Thinking younger thoughts, from our DG

By BRUCE CONNELLEE / Governor, District 719

When you think of Rotary, do you think of PMS? You know, Pale, Male and Stale? 

When you visit a Rotary club, maybe thinking about joining or coming as a speaker or friend and you cast your eye around the room, what do you see? A mix of younger and older Rotarians, maybe a couple of different colors, and a nice male/female balance? Certainly, if you are a younger visitor, you expect to see a mix. If you don’t, it will stand out in your mind.

All of us who are members of this great organization of Rotary understand that to survive we need to attract new and younger members to our ranks. Yet, one of the attraction strategies we often overlook is integration with Rotary’s youth programs.

Rotary has a built in ladder of development in the organization that allows us to engage young members at all ages. EarlyAct, InterAct, and Rotaract can engage young potential members from grade school through college and early adulthood.

Part of our goal to get new young members is to get the word out of what Rotary is, what it does, and the impact we have on our community locally and globally. 

I recently spoke with a friend who did not know what Rotary was all about, so I showed him the “Four-Way Test,” explaining how this guides what we think, do, and say. We chatted about it and he said: “Yeah!  That is really good!” My friend then went on to donate to Rotary and is looking at clubs in his area to join.

We need to live and talk Rotary and encourage young people to join us in whatever capacity. Then it’s much easier to encourage them to become members. All of us know and interact with younger people — our kids, our grandkids, and people at our workplaces. As people see how they can join with us to help their communities and at the same time enjoy the fellowship of like-minded individuals, they will be much more likely to commit to membership. 

Think about visiting your local high school and inviting young people, maybe the student government leaders or the international club to join Rotarians in your next community project. How about the various youth levels at your church? Is there a solid after school program in your nearby diverse neighborhood? Consider coordinating through them to clean their park, and then ask them to help clean yours.  

For young folks to believe in us, we have to live Rotary not just talk Rotary. Because Rotary is a way of life, not another activity or thing to do. We need to get Rotary into individuals, not just individuals into Rotary.  

RI President Shekhar Mehta’s primary theme this year is “Be one, Bring One, and Serve To Change Lives.” At your next club meeting ask the person next to you if they can think of a way to engage with youth and change a life or two. We can do this!

Meeting Clipboard: 4/7/22

Cody Bloomfield and Sean Wyse speak about Capital Roots.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (15): Debbie Rodriguez, Keven Leyhane, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Charlie Foote, Phil Kellerman, Dick Drumm, Pat Bailey, Becky Raymond, Andy Leyhane. By proxy: Carol Orvis, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Tony Morris.

GUESTS: Joan and Emery Maddocks, Mike Stengl

SPEAKERS: Cody Bloomfield and Sean Wyse from Capital Roots

President Debbie Rodriguez called the meeting to order at Moscatiello’s Restaurant, noting the presence of a quorum.


ROTARACT: A ShelterBox was set up in the lobby at the School of Public Health on 4/6/22. Larry Jones, Past Rotary District Governor, spoke about ShelterBox.  There was good student and staff turnout. Rotarians attending were Larry Jones, John Justino, Becky Raymond, and Debbie Rodriguez.

CIRCLES OF MERCY: Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Charlie Foote, Shannon Romanowski and Lois Hanan assisted in packing Easter baskets this afternoon.  Over 40 baskets were assembled and will be delivered to Circles of Mercy tomorrow by YMCA staff.  Thanks all for the assistance.

DRIVING COURSE: Jim Leyhane asked about reconvening the drivers training course which the club last sponsored three years ago.  After taking the course, you will be eligible to receive a 10% discount on your auto insurance. We would probably need a quorum.  There was quite a bit of interest tonight by show of hands and a final count will be taken next week.

HEALTH UPDATE: Doris is receiving rehab at home and is in better spirits.

ROTARY CARD: Debbie has purchased Rotary business card if folks are interested.  They will be used during our fundraising events.

BLUE STAR MOTHERS GOLF TOURNAMENT: Debbie Rodriguez reminded us about the Blue Star Mothers benefit golf tournament.  More info is on the website.

GRANT TRAINING: Four club members were in attendance and we are awaiting the MOU from District.

BOY SCOUTS: Dennis Cicchino, Scoutmaster, sent a thank-you letter to the club in appreciation of the $750 donation to the Scouts.

Capital Roots: Cody Bloomfield and Sean Wyse from Capital Roots spoke about their organization. They said food access is a right, not a privilege. Capital Roots’ mission is to cultivate and nourish communities by creating equitable access to fresh food and green spaces in support of a robust regional food system. They are a 501(c)3 non-profit serving Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and southern Saratoga counties. It was founded in 1975 as a community gardening program.

Capital Roots’ approach is: easy access, making it affordable, top quality, and dignity. Their 12 programs are Community Gardens, Veggie Mobile, Produce Project, Squash Hunger, Taste Good Series, Farm to School, Healthy Stores, Healthy Streets, Veggie RX, Virtual Veggie Mobile, Smart Vending and Urban Greening.

They are looking for support and volunteers and have a retail market in Troy.

NEXT MEETING — We will meet via Zoom at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14th.

District Conference reservations are open

Reservations now are being taken online for the annual District Conference, this year scheduled for Friday, April 29, through Sunday, May 1, at the Great Escape Lodge in Queensbury.

For those unfamiliar with District Conference protocol, the first day is a sign-in/social/cocktail reception day, the second day is for all district business to be addressed and for the gala dinner, and the third day is for a breakfast buffet and all the goodbyes.

You can attend Saturday-only if you wish. If you plan to stay overnight(s), you may make a room reservation at the Lodge: 518-824-6000, extension 0 (use code: ROTARY). Hotel fees are NOT included in the registration fees shown below.

Interactive games and activities throughout the weekend. Saturday night dinner’s theme is “Let’s Make a Deal!” Costumes or themed attire encouraged!

Families are welcome to attend. Family and friends are eligible for discounted waterpark day-tickets ($34.99 + tax), Birch Bark Grill and Johnny Rocket’s vouchers; available at the Rotary registration table.

Guests who would like to participate in the official dinner and activities on Saturday evening must register for the Saturday evening meal (adult and kids options available).

BH-BL club member nominated for DG post

Gregg Schorr

The 2022 District 7190 Nominating Committee, which convened on Saturday, February 12, to interview candidates for the office of 2024-25 District Governor, selected Gregg Schorr of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Club as the nominee.

In addition, the committee approved the appointment of Past DG Fred Daniels to serve as Vice DG for the 2022-23 Rotary Year under DG-elect Denise DiNoto. Fred would assume the top role next year should Denise be unable to carry out the duties of the office.

“If any club would like to challenge the selection of Gregg Schorr based on their club’s candidate, all written challenges need to be received by me no later than March 2,” said current DG Bruce Connellee. “If no written challenges are received by that date, then his selection will be final.”   

Members of this year’s Nominating Committee:

• Bill Dowd, Southern Rensselaer County

• Tom Rogers, Salem

• Miriam Cajuste, Rotterdam Sunrise

• Dave Bogue, Glens Falls

• Kelly Catricala, Twin Bridges

• Timothy Knight, Middleburgh

Leadership training for wannabes

Interested in learning more about Rotary leadership roles?

You don’t have to currently hold club office, but you can become more prepared to step into such a role because the upcoming Multi-District Leadership Development Seminar (MDLDS) is open to both current Rotary leaders and potential leaders. 

MDLDS will be held over four evenings at 7 o’clock each session. The dates and topics:       

• Monday, February 7 — Running your club

• Tuesday, February 15 — Setting goals

• Wednesday, February 23 — Leadership

• Thursday, March 3 — Financial awareness

When you register online you will be sent a link to provide access to the sessions. 

Early conference signup could mean prizes

There aren’t many details available at the moment, but we do know District 7190 is pulling out the stops to attract participation to the District Conference this year.

The three-day event is set for the Great Escape Lodge in Queensbury on April 29-May 1. Registrations are already being accepted with prize incentives for earlybird signups.

All of those details are available on the online registration page for what is being called “A Fun Time Out.”

Your invite to a Virtual Zone Summit

For those of you who keep track of such things, SRC is part of Rotary Zone 5. So, why are we spending time and space on an event created by Zones 28 and 32?

It’s because you are invited to participate in it, a “Virtual Zone Summit” that includes parts of the northern U.S., all of Canada and its territories, and Bermuda, an area encompassing some 65,000 Rotarians. The event, set for Tuesday through Thursday, November 2-4, is a cross between a district conference and an international convention.

It will begin each of the three days at 7 p.m., and will be a snap to be involved in since it’s a virtual event. You can register online, and you will be sent an event link closer to the start date. Below are some details of the event that may pique your curiosity and give you an incentive to get involved.

More hands, lighter work, more fun, deeper impact

By Bruce McConnelee / 7190 District Governor

Every year, the Rotary International president mounts some effort to improve membership, yet worldwide Rotary’s total membership has been stuck at 1.2 million for many years. This means the same number of folks leave Rotary each year as join a club. Rotary is growing rapidly in many parts of the world, but here in North America, Rotary is shrinking, and our district is no different from many throughout the states.

RI President Shektar Mehta has asked us to “Be One, Bring One.” Be a good Rotarian, in all the ways we know and love; and also bring a good Rotarian. Just one, each of us.

When analyzed superficially, my strong suit, this means our district would double in one year — minus the folks who move, pass away, and are otherwise incorrigible or prefer a different service organization.  

Yet it seems truly difficult for many of us to “bring just one.” For some, they may feel they’ve already asked their friends, or don’t want to burden their friends with the prospect of saying no. I get this, and if I had any friends I could even relate.  

You may know a Rotarian because you are colleagues at work; congregants at the same church, fellow board members on other not-for-profits; neighbors down the street. You know they’re involved with Rotary because it comes up in casual conversation. You know it’s a good thing they’re doing, and there’s a good chance you are respecting and maybe even admiring the fact they’ve made a commitment to this world.  

Which comes to a perspective I believe has far more potential than the straightforward, out-and-out “ask:” Rather than get people into Rotary, get Rotary into the people!

All Rotary clubs should “allow” friends and neighbors to participate in your service projects. Is there any reason a club’s service project has to be Tuesday at noon, or Wednesday night, rather than Saturday morning or some other non-working time? If you don’t know the answer to this, ask your current leadership.  

For most of us it’s much easier to get Rotary into the people if we invite them to participate, and join with them to make our community better. And, it’s a much easier ask if someone might like to help out with a project. And, quite honestly, if the answer is no, then Rotary may not be for them, which is OK, too.  

Our district is working on many flexible models and new clubs that will meet the needs of today’s Rotarian prospect –- different meeting times, cause-based and affinity clubs, clubs with lower expenses. And, we will roll these out in the coming months. Clubs for moms, clubs for vets and those who support vets, clubs that have one primary cause-based focus like the environment, etc.  

But, it still all starts with you. Will you “Be One, Bring One”?  We can no longer wait for “the other guy” to do it. If the “Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as the basis of worthy enterprise” — and we know that we could do more with more Rotarians — then it stands to reason that our worthy enterprise in the Capital Region will be greater, deeper, and more impactful. And, more fun.

“Be the One,” please.

GOL Golf Tournament seeks sponsors, volunteers

Are you a golfer? Are you golfer adjacent? Are you interested in helping the District 7190 chapter of Gift of Life run its annual golf fundraiser that will help GOL bring children from around the globe with life-threatening heart conditions to the Capital Region for surgery that will prolong and improve their lives?

If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you’re needed.

The district’s annual Gift of Life Golf Tournament is scheduled for Monday, September 20, at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland. Its organizers are looking for golfers, sponsors, and event workers. You can get the details on all these avenues of service by going online today.

SRC already has a foursome ready to play in the event, but we can always use another quartet of golfers. We also are looking for people to buy a tee sign, donate a raffle item, or staff one of the necessary stations that help the tournament functions such as the hole-in-one contest, registration desk, auction setup, and perhaps even drive the beverage cart. If you would like additional details, please contact Dean or Doris Calamaras, our club’s GOL liaisons.

How you can get involved with GOL golf

SRC’s team in last year’s GOL Golf Tournament

The 22nd annual District 7190 Gift of Life Golf Tournament is scheduled for September 20 at the Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland.

That might seem a long time off, but planning for such a major GOL fundraiser takes quite a while and it’s just 14 weeks from now.

Dean and Doris Calamaras, SRC’s current ambassadors to GOL, inform us we should be putting together one or two foursomes to compete for honors in the event, even as organizers are seeking volunteer helpers, financial sponsors and donors.

So, if you wish to lend a hand as a volunteer worker on the day of the event, or buy a program ad, or make an outright financial donation, please contact Dean for details.