I haven't gone back to read George's and Dick's President's Messages from the past few years, but my guess is they didn't cover what to me has been the perennial topic of the first week of September: BACK TO SCHOOL! Our boys seem to change dramatically from the last day of one school year to the first day of the next. They want to dress differently. They care about different things. Their friend groups morph and diversify. This year both Harry (senior) and Graeme (sophomore) say they are looking forward to the first day of school. Summer has been fun, but with the cooler weather comes the time for structure and discipline and goals and getting things done. Same goes for our next few Rotary months.
The summer has allowed us to take vacations, spend time with friends and family, and simply recharge. Our club planned and executed on two fantastic, highly successful projects: the SWS College Items and funnel cakes at the Somerset County 4H Fair. Tack on this Sunday's Montgomery Fun Fest and you have an amazing start to the fiscal year.
Now I need to focus on the major tasks I would like to accomplish this year:
Website: We need to keep content up to the minute. To do this, every event is in the calendar, the President's Message is submitted timely, and scribes do their write-ups directly to the site, linking to the specific weekly meeting. Content from the website should then be Shared to our Facebook page rather than the other way around. The Revielle will be automatically created and sent from content on the website. Pictures for major events should be added by every member. Imagine if everyone uploaded the two best pictures they took at the 4H Fair. That would be an amazing photo gallery.
Exchange Program: Minkyo is spearheading our effort to sponsor our next exchange student and looking into sending a Montgomery student overseas at least for a summer. Please help her make this wildly successful. The Goulds will be a host family or do whatever else Minkyo asks of us.
Joint Rotary Projects: Bill Cleave of the Trenton Rotary Club has put together a group of club presidents to share information and work on projects. We have already shared our lists of speakers and groups with which we have had very close relationships over the years (no budget numbers), and we are attending each other's meetings as often as possible.
Rotary College Possibilities Night: This will be our first joint Rotary project. TCNJ has confirmed they will host for free on Thursday, January 11. Rider and Mercer County Community College will also participate. This goal of this event is to promote the scholarship opportunities available from our clubs to local students. There will be speakers presenting materials on the college search process, taking tests, finding the right fit, and getting the necessary financing. In the mold of the Wrap-around Project, this is meant to help kids and their families get information they don't even know they need.
Three-year Project: Working with local clubs, our newly expanded district, and Rotary International, what can we do that will have a real impact? Getting a new mobile soup kitchen for SHIP is one thought, but I think we can do that AND something on a large scale. Please put on your thinking caps.
Closer Ties to Rotary: Our District and Rotary International do some truly remarkable things. Our club stays very local, which is fantastic and is the real goal of Rotary. However, I for one can't recite the Object of Rotary, the Four-Way Test, or the Six Pillars, and that's not good. Many clubs strive for 100% participation in donating to Rotary International. Why can't we do that too, to help Rotary International help those around the world who are desparately in need?
Interact and Rotaract: We have a strong relationship with the Montgomery Lower Middle School entirely because of Jennifer Rangnow. It's time to help make the Upper Middle School and High School programs equally successful. Sharon is on the job and will be reaching out to you to help make this happen.
Run With Rotary: Let's push this to new heights. We've been slowly increasing the number of runners over the past few years, but we've been stuck at the same dollar level from sponsors. What can we do to double, triple, quadruple the sponsor dollars so we can really make an impact? Tony and Jim are up to the challenge, but everyone will need to pitch in.
I'm so looking forward to the upcoming school year, because I know I'll get to hang out with my Rotary friends, meet people I don't know today, and accomplish things I can be proud of because of the amazing people in Montgomery.
Yours in Rotary,