Rotary Club of North Raleigh President Steven Nelson.

Rotary Club of North Raleigh President Steven Nelson.

After a week off to mourn the passing of my mother, it was great to get back to Rotary and the business at hand. The meeting this week was very inviting with many guest, a few returning guest, and a great speaker. It is just a matter of making them Rotarians, which they have proven to be Rotarians in spirit, we just need to make it official.

The board meeting this week, which was postponed from last week, held some valuable information for the club…with some great information for club members and the community to see what Rotary is doing.

First of all, I reported on the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI), which is being held on Jan. 18th at the Wake Technical College in Cary. The cost is minimal and we have one scholarship available for any member who wishes to attend. We would love for this scholarship to go to one of our newer members who has not yet attended a session, but it is open to the next person who reaches out to me. It is an all-day commitment and each level is taught on this day. I will be attending the 3rd level, which is focused on Rotary International and all the great things being done around the world. The first level is geared towards the individual Rotarian experience while the second level focuses on the club level and how a successful club should operate. I encourage every member, whether in a leadership role or not, to attend as it is informative and well worth the time and effort.

Next, we discussed the upcoming Holiday party next Wednesday, Dec. 18th. It is sure to be a wonderful experience as we will not meet for lunch that day. In an effort to reach out to all members, especially those who may never have attended a Holiday party, the club will pay $10 of the $42 cost for the dinner for everyone who attends. We still have several members who have not signed up to attend and I encourage you to do so. It is a great opportunity to socialize with your fellow members and their spouses. Often, this is one of only a few chances to interact with the spouses of club members. Again, Warner and Ellen Hall will be hosting us at the Carolina Country Club. It will be a night to remember.

Membership Chair Scott Tarkenton reported on the membership drive. It is going well with six members inducted in the last six months. Additionally, he has scheduled a member orientation for Jan. 29th, prior to the regular club meeting that day. I would encourage all new members to attend while reaching out to potential members who are considering the club. It is a great way to learn what we do and the impact our club has on our community and world. More details will follow as we get closer to the date.

Board member Steven Dieckhaus reported on the Senior’s gifts at the Total Life Center. We are set to deliver the presents on December 19th at 1:30pm and many of us stayed around after the meeting to pack the gifts. As always, it is great to serve with friends in this capacity. The delivery of the gifts is always a wonderful experience and I would encourage each of you to attend. The residents are so thrilled with their gifts. Since we had such a great response from our members to support this effort, we had a few extra dollars available to purchase a gift basket for the staff at the Total Life Center. I know they will appreciate it and I appreciate our members stepping up to take on this project.

Board member Ken Brown talked about the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and the interviews. As I stopped by for some of the interviews, I can attest to the difficulty they experienced to narrow down the 25 candidates to six with two alternates. We can be proud of our candidates and the impact they will have on our community and world in the coming years. RYLA will be held from April 11-13, 2014 and I know they are looking forward to the experience. As we get closer to the date, we will need drivers to take them and pick them up.

District Governor-Elect Matthew Kane was in attendance to report that we will have two members of our club traveling to the Dominican Republic to build latrines and deliver sanitation equipment. The board elected to help them defray some of the cost associated with their travel as they have decided to do the same for the two members who will be traveling to Guatemala in February. It will be just a small show of appreciation for their willingness to take on these projects and to represent your club throughout the world.

It is hard to believe that half of my year as your president is nearly over. It has been a lot of additional work for me, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. This is a great club and your cooperation with the board has made the experience very easy and rewarding. As we look to the last six months of my term, I want to reiterate the goal that every member bring at least one guest to a meeting. If they experience Rotary, they will become as enamored with it as we are and may join us. It is only through membership growth that we can expect this club to live beyond all of us.

I would like to thank everyone who has brought a guest and encourage you to bring more. We have to self-promote this organization to show our community the great things we are doing. This is a defining year for our club. It is only through your efforts will we hope to reach our Foundation goals, membership goals and service goals. If you have a project you would like to see the club do, please bring it to the board’s attention. We are always looking for new opportunities to share Rotary with our community.

As the motto for this year goes, “Engage Rotary, Change Lives”, we are making a difference in our community and world. I think of the success in Guatemala which is attributed to our efforts and the efforts of the nearly 200 clubs in North America who have supported this endeavor. Students have an opportunity to take themselves and their families out of poverty through education. In the U.S., we often take education for granted, but in Guatemala, many have never had an opportunity to attend school or learn computer skills. Through the Guatemala Literacy Project, over 150,000 children are getting that opportunity.

Let’s Engage Rotary over the next six months and we are sure to Change Lives for the better.

Your in Rotary Service,

Steven W. Nelson, President 2013-14

Rotary Club of North Raleigh

Engage Rotary, Change Lives!!!