In This Issue:
Club meetings and programs
Pinion Editor announces her retirement
RI Virtual Convention
Food Handlers Card
REACT – new Niles Rotary committee
June Pinion, the Sequel
In my May Pinion, I said my final 2 articles would be presented in two parts. In writing this last article, I think I need a 3rd Pinion to convey both my thoughts on my year as well as my deep appreciation to the members the best club in the Rotary world. As many past presidents have experienced, a President really starts getting his or her “Rotary legs” in the second half of their year as president. Mine was no exception. In starting to plan my year (pre-pandemic) I was told that this would be my best year in Rotary. Facing down Covid, I somehow doubted that would be the case. Yet, it has been my best year….because of YOU- the Niles Rotary member. Your dedication and generosity via your time, talent, and treasure has made both our community and our world a better place. You’ve embraced our meetertainment concept, accepted a dues increase that has yet to fully play out as we enter president-elect Audrey’s year with a degree of uncertainty as to when we will return to Washington West. Club finances remain somewhat fluid as Audrey’s board will face the decision of how we will move forward as we resume our live meetings.
In the time I have remaining, I hope to adequately share with each and every one of you how important you are in not only Niles Rotary but also the Rotary world. I think of the Rotary wheel, and each cog in that wheel. If one of those cogs is missing, the wheel fails to move. I hope this simple analogy conveys how important each and every Niles Rotarian is to the club as a whole.
With the weekly meetings I have remaining, I’m hoping to convey what went on behind the scenes to deliver what we now have coined our meetertainment meeting. In doing so, I hope to acknowledge the hard work that various individuals have put forth to deliver a different Rotary meeting experience. In a way, the pandemic has been a blessing, as it’s opened our eyes to new ways we can “do Rotary.” Rotary International president Holger Knaack urged Rotarians to be more flexible, thinking of new ways to build membership in Rotary. It is my hope that through the pandemic experience and what a phenomenal group of individuals has crafted insofar as our meetings have given us is a hint as to what Rotary will look like going forward. I’m excited at the prospect of having helped lay the foundation of change that will carry us into the future. A future where we will see membership grow in President-elect Audrey’s year .
Adequately thanking this club for making a challenging year successful has caused me some anxiety. I don’t want to forget anyone who has contributed to a successful year. As mentioned above, each Rotarian is a cog in the wheel and each Rotarian is important to this club’s success. This said, some have gone beyond the call, and I will acknowledge and thank them in the meetings I have remaining…in true “meetertainment” fashion!
As I close what is the last Pinion article of my presidency- I would be remiss if I did not thank Sandi Pantages. This is also her last Pinion after many years of being its editor. More will be said of that in true meetertainment fashion- make sure you tune into the June 3rd meeting!
Lastly, I reflect back on my August 2020 Pinion article where I spoke of our club maintaining relevance. I asked how we were doing in our efforts to engage millennials and the diversity in our community. I believe that we’ve set the stage for a Niles Rotary future that will engage a new and diverse membership. Rotary will never be quite the same, yet I maintain optimism that Niles Rotary will maintain the fellowship that is a hallmark of our club while engaging existing and new Niles Rotarians in different ways. To this end, I ask you to continue to be open minded as to how we might continue to “fold in” our new way of doing Rotary into our traditional Niles Rotary fabric while maintaining that which we value so much as Niles Rotarians.
Keep on Blooming!
Wrapping things up. A two article series.
After concluding a fun meetertainment that we called Disney Day at Niles Rotary, Sandi Pantages dropped by to pick up a speaker gift and deliver it to the prior week’s speaker. In doing so, she reminded me that we were approaching the Pinion deadline. The thought occurred to me at that moment how difficult it is to believe how the months have passed so quickly. It also occurred to me that this will be my second to the last Pinion article. I figure I’m going to need both articles for May and June to adequately reflect on my year and thank so many people for what was an unprecedented and unique time in Niles Rotary history.
To kick this off, I decided to pull my first video from the archives. During a meeting in June, I would like to share that video once again to see if I delivered on what I said I would as your President. As I reviewed that video from June 2020, I stated to my fellow Rotarians that our world and community need Niles Rotary. I mentioned that Rotary International was asking us to remain flexible, be relevant, and be ready for change if we want to build membership and continue the work that our community and world needs. My fellow Rotarians, I believe Niles Rotary will never be quite the same as it was. Yet, it is my fervent hope that I have emphasized throughout my year that the fellowship and personal friendships achieved through live meetings are irreplaceable. It’s a Niles Rotary hallmark! Once again, I can’t help but quote what past president Chuck always says….”it’s the energy in the room” that makes Niles Rotary so special. Yet….change has happened, whether we wanted it to or not!
Our new way of doing Rotary has forced us to rethink our dues structure to support our club financially. Please recall, your board has approved a dues “restructure” that shifts some club financing away from meeting fees to an increase in annual dues. ($160.00 to $250.00 per year…the first increase in about 6 years. Yet, we will not require makeup fees for live meetings that are missed as we have in the past, since we will continue to offer a Zoom option. The fee for attending a live meeting will remain at $20. Depending on a Rotarian’s historic attendance at meetings, the increase in total dues/meeting fees paid throughout the year will be minimal. This will be reassessed by our next Board of Directors as we exit our current pandemic and have a better idea of what our Rotary meeting future looks like.
It is my belief that live streaming of meetings is here to stay. Prior to the pandemic, I was working with tech savvy Rotarians and Washington West staff to determine how Niles Rotary could “broadcast” our meetings to a wider audience. That work was put on hold as we progressed through the pandemic. Going forward, we will once again take up that task as President-Elect Audrey assumes the helm and we have an idea of when we might return to our home…Washington West. Because there will still be sensitive Niles Rotary populations and new members who have only known our Rotary Zoom existence, it is essential that we continue live streaming via interactive means to those members.
I am excited by what I believe is a number of individuals who wish to become Niles Rotarians. My sources tell me that we are on the cusp of considering four to five potential new members. I am anxious for the next two months to see how this develops.
In that first video, I asked you to “hold onto your seat as we, in the immortal words of Past President Sandra Young, are going to shake things up a bit.” I think we have delivered on that promise! This said…..I will now begin to contemplate my next Pinion article where I will make an attempt to adequately thank those who have shaped this wacky Rotary year. From a fundraising haircut to your generosity for Henry Phipps Paul Harris, I will highlight what will definitely be my best year in Rotary! At this writing….only 8 more meetings!
Keep on Blooming in Niles Rotary Service!
As we enter the final quarter of my presidency of Niles Rotary, I am once again reminded how very unorthodox a year it has been. As I started out last July, I began with a video, something that you’ve come to know is not unusual for me! In that video, I stated that I would shake things up a bit in the next 12 months. At that recording, little did I know that it would last my entire year! Prior to the pandemic, I recall that one of my major objectives was to begin the process of making our meetings available electronically. Who would have guessed that Zoom would become the norm? As I ponder my final quarter as Niles Rotary President, I must start thinking about the eventual transition back to live Rotary meetings. At this writing, we are about to have our first hybrid meeting where we will have safely gathered a limited number of Niles Rotarians as allowed in our current Orange level. Those asked to participate were asked because we’ve not seen them over the past 9 months. I want to emphasize that a great deal of thought and planning have gone into this first hybrid meeting adhering to all safety measures. My thanks to our Area Governor- my wife Lisa- who provided perspective from the other District clubs that have already started hybrid meetings. I’ve asked past Niles Rotary Presidents Craig Steckler to sit in for me at this first meeting because I will be behind the scenes making sure all safety cautions are followed and that the technology works!
If anyone from our Rotary family wishes to attend an upcoming hybrid meeting in person, please let me know. We will be transitioning to a format that more closely mimics our live meetings. We are working to come up with the means to reserve a seat at future meetings until we can gather a greater number of Niles Rotarians together. We will be able to provide a meal via food trucks, which can be purchased on site for the traditional fee of $20. Just as was the case at Washington West, 3/4 of the fee charged will cover the food cost whereas the remaining five dollars will be contributed to the club. While on the subject of fees, let’s visit for the sake of our newer members and some of us older ones, the dues and fees collected from Niles Rotarians and how they financially support club operations.
Niles Rotary member dues for the past 7 years or so have been $160, of which Rotary International and District 5170 (our Rotary district) take approximately $145 from that which is collected from each Rotary club member. The balance of about $15 per member funds a small part of our operating budget for the year. The majority of the club operating budget is funded by weekly meeting fees collected when attending live meetings at Washington West. Of the $20 charged to attend, approximately five dollars goes to fund club operations. The balance pays the cost having our meeting at Washington West. Because of the uncertainty about the ability to have full live meetings for the balance of 2021, your board has met to discuss ways of shift shifting the burden of funding the club operations from the meeting fees to annual dues. This dues restructure will assess our members $250 a year, netting the club $105.00 per member instead of the $15 under the old dues structure (these are approximate figures rounded to the nearest dollar). However, if you do not attend a meeting, there will be no make up or meeting fee assessed as was the case in the past.
The new fee structure was presented to the Board and passed at the March 14 meeting. I’d like to give a shout out to Don Cole who worked numerous financial scenarios needed to arrive at a recommendation that balances the need to support club operations, yet considered what Rotarians in other clubs within our area pay. Please know that this decision was made after countless hours of meetings and consultations Our Membership Development Committee members weighed in on some aspects of early proposals to help get the dues committee to a point that we felt was fair to all concerned. The unknown nature of resuming live meetings presented a threat to the financial well-being of our club; therefore, it became important that we shift funding club operations from meeting fees to a more stable annual dues structure. As mentioned, your board approved the new dues restructure and stated that it will be reassessed in time as we settle back into our new normal….whatever that might look like. Lastly for now, please know that the new dues restructure does not render additional money over and above club budgets of the last several years. It is my sincere hope that Niles Rotarians see the wisdom in these trying times to address the uncertainty of the future as Niles Rotary becomes more flexible and reacts to our changing times. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions!
May you continue to bloom in Rotary service,
The Rotary Heart
As the countdown begins and my year as Niles Rotary president enters its final months, I once again think about how different this year has been. No holiday parties, no Reverse Raffle, no Rotary International convention fun. Past President Bruce has done his best to try and bring social events to the club. Terri and the community service team have eked out a project here and there, again trying to find safe projects that make us all feel fulfilled as Rotarians. Merna and the youth service team have worked hard to deliver the Richard D King speech contest in extraordinary times…. with pretty good success I might add. Steven Lloyd has looked to international and faced delays as a result of COVID, but in time we’ll see projects come to fruition. I’m happy to say that Paul Iannaccone, through the generosity of Niles Rotarians, has seen ongoing success with The Rotary Foundation. Steve Landon has taken the newest avenue of service, the environment, by the horns. Kimberly MacFarlane has done foundational work for vocational services. I look forward to seeing how both environment and vocational services develop in the months and years to come. Sam has done his best with club admin, as that certainly is an area that is nothing like the times when we had live meetings. President-elect Audrey is hard at work planning the alternative to our 25th annual Reverse Raffle – the Spring Fling. Additionally, she has the challenge of an unpredictable new Rotary year ahead!
I’ve mentioned these things in the context of those things I’ve missed most about our live Rotary meetings. You! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved seeing you each during our weekly zoom meetings. But, as past Niles Rotary President Chuck Canada always says, it’s the energy in the room that I miss so much. In the weeks to come, I hope to attempt hybrid meetings where we can test and experiment with the technology necessary to have live meetings once again. Part of that energy that we experience is celebrating our fellow Rotarians. Past presidents of our club have celebrated the Rotarian of the Month, singling out those members who went above and beyond! Although many of you continue to do that in your Rotary service, zoom has made it more difficult to recognize this. Therefore, starting this month, I will introduce the Rotary Heart award. With the help of our We Care Queen Margo Hood, we will be celebrating some of our unsung heroes in Niles Rotary…..those members who epitomize having the Rotary heart. I acknowledge that each member of our club possesses the Rotary heart…. and would appreciate hearing those stories of our members and how their Rotary heart has made our community and world a better place. Lastly, I want to again acknowledge how Rotary makes us ALL bloom!
How do you feel?
Seems like a very appropriate question does it not? Last month I welcomed the new year and stated “By the time you are reading this, we’ve kicked off 2021 and are all hopeful that soon we will emerge from the pandemic that has sheltered us in place since March.” Well….as the pandemic continues, the realization that I will be the first President in Niles Rotary history to NOT have a live meeting is setting in. Our Rotary lives have been virtual. As the president of your club and to gain perspective, I lean into something Past Rotary International President Richard King told me…. and countless others for that matter. He talks of the Eagle….and three attributes an eagle is known for…..Conviction, Vision, and Commitment! You see, I have been fortunate to host Richard in our “studio” over the past several months while he delivers speeches to districts and zones all over the country. On this very iPad that I now type this message, I have stored many amazing and inspirational speeches that Richard has delivered. (Along with quite a few songs I will add). In each speech, he reminds Rotarians of the following:
We’ve made the best of our virtual meetings….as our meeting team strives to make them entertaining while at the same time getting the work of Rotary done. We work to attract visitors to our entertaining meetings …and allow the news to spread that Niles Rotary is a relevant and fun service organization….even in zoom times! Please share our meeting link with those who have a heart for service!
Richard goes on to say that “More things get accomplished because of how people feel.” So, how do you feel…..about Rotary? What is your commitment to our Club? Invite a friend to attend. Help spread the word and in so doing, feel good about telling the world that YOU are a Rotarian.
Now, more than ever, we need to feel good about Rotary. In doing so, we can “feel good” about ourselves! Always remember, Niles Rotary Makes US Bloom!
Keep on Blooming!
We meet Thursdays at 12:00 p.m.
Washington Hospital West
2500 Mowry Avenue
Conrad Anderson Auditorium
Fremont, CA 94538-1605
Map & Directions
Save the Date!
The Niles Rotary Spring Fling
March 20, 2021
Tune in to the Niles Rotary “meetertainment” meeting at 12 noon on Thursdays via Zoom for speakers and events.
We’d love to hear from you!
Key Contact List