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Service Above Self

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Elks Lodge
37 4th Street
Old Town, ME  04468
United States
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 A fantastic time was had by all!
Another District Conference has come and gone.  We had wonderful weather, fabulous fellowship and took home our share of knowledge, ideas, inspiration and awards.
Stan and Rachel did an incredible job presenting their NID trip to India to the whole assembly.  In addition to their talk, we heard from many other clubs and learned about some extremely interesting projects that are happening around our district.
On Friday night, we had a BLAST listening and dancing to the sounds of the 70's provided by Motor Booty Affair.  And it was on that fateful evening that we had to give up the Turkey Cup to the lottery winner, Bar Harbor.
Saturday, we had more interesting sessions, and our club was presented with the District Governor's Citation at the highest, gold, level.  Additionally, our club was one of only two to earn the RI Presidential Citation in Gold!  A big round of applause goes to President Sandy for her hard work helping us to achieve these distinctions.  Good job and thank you everyone in helping President Sandy to fulfill her goals.  Our club has so much to be proud of and is a strong force for good in our community.  These awards show the level of effectiveness our club is achieving at.
Saturday afternoon, we had the opportunity to participate in some more fun activities, like zip lining!  None of had more fun than Betts!!
At the District Governor's Gala on Saturday night, we were incredibly lucky to be able to hear from two of Rotary's Six Global Women of Action: Dr. Deb Walters and Razia Jan.  Click on their names to see their stories.  Amazing women, and our own PDG Deb Walters from the Unity club!
There were also special awards presented to some faces familiar to Old Town Rotarians.  Our very own AG, Scott Boucher received one of two Service Above Self awards for his tireless efforts as AG, Polio Plus Chair and as an outstanding member of the District Training Team.  Corina received Rotarian of the Year, our district's highest honor.
Click on the photo album to see all the fun had by Sandy, Linda, Robin, Betts, Stan, Rachel and Corina.  Next year, you can join us in Saguenay!  Click on the photo folder in the left hand colum to view some pics of our weekend.


Posted on

140120_alpayBy Şafak Alpay, RI director-elect and a member of the Rotary Club of Istanbul-Sisli, Turkey

About ten years ago, an ambitious literacy campaign was started in our region using the Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE) method. Like all other clubs, my club Sisli participated with great enthusiasm, running a course for women in one of Istanbul’s slum neighborhoods.

On graduation day, one young woman who was among those to receive their certificates captured everyone’s attention. She had both her lower arms missing, and as her certificate was placed under her armpit, Emine timidly asked her instructor to get the sheet of paper she kept in her pocket. It was a thank-you letter written to the person who taught her to read and write. 

Emine Yuzay writes with her feet, in a photo from the 2006 The Rotarian. Photo by Monika Lozinska

We couldn’t help but think, “She could read, yes, but how could she possibly write?” The instructor thanked her for her lovely letter, and also thanked the friend who had helped her write it, at which point Emine was furious.

“I wrote it myself,” she protested, “give me a pencil and a piece of paper, and I’ll show you how.”

And to our amazement, she wrote down the first sentence of her letter using a pencil she clutched between her toes. As we tried hard to hold back the tears and overcome our astonishment, her classmates were cheering and applauding.

A Rotary moment is when the magic happens.

If you’re curious, the sequel to this story went like this: The Istanbul Rotary Club fitted Emine with state-of-the-art prosthetic arms, which operated by receiving and interpreting signals from her brain. She started to wear a watch, something she had longed for all her life. She continued to work hard on her literacy skills, and finally become a CLE teacher herself.

Emine writes with her feet, in a photo from the July 2006 The Rotarian. Photo by Monika Lozinska.  The Rotarian published Emine’s story in 2006, and she was invited by 2006-07 RI President Bill Boyd to the Convention. Her address made many more Rotary moments for members in the audience.

Adapted from a speech given at the 2014 International Assembly in San Diego, California.



This year's Charity Auction was another fun time and a great success. 

Every week since about February, you start hearing your president harping about District Conference.  So what is it all about, anyway?
 Here's the purpose as written directly out of the District Conference Manual of RI:
"The purpose of the district conference is to provide opportunities for networking, inspira-tional addresses, and discussions of Rotary-related matters. The event should recognize the service programs, projects, and public relations achievements in the district in order to inspire Rotarians to become more involved in service. The conference should also give Rotarians and clubs a vision of Rotary beyond the club level and provide a memorable fellowship experience. Many Rotarians have said that they were never truly enthusiastic about Rotary until they saw an inspirational presentation at a district conference."
District Conference happens every year in every Rotary District.  They typically occur in the spring or fall.  For our District 7790, it is every spring and the conference location varies and alternates countries depending on the home country of the current governor. 
The purpose of the conference is simple: to share ideas, celebrate our accomplishments, and find out what has been happening in the district and the world.  We learn about projects that our neighboring clubs have been working on, the communities that benefit, and the people that are involved.  We hear inspiring stories from Rotary Youth Exchange students and their observations about our countries.  There are displays of club projects, international projects and events, and people visiting from around the world.  And did I mention the parties? 
In our district, Friday night is usually a casual themed party with entertainment.  Every Saturday is the District Governor's Gala featuring fabulous key-note speakers from around the world.  During the day on Friday and Saturday, there are sessions which include some district business and some presentations on Rotary related topics, projects, fundraisers and club and individual awards.  The topics vary every year depending on the District Governor's wishes.  Every DG finds out that there is never enough time in the weekend to tell everyone everything that they have been impressed with during their year traveling the district and visiting clubs!
Each conference has a special representative of the RI President.  The RI Rep speaks during a few of the sessions and is usually very inspiring.  They always have good information to pass to clubs from RI.  Additionally, there are often folks in attendance from The Rotary Foundation or from the various administrative offices.  It is a great opportunity to have questions answered and to learn information to make your club stronger.
So who can go?  Any Rotarian!  Families are welcomed and sometimes there is some arrangement for child care during the conference.  Registration cost includes all events and meals.  The earlier you pay, the cheaper the price.  You pay for your room separately.  Optional charges may be added if you choose some of the free-time activities that are always offered, usually Saturday afternoon.  These can be city tours, zip-lining, bird watching, hiking, and beer or wine tasting just to name a few.  Heck, I even went to a foie gras farm!
Our club is fortunate to have a few dedicated partiers–um, I mean Rotarians–that love attending District Conferences.  They network and learn more every year that helps make our club better.  The district is there for support, and our club always takes advantage of the support offered.  So join us!  You won't regret it.


We've added another fine new member!   David is the owner of Mahan Redemption Center in Old Town.  Our snowbirds are just returning home so if you haven't had the opportunity to meet him yet, make sure to say hello at the next meeting.

Well the season is over and the scores are in.  Congratulations to our winners of the Polio Plus Superbowl game!!!



First Quarter: Ralph

Second Quarter: Stan

Third Quarter: Bruce

Game Final: Sandy

And the BIG Winner:  POLIO PLUS!!! 

Thank you to everyone who played the special Superbowl edition of our game.  We raised another $125 for Polio Plus and that makes us all winners.

January is Vocational Service Month.  We have all heard the term a lot in Rotary but do we really know what it means to provide Vocational Service? 
On a beautiful sunny day in southern California the streets of Pasadena were lined with more than 700,000 excited people awaiting the New Year’s Day extravaganza.  Through the wonders of our technological age, they were joined by about 53 million others in the United States alone, and another 28 million around the world.  It was the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade!  And yep….I was one of the 53 million.  I am not one to sit and watch parades in general but I had an ulterior motive …I wanted to see my float.  WHAT?  I had a float in the parade??? 
Once again our fellow Rotarians in Bangor hosted a magnificent Parade of Lights....a spectacular community event beloved by kids of all ages.  We were proud to be able to join in the fun with our End Polio float and it was a crowd pleaser.
President Sandy reports:  "We did not win but we had a great float, the biggest we have done so far, and you should have heard the crowd cheer whenever our "Gifts" to the World popped up and danced!  It was great!!  Everyone had a great time and we are looking forward to coming up with a theme for next year's float!"
The winning floats are listed below:
  • Outstanding Non-Profit Entry is Bangor Rotary
  • Outstanding Youth Entry is Boy Scouts Pack 6 Bangor
  • Outstanding Commercial Entry is Lane Construction
  • Outstanding Performing Entry is Morita's School of Dance
  • Outstanding Adult Entry is Citizens of Maine, LLC
  • Outstanding Band Entry is Pride of Madawaska Marching Band
Congratulations to this year's winning floats...but face it we all win when we make the people in our community happy!  Thanks to all of you who worked so hard to bring our End Polio float to life.  Santa is sure to fill your stockings to the brim!  Thanks to Robin for taking some photos of our float.  You can see them in the photo album on the left. 

This past week we were fortunate to have two special guests join our meeting.   
Ann Cote came as a visiting Rotarian from Rhode Island and brought her sister Cheryl.  Ann is here in Maine staying with her sister Cheryl who is staying at Sarah's House during treatments!  What a wonderful thing to meet someone getting the help they need in a warm and inviting place all because of a Rotarian who had a dream.

This past week we had a great program with an update from Bill Miller and Mike Noyes from one of OTR's long standing favorite organizations to support....Camp CaPella! 
 Camp CaPella is a lakefront summer camp at Phillips Lake that provides diverse recreational and educational opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. It is for all campers regardless of ability, to be afforded an opportunity to enjoy a summer program with learning experiences, recreational activities, and fun. It is also a retreat offered to administration, staff, and clients of other agencies and programs in the community that serve the needs of children and adults with disabilities. Camp CaPella offers year round recreational and educational opportunities.
The camp had an amazing year with 179 campers and they have expansion plans that will accommodate 10 additional campers a week in the future! Check out their website at campcapella.org to see the unique experiences this camp provides for these kids!...Better yet, as Bill and Mike will both tell you, come on over and experience it for yourself!

Remember that great program we had a few months ago by Sharon Klein from UMaine about window inserts to reduce heat loss for the winter?  Well as most of you know, our very own Stan is one of her students and this past weekend he and several members of the Old Town Rotary Family had "the build."  They constructed window inserts that will be delivered to the specific homes for which they were meticulously measured and made.  They will be installed just in time for the frosty weather of Maine winter.  Since it is a college course aimed at economic development of sustainable conservation, the project will continue later next year as research is conducted to ascertain what effect the inserts had on the heat usage and loss of those lucky enough to have them.  Congrats to Stan and his Old Town friends on a successful build.  Check out a few photos of the build in the photo album to the left. 

To see more photos of the Purple Pinky Project click on the Photo Albums in the left column. 


Imagine making gasoline from a tree.  How cool would that be? 
Being a gift to the world never felt so good!

In golf you are essentially your own opponent.  You cannot influence how well others play, or exert control over the course or the weather conditions.  You are a team of one and the only control you have is over your own performance.  BUT.....
A Paul Harris Fellow is The Rotary Foundation’s way of expressing its appreciation to an individual for a contribution of $1,000, made either by them or by someone else in their name, in support of TRF’s educational and humanitarian programs.  The recognition is named for our founder, Paul Harris.  A contribution to The Rotary Foundation is an investment in the ideal of goodwill, peace and understanding: an ideal held in high regard by Rotarians the world over.
PHF was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships.  The first Paul Harris Fellows include 1937-38 RI Director Allison G. Brush and longtime RI Treasurer Rufus F. Chapin, both for donations made in 1946. 
Though established as a fund raising tool, Rotarians often designate a Paul Harris Fellow as a tribute to honor a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of The Rotary Foundation or who has performed an exemplary service to Rotary.
The first PHF awarded to an individual includes a certificate, a lapel pin and an optional ribboned medallion to be worn around the neck.  Subsequent PHFs to the same person are awarded by a new lapel pin with a given number of sapphires around the perimeter indicating the additional awards up to five.  Thus for example, a PHF pin with three sapphires would be a "Plus 3": a total of four awards.  A PHF pin with five sapphires would be a "Plus 5" for a total of six.  After the fifth sapphire the new pin will contain 1 to 3 rubies indicating the 7th, 8th, and finally, the maximum 9th award. 
This week PP Corina was proud to place a new lapel pin on PP Robin in recognition of her fervent dedication and support of our club over the past year...and always.  Congratulations to Robin on her second PHF....it is well deserved!

We make a lot of fuss and hoopla when we get new members and for good reason....we are thrilled to have them, we want them to know that, and we very much want them to feel welcome and to become involved because that is why people join Rotary: they want to be involved.  August is Membership and New Club Development Month, and with that comes an emphasis on new members......but there is more to membership than finding new members....getting new members means much less if they don't stay in Rotary.  All too often in our quest to bring new folks into the family of Rotary, we forget to appreciate those who have lived this committment for many, many years.  We forget to acknowledge the lifetime of service that some of our members have given, holding onto their Rotarian spirit through the massive facelifts and growth of Rotary as it evolved to meet the demands of a world that was yanked into the technological age. 
As of this newsletter we currently have eleven members who joined Rotary within the last year, several of whom have joined within the last couple months and five of whom are staffing a position in the club either as a board member or a committee member this Rotary year!!!  We are all happy they joined us and are delighted to see them engaging in the fellowship this great organization offers.  We are better and stronger with them in our corner. 
As awesome as that is, it gets even better.  We also have ten members who have been in Rotary for at least twenty years.  All ten of them are VERY active members seen at nearly every event and project and most meetings; seven of them are holding official committee or board postions within the club this year!  Of those ten, five of them have been in for at least thirty years, and one special man has been a Rotarian for forty-eight years!  How many of us have stuck with anything in our life for forty-eight years????  That is a lifetime of Service Above Self and the reason we pay tribute to Don Sturgeon (pictured above) with a Paul Harris Fellow. 
New members are awesome; we love them and want to share our wonderful Rotary experiences with all of them.  But as we celebrate membership month, never forget the reason we have all these wonderful Rotary experiences to share is because of our long time members who have spent decades of their life making Rotary International and the Rotary Club of Old Town the amazing powerhouses of fellowship and community & world service that they are today.

At this week's meeting President Sandy unveiled our plan to Be a Gift to the World.  Click read more to see our specific goals!


As this Rotary year winds down, we are already looking forward to what amazing things we can accomplish in the new year with President Sandy at the helm.  Projects start and end and we find new ones, but there is one activity in Rotary that is never finished, never loses importance, and never goes out of style.   


This past week OTR took to the road once again for one of our fabulous Road Trip meetings….but this time it had an awesome twist.  We all met at Uno Pizzaria and Grill for a great meal and lots of fellowship.  The twist?   Well Uno will be donating 15% to 20% of the value of our meal checks to The Rotary Foundation!!!
On hand were many Rotarians as well as family members and potential new members.  The food was great and the staff was friendly and efficient.  They even managed to belt out a song to celebrate Wendy’s graduation from nursing school!  Doug won the door prize – a scrumptious berry chocolate dessert wine made right here in Maine at Winterport Winery. 
Everyone had a good time and in the process we raised money for our Foundation.  Thanks to all who participated and a big thanks to D.J. for arranging for this very special “Dough Raiser”.
There is a photo album on the home page and in the newsletter with a few pictures if you care to see them. 

Jul 07, 2016
Lisa Gallant & Steve Lane
Classification Talks
Jul 14, 2016
Penobscot County Conservation Assoc
Jul 21, 2016
Corina Larsen
Meeting Responsibilities
06/30/16 Meeting Duties
Door Duty
Small, Shawn
Door Duty
Smith, Ben
Door Prize
Slick, Clinton
07/07/16 Meeting Duties
Door Duty
Boyd, Wayne
Door Duty
Whitmore, Jr., DJ
Door Prize
Cyr, Joe
07/14/16 Meeting Duties
Door Duty
Denis, Keri
Door Duty
Mahan, David
Door Prize
Greenleaf, Frank

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