At the meeting this week, we had our quarterly club assembly, brought to us by our club president Steven Nelson. He remarked that the year is going well and pointed out some of the positives for the year to date. He then followed this up with numerous projects and events that will be taking place over the remaining three and a half months of his year as president. Ending his remarks, he covered the remaining goals that will allow the club to finish the year strong and place it in prime position for his successor.
Membership growth has been a huge positive for the club. To date, we are +2 on membership which is one of the main ingredients to obtaining the coveted Presidential Citation award at the end of the year. Membership Chair Scott Tarkenton spoke of the current Membership Blitz that is ongoing. With the contest, each member is encouraged to pass out 3 club brochures by the end of the 8 week contest period. Once you have passed out your brochures, you are to notify him and he will place your name into a drawing for a $50 gift card to Vinos Finos and a $25 gift card to the Cheesecake Factory.
District Governor-Elect Matthew Kane demonstrated for the members how simple it is to invite a guest to ‘lunch’. He equated it to a marriage proposal. You would never ask someone to marry you on the first date, so you shouldn’t necessarily ask someone to join before they have an opportunity to visit the club. At the end of Matthew’s remarks, President Nelson pointed out the bottle of 2007 Catena Alta Malbec that will be given at the end of the year to the member who sponsors the most new members.
The Rotary Foundation was the next topic of discussion. Steven mentioned that the club has far and away exceeded our goal for donations to the Foundation. He went on to point out that the club has reached a milestone that he didn’t think we would reach at the beginning of the year…$300,000 in donations to the Rotary Foundation since the club’s inception in 1967. As you may imagine, this resulted in a round of applause from the membership.
He then pointed out that there was one additional Foundation goal we have not yet reached…to become a Sustaining Member Club where every member has donated at least $100 to the Foundation…a status we reached the previous year for the first time in club history. Another ongoing goal is to award many more Paul Harris Fellows, which means you have donated $1000 to the Rotary Foundation.
Foundation Chair Erik Grunwald spoke about the programs the district and our club is offering to assist those who are close to obtaining this level of giving. If you don’t know where you stand or would like more information about these opportunities, please speak with Erik.
Steven then spoke about communication and the PR opportunities we have had this year. As promised/warned, Steven has felt like he has kept his promise to keep the membership informed via emails, this blog and the Facebook page. With all of these efforts, our members have been informed with the happenings of the club as well as the community around us. He pointed out that 919 Magazine will be doing an article on the four members of our club who have traveled this year for Rotary. It will cover President Nelson and Past President Terry Hutchens trip to Guatemala and the trip to the Dominican Republic that Rotarians Bobby Barnes and Mike Weinold experienced in January.
Involvement with the youth at the Millbrook Interact Club has been a huge positive for the club. He pointed out that we had 10 Interactors join us at the Nourish International Food packing in November and hopes to get some of them to participate in the park project and the Miracle League in May. He went on to note that the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) students for 2013-14 will be visiting our club next week along with two of the peer councilors from last year’s class.
With that, he moved into the upcoming project and events that will be occurring over the next few months. He began with the Cedar Hills Rotary Park Beautification project that will be this Saturday, March 22. We currently have 15-18 volunteers for this project and it is shaping up to be a wonderful morning. While there, we will plant flowers and shrubs while others will be cleaning up around the park. Volunteers will meet at the park at 9 am for coffee and donuts…then we go to work.
The district conference in Asheville will be April 4-6. We have a good contingency going and hope to get more, but time is running out to register. Rotarian Dee Dee Heard is again organizing a dinner for club members and spouses on that Friday evening. With a fellow member moving into the role of District Governor next year, we need to ensure we have a strong presence at this event.
RYLA camp begins on April 11 through the 13th and we will need volunteers to drive our six students to the camp and back. This year it is moving to Camp Oak Hill near Oxford. If you are interested in driving, please speak with Ken Brown.
May is a busy month for the club and it begins with the 5th Annual Jack Andrews Memorial Golf Tournament on May 6th. It is one of our most important fundraisers and it is the goal to make this our biggest fundraiser for the club. There will be a 1 pm shotgun (Captain’s Choice) start with lunch at noon provided by Michael Aoun and his Little Caesars restaurant. We are looking for more golfers, volunteers, sponsors and prizes. It is our goal to have 75 golfers. If you are interested, you are encouraged to speak with Linda Brooks.
A new project for the club will be volunteering to be ‘buddies’ at the Miracle League of the Triangle. They recently opened a North Raleigh location. We are looking for at least 20 volunteers for this project to assist these disabled children enjoy America’s Pastime…baseball. Planning is just beginning and Rotarian Steven Dieckhaus will be overseeing this project for the club. It will be held on May 10th from 12:15-3 pm. It is a great opportunity for family members to get involved with a club project.
May 14th marks the Spring Picnic for the club at the Cedar Hills Rotary Park. Our members with mobility issues will be able to enjoy the new walkway to the picnic shelter and there will be a little dedication ceremony for the plaque we will be placing to honor our club’s efforts with this facility over the years.
The following day we will revisit the Carolina Mudcats for another social. The game we attended as a group last fall was so successful that the members were asking when we were going to do it again. Originally, we had planned another social opportunity for the spring, but after the great response, we decided to return to see Muddy, the Mudcat. We had over 50 members and spouses who were originally interested and the official sign-up sheet will start in the coming weeks.
June is the month for transition at Rotary and we have scheduled the North Raleigh Rotary Installation Dinner for June 18th at the Carolina Country Club…thanks to Past President Warner Hall. We will bid farewell to President Nelson as we welcome in Jay Williams to the position. The next week (24th) will be the District Governor’s Installation Dinner where our very own Matthew Kane will be installed as District Governor. All members are encouraged to attend as we show our support for his leadership for our district.
Remaining goals for the 2013-14 Rotary year include several different areas with the first and foremost being membership. Never being willing to rest on his laurels, President Nelson announced the goal to add another 6 new members before the end of the year. We have done well with membership, but we need to continue to build membership for the future health of this club. “Since we added 6 in the first 6 months, we should be able to match it in the last six months”, added Nelson.
Additionally, we are looking to update the website’s content over the coming months. Many of the pictures describing projects are old and need to be made current. President Nelson will work with the club’s Webmaster Mike Weinold to get this done.
The board is considering another new project to help raise money for cancer research. Relay for Life reached out to us to invite us get involved and we are looking to see if we can put a team together to participate this year. Time is a little short to get this organized, but Rotarian Michael Aoun is working on it and we may partner with another organization to get this done.
In his closing remarks, President Nelson talked about how this has been an “amazing experience” for him. He has enjoyed being president and is sure to suffer from withdrawals on July 1st when he officially turns over the gavel to his successor. “Though looking forward to retirement (Immediate Past President), it will be a sad occasion for me. There has been some challenges and it has been very time-consuming, but in the end, it has been very rewarding for me”, spoke Steven.
He went on to reiterate a portion of his speech at the Installation Dinner when he remarked that “We are a ‘great’ club…with ‘great’ people…doing ‘great’ things. Thanks to the collective efforts of his board and this membership, we have made this a great year and have shown our district, but most importantly, our community that we are a ‘great’ club”.
If you are reading this and you are not a Rotarian, join us for lunch to see what we are all about. As District Governor-Elect Matthew Kane stated, “he enjoys coming to lunch every week to socialize with these great people”.