The Sky’s the Limit…


Every client has a story to tell, a goal to reach. We believe every public relations story and marketing goal should be approached with a “sky’s the limit” style.

That positive inspiration carries over to the Hendricks Communications’ blog, below. Offering inspiring tips, news and reflections on writing, marketing, social media and much more, join us in the conversations below!

Brewing Big Business


By Karen Hendricks

If you’re a small business owner like me, you’re in the majority. What?

That’s right, the nation’s 28 million small businesses account for 54% of all sales in the U.S. And, small businesses provide 55% of all American jobs, according to the US Small Business Administration.

It’s a great time to celebrate the collective power and the sheer vitality small businesses bring to our marketplaces, through Small Business Saturday, this Saturday, November 28, 2015.

Small Business Saturday, and its growing support, has a correlation to a freelance magazine article I recently wrote:

Here in Pennsylvania, there’s a movement of small, fiercely-independent businesses that collectively are brewing big business–the craft beer industry.


Craft beer—the art of combining water, malt, yeast, and hops in traditional style with an innovative twist—is a trend growing by leaps and bounds. While working with hops may be a hip market, hundreds of small, independent craft beer makers are tapping into the craft beer boom across Pennsylvania. In 2014, more than four million barrels of craft beer were produced in Pennsylvania, ranking it first in the nation in terms of production, according to the Brewers Association.

Click here to read “Brewing Big Business: Central PA is Blowing the Lid off the Craft Beer Industry,” published in the Sept/Oct issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

More Info: The Stats on PA’s Suds

  • PA has 136 craft breweries, ranking it 7th in the nation (2014)
  • In 2013, PA had 108 craft brewers; in 2011, there were 88.
  • Production (2014): 4 million + barrels of craft beer annually (ranks 1st)
  • Economic impact (2012): $1,964.3 million (ranks 4th)
  • Nationwide, there were 3,464 breweries by the end of 2014, representing an 18% increase in production within the industry in 2014.

All statistics are courtesy the Brewers Association.


A Breath of Fresh Air

Whether you’re interviewing people professionally, talking with clients during a business meeting, or simply making casual conversation with people… isn’t it amazing how certain people stand out thanks to their passion?

It’s that kind of passion, zest for life, and energy devoted to a cause or goal that helps us–especially journalists, marketers, public relations professionals–hone in on a message that tells their story.

Some of the most giving, caring people I had the privilege to meet recently, volunteer for an organization called The Fresh Air Fund. The children who benefit from this organization were A JOY to meet and interview as well. My heart is full, changed, inspired, after researching and writing this story… I hope yours is as well:

Click here to read A Breath of Fresh Air, published in the July/August issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazineA Breath of Fresh Air

Fresh Air Fund: By the Numbers

  • More than 1.8 million children from the five boroughs of New York City have enjoyed free summer experience since the nonprofit program was founded in 1877.
  • Every summer more than 4,000 Fresh Air Fund children are hosted by 300 regional areas called “Friendly Towns.”
  • Friendly Towns have been established in Canada and 13 states from Maine to Virginia—within a reasonable drive to New York City.
  • 65 percent of all children are re-invited to stay with their host families, year after year
  • More than 3,000 children attend five Fresh Air Fund camps in Fishkill, New York every summer.
  • It costs the Fresh Air Fund $917 to send each child to his or her volunteer host family. Heidecker says bus transportation accounts for the majority of the cost.
  • Fresh Air Fund children are recommended through 90 community agencies in New York City.
  • More than 75% of the Fresh Air Fund’s donations come from individuals.

Beginnings of The Fresh Air Fund

An independent nonprofit organization, The Fresh Air Fund was founded in 1877 with one simple mission—“to allow children living in low-income communities to get away from hot, noisy city streets and enjoy free summer experiences in the country.”

At that time, “New York City was overflowing with children living in crowded tenements. Many of these youngsters were hit by a tuberculosis epidemic, and ‘fresh air’ was considered a cure for respiratory ailments,” according to the organization’s website.

The first Fresh Air visits were coordinated by the Reverend Willard Parsons, a minister in rural Sherman, Pennsylvania, located in the northeast corner of the state. He asked his congregation members to provide country vacations to the city’s neediest children.

“The Fresh Air Fund’s tradition of caring provides children with a much-needed respite from the inner-city streets. The simplicity of our program is its strength. Looking back to 1877, we can reflect on how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same. The Fund began with a small group of youngsters heading for the country and went on to benefit more than 1.8 million needy children,” as stated on

How to become a Fresh Air host family in south central PA

Contact Kathleen Heidecker at or Laura Geesaman at There is an application and interview process for potential host families, as well as background and reference checks made by Fresh Air Fund staff based in New York.

Fresh Air Fund children visit the Adams County area every summer during two weeks—one in July and one in August; families may choose which week works best with their schedule.

“There are no restrictions on who can host,” says Heidecker. “There are traditional families, single people without children, older people who are grandparents, etc…. We have a very diverse group that hosts (here in south central Pennsylvania) including an 89-year old grandfather who hosted a 13-year old boy in 2014—they had a great time with the man’s grandson, learning how to camp, grill and fish together.”

Heidecker says there are two standout qualities required of all host families. “They need to have a good sense of humor as well as flexibility.”

Their personal stories

Kathleen Heidecker, Friendly Town Chair for Gettysburg, says she and husband Steven always talked about hosting Fresh Air Fund children when they retired. The military family was stationed in West Point for a number of years, and due to the proximity of New York City, they learned about the program by reading frequent articles in The New York Times—one of the original sponsors of The Fresh Air Fund dating back to the late 1800s. “We retired from the army in 2007, moved to Gettysburg, and have hosted Nianah since 2008.”

Laura Geesaman of Gettysburg says, for her, the roots of the program go back to a seed planted within her childhood.  “I grew up outside of New York City, and I remember seeing the advertising about The Fresh Air Fund as a kid.” It wasn’t until she was living in Gettysburg, raising her own family, that she was reminded of the program. “I was reading the newspaper and saw something about The Fresh Air Fund needing local hosts, and I realized how much we could share (with a child) simply through living at Lake Heritage. We’re supposed to share our blessings.” The family hosted their first child, Jailyne, in 2006, and Geesaman became Gettysburg’s Friendly Town Chair after two years. She has served as Fresh Air Fund Representative for the South Central Pennsylvania Committee since 2013. Geesaman coordinates outings at Lake Heritage during South Central Pennsylvania’s two annual host weeks, inviting all host families and Fresh Air children to enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking, boating and picnicking together.


Caretakers for a Century

CaretakersGettysburg is a town forever etched in history–“the most famous small town in America”–and our hallowed battlefields draw millions of visitors ever year. The absolute best way to experience the battlefields, according to many in the tourism industry, is with a Licensed Battlefield Guide. This year, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of this very elite group of men and women who literally keep history alive, recounting the many interwoven stories that collectively tell the story of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Cel Gburg mag May-June 2015It was my great honor to meet and interview several Licensed Battlefield Guides to find out more about their special calling, becoming “Caretakers for a Century.” This article is published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, May/June 2015.

To explore more angles to this story…

  • About 560 people have become licensed battlefield guides since 1915. Joining their elite ranks requires dedication in many ways. The first step is… Click here for How to Become a Licensed Battlefield Guide, published on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.
Battlefield Guide Tom Vossler-67

Licensed Battlefield Guide Tom Vossler leads a tour group. (Photo credit: Casey Martin)

SchroyerDiary inside July 1863

Looking inside Michael Schroyer’s diary (Photo courtesy Sue Boardman)

Behind the Cover: It was my honor to celebrate the current issue's release with Joe  Mieczkowski, President of the Gettysburg Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, who was an instrumental source for this cover story!

Behind the Cover: It was my honor to celebrate the current issue’s release with Joe Mieczkowski, President of the Gettysburg Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, who was an instrumental source for this cover story!

At the Crossroads

At the CrossroadsSpring… a time for renewal, rebirth and growth. Everything about spring seems to contradict all of my preconceived opinions of hospice care. But after researching my latest story for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, and meeting some of the most compassionate people on earth (really!), I have a new opinion and reoriented beliefs about hospice care. Springtime truly is the perfect time to read about hospice care–celebrating quality of life, honoring life’s journey, and touching lives.

Click here to read At the Crossroads, featured in the March/April issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Also – read about patients’ “last wishes, goals and dreams” in Honoring Hospice Patients’ Last Requests… and click here for Residential Hospice Care Options featuring a one-of-a-kind facility located in Harrisburg. Both articles are exclusive online articles found on the magazine’s blog.

Just as spring is a time for renewal, I hope these articles provide new insight into the incredible, life-changing, caring services provided by hospice.

Small Businesses Struggle with Technology

ID-100127146Even with the marketing muscle of social media campaigns such as “Buy Local” and “Small Business Saturday,” a recent survey found that America’s small businesses are severely struggling to keep up with technology trends. The Score Association, a nonprofit organization based in Herndon, VA that partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration, released a number of eye-opening statistics in early January:

  • Only 51% of small businesses have websites, despite the fact that 97% of consumers regularly search for products and services online

Analyzing the 51% of small business who currently have websites:

  • 82% are not utilizing social media
  • 93% of the websites are not compatible with mobile devices
  • 27% did not include a phone number on their website
  • 68% did not include an email address within their contact information

Researchers at Score found that many small business owners are dismissing their web and social media presence because they feel as though they don’t have time to develop these resources, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, the same study finds compelling reasons for small businesses to devote the time and energy into improving their virtual presence:

  • 91% of consumers have visited a store based upon a positive online experience
  • 96% of consumers surveyed research products or services on their mobile device
  • 73% of mobile searches trigger calls, store visits and sales

Small business owners always account for at least half of the attendance at my social media workshops. It is so rewarding to provide them with the tools they need to succeed on-line! I’m excited to announce several upcoming classes at Gettysburg’s Adams County Arts Council, along with a new location—the PA Guild of Craftsmen, Center for American Craft, Lancaster. Here are the class descriptions, locations, dates and links for more information… hope to see you there! The Art of Social Media

  • Wednesdays, January 21 – February 11, 6:30-8:30pm (a 4-class series)
  • Adams County Arts Council, Gettysburg PA
  • Communication today is multi-faceted. Whether you’re communicating for business or pleasure, in this class you’ll learn to navigate social media channels, select the “best fits” for you, and enjoy connecting with friends, colleagues, and/or customers. Includes how to set up a website or blog with WordPress, plus Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Snapfish for photo storage.

The Art of Social Media will also be offered as a weekend workshop:

And for those of you who like to plan ahead… Facebook 101 (10am-12pm) & Twitter 101 (1-3pm):

  • Saturday, August 22
  • Center for American Craft, Lancaster PA
  • Brush up on your skills by taking one class or both!
  • Small businesses account for one of the fastest-growing segments of social media due to its free availability and effectiveness.
  • Facebook 101 is a 2-hour workshop. Learn how to best utilize a media staple—Facebook—to showcase your arts/crafts or small business. The session will provide practical tips and helpful how-to’s, geared towards developing and maintaining a Facebook business page—often thought of as a mini-website. Time for personal Q&As is included during the class.
  • Twitter 101 is the focus of the afternoon session, designed to help you develop a comfort level and strategies for tweeting like a pro! This session allows time for your personal Q&As.

Oh Christmas Tree

Adams County Christmas Tree Farms Offer Homegrown Holiday Traditions

NovDec2014Searching, finding, and cutting the perfect Christmas tree–it’s a holiday tradition that flourishes on Adams County Christmas tree farms. “A lot of families come year after year, going on 30 years, bringing their children and then grandchildren,” says Michael Breighner, owner of The Gettysburg (Breighner) Tree Farm. “They have the Christmas spirit, enjoying the view, smiles on their faces–those are the kinds of things that make the Christmas tree experience worthwhile.”

Click here to continue reading “Oh Christmas Tree,” my cover story in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Extras: Get to “The Roots of the Christmas Tree Tradition” and learn about “Christmas Tree Tips,” online content published on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.

The infinite, subtle variations between Christmas tree varieties is astounding. Enjoy the photos below that demonstrate why many evergreens are considered “blue” or “silver” needled. All of the photos were taken at Gettysburg (Breighner) Tree Farm in September 2014. It was challenging, waiting for a slightly overcast day, so that the lighting would appear natural for the Nov/Dec issue!

"Swiss Silver" Strain of the Concolor Fir

“Swiss Silver” Strain of the Concolor Fir

Long, Lush White Pine Needles

Long, Lush White Pine Needles

The Bluish-Green Tint of Canaan Fir

The Bluish-Green Tint of Canaan Fir

The Silvery Underside of the Normandy Fir

The Silvery Underside of the Normandy Fir

Michael Breighner talks about the relatively quick growth of a Scotch Pine

Michael Breighner talks about the relatively quick growth of a Scotch Pine

Scarring caused by deer, seen in the interior of a tree

Scarring caused by deer, seen in the interior of a tree

The Serbian Spruce is characterized by patches of silvery and dark green needles

The Serbian Spruce is characterized by patches of silvery and dark green needles

Dark blue-green Canaan Fir

Dark blue-green Canaan Fir

Side-by-Side: Comparing the Swiss Silver Strain of the Concolor Fir (left) to the standard Concolor Fir (right)

Side-by-Side: Comparing the Swiss Silver Strain of the Concolor Fir (left) to the standard Concolor Fir (right)

Christmas tree varieties are mixed throughout Gettysburg Tree Farm's 33 acres

Christmas tree varieties are mixed throughout Gettysburg Tree Farm’s 33 acres

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas with family and friends close by your very own Christmas tree!

Branching Out

Autumn conjures up colorful images of crimson and golden leaves… as well as crimson and golden apples fresh from the orchards. Apples have been at the core of Adams County’s economy for decades. However, many local orchardists, wineries, and entrepreneurs are leading a new movement–a revival is the beverage industry–and utilizing Adams County’s cash crop to bring back a beverage that’s as American as apple pie itself.

Celebrate Gettysburg magazine sept-oct 2014Click here to read my latest article for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, Branching Out: Adams County Apples Give New Taste to All-American Apple Cider. I’m honored to say it’s the cover story in the September/October issue, featuring gorgeous photography by the talented Casey Martin.

“People are falling in love with our wineries & we hope they’ll fall in love with our cider makers as well,” says Carl Whitehill, director of communications for Destination Gettysburg. For another angle on the story, click here for The Apple of Tourism’s Eye, my article on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.

Freelance assignments have kept me busy all spring and summer! Here are a few additional highlights:

Caught in the Crossfire: Preserving the Stories of Civilians in the Civil War, cover story in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, July/August 2014

Licensed Town Historians are working to keep the stories of downtown Gettysburg and her 1863 residents, alive, from their York Street location - as profiled in Caught in the Crossfire

Licensed Town Historians are working to keep the stories of downtown Gettysburg, and her 1863 residents, alive, from their York Street location – as profiled in Caught in the Crossfire

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Gardening for Community Good: Adams County’s thriving community gardens, Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014

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A profile of photographer Ted Scarpino, Evolving from Photography to iPhoneography, for Handmade in PA, Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen:

Photography, at its very core, is a merging of art and science. And you could say that photographer Ted Scarpino was truly born into both fields, since his mother was an art teacher and his father taught science. The family’s home even included a dark room in the basement… Click here to read the full article.

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Aging in Place

“Aging in Place in Adams County,” Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014:

“There’s no place like home” is a beloved line from the classic film The Wizard of Oz, but it’s also a sentiment echoed by more and more seniors who wish to spend their golden years living in their own homes as long as their health and finances allow… Click here to read more.

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