Monday, November 12, 2018

Youth Exchange multi District dinner November 10, 2018

On Saturday, November 10th, the Plainfield Rotary Club hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for the Youth Exchange kids from districts 7890, 7980 and 7910. The interact students in Plainfield hosted the kids over night Friday and then they had a dinner Saturday for all host families and invited guests. It was wonderful! They went to Salvation Army to find costumes for randomly chosen characters and had a "showing" at the end of the night. It was very fun! Here is a picture of all the kids from the event. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Interact-A flyer from Jan Taigen of the Chester Rotary Club

Jan Taigen of the Chester Rotary Club prepared a flyer for Interact, here is a link

.Jan Taigen of Chester Rotary Club prepared this flyer/

Rotary Youth Services-A conversation

Rotarians from our Area 3 got together to talk about the things Rotary does to support our Youth. Thanks to Chris Hoeffel, and Tribury Rotary Club.
Here are some of the programs we do.

Next Generations is a one day conference to allow high school students to discuss issues that are important to them. It is facilitated by high school students.

RYLA is a three day conference to teach and convey leadership skills to high school students. There are three student directors and the facilitators(family leaders) are all high school students. RYLA alums who are now Rotaractors play a key role in making this an amazing program. The typical comment from high school students after RYLA is that "it changed my life".

Here are RYLA students making a presentation for the RYLA Challenge
Two RYLA students at this Area 3 meeting confirmed that "it changed them".

Interact are high school clubs which do service at their school and in their community. We probably have 55 in our District and over 1500 members. There are several Interact clubs in Area 3 and there was considerable discussion on how to make them better. An Interact school advisor from Pomperaug was at this meeting to give the school perspective. Also a principal conveyed his strong support of Interact. The advice given was 1. let the students take the lead, 2. encourage joint activities between Rotary clubs and Interact clubs and 3. ask the students to stop by the Rotary Club regularly.

Interact brochure prepared by Jan Taigen

Rotaract is a college age and beyond program. There are service clubs which can be in communities and at colleges. Some of our Interact graduates and RYLA alumni are in Rotaract clubs and do some wonderful service projects. The club at Yale provided medical equipment to Turkey for Syrian refugees last year.

Four Way Test speech contest. Every year high school students compete in a speech contest which incorporates the Rotary Four Way Test. The students prepare an up to 7 minute talk and give it in a competition with other students. The winners receive a financial award but everyone even the audience is more knowledgeable and inspired.

Global Leadership Initiative is a five day workshop to teach students 18 to 30 leadership and success skills. It has had interest from participants around the world.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

East Hampton Rotary-Giving Away Dictionaries to Third Graders

A very simple project that many clubs do every year is giving away dictionaries. The third graders love and cherish their dictionaries.There is so much more in our dictionaries than words.

The club gives out the dictionaries as the students walk in. They then look through it
We tell the students what Rotary is and explain the Four Way Test
Then we give them a little about the dictionary. Here is Kevin Reich(former teacher, former
Assistant superintendent current Assistant Governor) explaining
what's in the dictionary 

The dictionary includes a Periodic Table of the Elements. Us chemists
really appreciate that. We've been giving out dictionaries for more than 20
years, the Periodic Table in those early dictionaries are no longer correct.
When we took a picture of the Rotarians and some students we realized that there were
about 8 grandchildren of the Rotarians present in the group.
So this project provides a learning tool to the children, gives Rotarians some fellowship and gives
the Rotarians whose grandkids are there, a real positive experience.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Milford Rotary Club chooses sides-Red Sox or Yankees

The Division Series between the Red Sox and Yankees was about to kick off. The Milford Rotary Club was meeting and debated the merits of the teams. Well not really. It's baseball.
And by the way there was a Jets fan defending his forecast, that the Jets were a future team to be reckoned with. Us Jets fans have heard that before.

So back to the Yankees or the Red Sox.
Here's the sargent, not partisan much. 

Baseball hats from the competing teams at the podium. Some vintage hats here.
 A fun Rotary Club meeting. The speaker talked about RYLA. Go Yankees/Red Sox.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Next Generations Conference-Some comments

Next Generations conferences are arranged by Rotary but organized and facilitated by students. In District 7980 in southern Connecticut we have a conference in February each year. Hear are some comments.

Here's Dave Ullman who is quoted in the comments

Here is the student who talked about Next Generations to the Trumbull Rotary Club

You Gotta See These Youngsters In Action

Evani Dulal, a junior at Trumbull High School, talked last Friday to the club about her participation the Next Generations program. Next Generations is a one day, Rotarian organized, youth directed workshop in which 150 students from across our district meet in small groups to discuss “topics that aren’t traditionally discussed in school,” topics like human sexuality and human growth.

The program provides a forum for open discussion — most sessions are adult free — and so helps these teenagers discover “who and what they are,” in the words of Dave Ullman, a Hamden Rotarian, a Next Generations leader since 1996, and a retired Milford High School History teacher.

Ms. Dulal called the mix of students and the range of perspectives “eye opening.” She recalled a session on racial inequality she attended as a freshman that stood out because of the breadth of the group’s perspectives.

Last year she was a facilitator. She led a session on technology, “something important to our generation because it is so prevalent, though,” she added, “not all students have equal access to it.”

Next Generations brings together students from quite diverse backgrounds. They share experiences, learn from each other, make new friends and come away with broadened, if not new perspectives. Results, Ullman said, are “community building and personal growth.”
“it’s apolitical… This is what they will be involved with.”

He believes this program helps “these youngsters… deal with issues, especially in this day and age, that are so important… (they) express concern about what’s going in our country today. They “learn to be centered, to be assertive.”

“If there was ever a wonderful example of what these youngsters do, if you watch any of the tv networks regarding gun violence and persuading legislators to make changes so they could be protected and no matter the opposition, these youngsters, like Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg represent the kind of people Evani (and Next Generations) share experiences with.”

Ullman, still the teacher, commanded the floor when he spoke. He ascribed the success of the program to its affective approach, rather than a cognitive one. It’s “the human piece.” If it was just knowledge — if you could do the math, the science, and be successful, if that’s all it was — then why do we have the problems we do today?”

Ullman commended Justin Phillips as “a very important co-partner, one of the very best I’ve worked with.”

He closed by mentioning the variety of Rotary youth programs, from middle school, through Interact in high school, then Rotaract for college students; the one day Next Generations and the weekend RYLA. There’s the Four Way Test Speech Competition, Youth Exchange and the World Affairs Seminar. There’s UN Day.

And the Rotary Foundation offers scholarships to college graduates and professionals to study peace and conflict resolution, fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, saving mothers and children, supporting education and growing local economies.

Next Generations, along with Rotary’s other outreach programs, offer opportunities to bring Service Above Self to a far wider audience, to afford young people avenues to learn about and impact a world well beyond their own communities.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Rotary Youth Exchange Orientation on Laurel Island

Every year some students from our District 7980 go abroad on a Youth Exchange experience and we have students come here from various countries. Soon after the students arrive, the Youth Exchange team helps them get comfortable and we provide some instruction on how to get along as an exchange student in New England.  On August 25 and 26th the Youth Exchange leadership of District 7980 hosted an inbound student orientation meeting on Laurel Island in East Hampton, Connecticut.  Exchange students and the Youth Exchange leadership from Districts 7890, 7910 and 7950 as well as students from 7980 were there.

Our District, 7980, has students from Taiwan at Norwich, Italy at Orange, Bolivia at Middletown, Thailand at Deep River, Belgium at East Hampton, Peru at Westport, Japan at New Canaan and Brazil at Monroe.  It is wonderful that these clubs are hosting the students and thanks to Carol Williams and Joanne Corvino who are the leaders of District 7980 Youth Exchange.

Here are Rotary leaders from 7980 and 7950 discussing the training which will soon occur

We have started involving return Youth Exchange students in our program. Here are three past exchange students who helped with this training. They were very helpful and supportive.

One of the training points is to acquaint the students with English idioms. Another is to talk about what they should not do. Here they are getting the information

On Sunday there was a picnic for club Youth Exchange leaders and host families and others. Governor Larry and his wife Sharon attended the picnic met the students and others. Here is Sharon with AG Chris Hoeffel

Here during the picnic some students and visitors took advantage of the recreational opportunities on Laurel Island

More than 90 people came to the picnic on Sunday, met the students and talked about Youth Exchange and other subjects. Many of the attendees were future host families for these students. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Membership-New Members Best Practices

Governor Larry has set a goal of identifying best practices for bringing in and engaging new members. Here we will keep a list of practices used to bring in new members by our clubs in Southern Connecticut.

Rotary International has tips on bringing in new members at

Member Added Practices tried in District 7980-Southern Connecticut

Have a public event every month-Mystic Rotary club
         Fellowship events, service projects, meetings, cocktail hours-have members invite their friends and colleagues and publicize them in the press
Quarterly bring your friend to the club-Trumbull Rotary Club
         Do this quarterly and have the expectation that members will bring a friend
Have co-chair or chair of Membership be someone young-Trumbull Rotary Club

Add to our list-If you've seen or thought of  an approach to bringing in new members comment on this blog or send a note to Arisleyda Riehl, the District Membership Addition Chair or one of the Governors-Larry, Jack, Ron. We will update the list.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Middletown Rotary Club-An Idea for a Program

The President of Middletown Rotary Club, Eric Rodko, has had some great programs in July including the Official visit by our Governor. On July 31 he invited the Presidents of nearby Rotary Clubs for a discussion of what makes your club great and how to improve your club. He had Guy Tomassi of Guilford and Daryl Porto of Wallingford as well as me, pinchhitting for Mark Cibula of East Hampton.  He asked us three questions and we had a great discussion on how to make our clubs more vibrant. What a great idea for a club program that any of us can do. It fosters interclub interactions and gets us talking about what we like and what we'd like  more of in Rotary.
 On the left, Eric Rodko, President of Middletown, describing the discussion we are about to have

On the left, Guy Tomassi of Guilford describing why his club is vibrant

Eric and the three speakers in the Rotary Club of Middletown  picture frame.
Organize a club event like this at your club.
Isn't that picture frame idea neat!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Northeast President Elect Training Seminar-Putting it Together

Each year Rotary clubs have a President who makes the club happen. The year before, the District Governors to be, help those Presidents to be learn what it takes to make a club vibrant,exciting and provide service to their town and the world. There are many elements to this training for the President to be, but an important element is the President Elect Training Seminar(PETS). In our area the Districts covering New England and a small part of Canada, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont get together and in three days provide a remarkable amount of information to the Presidents to be and the Area Governors for these Districts.

So the District Governor Elects from the Districts get together in July
to work out a plan for the coming years' PETS. Here's some of
them July 7 in East Hampton, Connecticut

Here are the 8 Governor Elects. Notice that the photographer has
made a classic error, they are in the shade with a bright background. Neverthess
they are there, 5 guys and three gals during the planning of 2019 PETS
The spouses and others for the Governor Elects were present and enjoyed
a great weekend. We adjourned to a restaurant Saturday night to eat and
hear live music. Here is the President of East Hampton Rotary Club, who
just happened to be at the restaurant, talking with Joan the Governor Elect
in Massachusetts. Her husband is on her left.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Middletown Rotary Club  President Eric Rodko

I recently made my first official club visit as district governor to the Rotary Club of Middletown. This is a very impressive club numbering roughly 50 members.  The club is very active in the Middletown community, collaborating with other organizations to make Middletown a better place.  Some of the projects they support include the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project; Amber Alert; Warm the Children; The Wilfredo Nieves Dictionary for Students, Family Literacy Program; Tools of the Trade; Polio Eradication; and hosting – in partnership with the East Hampton Rotary Club – an International exchange high school student from Bolivia.  There is also a strong emphasis on supporting local youth with programs including the high school Student of the Month Awards; local Community Service Awards; “Service Above Self” scholarships to civically active high school seniors; engaging Rotary Interact clubs at Mercy High School and Independent Day School; and providing “Tools of the Trade” to high school seniors from Vinal Tech.

It was a delight to meet the members of this club; they were all very friendly and welcoming.  I'm looking forward to a return visit soon.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Woodbridge Rotary Club 47th anniversary dinner and Installation of Officers

Woodbridge Rotary Club installed new officers and celebrated the last year on June 15, 2018

Larry Gardner, about to be District Governor, installed the new President Spenser Rubin
And his team Diane Millan, Jessica Halprin, Tom Shernow, Neelima Kaushal, Tony Anastaio,

Tony Anastaio the current President, gave a wonderful talk
on what is a Rotarian. He recounted various projects and talked
about the fellowship

Bill DeRosa was the Master of Ceremonies and did a great job.
He was also given a surprise Paul Harris in honor of his
long work for the club

Monday, June 11, 2018

RYLA Alumni Attend Graduation of Current RYLA High School Seniors

Some RYLA facilitators in caps and gowns with the RYLA alumni
behind them
RYLA Creates bonds between the participants and with the Facilitators and Leaders. District 7980 has a RYLA alumni group which helps run the RYLA and preserves the alumni relationship with ongoing RYLAs. Recently some RYLA facilitators graduated from high school and RYLA alumni showed up to honor the graduates.
Jason and Kate. Jason has been a facilitator at several RYLAs
and Kate organizes the RYLA alumni and is a Rotaractor

Friday, June 8, 2018

Scholarships Awarded by Rotary District 7980

Club in District 7980 Amount
Ansonia 1500
Beacon Falls 1000
Branford 7500
Bridgeport 27500
Cheshire 5000
Clinton 3500
Colchester 4500
DeepRiver 4000
Derby-Shelton 18000
East Hampton 16000
East Haven
Fairfield 25000
Guilford 25500
Hamden 2250
Madison 5000
Middletown 7783
Milford 28000
Monroe 4000
Naugatuck 6500
New Canaan
New Haven
New London
Newtown 5000
North Branford 1000
North Haven 12000
Norwich Sunrise
Old Saybrook
Orange 6000
Seymour-Oxford 1000
Stamford 150000
Trumbull 23000
West Haven 8500
Westport Sunrise
Wilton 2000
Tribury 4000
Total for Scholarships 405033

Formerly a Club 
East Haddam 10000
Clubs in other Districts
Torrington-Winsted 22500

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Two New Interact Clubs and the Osterman Award at Stratford Rotary Club

The Stratford Rotary Club installed two new Interact clubs, one at Stratford High School and the other at Bunnel High School. The students are very enthusiastic and the principals and the superintendent were present to support the Interact Clubs. Also Governor Trish presented the Osterman Award to Stratford. The Osterman Award is given to the best small club in District 7980.
Here's Jeffrey Krause, the President of Stratford getting
everything started

Governor Trish discussing the role of an Interact Club
Governor Trish installing three officers from Stratford High and the President of Bunnel High
Here's some of the Interactors from Stratford High, they brought 15 students
to the lunch meeting

The Stratford Club was awarded the Osterman Cup for being the
Best Small Club in District 7980

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Membership Plan

Why do people stay in Rotary Clubs? Something in the club experience meets their needs, satisfies a desire they have.  In many clubs the members are friends with each other and stay in, just to keep up their friendships and enjoyable associations. The weekly meeting is a convenient way to do this. Providing service and creating value for their town is also an important need satisfied by the current membership model.

An essential element of the current member experience is the periodic meeting. And this meeting is an essential element of the value which members see.

Why would people join a Rotary Club. They might be looking to create new friendships and provide value to their town. The reputation of the club might be attractive to the potential new member. They might expect to enjoy the activities of the club. They might want to establish contact with the "movers and shakers" who are in the club. In any case finding the people in a town/area who are interested in a club is not a simple nor easy task. Most clubs find that a very small number of members bring in the vast majority of new members. That is not changed by cajoling and programs etc.

Once the person who is interested in joining the club is found, the membership experience s/he is looking for, must be provided quickly so that the person will remain in the club. Currently many clubs leave the assimilation of a new member to chance. It should be planned and organized.

There may be people who are not interested in the currently structured member experience. In particular it has been said that younger people do not have the time nor interest for a weekly meal meeting. The existing range of club experiences is very broad and there is the ability to make it even broader.

There may be nothing special about the meeting location. It's the conversations
and enjoyment of others company as well as service to your community
Here's a Rotary member with 62 years of service. He has valued the
friendship of club members and they have valued him.

Here are two new members of the New Haven Rotary Club. It is crucial that
we involve them in task and activities with other members on day 1
Here's a Rotary club program with the local Emergency Response team.
What a great opportunity to have a public meeting. The ERT reaches
out to the community and your Rotary club gets some visibility

So here are three elements of a membership plan(you may have additional ideas)
1. Finding New Members
 Hold public events, meetings, service projects(maybe one per month) and give these happenings lots of publicity. Make it clear at these events that membership in the Rotary Club is a possibility and to talk with a member. One club had a public event every month for 6 months and signed up 11 new members. Rotary Means Business is an excellent example of a Rotary Event that could be a public event and could be an attraction for new members.
2.Keeping New Members
 As soon as a person is inducted into the club assign an existing member to do a task with him/her for a month. Assign different people to do tasks with him/her in the next two months. These tasks can be small things like being the greeter at the meeting or doing the card game or ??  The idea is to have at least three different people work with the new member and hopefully establish friendships. Assign the new member to a specific service or fundraising committee right when they are installed.
3.Attracting Different People to Rotary

 To attract people who are not interested in the current member experience, find a few people, particularly younger people, and ask them to create a new member experience. It is very important that the new people design the new situation and that it is not done for them. Our goal is to have these people's creativity and knowledge create a whole new paradigm. You don't like a weekly meeting with a meal, well what would you like? Make this a satellite club. The members of the satellite club don't have to attend the existing meetings(but they can) and they establish the rules and duties for this new organization. The satellite club has its own service projects and fundraisers but it can also work on the main clubs' activities. If club members want to work on the satellite clubs activities, that's great. At some clubs where I have mentioned this, the club members are only focused on their existing clubs' meetings and projects and are not at all interested in this type of approach. The idea here is to create a new entity which gives a new and different set of people a Rotary experience. There will be synergy between the two entities but they need to be independent. By making it a satellite club we avoid a lot of red tape and it will work with a lower number of people.

Orange RC-Installation of Officers of Middle School Interact Club at St. Martins

The Interact Club at St. Martin De Porres school in New Haven is sponsored by Rotary Clubs at Orange, New Haven and Derby-Shelton. The Interact Clubs' officers for next year were installed on May 18 at Orange Rotary Club. The students are always inspiring. Of course Lynda Hammond of the Orange Club, who has done so much for that Interact Club was present. PDG Colin Gershon of New Haven and PDG Ernie Louise of Derby-Shelton were also there to celebrate the yearly transition. 

Governor Elect Larry Gardner did an inspiring job of Installing the new officers. 

Here's the soon to be past President reviewing her year. She was as
well spoken as any Rotary President

The President of Orange Rotary Club, Robert Sigler,  conducting the meeting and encouraging
Happy Sad contributions

Governor Elect Larry installing the Officers of the Interact Club
The young man,fourth from left, who is incoming President has been involved with
the Interact Club since third grade. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

West Haven Rotary Club- May 16

West Haven Rotary Club is widely known in District 7980 for its pranks and fun. So I attended the meeting to get a head start, since they love to have pranks on the Governor. When Paul M. attended his official visit, they walked out as he started to talk. Of course when they shortly came back he said  "...  in conclusion"  .Any Governor goes to his official visit at West Haven with trepidation and preparation.
Roland Depew the immediate Past President was in charge because
President Diane was not available.
 Rich a long time member recounted some of the pranks and fun of the West Haven rotary club. They visited North Haven Rotary Club and came in with a marching band. Also they visit other clubs and bring a 5 gallon bottle of Long Island Sound water, containing added undesirables. Since I'm from East Hampton Rotary Club they told the story of going to East Hampton in 1990 or 1991 and stealing a pig, the device which contains the money for Happy/Sad. Then when East Hampton wanted it back they brought a live pig to East Hampton. After much frivolity the money pig was returned.

Here is Rich installing three new members in West Haven Rotary club.
Bob Knapp, a PDG, was scheduled to do the installation but the
storm prevented him from coming.

Monday, May 14, 2018

District 7980 RYLA- Spring 2018

RYLA Spring 2018 was a wonderful experience for about 71 students. They spend Friday through Sunday and are learning leadership skills the entire time
Here's the registration desk for the start of RYLA.
 It is quite well organized so we don't waste valuable time on details

This is an exercise called chairs. The participants start sitting on chairs and
end up with a self supporting structure of just the students. They learn
to rely on each other.

Here are some participants working on a project during RYLA

RYLA is student led. These are the 2018 Student Directors.
There are 16 facilitators who work with the participants very closely

All the participants participate in the RYLA Challenge. They develop a service project
which they present to Rotary Judges. The Judges provide some funding and recommend
paths forward for the teams. Each participant speaks during the presentation
This team proposed providing computers to students who do not have them

Friday, May 11, 2018

Madison Rotary Club-90th Anniversary Celebration

Ninety years of service to the Madison Community and the World. They started in 1928, just before the Great Depression. How does a Rotary Club survive a depression? The club is a real contributor to the community and this was a wonderful celebration.

The club celebrates it's 90th year and Jack Davis has 62 years of service.
He and his wife were present and celebrating

PDG Rick Benson discussed the Rotary Foundation's 30 year effort on Polio
And we are very close, no new cases since March and only 8 for the year
They celebrated their past Presidents and lit a candle for each President
 Past President Ruth DeSarbo was a key in organizing the event and current President Michael Perry made sure it all went well