has been actively involved with the Chamber for the past seven.

Check out Mary’s capabilities at, call her at 314-409-6622, and follow her on Twitter @marykausch.