The Ambassadors Action Club was started in 1967 and was the brainchild of chamber executive Art Swindell. Art felt that a way was needed to show business people that their presence was appreciated. Larry Raymer was handed the task of organizing the club and recruiting like-minded friends to wear the red blazer and be cheerleaders for the good happenings in the business community. The Ambassadors Action Club was an all male, informal affiliate of the Chamber. The club held monthly meetings at the former Rocco’s Supper Club on Gardner Street in South Beloit. Meetings were held at this location for 31 years. Faithful and long-time Ambassador Roy Barraco named the meeting place the Ambassador Room which included assorted club memorabilia.
In 1972 three energetic women decided that the men should not have all of the fun and glory of being a red coat. Marge Van Galder, Marie Babler and Christie Thomsen formed the Diplomats which was the all-female counterpart to the Ambassadors Action Club. The Diplomats worked on beautification projects, organized Rural Urban Days, cooperated with Rock County Homemakers and conducted orientation festivities for new teachers in the community in cooperation with Beloit College.
The Chamber affiliation of both groups was informal. It was felt the groups should be an “arm” of the Chamber and to effectively accomplish this a merger of the two groups was necessary. After “gentle persuasion” failed, the Chamber leadership decided that the merger was not optional. A joint committee rewrote bylaws and set a time table for the merger.
The new club was formed in 1999 and took the name the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Club as it is known today. The purpose of the new Ambassador Club is to communicate and promote the mission, goals and programs of the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce to area businesses and professional people and to help in the planning and hosting of Chamber events.
(Historical information in this booklet was made possible from BDN archives and several Ambassador members. Thanks to all.)