‘All Things Rotary’ podcasts makes debut

A new podcast series called “All Things Rotary” is debuting this month.

In each episode, host Nick Taylor will bring together voices from around the Rotary world to find new approaches to topics old and new.

The podcast homepage can be accessed by clicking here. It contains not only a link to the podcasts, but you can get a written transcript of the program, and you can use the Podcast Search Engine to find other podcasts on other topics that may interest you.

Meeting Clipboard: 1/14/21

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (22): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Carol Orvis, Murray Forth, Maggie Forth, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Debbie Rodriguez, Geoff Brewer, Terry Brewer, Tony Morris, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Pat Bailey, Andy Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Becky Raymond, Phil Kellerman, John Justino.

GUESTS (2): Lara Vazquetelles, Carrie Knudsen.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed members and guests. The 22 members constituted the largest such group we have had since transitioning from in-person to virtual meetings for this Rotary Year. … Bill Dowd reminded members that rather than sending out repetitive emails each week to give Rotarians the link to our ZOOM meetings, everyone is asked to check the calendar page on the club website to find the link and simply click on it to access the session. …

Our guests were two teachers from the East Greenbush Central School District, sharing their experiences so far handling “Education In the Age of Pandemic” — Lara Vazquetelles, a veteran special education teacher who joined the district in September, and Carrie Knudsen, who has been teaching sixth-graders at Goff Middle School.

They discussed the changes in public education created by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They touched on the variables in class size, the need for innovative use of technology, group dynamics, distractions during virtual instruction (barking dogs, loud music, etc.), the ongoing need for socialization while maintaining proper distancing and safety measures, and so forth.

They took questions from members both during the meeting and for another 20 minutes or so in an “after hours” session attended by nearly every member who had participated in the formal meeting period.

NEXT MEETING: 7 p.m. Thursday, January 21. Terry Brewer will lead a discussion on the possibilities of applying for 501(c)3 IRS status (the club currently is recognized as a 501(c)4 organization) and the pros and cons of creating a foundation as an adjunct to the club. Members have been sent copies of an analysis by Terry that will serve as background for the discussion.

‘Easter Baskets for Kids’ is under way

Each year for the past seven years, the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has partnered with Circles of Mercy to provide “Easter Baskets for Kids” ages 1 through 12 in the City of Rensselaer.

This year, despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re doing it yet again. Shannon Romanowski has stepped up to act as coordinator for the project, for which we thank her. In the past few years, the Greenbush YMCA she administers has been a strong ally in the effort.

We will be circulating via our club website and Facebook page as well as e-mail blasts a shopping list of items such as traditional Easter candies, oral hygiene items, reading books, small toys, etc. Shannon will be letting us know her deadlines, basket-creation procedures, etc., which we’ll share via the same methods. This is just to give you a bit of a headstart on shopping.

For those not fully familiar with it, Circles of Mercy is an outreach center for poor and low-income families which is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community. SRC has partnered with the organization for years on a number of effort, including holiday family “adoptions,” back-to-school supplies, etc.


Registration now open for virtual RLI event

Despite the vagaries of the COVID-19 pandemic era restrictions, District 7190 plans to go ahead with the annual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) training in February. It will, of course, be done virtually, which means a lower per-person fee.

Assuming sufficient participation, training will be offered in Classes 1, 2, 3, and Graduate level. The training is open to all Rotarians in good standing, but the classes must be take sequentially: i.e., you need to have completed Class 1 to attend Class 2, Class 2 to attend Class 3, etc. Anyone who has completed 1 through 3 may enroll in the Graduate level even if they have attended Graduate sessions before. The content is continually evolving.

This year’s RLI will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, February 27. Registration, which will be be reimbursed by SRC, is $25 and must be done online no later than February 20. Class sizes are limited.

RLI is particularly recommended for all club officers and people new or relatively new to Rotary, although everyone is welcome. SRC has a history of strong RLI participation, and we hope to maintain that record this year.

Rotary Member Census deadline nears

Have you completed the 2020 Rotary Member Census?

By now, all Rotarians whose email addresses are on file with Rotary International should have received copies of the survey, which is open only until this coming Friday, January 15. The email is from RI General Secretary John Hewko.

It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the electronic form. And, you can decide not to answer sections or specific questions the survey poses if that improves your comfort level.

Speaker: Educating in a pandemic

Have you or anyone you know been home-schooling kids during the COVID-19 pandemic? No easy assignment, to be sure. But, imagine if you had to do the same for dozens and dozens of kids, sometimes in person, sometimes virtually.

That’s what teachers and support staff have been doing in our schools this academic year. Lara Vazquetelles, a Delmar resident who is a special ed teacher in the East Greenbush Central School District, will be visiting us at our 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14, ZOOM meeting to take us “behind the scenes.”

Please be sure to circle the date on your calendar, and plan to join your fellow SRC Rotarians for what promises to be an enlightening event.

‘Director Dialogue’ virtual session registration open

The next “Director Dialogue” free webinar event, this one featuring Rotary International Past President Barry Rassin, is coming up.

Unfortunately, as so often is the case with District and RI events, it falls on our regular meeting time and day, 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14. (The next event is on a Wednesday, thank goodness.) This could be a particularly interesting session for members of the Danes Rotaract, given the topic title. If you’d like to attend, pre-registration is required. RI Director Valarie Wafer will be hosting the event. Just go to our website calendar page and click on the appropriate link.

As Valarie explains:

“We’ll be discussing the concept of ‘Elevate Rotaract,’ and what it means to Rotary’s future. Special guests from throughout the Rotary world will join me in future months to cover a wide range of topics of interest to all Rotarians, all provided at no charge as a benefit to you as a member of a club in Zones 28 & 32. The next webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10.”

Meeting Clipboard: 1/7/21

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (15): Dick Drumm, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Pat Bailey, Charlie Foote, Phil Kellerman, Debbie Rodriguez, Kevin Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown.


MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm called the meeting order, noted the presence of a quorum, and greeted attendees. … Webmaster Bill Dowd reported that his upgrades on the website are proceeding apace to make the site even more compatible with the growing number of users who access it via smartphones. He also once more encouraged members to check the site regularly, particularly the Calendar page, to stay abreast of events scheduled by the club, the District, and RI. … Treasurer Murray Forth updated members on funds received and where we now stand for each undertaking — $1,000 toward our Scholarship Fund, $550 toward food pantries (over and above what we already have donated in this Rotary Year), $100 toward ShelterBox (over and above what we already donated), $600 for Circles of Mercy projects, $4,075 toward the general treasury. He also said our paid membership is 32, counting one corporate group membership. …

We had a brief discussion on the matter of the club moving from the IRS-designated 501(c)4 status to 501(c)3, which would make donations to the club tax deductible. Terry Brewer will be making a presentation to the club on the matter within the next few weeks. … Jim Leyhane said about 80 bars of handcrafted soaps being sold as a fundraising effort remain from a supply of 200. He and Roberto Martinez would like to complete sales within the next month or so, preferably at the price of $20 for 3. Anyone interested should contact them to arrange delivery. Phil Kellerman said he had just sent a $100 check to the club from sales of specialty coffees to go toward the general treasury. …

Pat Bailey and Debbie Rodriguez reported that personalized cards had been mailed this week to all club members urging greater attendance at the weekly ZOOM meetings. … Bill Dowd will make an inquiry to Circles of Mercy to ascertain whether it would be sponsoring an Easter basket drive again this year. He will report back to the club next week. … Murray will contact Goff Middle School, which just received financial support from several club members for a “thank you” gift for teachers working under pandemic conditions, to supply a teacher to visit us via ZOOM to talk about teaching in the COVID-19 era. …

The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14, via ZOOM. Bill will send out the invitation link over the weekend plus a day-of reminder.

A special Rotary panel discussion for you

“Do You See and Hear What I See and Hear?” may sound a bit like the title of a Christmas song, but on Monday, January 18, it will be anything but.

It’s the title of a 90-minute panel discussion on diversity, inclusion, and equity. All Rotarians who register in advance for this ZOOM virtual event will be able to hear six panelists who have been invited to share how their identity — their race, gender, religion, age, physical ability, etc. — has impacted their experiences in America and in Rotary.

The event will provide clubs with an opportunity to learn and grow by understanding how they may appear to a newcomer or to someone who may not look and sound like the majority of members. A Q&A session will follow the discussion.

Register today for the event at http://bit.ly/MembershipDEI and join your fellow Rotarians on January 18.

Here’s your link for Thursday’s ‘seance’

Happy New Year! We’re all set for the first SRC virtual meeting of 2021. We hope to see you, literally, at the 7 p.m. meeting this Thursday via ZOOM teleconference that kicks off the second half of the 2020-21 Rotary Year.

Just use this link to join your fellow Rotarians as we resume a successful year of service to the community despite the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic:


If you need additional info:

Meeting ID: 725 2784 2648

Passcode:   Vgs8uX