Volume XI, Issue 16: October 21, 2011

President Scott read a note from our Outbound Exchange Student, Grace Lovell, who is currently in Chile. To catch up with Grace, check out her blog, “Gracie Goes to Chile”. A link to the blog is placed for your convenience in the sidebar to the right. Her October 20th post may revolutionize synchronized swimming – check it out!
Last week, the Arcata Noon Rotary Club teamed up with our Club to present information about the Rotary Youth Exchange program at Arcata High School. Cam Appleton said that the meeting went very well, but that we need commitments from two additional host families to participate in the program next year. Arcata Sunrise has hosted and sent students for 18 years, and it’s coming down to the wire. If you’re interested, please let Cam know right away.
This year, as you know, we have a stellar Inbound Exchange Student – Noëmi Schönenberger of Switzerland. Noëmi said that she had a wonderful week, including a trip to Mendocino with Chuck Giannini and his family. She found that she has a taste for abalone, and (says Chuck) raspberries too. Last Friday, Noëmi was very excited about that day’s Homecoming activities – just like she’s seen in the movies!
On Halloween Monday, the Lost Coast Rotaract Club is hosting the Spirit and Spirits Tour. The fundraiser will benefit Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the North Coast. The tour will wend through the streets of Old Town Eureka, and you’ll be fortified with cocktails en route. There’s an after party at the end of the ghost tour, and your $30 contribution covers it all! Contact the Lost Coast Rotaract (707-955-5283 or lostcoastrotaract@gmail.com) for tickets or for more information.
There will be a Pumpkin Carvin’ Contest at this week’s meeting. Organizer Brandi Easter says that the top carver will receive Paul Harris Fellowship credit for a $100 donation to the Rotary Foundation! Bring your pre-carved pumpkin to the meeting – just make sure that it’s appropriate for all ages … and that it won’t explode.
A Taste of the Holidays is coming upon us fast. Tickets and flyers will be available at this week’s meeting. 
The annual Benefit Breakfast to support the College and Career Center at Arcata High will take place on Saturday, December 11th. Romi Hitchcock-Tinseth announced that the event is seeking sponsors. For $100, you can help fund a great cause and your business name (or your name) will be emblazoned on the event placemats.
Chief Sunriser Recognizer Bob Johnson exposed us all to possible vertigo last Friday when he displayed Amy and Steve Bohner apparently floating high above Chicago. It wasn’t PhotoShopped, however. The couple were on the glass ledge of the Skydeck of the Sears Tower. The acrophobics among us turned away in horror! Amy then teased us, saying that Alchemy Construction is “entering a new phase … but it’s Top Secret!” From cliffhanger to cliffhanger!
Kyle Visser has become a construction supervisor of sorts. He said that he was involved in “supervising” the building of a new home, which was finished in August. Kyle and his wife Natalie were initially planning to live there, but for now they’re renting it out.
Things are very busy at Robert Goodman Wines. Bob said that he hopes to open the restaurant adjacent to the existing tasting room sometime this winter. Bob’s family is busy, too. All of his daughters are accomplished dancers, and he has to stay on his toes himself to keep up. “I live in this world of women,” he said, “and it can go somewhat badly.”
President Scott, flanked by his parents, Mary and Doug Heller

President Scott’s parents, Doug and Mary, were here for last week’s meeting. Bob Johnson said it was a rare opportunity to learn more about our leader. Mrs. Heller said, “We don’t want to embarrass him.” To which Bob replied, “Oh, but that’s my job!”

Karen Burgesser was meeting with representatives of GHD on her birthday. GHD is the Australian company that recently merged with Karen’s employer, Winzler and Kelly. Karen said that the merger is “just amazing” and that the W & K employees are really excited about the change. However, the birthday celebration had to wait until that Sunday, but it was a fabulous dinner featuring halibut tacos.
GUEST SPEAKER JON SAPPER: The Decade of Difference
Jon Sapper was named the Rotarian of the Year by the Fortuna Sunrise Rotary last year, and in his non-Rotarian life, he’s the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Support Services for the Humboldt County Office of Education. Jon spoke at our Club some time ago to discuss a potential water project in Tanzania. Our club helped with the project and Jon traveled to the site for the dedication.
Jon spoke to us about the first year of the “Decade of Difference” – the initiative to prepare the youth of Humboldt County for their future. The mission is to prepare these young people for productive lives. The effort begins in kindergarten and involves teaching financial literacy, college and career planning, early literacy in math and reading, and teacher training.
In 2008, a group of employers aired their concern that young people were entering the workforce without adequate preparation. They noted that there were many negative implications in the long term. They said that they needed capable employees who were ready to work.
The initiative has had to contend with several issues:
  • An economy in transition
  • Fewer youth in our area
  • The challenges of the marijuana industry
  • The lack of an economic safety net
  • The problem of school dropouts
  • The fact that too few high school graduates continue their training and education 
The initiative is focusing on the following strategies:
John Sapper
  • Implementing kindergarten readiness and early literacy programs to ensure early success for very young children
  • Preparing students to be successful in careers and college
  • Promoting financial literacy and savings;
  • Actively engaging parents, schools, business, and community members
  • Providing activities that promote creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship
  • Supporting and providing ongoing training for current and aspiring pre-K-12 teachers
Jon said that the initiative has had many successes in its first year. Among these are the launch of the work group made up of 100 members of the community, the placement of 65 early literacy tutors working with 190 children, realignment of career technical education programs, and many youth entrepreneurship activities.
In the coming year, the project plans to continue its focus on kindergarten readiness and early literacy, continue to engage the community, expand the financial literacy and entrepreneurship activities. In addition, they hope to secure additional resources to continue to fund and expand the program.
Jon said that none of this can be accomplished in a short time. Even a year or two is just not enough time to put the needed framework into place. That is why the initiative was termed the “Decade of Difference”. Enough time to achieve bold goals. For more information visit the Decade of Difference website.