WOW – September began with a BANG! On September 7, we inducted our second member of the year Padma Magadala. Padma attended the meeting with her mother and daughter – three generations of Magadala women. It was a great induction and very moving for me as Padma thanked her mother for the years and time spent preparing Padma to dance in India for Rotary Project Celebrations; it brought an awareness of Rotary to Padma at a very young age. Welcome Padma – as Padma said, she has come full circle, and we look forward to your Rotary journey. Today is the DAY – The HOT, HOT, HOT Chili Pepper Challenge. Our own Daren Young challenged all in the club to GET to the web site and donate or a Hot Chili could be in your future. That could come in the form of a Hot vodka shot or a chili pepper filled with Tequila following Sophia Ahmad’s Tequila Kick Off. Following the fining of PP Tony and his beautiful wife PFL Heather Boudames for 25 years of marriage, Harry took over the Podium. Harry prepared an historical look at Niles Rotary by involving several Rotarians asking the question “What does Rotary mean to me?” This will be a 4 part series meant to look at Niles Rotary’s history, purpose, and character. Thank you Rick King, Sam Forbes, Sandi Pantages, Craig Steckler, and Gary Basrai for sharing not only why they joined Rotary but why they stay. I had to smile, with Family by Choice being my motto this year, most everyone mentioned that Niles Rotary has become their extended family. Thank you Harry – it was a GREAT program with heartfelt passionate speakers, and we really look forward to part 2.
IT’s that time of year again –My favorite thing about this time of year is it’s time for all things Pumpkin!!! My second favorite thing about this time of year is it’s time to bust out the Ghost House. Niles Rotarians partnered with the Candle Lighters again to begin the 49th year of the Candle Lighters Ghost house in Fremont. Great Ghost House memories back 49 years ago as I got to be one of the witches riding on the float with a really scary play house that looked haunted and huge papier-mâché vultures that I helped my mom and Joan Massey construct. Thirteen Rotarians added to the energetic group of volunteers from our community to throw open the doors, unpack the big trucks, construct the kitchen, put up fencing and took the beginning props into the house as the Ghost House imaginators shift into high gear. Thank you to our own Jeff Schinkel for inviting us yet again to assist with his project. A BIG shout out to Dana and Rick Jones, Audrey Kearns and grandsons, PP Sandi and Dick Pantages, PP Lisa and Dirk Lorenz, Steven Springer and his son Nick, Margo Hood, PP Chuck Canada, and Gael Stewart. Not only did we get a lot done we had fun doing it! Some needed more Advil than others but the TO DO List was all checked off. See you all on November 4 for tear down!
On to the 2nd meeting of September – I must admit I was very excited about our speaker. He was Mitty Chang. The meeting began with a couple of recognitions. First the Rotarian of the Month for August was named. Chuck Canada got the pin for his tireless work on the Membership Development Committee, and keeping our Mentoring Committee happy, personal, focused, relational, and so relevant! Chuck – your commitment to the committee is one reason we are growing, and is a HUGE part of club family member retention. It’s all about how you make people feel, and Chuck your leadership exemplifies that! Thank you from the whole club! Next our own Aziz Akbari asked to buy back an article recognizing him for the Alameda County Water District Transparency Certificate of Excellence. Transparency in Government is a passion of Aziz – congratulations on making your passion a reality for the ACWD. We are excited about your accomplishments and what the future holds for you.
Some fining began with anniversaries. Angus and Annie for 19 years of happiness and Paul Parhiala for his Birthday and Anniversary; Paul reported that next year will be a big year for him as he celebrates his 50th Anniversary and his 75th Birthday – take notes PE Brian Cha Ching! Although both men are very happily married, Angus never did remember what he did for his anniversary, and it took Paul about 5 minutes to remember – a sign of the times I am afraid.
Our own RIPP Rick King introduced Mitty Chang. Mitty gave a very passionate talk about the future of Rotary encouraging inclusion, embracing change, and calling everyone to be Dragon Slayers!! Mitty, you are an amazing young man with a very relevant message that should be heard and embraced by all clubs. I am happy to report that Niles Rotary is on the move and investigating some changes that will make our club stronger with millennials as our target.
If you were not at the club meeting, Daren’s Chili Pepper Challenge video with Audrey Kearns is a must see on Facebook.
This year the Area 3 Presidents are attending each other’s meetings together. August 30 we attended the Fremont Club at Spin a Yarn and on the 21st of Sept we all attended the FUN club at the Crowne Plaza. It is really fun to see other Rotarians and see the personality of each club. I am really enjoying these meetings – great idea Jim Bell.
THE DISTRICT GOVENOR’S Visit – District 5170 Governor Orrin Mahoney attended our club on September 21, 2017. We met for an hour and a half before the club meeting discussing the many successes of Niles Rotary. Our membership is on the rise with active outreach to young professionals, with a solid membership team and mentoring program; our RI giving is up; and we were proud to review the outcome of the 2017 Reverse Raffle. We have a Niles Rotarian sponsored Area 3 Global grant, along with several idea for International Service including reaching out to the Peace Corps. We covered Community Service projects as well as the necessity to keep our social media presence current and relevant, which we do so well. We had 5 Rotarians at the Membership Seminar, and we have a minimum of 20 Rotarians attending the Avenues of Service meeting on October 5. Our club meeting began with Richard King introducing Orrin to the club. Orrin and Rick King both handed out our Paul Harris pins and certificates. Congratulations Brad Louie, Kathy Laidlaw, Richard Lucero, Larry Bowen, and Raj Salwan (our 12th Paul Harris Society Member, which is a $1000 contribution to the Rotary Foundation every year).
Oh MY, it’s the last meeting of the 1st quarter – time flies! We began by introducing our visiting Rotarians who included Mike and Sunny from the Rotary Club of Anchorage South, Alaska who had bid and won our Rotary Exchange at their fundraiser. Welcome to Sunny California. Paul Iannacconi took the mike and honored Mary Florio as our newest Paul Harris Fellow. Congratulations Mary and thank you for your generosity. Next Raj Salwan was honored for becoming a Grand Donor to the RI Foundation. Thank you Raj! Our program for the day was the PRASAD Project, with board member Thomas Korula and executive director Dr. Cecilia Escarra. They are a nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life of economically disadvantaged people around the world. This includes India, several other countries and dental care in New York. It was a fascinating presentation.
This month also began the planning for our Millennial Outreach with Sophia Ahmad leading the charge with Aziz Akbari, Maggie Chambers, Chuck Canada, and assorted Membership Committee members. I cannot wait to attend the first get together. I was also honored to be included in the Bet Paying off of PP Angus as he threw the Haggispalooza Dinner. It was a great evening, and I must say a very special thank you to Annie, Angus, Tobey, and Cosmos for including Randy and me even though we weren’t a part of the bet. ONE of the perks of being President! The Haggis was GREAT – never thought I’d say that but it was! Color me very happy!!!
Roll and Stroll this weekend – detail on that next month.