Membership Summit nears, and you’re invited

District 7190 Area 1
Assistant District Governor

Registration is open for the next Rotary District 7190 Membership Summit — this one titled “Back to Basics — Boot Your Membership.”

The event is scheduled for Thursday, March 7, at the Glenville Senior Center, 32 Worden Road, Glenville. Dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the program at 6 p.m. While there is no charge to attend, reservations are requested to assure sufficient food and seating.

There are many clubs that already have or possibly could have membership issues in the future.  As a result, club meetings and activities are changing with the goal in mind of how to attract members of the younger age groups and retain members of all ages.

Clubs need members who are active and who volunteer for projects and help guide the club forward.  It is amazing how many members have held the office of president and other offices again and again.

It is so easy to just say every member has the responsibility of bringing in new members.  Well, if it is so easy why are we not overwhelmed?  I guess it isn’t that easy.  I have asked members how they would approach someone and what they would say. Suddenly there is silence, and shuddering trying to find the right words.  Most don’t have a proper script in mind just how to invite someone.

Also, younger prospective members are part of a changing environment. They may not want to attend a meeting every week, or if they miss too many meetings they get a comment or letter in the mail, or sometimes nothing.

Clubs are changing. Many are trying different approaches or changing meeting times and activities. But, what is or is not working is in constant change.  It is hard to develop a single answer for what will work in your club. Rather than use a trial-and-error approach, attend the “Rotary Membership Summit” and learn what other clubs are doing — what is working, what is not.

Please take advantage of this opportunity. Once you network, you also will have names you can call for an update or to discuss ideas.

To get the most out of the summit, have two or more of your club members attend so you get more sets of eyes, ears, and thoughts to share with your club.  There will be a lot of discussions at the event. There are no answers that fit all clubs. If you have a membership chair who can’t make it, have someone fill in.

Please sign up online on the District 7190 website.

Meeting Clipboard: 2/14/19

SRC ClipboardHeld at Quigley’s Restaurant
573 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY 12061

Members Attending (10, no quorum): Andy Leyhane,Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Maggie Forth, Debbie Rodriguez, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Dick Drumm.

Guests (1): Jeremy Forth.

Rotary CashMEETING NOTES: It was announced that the Board has authorized two financial grants — $500 to the Colonie-Guilderland Club’s Global Grant initiative to support a clean water project in Haiti; and, $2,500 in seed money for our SRC Rotary 5K/10K Trail Run event to be held in October. … For the Run, lead organizer Jim Leyhane reported he is trying to contact Tom Curran, mayor of the village of Chatham, to discuss participation. Earlier, Jim had reported that the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Chatham is the leading prospect to host the event. …

Rotary Home Cooking loogoWe’re looking for people interested in hosting events in our annual Rotary Home Cooking series of social fundraisers. If you’d like to reserve a date and/or get more information on how the series works, contact Andy Leyhane or Bill Dowd … Today is the final day to submit sponsorships ($100) to Jim Leyhane for our 3rd annual Community Recognition Awards dinner to be held on Tuesday, March 5, at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant. Tickets are $35. Among the honorees will be Murray Forth as the “breakout Rotarian” for his efforts remodeling our meeting room at Quigleys. Most recently, he replaced all the ceiling tiles, removed the ceiling fans, and wired a microphone. …

Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 11.00.11 AMPhil Kellerman is putting together a live music evening as a fundraiser at our May 9 dinner meeting. Proceeds will go to the Oley Foundation. Save the date, and stay tuned for details and updates from Phil. … As announced last week, our Danes Rotaract group will hold a social fundraiser — a happy hour at Wolff’s Biergarten on Broadway in Albany —  from 7 to 9 p.m. this coming Monday; $1 from the purchase of each non-alcoholic or alcoholic drink will go to the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. … We’re still waiting for information on what next Thursday’s program will be.

CLUB ASSEMBLY: President Andy displayed a list of last year’s initiatives and asked each member to pick the two they most enjoyed.  He then asked how they were  funded and where the money was going. This led into a wide-ranging discussion of concerns about the source of funds to support our many initiatives.

Andy said we may be boxing ourselves into a corner by being too strict on categories and that we may need to be more general.  They group thought it could be OK to have some percentage come back to the club.

Of the initiatives listed, some were funded fully by donations from club members, and some funds came from fundraising efforts.  Unfortunately, even some of the broader fundraisers were profitable only because of member-paid sponsorships.  Efforts are being made for the upcoming 5K/10K Rotary Trail Run to become an event that would raise money  by more than just club members’ sponsorship.

It was suggested that we develop a brochure explaining where club funds could go.  And, it was noted we should resume filling out the initiatives form Roberto Martinez introduced during his presidency to record and preserve a history of what we are doing in the club.


Another satisfied ‘Wine Dinner Raffle’ winner

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 12.44.49 PM
Raffle winner Becky Raymond (head of the table) and Cafe Capriccio chef-owner Jim Rua (wearing cap) pose with their guests.

Becky Raymond was the first-prize winner of SRC’s second “Wine Dinner for 12” raffle at Cafe Capricio in Albany. Here is her report:

“What a memorable evening I and my book club members and husbands had last night. Chef Jim and his staff gave us not just a meal, but brought us into the Cafe Capriccio family, and made us feel as if we had landed in Italy for a marvelous family meal. And what a meal! It was way more than we could eat.

“Every aspect of the meal was explained to us, from the ingredients (mostly locally sourced), to the regional origin of each dish. We also learned about Cafe Capriccio’s semi-annual culinary trips to Italy. At least one of our members says she would like to go and bring her son, a chef.

“We were very pleased that Debbie and Chuck Rodriguez could join us. Debbie was able to answer Jim’s questions about Rotary.

“Thank you for arranging this amazing event. It’s a great fundraiser and one we hope will happen again. Not for us, but so that others may also experience it.”

Meeting Clipboard: 2/7/19

SRC ClipboardHeld at Quigley’s Restaurant
573 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY 12061

Members Attending (14): Andy Leyhane, Phil Kellermen, Dick Drumm, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Pat Bailey, Murray Forth, Maggie Forth, Terry Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Debbie Rodriguez, Carole Spencer.

Guests (1): Jeremy Forth.

screenshot2019-01-31at11.05.47pmMEETING NOTES: Jim Leyhane reported on changes in planning for the SRC Rotary 5K/10K Trail Run. It had been scheduled for Schodack Island State Park, but park administration recently rescinded permission because of the projected large size of the event and suggested other venues. We have considered Grafton Lakes State Park, RPI Tech Park, Taconic State Park, John Boyd Thatcher State Park, and the Columbia County Fair Grounds in Chatham. The Chatham venue appears to be the best bet now, and the date would be changed from October 19 to Saturday, October 12, on the Columbus Day Weekend. … Terry Brewer reported on plans for our 3rd annual Community Recognition Awards dinner. It will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant. Tickets are $35. After expenses, proceeds will go to the club treasury to support scholarships and youth services. We hope to raise $4,000 through ticket sales and event sponsorships at $100 each. Anyone wishing to donate a business, organization, or individual sponsorship should contact Terry or Murray Forth no later than Friday, February 15. …

Danes RotaractAttendees voted to cover RI payments for members of our Danes Rotaract club. Debbie Rodriguez reported that the students have two activities coming up. They will be hosting their first “Happy Hour” of the spring semester from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, February 18, at Wolff’s Biergarten on Broadway in Albany. As always, $1 from every drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) purchased will be donated to the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. Then, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, February 23, they will be volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany, making baked goods for the house residents. They are looking for Rotary volunteers but are limited to four slots, so Rotaractors will be given first preference. Signup can be done by clicking here. … Our program was a Chinese New Year Trivia Quiz created by Bill Dowd. In his absence, it was emceed by Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez. Terry Brewer and Pat Bailey tied for first place. … Next Thursday has been designated as a Club Assembly. President Andy Leyhane will create a discussion agenda.


It’s time for another New Year’s party

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 2.04.58 PMNext week the world ushers in the Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year as it is known in some areas.

To mark that occasion, SRC will have a Chinese New Year-themed dinner meeting at 6:15 p.m. Thursday. Where? Where else but at an Irish-named sports bar — in our very own Quigley’s meeting room.

In addition to having an Asian-accented buffet dinner from the Quigley’s kitchen, Bill Dowd is putting together a brief fun quiz focusing on the nation and culture that gave rise to this major international holiday.

Debbie Brown will be sending out her weekly RSVP request in a few days. When she does, please be sure your name is on the reservation list or email her  ( to have it added so you can join your fellow Rotarians in a social setting.

Looking forward to seeing you on February 7!


Meeting Clipboard: 1/31/19

SRC ClipboardHeld at Quigley’s Restaurant
573 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY 12061

Members Attending (13): Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Phil Kellerman, Becky Raymond, Roberto Martinez, Terry Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Ray Hannan, Dick Drum, Kevin Leyhane, Debbie Rodriguez.

Guests (4): Blue Star Mothers members Donna Vickery, Gerri Roth, Dawn Curtis; Lois Hannan.

NOTES: The final income total for the latest Wine Dinner Raffle was just under $2,000 for the club treasury. We sold about the same number of tickets as we did for the initial raffle held earlier in this Rotary Year. … screenshot2019-01-31at11.05.47pmBill Dowd is in the process of finalizing a flyer for the inaugural SRC Rotary 5K/10K Trail Run. Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez are working on lining up vendors and race sponsors, plus event management details with the Albany Running Exchange for the October 19 event to be held at Schodack Island State Park. The Blue Star Mothers organization, who led tonight’s program, said they would like to help during the race and with setup. …

For our 3rd annual Community Appreciation Dinner to be held on Tuesday, March 5, at Moscatiello’s Family Italian Restaurant in North Greenbush, Terry Brewer is working with Mike Bennett and Columbia High School, along with Jim Leyhane. Sponsorship pledges at $100 per individual or organization need to be in to Jim or Murray Forth by Thursday, February 14. … Becky Raymond reported on the board meeting from our Danes Rotaract Club at the UAlbany School of Public Health. SRC is continuing the “spare change jar” fund drive for the club. Becky said the grad student members are getting more interest from their community and would like to be more involved in co-sponsoring events with our club. They also are putting together a scholarship offering and will be picking a recipient. …

President-elect Phil Kellerman attended the first of three PETS (Presidents-elect Training Seminar) events for the 2019-20 Rotary Year. He said he found the session very helpful, and he may be coordinating some multi-club projects. … screenshot2019-01-31at11.07.26pmChinese New Year will be the theme for next Thursday’s 6:15 p.m. dinner meeting at Quigley’s, with a special Asian themed menu and a brief fun quiz put together by Bill Dowd dealing with the holiday and the surrounding Asian culture.

Blue Star Mothers reps show off the finished products from the evening’s labors.

PROGRAM: “No-Sew Blanket Project for Blue Star Mothers”

A trio of members of the local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers military family support group was on hand to lead a hands-on blanket creation effort similar to several we have done earlier.

In the past, we have made blankets to be donated to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots drive. This time we created four adult-sized blankets for vets at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center. Some scenes from the workshop as contributed by Phil Kellerman and Roberto Martinez:


Meeting Clipboard: 1/24/18

SRC ClipboardHeld at Quigley’s Restaurant
573 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY 12061

Members Attending (16): Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, Phil Kellerman, Jim Leyhane, Bill Dowd, Shannon Romanowski, Debbie Rodriguez, Becky Raymond, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Ray Hannan, Kevin Leyhane, Dean Calamaras, Ron Annis, Dick Drumm, Mike Bennett.

Guests (2): Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, aide Rich Crist.

execSPEAKER: Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin discussed the state of the county, and took questions from attendees.

Among advances he mentioned: a $2 million payroll saving by not filling unessential positions for as long as possible; a saving of about $500,000 by changing companies handling insurance for county retirees without reducing benefits; an improvement in the county’s bond rating from A1 to AA3 which helps improve the viability of bond sales; an approximately $750,000 saving in changing purchasing practices to require more bids, and adding GPS devices to county vehicles to better track activities. He also said he hopes to use some savings to increase the budget for county highway repaving programs, saying “The roads right in front of you are what you see every day and have an impact.”

Among further improvements, McLaughlin wants to continue working with the business community to improve the county’s main commercial corridors — such as Columbia Turnpike and the in-development Amazon distribution center project — to produce revenue needed in a time of ever-increasing costs and unfunded state mandates while maintaining the overall rural character of the county that attracts residents.

NOTES: The YMCAs in the region are working with the CAP COM Federal Credit Union to help local food pantries restock because of excessive demand caused by Code Blue weather conditions and the partial federal government shutdown.  SRC members can get information on the club website about what is needed. … Jim Leyhane reported that he, Terry Brewer, and Mike Bennett have made advances in planning our 3rd annual Community Appreciation Dinner. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at Moscatiello’s Family Italian Restaurant in North Greenbush. Tickets will be $35 per person, and sponsorships $100. The deadline for reserving sponsorships is February 15 (see any of the three committee members if you wish to make an individual, family, or business sponsorship). …

The drawings for our second “Cafe Capriccio Wine Dinner +” raffle resulted in member Becky Raymond winning the dinner for 12, non-member Peter Lehmann winning the locally-made artisan quilt, and member Roberto Martinez winning the Capital Rep theater tickets. Financial results of the effort to support SRC community service efforts will be reported next week by Treasurer Murray Forth. … Members were reminded to bring their scissors to next week’s meeting when we will create no-sew blankets for clients at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center under the tutelage of the local Blue Star Mothers organization. Invite  a friend!