ROTARY CLUB NEWS: Rotary co-president reflects on past year

Members of the Rotary Club of Lake Placid at a winter food drive. (Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Lake Placid)

The operating year for Rotary clubs worldwide runs from July 1 to June 30. For Rotarians, this means each club reviews its accomplishments as part of a transition to new leadership. The Rotary Club of Lake Placid is no exception.

Faced with the challenges presented by COVID-19, our club took every effort to continue its fundraising missions to benefit social programs and literacy education in the Lake Placid/North Elba community.

We took advantage of a brief remission in COVID-19’s march through our area, combined with a perfect late summer day, to conduct our annual Dam Duck Race. This fun-filled family event brought in a record sum of money which our Donations Committee judiciously distributed to groups and organizations to further beneficial projects.

Our hearts were saddened with the untimely death of Tina Leonard, who for many years partnered with Debbie McLean to stage this annual event. While Tina will be sorely missed, the Rotary Club is taking all diligence to continue this fundraising event, scheduled for Sept. 10, 2022.

Our Literacy Committee ran four well-received trivia nights — two were virtual and, as conditions permitted and in compliance with applicable guidelines, held two in-person events. The two virtual events attracted players from outside our area via the use of a computer program called Kahoot! While our in-person events bring a certain amount of camaraderie and team spirit, the virtual game brought a different dimension and skill level to the trivia game concept.

As we entered the fall of 2021, our club cautiously resumed in-person meetings, aided by employing new technology which allowed for those who participated via Zoom to have a more immersive experience with those in the meeting room. But then Omicron appeared, causing us to go back to being 100% virtual for our meetings. Although we were all in our little “Zoom boxes,” it did not stop the club from continuing a wide-ranging program of interesting and informative meetings.

Our club’s parent organization, Rotary International, urged all member clubs to focus on certain key projects through the year, notwithstanding the on-going effort to eradicate polio around the world. Understanding environmental change is one such focus area. Developing further education on the concepts of diversity, education, and inclusion and putting these concepts in practice was another. As such, our weekly programs brought in speakers from such groups as the AuSable River Association and John Brown Lives! We also brought in several practitioners from Adirondack Health as part of a healthcare education initiative. A key part of belonging to a Rotary Club is to have the opportunity to learn about a variety of things, in addition to the social aspect of belonging to such an organization.

This year’s co-presidents, Heather Perkins and Harris Semegram, are ready to pass the baton to incoming President Bill Flederbach and Vice-President Kate Thompson. Their goals and plans look to be both exciting, interesting and community minded. Visit our website (www.rotarylakeplacid.org) and we’d love to see you at an upcoming meeting. Please join us.

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