Theme: Reach Within to Embrace Humanity
“Reach within to Embrace Humanity” was the Rotary International theme for the year and ours was “Tell Your Story; Tell Our Story.” It was the year of “Why?” We explored the idea that people identify with why we do what we do. We tried to put that into practice by sharing our Rotary stories and motivation; with each other, in attracting new members, and in doing our fundraising.
Our Program Committee brought a stellar year of speakers and music to us. Current local hot topics to international guests, they made weekly meetings something we looked forward to.
Club Service kept meetings running smoothly, brought fun fellowship events, and welcomed twenty new high caliber members. We revamped our Rotogram, brought new technology to our Tuesday emails, started a Facebook page, and explored website options. The Art Fair Elephant Ears booth remains one of our favorite fellowship events, and we had great participation in the Golf Tournament and Dictionary Distribution.
One of the highlights of the year was our Fall Social and Fundraiser for the Salem Rotary Foundation at Hallie Ford Museum, viewing Renaissance Drawings from the Italian Maggiori collection and enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres.
We had a record year for Tree of Joy giving, and raised $7,900 for the Salvation Army Kettle in December. Our White Elephant Auction raised almost $900, which was donated to our Salem Rotary Foundation. The annual Food Drive kicked off with a great event including other participating clubs, and raised $87,000 and 90,000 pounds of food.
Our major Good Works project provided start-up funds to launch H2°, a Habitat for Humanity vocational program that puts at-risk high school students to work on build sites learning construction and life skills. With our fundraising and a grant from our Foundation, we provided over $38,000 for transportation, incentives, promotion, and instruction. The effort culminated with a great Celebration at Willamette Valley Vineyards. The Good Works Committee also chose over $10,000 in small grant projects that were funded from the proceeds from the Salem Rotary Foundation.
New Generations continues to flourish with strong Youth Exchange and Short Term Exchange Programs. Tony Decker spent her year in Argentina, while Mariana Valdivia, from Peru, shared a delightful year with us.
Rotaract completed a vision session, led fall and spring service projects, and provided leadership in both the regional Baseball Night and the Golf Tournament. We had eighteen incredible students of the month and three Rotary Youth Leadership Award recipients.
On the International Service front, we exceeded our club goal of $20,000 for the Rotary Foundation. We received the International Change-maker Award and became a charter Peace Builder Club. We hosted a Friendship Exchange from India, and sent members to Israel.
Our World Community Service Committee pooled our $10,700 with funds from other clubs and District matching grants to leverage over $35,000 for nine projects in eight countries including wells and sanitation facilities in Haiti, pediatric heart surgeries in Bangalore India, books, ambulances, charcoal brick presses, and more.
This kind of service can only be accomplished by members who understand the value of their service and are committed to the motto of “Service above Self.”