Spring is finally here! The first quarter of the year is already over and I am left with 3 more months of being the President of this great club. We have certainly accomplished a lot over the past 9 months, but there is a lot of on agenda over the next few months as well. I do want to take this opportunity to thank some people who were instrumental in making our First Annual Casino Night a huge success. Scott Tarkenton came to me with this idea almost 9 months ago. He had a vision for how it would go and worked long hours to make it happen. He formed a committee that included myself, Chris Morden, Adam Gottsegen, Mike Wienold, Ed Smallwood, and Nina O’Neal that met on a regular basis to come up with a game plan for the event. I have to admit there were times that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but in the end our club stepped up as we always do and made it an awesome event. Special thanks go out to Scott for the original idea and keeping the committee focused on the end goal. They also go out to Nina O’Neal who graciously sponsored our club at the NCSU University Club which allowed us to have the event there at no charge. Thanks also go out to every other member of the committee, every sponsor, every Rotarian that donated a silent auction item, and every Rotarian that bought a ticket to the event and invited someone to come with them. We will reveal the final numbers for the event at this week’s meeting so please come to share in the good news. I think everyone will be very excited about how much we were able to raise for the charities that we support. I can’t wait for next year’s Casino Night. Hopefully I can manage to leave the Craps table this time to play something else or mingle with other guests. I guess I can’t hide the fact that I really like gambling at this point can I?

We have several other opportunities for fun and fellowship within the club over the next few months. The first is the upcoming District Conference the last weekend of April in New Bern. We have by far the largest group attending from our club, but there’s still time to add more! Dee Dee Heard has arranged a dinner for our members on Friday night and there are great speakers and entertainment for the entire weekend. Sign up now on the District website or see me for questions. The following weekend on Saturday May 2nd, we are signed up to volunteer at the Miracle League of the Triangle. We did this last year and it was the best volunteer experience I’ve ever had through Rotary. The Miracle League of the Triangle helps kids with special needs experience something many of us did as kids – Little League Baseball. Each volunteer is matched up with a “buddy” for the length of the game. You help your buddy hit, run the bases, and play the field all while getting to know them a little bit. The kids have a blast and some of them really take the game seriously. The smiles on their faces really melt your heart and help you feel good about the world. This is a great opportunity to give back and socialize with other Rotarians at the same time. And it doesn’t cost anything except your time! Further down the road, we are scheduling another night at the Carolina Mudcats for dinner and a game. This is a family event that has been a big hit in recent years. We don’t have a date set yet, but stay tuned as we will have this again in late May or early June!

The one area we need to continue to focus on is inviting new members to the club. We have added 4 new members this year which is great, but I’d like to see us get another 1-2 before the Rotary year is out. As you saw on Saturday night, we are great at coming together to raise money, but we know how to have a great time too. Invite a friend or a neighbor to come to a lunch meeting to see what we’re all about. Invite them to come to the Miracle League of the Triangle or to the Mudcats game. So many people are looking for ways to get involved in their community, but don’t know where to start. Let’s invite them to Rotary and show them what we’re all about.

I hope everyone has a great Easter holiday and I look forward to seeing everyone next week!