ROTARY CLUB NEWS: Social distance your way to community service

Ask a Rotary Club member to get something done, and it’s guaranteed to happen. Why? Because, Rotarians are dedicated to lend a helping hand where necessary to make our community survive and thrive.

In this new age of social distancing, members quickly realized that they had to think differently about what they do and how they do it.

For example, Lake Placid Rotarian Debbie Erenstone, started carrying a bucket with her on her daily walks.

Like many members of the Rotary Community Service Committee, I’ve been looking for ways to pitch in and help out during this time of social distancing. A fun project I’ve taken on with my walking partner, Sarah Galvin, is a DIY village cleanup with a twist. Wherever we walk, we clean up the trash along the roadside.

To make our time together even more interesting, and entertaining, we concoct an imaginary story about the more interesting pieces of garbage we toss into the bucket.

Whether it’s a wayward life jacket, or a waitress’ notepad, the short stories keep us thoroughly amused while doing our part keeping our town clean. We’ve now challenged other Rotarians to help pitch in and do the same.”

According to Rotarian Martha Spear, who heads up the club’s active Community Service Committee, “projects in the works for this “social distancing spring” include cleaning up local playgrounds and the Shipman Youth Center.

Plus, an ambitious project we’re working on is to bring new bus shelters to Lake Placid. Together with Heather Perkins we’re gathering all the necessary information to present to the village.

Current projects also include the club’s year-round volunteer service projects, which are as varied as the people who run them. There’s the highway clean-up in spring and fall, led by Steve Detwiler. We coordinate youth-related activities like reading in schools, RYLA and youth exchange, led by Peter Beatty and Linda Flederbach. We plant trees in support of Arbor Day and Lake Placid Beautification. We also run a food drive for the Lake Placid Ecumenical Food Pantry. We host the Teddy Bear Picnic, led by Martha Spear. We serve hot chocolate at Holiday Stroll, led by Debbie Erenstone. We host the Valentine’s Day party at the Greenwood Apartments, led by Bridget McKillip. We work on one-off “work-bee” projects like dismantling the library compost bin, painting at Samaritan House, cleaning glass plates at the historical society and entertaining seniors at Elderwood’s holiday party.

Now with more time on our hands than we know what to do with, consider devoting some time and energy to others. The Rotary Club website features “Volunteer Opportunities” with descriptions of each project. Any member of the community interested in volunteering is welcome to join in. http://rotarylakeplacid.org

During the COVID-19 pandemic the Rotary Club of Lake Placid now meets via videoconference on Thursday mornings from 7:20 to 8:30 a.m.

If you are interested in attending a meeting, email RotaryLakePlacid@gmail.com.