Volume XII, Issue 31: March 15, 2013

Last week, Fa Sillapajarn told us about her recent trip to Hawaii. Fa and other Rotary Exchange Students from District 5130 visited the islands with long-time Youth Exchange supporters Roger and Debbie Coate.

The group had to leave their hotel in San Francisco at 4 am to catch their flight, and “everyone was so sleepy”. Fa slept for three hours on the plane, so she was refreshed when they arrived in Honolulu. She said that her room was not ready when they arrived, so she went to the beach, which was “so cool”.

Exchange Student Fa Sillapajarn

Her adventures included snorkeling with a group of fish and a huge turtle and seeing dolphins. On the way back from snorkeling, she saw two whales. “It’s the first time that I’ve seen them,” she said. “It’s like my dream.”

The group also visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial and a coconut farm (where Fa learned how to open a coconut). They also hiked in the rainforest, where they came upon a waterfall in the rain. Fa said that she got in the water, and it was so cold that they were shaking.

Rain was also a factor later in the trip, causing the cancellation of a planned luau. In lieu of the luau, the Exchange Students went to a restaurant for dinner, and many of the students participated in an impromptu karaoke party.

On her last full day in Hawaii, Fa walked on the beach and saw sea lions. She scared us a bit when she said that she got a tattoo, but she quickly assured us that “it is not real”. Whew! It was two coconuts in water and the state of Hawaii. She also had a headband and wristbands made of flowers.

That evening, Fa and the other students went to a show that included a hula dancer. That was followed by dinner … “Oh – I ate a lot.” She had rice, two kinds of pasta, a fruit bowl, fried chicken, chocolate pudding, coconut cake, chocolate cake, brownies, and pineapple.

“Oh, The Places We’ll Go!” is the name of the fundraising event for three soon-to-be Outbound Rotary Exchange Students. They are Rowan McClelland-Bishop, Molly Owen, and our own Logan White. The trio will host a steak and salad dinner on Saturday, April 13th at the Bayside Grange. Tickets are $25 per person in advance, or $30 at the door. There will be live music and a silent auction. For tickets or for more information, call Logan at 845-2922.

Super Kahuna reported that the proceeds from our Club’s fundraiser nearly reached $75k. Thanks for all the great work by a mighty group of Sunrisers!

President-Elect Jessica McKnight encourages all of us to attend the “River of Knowledge” 2013 District Assembly, which will take place next month. On Friday, April 5th, there will be an introductory dinner at the Barra of Mendocino Winery in Redwood Valley. The Assembly will take place the next day at Mendocino College. All Sunrisers who attend will be reimbursed for their registration fees for the event. To register, CLICK HERE.
Jessica was “fresh back” from PETS (the President-Elect Training Seminar), and she is working to prepare for her Presidential Year. She said that she plans to share all of the results of the recent multi-district survey that many of us participated in earlier this year. She did want to discuss four things:

  1. We have a very healthy Club.
  2. Membership is an important theme for Rotary, and although the overall numbers have remained somewhat static over the past several years, membership has declined in North America. Jessica asks us to think about the people we know who would make good Sunrisers, and invite them to our meetings.
  3. Incoming District Governor Helaine Campbell has challenged all of her Clubs to take on a “green”project involving one of the many rivers in our region.
  4. The District Assembly is an opportunity for all Rotarians to learn more about the great organization they belong to.

Tuesday, March 5th was Craig Newman’s birthday. He celebrated by spending four hours packaging and sending tickets for our Club’s Superheroes Spring Fundraiser. He did let down his hair the next day, partying with Janice and their two sons. Michael was visiting from Albany, New York, and Ryan was up from Santa Rosa. Ryan didn’t stay long, however – his band Groundation was going back on tour, starting in New Zealand.

As happens most years, Amy Bohner’s birthday occurred exactly one week after Craig’s. She was out of town for the weekend before, and she continued her relatively new tradition of giving gifts to random strangers. The big news was … “I AM 40!!!”

Last Friday, we received a visit from a group of “Rotarians in training”. That was how Savannah Edwards described herself and her fellow members of the Lost Coast Rotaract Club. Savannah is LCR’s President-Elect, and she was accompanied by Jasmine, Jessica, Maria, Arnold, Liz, and Ashley. Last week was Rotaract Week, and LCR members had been traveling about, raising awareness of their Club. 

Lost Coast Rotaract is involved in many projects, including helping victims of the earthquakes that disrupted the economy in the Qinghai province of China, participating in Food for People’s Backpacks for Kids program, and providing financial support for local nonprofits. In addition, they help local Rotary Clubs with many events and projects, including our own Taste of the Holidays.

The group’s fundraisers include their Wine Pull (held monthly, as part of Arts Alive in Eureka), the LCR Softball Tournament (scheduled in late summer/early fall), the Food and Wine Pairing & Art Auction (in October), and Spirits and Spirits: Old Town’s Haunted Halloween (also in October).

Savannah asked us to let potential members know that their Club meets on the first and third Fridays of each month at Los Bagels in Eureka. Rotarians are also encouraged to visit. (It counts as a Make-up meeting!) For more information, visit the Lost Coast Rotaract Facebook page.

Bruce Smith was “drafted” to coordinate the visit of the 2013 Group Study Exchange team from France. The team will be here from May 9 – 26, and Bruce is looking for host families. Ideally, he said, we would have 12 families lined up for the 6 team members. In addition, we would like volunteers to drive the GSE team to its various destinations, and businesses that can provide tours of their operations. 

Bruce is making the rounds, looking for a commitment from each Club of at least one host family and one volunteer. Bruce can be reached by e-mail at bruce@premieradvisor.com