• Attending (20): Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Debbie Brown, Ray Hannan, Len Leonidas, Dick Drumm, Roberto Martinez, David Taylor, Ron Annis, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Carole Spencer, A.J. Amato, Peter Brown, Stewart Wagner.
Guests (1): Willie Widby.
PROGRAM: Our year ahead, 2015-16
New club President Terry Brewer presented findings from his recent member survey as well as an outline and explanation of goals for this Rotary Year.
• Membership recruitment, retention and engagement.
• Expand public relations through local pennysaver publication, as well as urging members to make more use of the club website and social media.
• Continue supporting local food pantries, ShelterBox, Gift of Life, Ronald McDonald House, RYLA, Boy Scouts, Rotary Foundation, PolioPlus.
• Continue such fundraising efforts as the “Rotary Home Cooking” series, the “Pocket Change” weekly collection, the annual “Bowl Over …” bowling tournament, with the emphasis moving from polio to military veterans.
• A revised membership dues structure that would include a discounted $125 first-year fee for new members; a $350 family membership for two or more people; a $500 corporate or organization membership for five or more employees.
• Scheduling breakfast meetings as part of the attempt to attract young professionals unable to commit to evening meetings. The first will be on Thursday, October 15, with details to come.
Building on a mantra that has become our standard in the past few years, Terry reminded us that we should strive to be Rotarians, not just members of Rotary. He stressed the need for Rotarians to participate in projects and programs, even if they cannot commit to meeting each week. And, he encouraged us to socialize more with each other, coming to the meetings a few minutes early, or staying a few minutes after, and sitting in different spots each week so we’re not locking ourselves into a pattern that does not stimulate socialization.
• MEETING SCHEDULE: President Terry Brewer announced the meeting schedule for this year now will include social time running from 5:45 to 6:10 p.m., with dinner at 6:15. He encouraged everyone to let Debbie Brown know in plenty of time, and not later than Tuesday night, if they are planning to attend that week’s meeting. He also said we will welcome last-minute additions if that is unavoidable. “We’d rather have you here than have you stay away because you didn’t make a reservation,” he said.
• APPRECIATIONS: Three thank-you notes were received — from student Rose Reed for the club’s contribution to the “Safe Passage” program; from Circles of Mercy for our efforts collecting school supplies; and, from the Leyhane family for the club’s contribution in Diane Leyhane’s memory.
• DUES: Several members still have not paid their dues. They are urged to immediately contact Treasurer Murray Forth. Terry reviewed how dues revenue is distributed for RI and local needs.
• PROGRAM SCHEDULING: Hard copies were distributed of the 2015-16 program assignment spreadsheet that Vice President Debbie Rodriguez sent out via e-mail several weeks ago. All members were urged to check the calendar and let Debbie know as soon as a program/speaker has been formalized for their assigned dates. As much advance notice as possible is preferred, for purposes of publicizing the prograns.
• UPCOMING PROGRAMS: Among upcoming programs are Bill Dowd’s genealogical presentation titled “Where Do Parents Come From?” (September 17), Andy Leyhane’s talk on “Does Beer Spoil?” (September 24), a visit from new District Governor Milan Jackson (October 1), and a return of the Blue Star Mothers with information on the organization’s no-sew blanket project (October 8).
• GOLF TOURNAMENT: The District’s annual Gift of Life Golf & Bocce Tournament is scheduled for next Thursday. Terry and Murray will be among the golfers setting out to defend SRC’s title from last year.
• OUR WEBSITE: Terry thanked Bill Dowd for the continuing excellence of our website, characterizing it as the best in the District. He also announced that an award will be handed out at future meetings for members recognizing something from the site — SRCrotary.com
• TRAINING: The annual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) is scheduled for Saturday, October 17, at Siena College. The club will pay for anyone who wishes to attend any of the three levels of training. Contact Terry or Debbie if interested.
• MEMBERSHIP: September is “Rotary Membership Month.” Pins of recognition were awareded to two members for bringing in new Rotarians — Murray for sponsoring Melissa Bill, and Ray Hannan for sponsoring David Taylor.
• GRANTS: The club is awarding three grants to local organizations — $500 for “Lights of Hope” in Haiti, $375 for Boy Scouts recognition, and $250 for the Fort Crailo Historic Site in Rensselaer.
• MEDICINE BOTTLE COLLECTION: Doris Calamaras is heading up a club drive to collect used medicine containers — labels removed and inside rinsed, please. It is called “Medicine Bottles For Malawi,” referring to the impoverished African country that will receive such bottles from donations across the country. (Details are in a separate posting on this website.)
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, September 15, at Quigley’s Food & Drink.