Theme: Build the Future with Action and Vision
1996-97 was the year the Rotary Club of Salem had its first serving woman President, Ellen Wyatt. Rotary International’s theme was “Build the Future with Action and Vision.” Rotary Club of Salem exhibited this theme in its projects and programs throughout the year.
Under community service, the five Salem-area Rotary clubs agreed to come together to build a lasting expression of Rotary’s motto, “Service above Self”, in the form of a playground in Salem’s new Riverfront Park. The project cost is $125,000, of which our club’s share is $60,000. These funds will be raised over a 3 year period. Our club organized a June Auction/Raffle to help finance this year’s portion of that goal. Our Salem Rotary Foundation Board instituted its own “fellow” designation to recognize individuals making a contribution of $500 to the foundation. Signing on during the year were: 16 charter fellows who stepped up with $500 by December 31; 10 sustainers who made a downpayment on their $500 pledge; and 2 benefactors who named Salem Rotary Foundation as a beneficiary in their wills. In the spring the foundation awarded $5,900 to youth-related programs in the Salem area.
On the international scene our club hosted an inbound exchange student from Sweden, Johanna Backbro. She was bright, articulate, funny and, early on, won a place in the hearts of our members. In addition, we sent Salem student Arlie Atkins to Denmark on an outbound exchange.
In keeping with our commitment to youth-related activities, club members mentored students in local schools, refurbished the mentor room at Richmond School, participated in the dictionary distribution to local 4th graders, expanded reading programs into several more schools, and completed the playground at Englewood School.
Once again our club received an RI Presidential Citation for its commitment to “service above self” in the four areas of service. And the recipient of our club’s Vocational Service Award, Carol Kilfoil, went on to win recognition at the District level for commitment to the students at North Salem High School.