This month’s theme: Rotary Fellowship

June is designated as Rotary Fellowship Month. Rotary Fellowships are international, independently organized groups of Rotarians, Rotary partners, and Rotaractors who share a common recreational interest or vocation. This month is recognition of the opportunity to have fun, make new friends around the world and enhance the experience of Rotary that belonging to a Rotary Fellowship enables.

Wow! May was a great and crazy month!

Foundation Fiesta

On May 4th, Rotarians came together with our Director John Mathews and Mary Ellen and hundreds of Rotarians and Rotaractors in Santa Maria. Among the festivities was the honoring of the Rotary Foundation, Major Donors, and PHFs. On hand were Jim Lewis' Iron Lung and a keynote speaker Craig Needleman who spoke from the heart about his mother Jane who raised three children from an Iron Lung. After Craig moved everyone to tears, we presented him with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award for his mother. Tears of love for everyone!

Making a difference, three girls from PACE were on hand to share in excellent English their gratitude for Rotary and Deepa’s school in Piyali India. (Two of the girls actually live in a Safe House) What Inspiration, Rotarians and the Rotary Foundation Making a Difference!

Service Above Self

At the Rotary Fiesta Dinner, Past District Governor Deepa Willingham was presented a special Rotary Award: Service Above Self (an honor only 150 a year are presented).  So deserving Deepa, we LOVE you! 

First club Celebrates 100 years!

The first Rotary Club of our district Celebrated 100 years of service – Congratulations Rotary Club of Santa Barbara! 1918 was a much different time. Santa Barbara had a population of 19,000.  You can read about this venerable club's history here.  Today our district is better off with the many clubs they chartered including Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, and many others.  

PHF and 4 new members evening!

Westlake Sunrise celebrated several Paul Harris Fellowship awards and the induction of four new members. What a blast! The PHF program was established in 1957 with 25,000 PHFs by 1978.  By 2006 the Rotary Foundation had 1,000,000 members. More importantly, the Rotary Foundation has allowed Rotary to fund its fight to eradicate Polio, Ambassadorial Scholars, Peace, Rotary Exchange, and thousands of grants. You can read the history of the Paul Harris Fellow recognition here.

21 PHFs Making a Difference to the Rotary Foundation

San Luis Obispo Daybreak also had a Paul Harris Fellowship morning where 21 PHFs were presented. PDG Wade Nomura was on hand to officiate.

Tree plantings

Rotary Clubs throughout our district organized and funded tree plantings. On May 12th Rotarians from our district and Los Angeles (D5280) planted over 40 trees! Past District Governor Wade Nomura Helped organize this planting. Take a breath --- trees Making a Difference.

4-Way Test Essay Winners

Rotary Clubs organize and fund local 4-Way Test Essay winners at Elementary, Junior High, and High Schools in our district (which includes Kern, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties). Students, faculty, and Rotarians work together to articulate the values of the 4-Way Test.

Left to Right:  RC Ventura South Speech Winner; RC Pismo Beach-Five Cities Scholar; RC San Luis Obispo-Daybreak Scholars

Honoring 30 Years of Women in Rotary

The Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks invited Sylvia Whitlock shared, with her usual humor, her story of being the first woman in Rotary and the first woman elected Club President. Wow! One of the BEST decisions Rotary has made. Celebrate Women in Rotary!

Memorial Day Celebrations

Throughout our district, Rotary Clubs organize Memorial Day events from Moorpark to Cayucos to Bakersfield. In Bakersfield at the river Park 1,037 full size American Flags were carefully placed and enjoyed by hundreds, if not thousands of community members. What a great Celebration organized by the Bakersfield Breakfast RC. Good job Denise and club members and the City of Bakersfield. They even had their own Rosie the Riveter on hand!

Emerging Leaders Summit

On Saturday 2nd  after two years of planning, Rotarians and Rotaractors are coming together to discuss how to respect, attract, and retain Millennials. This event is thanks to our tireless committee Kat Clowes, David St Amand, David Velarde and others. Also thanks to Santa Barbara City College which donated their facility for this special event of learning. More on this topic soon!

Clockwise from top left: Bakersfield Interactors and Rotaractors; Bakersfield Rotarians with Interactors; celebrating 28K meals delivered! And Bakersfield Interactors and Rotaractors filling backpacks for children in the Philippines. 

Santa Barbara Sunrise Dolphin Dive Fundraiser

Santa Barbara Sunrise is conducting their primary fundraiser this month.  Dennis Johns asked me to relay this message:  "Of course you know although Santa Barbara is considered a wealthy town, it's pretty hard for the Rotary clubs to come up with a successful fundraiser when in competition with so many other non-profits in town.  We've got kind of a unique idea this time in that we're reaching out to all the non-profits we've worked with in the past and trying to enlist their help by granting some of the funds raised directly back to them.  This of course includes any District 5240 clubs that want to participate and receive 25% of their donation back to their club.”

Please find the brochure attached and a link to the Dolphin Dive Adoption Form below.

Nearly to the finish line for this Rotary Year

Christine and I have had a great journey this year and are looking to the finish line as we finish strong! We have completed 72 Rotary Club visits and 84 total Club visits including Rotaract and Interact. We have chartered an Interact Club and two Rotaract Clubs. We had a successful Interact District Conference for which we thank Greg Gillett, Li Gibbs, Joe Joyce, and David Saint-Amand (and many others).

On Saturday June 16th, you are invited to Celebrate your club and our amazing Rotarians in our district at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott (Buellton) for lunch. Sign up today!

What an HONOR to serve as your District Governor with my wife Christine! Thank you all for your love, cards, and expressions of support! Our gratitude forever!