President Bob Grady offered an opening thought gleaned from the Rotarian Magazine. Julia Caussil, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Montpelier, FRANCE who spent a year in Charlotte, North Carolina, made the following observation based on her experience: “Adults in Rotary push you to dream big and not be afraid. They don’t treat you as if you were a child, but as if you are a future change-maker and your voice counts. Sometimes in France, you want to do something and people will tell you, ‘Oh don’t do that. It’s too complicated.’ In the U.S., they tell you that you can do it.”
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, immediate Past District Governor Kirk Reed stood in for M. Craig and shared a quote with from a portion James Weldon Johnson’s African American National Anthem, “Lift every voice and sing”, which exhorts to “keep us forever on the path, we pray.”
Lunch was turkey & stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans OR Chicken Caesar (or Cesare?) Salad. Whichever you chose, you got pumpkin pie for dessert. Bebida choices were water, iced tea, and steaming hot coffee (thanks Al for saving us some).
Today’s helpers were Sharon Chesser standing in for Andy Kerr as treasurer, Jo Anne Westerman handling Queen of Hearts, Barbara Kiernan and Jim Muñozcano splitting Greeter duties, Tony Spear administrating, and Bob Stofft serving as Sergeant-at-Arms.
Paul Bennett reminded everyone of the upcoming service opportunities this fall: Two opportunities to service Thanksgiving Dinner at Boys and Girls Clubs (11/18 and 11/26), the December 1st play day at Children’s Hospital with Integrative Touch for Kids, and bell ringing at Walmart for the Salvation Army on December 14th.
Jimmy Muñozcano introduced today’s visitors. Pat Dwyer is back in town from Connecticut and international locales. David Anderson, with the Sheboygan Early Birds Club form Sheboygan, WI showed up in his bicycle riding apparel. Jack Dammann, with the Broadmoor Club in Colorado Springs, CO was back. BJ Cordova with AXA Advisors and Pablo Sandoval with Merrill Lynch from Tucson, both visited the club again 😊. Thanks Joan Buth for inviting Pablo.
Queen of Hearts
Queen of Hearts 50-50 raffle: Jo Anne Westerman graced us with her presence and sported a Queen of Hearts apron which is now mandatory uniform for Q of A duty (thank you Maria Elena). We sold $87 worth of tickets which raised the pot to $735. Our guest speaker selected the ticket and BJ Cordova pulled the Ace of Spades, so the pot grows again. 40 cards left in the deck.
Al Chesser invited Peter Pritz up to the dais for acknowledgement and thanks as our club’s newest fellow of the Rotary Foundation also known as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Al Chesser, Jimmy Munozcano, and Pres. Bob installed our newest member, Liz Wilson. Liz has already been a presence at meetings and service projects. In her remarks, she thanked her friends of over 40 year, the Chessers, and said she was honored and privileged to be a Catalina Rotarian. Welcome Liz. She posted up at the door after the meeting to accept congratulations from the hoi polloi.
Sergeant at Arms
Bob Stofft handled these duties with his usual aplomb. He quizzed the group on upcoming U Arizona Wildcat sporting events, read a touching letter of thanks from the family of Dick Palmer for the Club’s gifts to the Boys and Girls Club in his memory, and stimulated members to offer their happy bucks which were many. Thanks to the master.
Jimmy Muñozcano was ubiquitous at this meeting and introduced our speaker, Kate Hiller, Executive Director of El Grupo Youth Cycling. Kate described El Grupo as “a youth development organization empowering youth through bicycles.” She said it is a great metaphor for building character, discipline and perseverance. The organization is now 14 years old (a teenager!).
El Grupo serves 140 kids 3 times per week. It offers a three-day bike camp. 40 kids between 12 and 18 participate in a racing program that promotes goal setting and a value of passing along to others what you have learned. They have over 170 volunteers. Their clubhouse is downtown near Stone and 6th Street, accessible to kids for study help and for volunteers to assist them.
They also have a refugee immersion program that serves a housing project on Tucson’s west side. Kate noted a commonality with Rotary’s service focus. El Grupo believes that bike skills equals life skills. Their model seeks to help kids challenge themselves and build positive relationships.
Kate spoke of two individuals, Herardo and Chloe, who had benefited from the program and grown tremendously. Chloe is on a full ride in her junior year at the University of Arizona and majoring in Biology.
We can support El Grupo through gifts of bikes, volunteering to help with homework, and financially through donations and tax credit gifts. Kirk, Tony and Jimmy all had good things to say about their interactions with El Grupo during the Q and A period.
President Bob closed the meeting thanking Kate by giving her the Rotary coin with the 4-Way test on it and telling her we would inoculate ten children against polio in honor of her visit to the club. He also thanked the meeting volunteers. Finally, he quoted a bike enthusiast, “My biggest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell my bicycles for what I told her they cost!”