Volume XII, Issue 43: May 22, 2015

On The Calendar
May 29-30:  RCAS Board Retreat
May 31RISE EVENT! – Kids, Crabs, and Rotary at the Arcata Ballpark 
June 2-9:  Rotary International Convention – São Paulo, Brazil
June 12-13SWOT Project!!! Painting the Night Shelter
June 20:  Oyster Festival Beer Booth
July 4RISE EVENT! – Arcata Plaza Fourth of July Celebration

President Barbara said that the Grand Opening of Rotary Park was a great success. Members of the Arcata Noon Rotary and Sunrisers were on hand to help cut the ribbon and welcome the kids! 

Susan Jansson and Kathy Fraser represented our Club at the recent celebration of KEET-TV’s Homework Hotline 10th Anniversary. Our Club has supported the program for most of those years.

We have been sharing lately – Ed Christians gave a presentation on internet security to the Arcata Noon Club, and Tomas Chavez gave a talk at a meeting of the North Bay Rotaract Club.

Scott Heller provided a tour of our updated website. He said that the site is optimized for all devices. So whether you visit from your desktop, your phone, or your television, you’ll have an easy time accessing all your Club’s information. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Project Map tab displays a world map, with pins marking locations where we have touched lives. 
  • Click on the Gallery tab to find photos, grouped by theme or event.
  • The next tab displays a calendar of events.
  • You can access this page by clicking the Sunrise Spirit tab.
  • A growing collection of videos are available on the Media tab.
  • Prospective Sunrisers can click on the Join tab for information about Rotary Membership.
  • Finally, the Shop tab allows you to purchase Sunriser Swag.

Great job, Scott! Thank you!

Exchange Student Mozara brought friends who were visiting for the long weekend. Steve McHaney said that he would be putting Mozara to work the next day, to help with an entry in the Kinetic Sculpture Race. Steve told her, “You’re going to have to learn to steer.” 

President Barbara asked what happened the previous weekend, when Mozara was in Trinidad. “We saw whales!” she said. Sooooo … Mozara’s Word of the Day was “baleia”, which is Portuguese for “whale”.

Nick’s Craft Talk
Last Friday, Nick Torres earned his Blue Badge by giving his Craft Talk. Unfortunately, he completed the requirements so quickly that his badge is still under construction. 

We learned that Nick grew up in Fresno, with an older brother and a younger sister. They were raised by their mother, and all four of them lived with Nick’s grandmother. 

When Nick was 10, his mother remarried, and the new family eventually moved out of town to a 25-acre ranch near Kings Canyon National Park. On the ranch, Nick learned basic carpentry skills and how to raise animals. They raised cows, goats, and chickens for food, allowing them to be largely self-sufficient. They designed and built all of the outbuildings on the ranch, including the barn, the shed, and the two-story garage. 

Living on the ranch helped Nick learn the value of hard work. He rose early to milk the cows and to bottle-feed the calves whose mothers no longer produced milk. “I would feed the animals,” he told us, “then walk two miles to the school bus stop … uphill both ways!”  And there was always work to be done when he returned from school – mending and moving fences, digging ditches, gathering eggs, and working on his mother’s vehicle. Nick and his brother occasionally escaped to the neighbor’s 40,000-acre property, to explore and to “take a dip in whatever watering hole we came across.” This didn’t sit well with their mother, since the boys would invariably return with muddy clothes.

Nick enjoyed his life on the ranch so much that he decided that he wanted to eventually own one of his own. There, he would be able to “grow the food that I need to feed my family and myself”.

When Nick was thirteen, he moved in with his grandmother. That was his home until he joined the Marine Corps at age eighteen. He went through Boot Camp in San Diego in July 2001, and job training in Oceanside. When asked where he wanted to be stationed for duty, he opted to leave the state. He had never been out of California, other than across the border to Mexico. So he chose a duty station in North Carolina. “I loved it there,” he said. The weather and high humidity were different.

He took the opportunity to travel to other states, and he enjoyed his assignment. “I drove and manned the guns of a 26-ton amphibious assault vehicle,” he told us. “Just picture a tank that goes in the water – somehow it floats.” Usually, Nick was in the water, launching from another craft. But occasionally, he would drive through the woods, which he also enjoyed. On those excursions, the unit would sleep in the woods. Although it was serious training, Nick looks back on it and says, “I got paid to go camping and play with really big toys.”

One of his favorite memories from this period was training in Pensacola, Florida, on a beach with fine white sand. As his craft neared the ship, a group of dolphins swam alongside, “so close, I could almost touch them”. 

Nick took a lot from his experience in the Marine Corps, following great leaders and learning from them. That helped Nick be a better leader himself. “I learned that a good leader takes the time to find peoples’ strengths and utilize the to accomplish a task.” He also found that good leaders continue to learn and to improve themselves while helping to teach others. 

These lessons have helped Nick in his college career, helping him as a student and as a team leader. While at HSU, Nick has traveled to Ecuador and he has studied in Spain. As a result of his experiences, he realized that there is a need for good translators in the world. This became his focus in school and his career goal. 

He started learning Spanish just to have a second language, but he became enamored of the literature and the cinema. In his travels in Europe and Africa, he realized that many people on those continents speak at least three languages. “There is more to language than academics,” he noted. He sees his career as a translator to be more than just a job. Nick believes that it is a means to bring people together. 

Nick with President Barbara

Even in our community, Nick has found many families that are not able to access the services they need, due to the lack of affordable translation services. His desire to bridge communication barriers and help others was a major reason that Nick joined our Club.

Awards Season
At the District Conference in April, a few select Rotarians received the “Individual Service to Club” Award. One of those was Sunriser Susan Jansson. She was nominated by President Barbara not only for heading up our first solo Spring Fundraiser, but for her other leadership roles in our Club. A well-deserved honor!

President Barbara and Julie V-E

President Barbara also announced her selection for the April Rotarian of the Month – Julie Vaissade-Elcock. Julie was honored for chairing our Public Relations Committee (keeping us well represented in the local media), co-chairing the Scholarship Committee, heading up the selection of our History Day winners, and serving as Mozara’s host mom. She is a Past President, and she is always willing to do anything she is asked to do for the Club – and she does it quickly and (seemingly) in effortless fashion. Congratulations, Julie!

Ed Christians was named as our newest Rising Star. President Barbara cited Ed’s service on our Vocational Service Committee as one reason for his selection. However, he also was part of the Foster Youth Committee, and he attended all of the workshops with Humboldt Live! this year. Barbara also said that “he gave an excellent program on internet security this year, and scared the heck out of all of us!”

Special Daze
As we learned earlier this month, Chris Hemphill’s birthday falls on April 20th. However, he and Lisa did not stay in town for the local celebrations – they traveled to Hawaii, where the activities including ziplining and visiting with friends. 

Julie Vaissade-Elcock’s birthday was on May 8th. Many of her family members also have birthdays around that time (not to mention Mothers’ Day), so they got together at Julie’s mother’s house for a big party. 

Bob Johnson said that he had a good time on his May 15th birthday, following his appearance at our morning meeting. 

April 23rd was President Barbara’s birthday. That was the day before she and Ron attended the District Conference at Yosemite. She said that it was “really sweet” – she visited her stepdaughter Halyma and her granddaughter Tatiana. Then in Yosemite, she and Ron shared a quiet birthday dinner with sweet intimate conversation.

Tami Camper and Chris Dart celebrated their 4th anniversary on April 23rd, and she said that they traveled to Napa County for a celebration that included wine and skydiving (although probably not simultaneously). Tami also has a new position at CalTrans. “Actually,” she said, “it’s kind of a new/old job, because I was a Planner, then I went to Revegetation Specialist, and I’m back to Planning again.”