Happy May Day Fellow Rotary Members!  May Day (usually celebrated on May 1) is a celebration of Spring. It symbolizes a time of rebirth and unity as the flowers begin to bloom, the weather gets warmer, and we begin to emerge from our COVID isolation.
Youth Service Month:
May also marks Youth Service Month in Rotary when we turn our focus to the many programs and projects organized by our clubs and District to serve youth in our communities. We just concluded two of these programs – RYLA and the annual Four-Way Test Essay Contest. Our District organized its first ever Virtual RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) for over 130 high school students and it was a huge success! Congratulations to our RYLA Director Darin Arrasmith and his RYLA team for their willingness to adapt and for creating an amazing event. And Steve Geil once again led our District Four-Way Test Contest where nine outstanding students will be recognized and receive cash awards from their sponsoring clubs. Thank you Steve!
I would also like to welcome our newest Interact Club: The Vista Real High School Interact Club sponsored by the Rotary Club of Santa Paula. Forming a new Interact Club can be a challenge at best and even more so in the middle of a pandemic. I can’t wait to see what amazing things this club does for their school and community. 
Because of the continued threat of COVID in many parts of the world, Rotary International has suspended in-person Rotary Youth Exchanges for 2021-2022. But that does not mean we are giving up on RYE! Many Districts are engaging in different types of virtual exchanges and this is something our District Rotary Youth Exchange Chair Barry VanderKelen is exploring for the upcoming Rotary year. 
Rotary Foundation Donor Recognition:
Registration is now open for the 2021 District 5240 Rotary Foundation Donor Recognition & Celebration, which is virtual this year on Friday, May 7, 2021, at 6:00 pm. The event is free, but you need to register in advance by clicking HERE. We will be recognizing YOU – our members who have achieved various donation levels to The Rotary Foundation – and we will have a special presentation by the CFO from Feeding America about the dramatic increase in food insecurity during COVID and how organizations like Rotary helped address the crisis. A flyer for the event is below. 
Registration is Open for the 2021 Rotary International Convention:
Registration is now open for the 2021 Virtual RI Convention June 12-16, 2021! This is your chance to experience an RI Convention for only $49 (promotional rate good until May 7, then $65 after that). You can also register for pre-convention events focusing on Rotaract and Inter-Country Committees. For more information and registration information, click HERE.
Save the Date for the District Awards and End of Year Celebration:
On Friday evening, June 25, 2021, we will be coming together to honor very deserving Rotary members and clubs and celebrating their successes at our Virtual District Awards and End of Year Celebration. Despite the challenges this past year presented, our clubs and members have done amazing work deserving of recognition and celebration. We will also be remembering the members we lost this year and keeping them in our hearts. And we’ll be looking to the future as I turn over the virtual District gavel to our incoming District Governor Dana Moldovan! Please save the date and look for more details and registration information coming soon.