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August FIRST, 2020

Welcome to The FIRST Clubs' Showcase, the newsletter for District 5500 for Rotary Year 2020-2021.


FIRSTS!   (by DG Diane Ventura-Goodyear)
     It’s time we celebrate some of the FIRSTS in our District.
  • FIRST virtual Installation in District 5500.  It had a record attendance. Many clubs have had similar installations.
  • FIRST time we have had four women in the line of District 5500 Governors:  Immediate PDG Ellie, DG Diane, DGE Hank, and DGN Anita.
  • FIRST time we have had a virtual Leadership Seminar.  It was very successful with positive feedback from the attendees.
  • FIRST time we have had our Club Leadership training online in a video format, on our own Website, and always available for members to use.
  • FIRST time we have had a virtual Rotary International Convention in video format.
  • FIRST time our District has hosted four fun-filled “Happy Hours” on Zoom.  Stick around.  We will be having another on August 7th, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm. Check the District website for more details and to register.  rotaryd5500.org
  • FIRST time we have a relationship with Toastmasters. Toastmaster training is now available for members on the RI Learning Center.
  • FIRST German RI President, Holger Knaak. As Holger says, “Rotary is adapting to these changes and should plan on incorporating Zoom or other video platforms into Rotary’s future.”.
     Rotary International, our District, and our Rotary Clubs are “thinking outside the box” and making changes. What an incredible honor to be District Governor during these transformations.
     I got to “thinking” the other day about the Jetsons TV program. Many of you remember the Jetsons, from back in the 60s. Hanna-Barbera produced it in 1962.  It was set in 2062, almost 50 years from today. Many of the technologies used by George and Jane, such as the videophone, are here now, thanks to Skype, Zoom, and other programs. Thankfully on Zoom, we have many backgrounds to choose from!
     What does this say about Rotary? Rotary is evolving as the times are evolving. The last major technology surge was the “invention” of the Internet and, “wow”, did that change our lives! While most organizations are frantically searching for a new direction, Rotary has already changed. Look at the new Club models we are introducing into our District and into Districts around the World. Already several Clubs have increased attendance and are embracing the opportunities to invite speakers from RI, Zone, and even other Districts.
     So remember, your FIRST date, your FIRST prom, and your FIRST car – let’s make this a wonderful FIRST Rotary 2020-2021 year. Embrace the change, as we work together to face the challenges of the future.
     Stay safe and stay healthy. Please follow the Rotary Zone Guidelines.
Pursuing Peace Conference (from PDG Ellie Patterson)
District Public Image/Branding  (by Ray Naylor)
     District 5500 is developing a team of representatives from all the Clubs to share ideas, best practices and to develop solutions for existing issues we face with our Public Image.  In 2019 a survey highlighted some issues we need to resolve as a District.   This survey can be found on YouTube:
     We will be developing solutions for these items and any other issues Club members wish to bring up.
     In this presentation you will be introduced to several terms that we will be working with:
     Public Relations:  Inform the community about your Club’s activities, events, and service. Build awareness and credibility.  Provide value to the Community.
     Public Image:  What your Club stands for and how you are perceived.  What is your Club’s image in the community?  
     The District Public Relations/Branding Chair, Ray Naylor, will coordinate this activity.
     Each Club should identify a Club member who can represent the Club in developing a solution for issues and share what the Club is doing or needs help doing in order to move forward.
     Please send the names and email addresses to rwnaylor@comcast.net
Rotary and Toastmasters  (by Dan Stringham)
     Rotary and Toastmasters have announced an alliance.   The Rotary International Learning Center is incorporating a curriculum from Toastmasters with courses intended to help Rotarians become better communicators.
     District 5500 wants to reach out to Toastmasters to help expand awareness of the mission and accomplishments of Rotary.  Understanding each other better will come from Rotarians visiting Toastmaster clubs and by Toastmasters being invited to attend Rotary Club meetings.
     PDG Ellie Patterson and District Governor Diane Ventura-Goodyear have embarked on a proactive project to make these interchanges happen.
    They have asked District 5500 Rotarian Daniel Stringham, who has experience in Toastmasters and Rotary, to coordinate the interchanges.  He began the project with a presentation about Toastmasters to The Rotary Club of Saddlebrooke.
     If you have an interest in learning more about Toastmasters or to invite Daniel to your club for a presentation, contact him at barba_rosa77@yahoo.com or cell phone: 520-260-1095.
The Rotary Club of Green Valley  (by Phil Noble)
    The Rotary Club of Green Valley has given a gift in appreciation and in support of the restaurant where it had met weekly for several years until Covid-19 shut down its in-person meetings and the restaurant about four months ago. Club President Bob Auflick and Treasurer Becky Roberts presented a $600 check to the Grill on the Green restaurant manager Lynn Greenes and General Manager Mike Cochran.
   “We wanted to help the restaurant in some small way to compensate for the loss of revenue from our Club meetings and just to show them we cared about their welfare,” Auflick said.
     “They appeared stunned by our gift and most grateful. I think it was important to do this in person--while wearing masks, of course,” Auflick said.
     Cochran told them the reopening date of the Grill is uncertain. “They presently cannot have groups larger than 10 and no one inside, but they have a very nice, large patio,” Auflick said.
     The Rotary Club of Green Valley has 40 members who meet online via Zoom. For meeting information, please email gvrotary@yahoo.com.
The Rotary Club of Tucson Presidio  (by Scherri                                                                                                                         O'Connor)
The Tucson Presidio Rotary Club members met at the Star Pass Resort on Saturday, June 26, 2020, to induct its new officers!
     Derek Patla                         President
     Scherri O’Connor              President-Elect
     Dan Martin                         Treasurer
     Bill Williams                       Secretary and immediate Past President









The Rotary Club of Saddlebrooke  (by Barbara                                                                                                                                 Barr)
     The number 13 was lucky for the Rotary Club of Saddlebrooke last year. We had 13 new members, 13 new Paul Harris awards, and 13 Interact members who graduated from San Manuel.  Three cheers for lucky 13!!
     We were thrilled to add 13 new members (six women) under the leadership of Membership Chair, Wendy Guyton.  The new members are Bill Bell, Susan Bell, Donna Birch, Bill Demeroutis, Frank Granberg, Wendy Harn, Crystle Nerhmeyer, Liese Razzeto, Harvey Smith, Craig Stokely, Wolf Tombe, Dan Watson, and Bre Zientarski.
     Under the leadership of Foundation Chair Tom Turriff, thirteen members earned their first Paul Harris pin, received a plus pin, or became a benefactor.  They are Barbara Barr, Bill Demeroutis, Neil Deppe, Leslie Hawkins, Doug May, Mark Phelps, Patricia Pohnert, John Ruland, Craig Stokley, Elaine Terry (two awards), and an anonymous donor, and Bre Zientarski.
     And 13 of our Interact members, led by Doug May, graduated from San Manuel. The Valedictorian and Salutatorian are in red graduation robes.
The Rotary Club of Sierra Vista Sunrise                                                                                                               (by Eva Dickerson)
     We’ve gone virtual!  The 8th annual Sierra Vista Sunrise Rotary Rising Sun Run will now be a virtual run due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.  During the entire month of October, registered runners can run their own courses, or our courses, which are posted on our registration website.  We offer a 5K, a 10K, or a half marathon running course, with participants receiving a shirt and a participant ribbon for the 5K and 10K, and, for our half marathoners, they will receive a shirt and a cool spinner medal.  
     All proceeds will fund our youth leadership events, scholarship programs, and community improvement opportunities.
     Join us!  Be fit and enhance your well-being by participating in our Rising Sun Run!  
     To register, and for more information, click on
The Rotary Club of Valle Verde  (by Steve Sibulsky)
     The Valle Verde Rotary Club in Green Valley proudly sponsors a Rotary Interact Club for high school students in Sahuarita.
     Interact Clubs bring together young people ages 12-18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self.  Students find out how serious leadership can be seriously fun.
     Of the ten members of the Sahuarita Interact Club for the 2019-2020 school year, six are graduating seniors from Walden Grove High School:
     Interact Club President Samantha Witterstauter has been involved in Interact for five years. She was invited by a friend and quickly became involved in the fun service projects and meeting new people along the way.  Sam plans to study cyber at Pima Community College and later transfer to the U of A.
     Morgan Boone says, "Next year I hope to be in Thailand on a Rotary Youth Exchange but I want to take psychology classes at Pima Community College and also take unusual classes like a culinary course." When asked what led him to Interact, Morgan replied “My parents got into Valle Verde Rotary Club a long time ago and my brother was a part of the Green Valley Sahuarita Interact Club since it began so it's like a family thing.”
     Marianna Laredo says she’s dreamed of attending the University of Arizona since she was 10 but will start with some time at Pima Community college!  She’s met a lot of good friends through Interact.  Marianna says she’s “happy because I get to help others and my community and maybe, one day, I can help the world!”
     Grace Adams says "I will be attending the University of Arizona in the fall, studying Environmental Science with the aim of someday becoming an environmental lawyer or policy maker!  I plan to join the Pride of Arizona marching band as well, playing trumpet.  I joined Interact in my senior year because I had participated in a few of the volunteer opportunities through the Club because a few of my friends were in it and I really enjoy volunteering at all different kinds of events!” 
     Jack Vance was a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) delegate two years ago, and a RYLA Junior Councilor this year. Two years ago he was the Interact Club treasurer; this year, VP. He has been a Club member for at least three years.  Jack will be attending the University of Arizona this fall, majoring in pre-business and later, accounting. He plans to join many clubs, like the Rotaract club, and become involved around campus.
     Fawaz Ghannam got involved in Interact because he wanted to help in his community. He had heard about interact from a friend and immediately wanted to join. To his surprise, Interact was not just an ordinary community group, but it was a second family who cared for others. Fawez plans to study Engineering at the UofA Honors College next year.
     Valle Verde Rotary usually meets each Thursday morning at 6:45 at the United Methodist Church in Green Valley, but has been meeting through on-line Zoom meetings for the last several weeks.  To learn more, visit www.valleverderotary.org
The Rotary Club of Oro Valley (by Jim Nook)
     When students return to Oro Valley’s Innovation Academy, they will find an addition to their campus. The Oro Valley Rotary Club has donated a Peace Pole and the school’s staff has installed it in a prominent location.  The pole proclaims the peace message in English and in Spanish along with the phrase “May Be Peace be in our Schools”.   American Sign Language was selected for the fourth side of the pole because we have seen how excited students get when they discover the sign language section in the student dictionaries that we distribute each year.
The Rotary Clubs of Tucson Kino and Tucson Sunset
     Crutches 4Africa  (by Denny Scanlan)
      Despite the Covid restrictions Rotary is alive and well in the Tucson area!  Teamwork between the Kino and Sunset Clubs resulted in a truckload of canes and crutches plus a trailer full of wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility devices to be delivered to the American Furniture Warehouse in Gilbert, Arizona.  This is the first stop in their journey to Denver, then Galveston and ultimately to Africa for distribution by local Rotarians!
     Crutches4Africa is an all-Rotarian operation founded by David Talbot, himself a polio survivor.  While in Uganda In 2005 he saw numerous polio victims using broken branches and anything else they could find to support their damaged limbs while moving about.  Dave came home and did exactly what you and I can do. Look in your closet, garage, storage unit or junk room.  Dig out those old crutches, canes or walkers, donate them to Crutches4Africa and make a major difference in someone’s life.  Help us help them!  Organize a collection for your Rotary Club!
      Questions?? Call Dennis Burquest (320)224-2209 or Denny Scanlan (520)270-8555.  They can help/provide a truck and trailer for the transport of your collection efforts!
The Rotary Club of Rincon, Tucson (by Tom Eiff)
     Rincon Rotary’s Red Nose Day supports Maternal and Child Health, one of Rotary International’s Seven Areas of Focus.  To increase its impact and reach, Rotary promotes partnering with other organizations, such as Rednoseday.org which focuses on children facing poverty and inequity.
     Rincon Rotary was one of the first D5500 Clubs to support Red Nose Day.  It held its first Red Nose Day fundraiser in 2018.
District Zoom Happy Hour
     Join us for another Zoom Happy Hour, August 7th, 2020, from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Bring your own beverage and appetizers. Meet some new Rotary friends.  Say "Hello" to some previous Rotary friends.
     Are you an expert at Trivial Pursuit? Like competition?  Join us on Friday, and kick off the weekend with game show excitement. Register early, we have Zoom availability for only the first 100 members.
     Memorable Membership is more than simply great meetings!  It is all that goes into a great Rotary Experience!            Join Jason Browne, IT professional, streamer, entrepreneur, and Rotarian. He loves to creatively create meaningful change and have fun along the way. Learn ways to attract, retain, and engage Members!  Learn about virtual platforms and how to use them to enhance Rotary for you and your Members.
    Join us virtually on Saturday, August 22 at 9:00 a.m. Let’s Grow Rotary Together!
Zoom Happy Hour
     Remember to join us for the Pre-Seminar Zoom Happy Hour August 17 at 5:00 p.m. titled “Let us introduce Remo!” You can register for it at the same time as you register for the Seminar.  The deadline for both events is Saturday, August 15.  Register Here
     For more information, please contact Joyce Finkelstein.
Remembering Mat Caparas (by Phil Silvers, PDG and Past Rotary International Directer, Valle Verde Rotary Club)
     This past week, we on planet earth said goodbye to some genuine heroes.  Mat Caparas of the Philippines, RI President 1986-87, was one of them.  He died on July 15, 2020.
     Mat Caparas became the President of Rotary International a few weeks after I was inducted into the Rotary Club of Tucson; He was the first international Rotary leader whom I came to know.  His theme for his Rotary year was “Rotary Brings Hope”.
     I was privileged to meet Mat many times over the years, but one memory stands out.  I gave a presentation at a Rotary Institute in California.  Mat was in the audience.  He waited until I had left the room and then caught up with me.  He did not slap me on the back, nor did he lecture me.  That was not his style.  He just started a conversation on some of the themes in my talk.  I found it very affirming.
     In the history of Rotary, Mateo Armando Caparas is a powerful figure.  Here’s why:
     1.  In the 1970s and early ‘80s, as a Past District Governor, Mat led the campaign to drive polio out of the Philippines.
     2.  When he became RI President, he:
         a. Started the Rotary Community Corps--Rotary for people in the slums,                   favelas and rural areas who cannot afford Rotary dues, but who want to                 support the work of Rotary in their villages.  There are now more than                   10,000 RCCs, mainly in developing countries.
        b. He told his Rotary Board of Directors that, if Rotary can wipe out Polio in              the Philippines, we can wipe out Polio in the world.  His board approved                the campaign to raise $120 million for the worldwide eradication of polio.              We did not raise $120 million that year.  We raised $240 million!!! That                  number today is more than $1 billion.
        c. He got his RI Board to approve unanimously the admission of women into              Rotary.
     Mateo Armando Caparas, a man of slight stature, but a true giant in the history of Rotary.  Thank you, Mat.  “Rotary Brings Hope”
(In 1988 there were an estimated 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries.  So far in 2020, 102 cases of wild poliovirus have been reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the only two countries in the world to have reported cases of polio.  That is up from the reported 33 cases in all of 2018.  The effort to end polio cannot stop until not one case has been reported for several years. Editor MLD)
Rotary's Beginning

     Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of members.

     Please submit your Club news by the 20th of each month. The newsletter will be distributed on the 1st of each month unless it falls on a weekend, then expect it on the first Monday of the month. Show off your club; Tell us why your Club out-rivals other Clubs, and share your Club’s best practices. Rotary Clubs all learn from each other! Our new editor, Myron Donald, is awaiting your article. (100 words or less, optional picture)
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