Well, the last three months of my term as president of the Rotary Club of North Raleigh has started with a bang. It has been a great nine months and we are looking to finish the year strong. With a new member to be added in May and the scheduled events of April and May, it will be a whirlwind couple of months.

Club President Steven Nelson

Club President Steven Nelson

The month began with the 71st District 7710 Convention in Asheville, North Carolina. It was last weekend and everyone in attendance had a wonderful experience. We enjoyed some great company, heard from some very special people and experienced Asheville. For me, the most memorable event was the club dinner at Zambra’s where all of the members of this club joined for dinner organized by our very own Dee Dee Heard. Again, she planned a great dinner, but the most impressive element was the camaraderie of the members of this club who attended.

I was pleased to share a meal with Rotary International President Burton’s representative, Chris Etienne and her husband Dennis. They are from Michigan, my home state, so we had some great conversation concerning our mutual love for Michigan, the U.P. (Upper Peninsula), a native Michigan author Steve Hamilton and many other topics involving the Great Lakes state.

President Nelson, Past President Greg Brissette and Past President Boyd Bennett pose with our nightmare...a statue of Donald Ross!

President Nelson, Past President Greg Brissette and Past President Boyd Bennett pose with our nightmare…a statue of Donald Ross!

On Saturday, Boyd Bennett, Greg Brissette and myself spent our free time on the famed Donald Ross course at the Grove Park Inn. It was a beautiful course that we were forced to share with some wild turkeys. The picturesque course had many elevation changes and greens that would give Jack Nicholas nightmares. I don’t think I have ever had this many 3 putts in a single round, but it was fun.

We were not the only ones enjoying this lovely Spring day on the golf course.

We were not the only ones enjoying this lovely Spring day on the golf course.

The District Governors Banquet on Saturday night was exquisite with a wonderful meal and an informative speaker, a local author who questioned us with trivia surrounding the founding fathers of our great nation. My wife purchased all of her books after the dinner and had them signed. They will make for great reading.

If you did not attend the conference this year, you missed a wonderful weekend of festivities. District Governor-Elect Matthew Kane announced that next year’s convention will return to New Bern in late April. He and his committee are working on making it the most memorable and well attended convention our district has seen. Plan to attend now!

April and May have some exciting opportunities to serve and socialize, beginning with the Adopt-a-Highway cleanup on April 26th. This is always a fun time to socialize with fellow Rotarians while keeping our community clean. Rotarian Mike Weinold will again be leading this effort so if you are interested in participating, please contact him.

May starts with a bang as the first two weeks are very busy. It begins with the 5th Annual Jack Andrews Memorial Golf Tournament at Wildwood Green Golf Club on May 6th. Yes, it is also my wedding anniversary and my wife has given me permission to play. It should again be a wonderful event and our very own Mike Aoun will be serving Little Caesars pizza for lunch. It is a 1 pm shotgun start (Captain’s Choice) and we need you to play or volunteer or get others to play. The cost is only $350 for a foursome or $87.50/player. All of the proceeds will go towards the many causes we support to include the Guatemala Literacy Project. Linda Brooks is organizing the tournament, so I would encourage you to contact her to get your foursome together.

On May 10th, the club will volunteer for the first time as ‘buddies’ for the Miracle League of the Triangle. It should be a fun time and all Rotarians and families (children over 12) are welcome to participate. If you are unable to volunteer, please join us in the stands to cheer on the children as they run the bases. This is a golden opportunity for developmentally challenged children to play ‘America’s pastime’…baseball. Do you remember playing baseball as a child? Well, this is the only baseball memories many of these children will ever have. Join us for an amazing experience.

On May 14th, we will have our club’s Spring picnic at the Cedar Hills Rotary Park. We are also planning a brief plaque ceremony to dedicate the new walkway and to promote some of the efforts from our club over the years to this community park. The walkway is looking good and should be 100% complete by the time we visit for our picnic. We are hoping to have some of our elected officials to join us for this event.

The following day, May 15th, we will be revisiting the Carolina Mudcats for a game. The fall outing was so successful that we decided to make a repeat visit. Rotarian Scott Tarkenton is taking orders for dinner. Families are welcome to join us as we enjoy some great minor league baseball. The club level seats are great with A/C so no matter how hot or raining it is, we will have a great time.

As you can tell, we have much going on at the club level, but there are also some great events happening at the district level. On April 11-13, the RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) conference will be held at the Camp Oak Hill in Oxford. Though we cannot attend, it should be a rewarding experience for our students we are sponsoring. You met them recently and they will return to share their experiences and insights. At the same time, on April 12th will be the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center Conference at the FedEx Global Center on the UNC campus. You can register for this event on the district website at www.Rotary7710.org. It should be a rewarding day filled with great speakers. Finally, on May 3rd will be the District Spring Training Assembly at the Glenwood Baptist Church in Cary. This is a great way to learn more about the activities at the district level and this club should have a great response to this event. We hope that the board (this year and next) and the general membership is well represented.

In closing, we have some great programs scheduled for the rest of April and May. Next week, we will welcome author Annette Jahnel, who will speak about her book, My Year of Beds. It is always interesting to hear from authors and she will be no different.

After that, we will have the annual Alex Wilson Awards (April 23). The program will consist of a brief history of this award and the presentation of this year’s winner. On the 30th, we will have a representative of the Carolina Mudcats to talk about the history and the future of this Triangle institution. Many of us have enjoyed the Mudcats over the years and this will be your opportunity to learn more about it.

We will begin the month of May with a presentation on Polio Plus and how this effort is progressing for Rotary. As many of you have been in Rotary since this program started, I am sure you would love to learn of its current status and how we are going to finish this monumental task of eradicating polio from our world.

Thanks again for the opportunity to serve as your president. It has been a labor of love and I have enjoyed every moment of it. As we begin to wrap up this year, remember there are still goals to be obtained to make this a glowing year for the Rotary Club of North Raleigh. Let’s finish the year strong so President-Elect Jay Williams will have a strong foundation to build the club even more in 2014-15.

Yours in Rotary Service,

Steven W. Nelson, President 2013-14

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