Official Visit #61 – Woodbridge Rotary Club

The official DG visits concluded yesterday with the 2nd visit to The Woodbridge Rotary Club. Some followers of this Blog may recall that an earlier official visit to Woodbridge Rotary Club occurred on 9/16 number #30.5.

The Woodbridge Rotary Club is the only club in our district with 2 Presidents (Carol Yingling and Buddy DeGennaro); actually co-presidents. Carol and Buddy are doing a great job as co-presidents as they have figured out how to split the duties in a way that is easy for everyone to understand.

Since the club has 2 Presidents they required 2 Official Visits; hence 1/2 for this visit and a 1/2 for the previous day. Our district has 61 clubs and it was fortuitous that this 30.5th visit put Woodbridge directly in the center of all of the Official DG Visits and the 61st visit put them at the end. (Of course they are great sports with this fuzzy math).

I’ve been visiting the Woodbridge Rotary Club for a good number of years, since I was an AG. This Club is an absolute success story how things can be turned around in relatively short order by keeping an open mind and by brining in several new dynamic members.

Over the past several years this Club has morphed into a group that gets amazing things done, has fun doing so, participates in District events and now has no trouble attracting quality new members. There is a level of energy and momentum that the community and its’ members want to be part of. It’s always a pleasure visiting the Woodbridge Rotary Club.

Official Visit #60 – Mystic Rotary – leads the district in new members

The Mystic Rotary Club, with about 60 members will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary this spring just before their annual Lobsterfest (a sentence stuffed with information).

The Mystic Rotary Club has added 6 new members since July 1st without losing any thus making them the leading Club in our District in terms of membership growth year-to-date.

Some of the things that the Club does:

  • Supports Polio Eradication
  • Award  Scholarships to high-school students  who best fulfill Rotary’s central theme of “Service Above Self,” and who reside in the communities from which Mystic Rotary Club members are drawn.
  • Support the Tech Tot Library
  • Support Arc of New London County
  • Participates in the Liberty Bank Food Drive
  • Support Westerly Area Rest Meals, Inc.
  • Support the District’s Oklahoma Relief efforts
  • Support Visiting the Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut
  • Partner with the Stongingtons Club on the Dictionary Project
  • Does ‘hands on’ projects such as Spring cleaning at the Mystic Historical Society
  • Generously supports The Rotary Foundation
  • Bell ringing for the Salvation Army

Many of the funds for these community and international causes are raised at the Club’s weekly meetings in the form of happy bucks, other funds are raised by selling lobster meals at Lobster Days at Mystic Seaport over Memorial Day weekend, and by selling Del’s Frozen Lemonade at the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival and Taste of Mystic.

Their Lobster Days Event, held at the Mystic Seaport each Memorial Day Weekend, is the Club’s signature fundraising event. Their website describes it like this “Crack your first lobster claw of the season  at the butter-dribbling, shell-sucking, quintessentially-New-England Lobster Days during Memorial Day Weekend.

The Mystic Rotary Clubs meets on Mondays for lunch at the Mystic Hilton. Their weekly meetings are well organized, informative and fun, they start at 12:15 and end by 1:15 and cover a considerable amount of ground during that short period. It’s a great place to do a make-up!!

Official Visit #58 – East Haddam Rotary

The 2nd visit is charm to the East Haddam Rotary Club.  I visited the Club back in September thinking that it would be an official visit but we became so engrossed in conversation that it never happened. Fast forward about 2 months and I returned to meet with the East Haddam Rotarians for the Official Visit. The Club was accommodating in that they agreed to change their meeting night from Thursday to Wednesday to make the visit work.

I brought Frances Viggiani, a prospective member along, , as special thank you to the Club for being so flexible. Frances and I teach together in the School of Business at Southern CT State University in New Haven (a shameless plug on my part for SCSU).

The Club has 10 hardworking members, hopefully 11 soon, that do an amazing amount of things for their size. Recently they:

  • Ran a Food Drive at Chestelm for their local food bank
  • They raised over $3,500 for the Liberty Bank Thanksgiving Food Drive
  • They co-hosted a Halloween event in conjunction with Project Safe Halloween at Rotary Park
  • They ran a Rotary / Scouting Pasta Dinner at the Sportsman’s Club in East Haddam

The East Haddam Rotary Club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at the Gelston House, right next to Goodspeed Opera House, overlooking the Connecticut river.  It’s a beautiful historic restaurant with spectacular views of the Connecticut River filled with warm and friendly Rotarians.

Official Visit #57 – Groton Rotary Club

The Groton Connecticut Rotary Club meets at the Mystic Marriott, which is one of the finest venues in Connecticut as well as the location of our D7980 2014 District Conference in May.

The Groton Club has 32 active members which are busy with many community service activities such as:

One of the cornerstones of the Groton Rotary Club is awarding scholarships through their foundation. In August the Club awarded a total of $5,000 in academic scholarships to two local high school students and one working adult student.

The good works of the Groton Rotary Club are supported by their numerous fundraising efforts which include: A Wine Tasting Event, Food Concessions in the Baseball League and their upcoming Comedy Night.

The Groton Rotary Club meets on Tuesdays at 12:15 the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa in the Octagon Steakhouse Restaurant, stop on in and see them

Official Visit #56 – Madison Rotary Club

The Madison Rotary Club is an active force in their community and the world that does an incredible amount of things for a Club in their mid 40’s (membership size, not age). Some of the many things that this Club does includes:

  • The Warm the Children Program (run in conjunction with Guilford Rotary)
  • Amber Alert
  • The Dictionary Project
  • Scholarships for High School Students
  • Generous supporting the Rotary Foundation

Besides being excellent stewards of their community, many Madison Rotarians are also very active at the district level  including:

  • Dale Moore being heavily involved with Public Image and is Co-Publisher of the D7980 Beacon
  • Jim Satterwhite as the District Chair for the Paul Harris Society
  • Robert Friend as Assistant Governor
  • Jean Ferris being integral part in the District Foundation team
  • Brian Bishop is the District Community Service Chair and also an integral part in the District Foundation team
  • Art Criddle part of the district Interact Team under Youth Services

The Madison Rotary Club just celebrated their 85th anniversary on May 1st at the Clinton Country Club. It was a grand affair which recognized the seemingly countless accomplishments by the scores and scores of Madison Rotarians over the years.

According to President Craig Bernard and his Board; The Club isn’t resting on their laurels as they are in the process of reinventing themselves by growing their membership by 10, changing up their fundraisers, expanding their public image and strengthening their Club Foundation to do even more good in the community and in the world.

Want to know even more about the Madison Rotary Club? Then visit their website or download their excellent Club brochure.

I was greeted at the Madison Rotary Club yesterday with a very delicious yellow cake made by Madison Rotarian Ruth DeSarbo, which I sincerely appreciate. I am looking forward to visiting my good friends in Madison again soon. It’s appropriate that the Madison Rotary Club meets at a place called Friends & Company on Thursdays for lunch.

Want Ruth DeSarbo to make you a tasty cake? Then become District Governor, we are scouting for 2016-17 candidates.

Stop in and visit the nice Rotarians at the Madison Rotary Club and you definitely enjoy the jokes during Happy Bucks as well as their hospitality.