Volume XII, Issue 47: June 19 & 24, 2015 – Special Double Issue!

Winding Down a Fantastic Year of
Having Fun, Getting Stuff Done,
& Lighting Up Rotary!

This issue of the Sunrise Spirit covers the final two meetings of Barbara Browning’s year as Club President. The first was the finale that she planned, which took place on Friday, June 19th. The other was her Debunking, which was planned by others. That took place on Wednesday, June 24th. 

President Barbara Gets Some Pre-Meeting Support From Ron

At the earlier meeting, President Barbara and the Club bid a tearful farewell to Charter Sunriser Kathy Fraser, who is moving to Reno with her husband Bill. Kathy has served in many roles with our Club over the years, and she is a tireless volunteer who plans to scope out the Rotary Clubs near her new home. She will be sorely missed.

Barbara then reviewed some of the work our Club has done this year. Here are the highlights, organized by Avenue of Service:

Club Service
One of our goals was to bring in nine new members this year, and although we fell slightly short on quantity, we exceeded expectations in terms of quality. This year’s new Sunrisers are Alyson Hunter, Lisa Hemphill, Chris Hemphill, Claire Ajina, Nick Torres, Tom Tellez, Ray Noggle, and Steve McHaney. All eight have jumped right in to make stellar contributions.

Our Mentorship Committee hosted events to help new members learn more about our Club and about Rotary. The Programs Committee provided interesting presentations throughout the year. The Sergeant At Arms Committee kept all of our meetings running smoothly. Our Fellowship Committee provided many opportunities to RISE (Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone). And our Public Relations Committee let the community know about our projects and events.

Community Service
RCAS made a big impact in our community this year. From our “Mini-SWOT” projects to larger scale efforts, we made a difference. We helped tend the garden for a community leader (and former Sunriser) who was stricken with cancer. We helped move a disabled man who had been hit by a car, and we provided him with a hospital bed. 

On a larger scale, we partnered with the Arcata Noon Rotary, the North Bay Rotaract, and the City of Arcata to renovate Rotary Park on South G Street. We also painted the Arcata Night Shelter, and provided other renovations. These were in addition to ongoing projects – Adopt A Highway cleanups, providing Backpacks for Kids (helping 52 families each week of this school year!), Dictionaries for Third Graders, and Bookshelves for Babes (in cooperation with Rand Hall’s Woodshop Class at McKinleyville Middle School).

Our Financial Assistance Committee spread the wealth this year, with donations to:

  • Help a local chess prodigy compete in a tournament
  • Send a Pacific Union student to Washington, DC
  • Purchase a hospital bed for the disabled man mentioned previously
  • Support the Northern Humboldt Regional Extreme Weather Shelter program
  • Help HSU’s Shining a Light on Hunger program 
  • Provide dental supplies that were distributed with Backpacks for Kids
  • Assist with funding that allowed an Arcata High School “Rising Star” attend Art and Design School in New York
  • Provided funding for the Humboldt Rising Stars Foundation

Both of our fundraisers – A Taste of the Holidays and our Spring Fundraiser, “Down the Rabbit Hole” – exceeded all expectations, which provided the funds for all of our projects.

Vocational Service
Our Vocational Service Committee was rejuvenated this year. They provided leadership for the AHS College and Career Center’s Pancake Breakfast fundraiser. Our groundbreaking Transitional Youth program hosted a dinner for those involved in the local foster youth program, and expanded our involvement by partnering with Humboldt Live! to offer a series of round table discussions to explore ways to provide real assistance to those transitioning out of the program.

World Community Service
We didn’t neglect the rest of the world this year! Through the efforts of our World Community Service Committee, we began working with the Arcata Noon Club, the Rotary Club of San Jose Costa Rica, and the North Bay Rotaract Club on a major project to provide microloans to residents of La Trinidad. The second phase of the project will improve the digital infrastructure in the area. We also contributed to the construction of a water project in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, a project to help children with cleft palates in Honduras, provide computers to schools in Macedonia, and helped fight club foot for children in Botswana and neighboring countries in Africa. We also supported relief efforts in the wake of the earthquake that devastated Nepal in April.

President Barbara bestowed a special “International Star” award to Maggie Kraft, whose connections throughout the world have brought many opportunities to provide help in other countries.

New Generations
Our Club has a long history of Youth Service, and this year was no exception. We sponsored the annual Cross-Country race; hosted Kids, Crabs, & Rotary; supported the Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament (AIBT), along with another basketball tournament – this for local Special Olympics participants!

Our Scholarships and Competition Committee helped local History Day champions move on to the state competition, and we provided scholarships to seven deserving members of Arcata High School’s Class of 2015. We will also be sending five students to RYLA Camp this summer. (RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.)

We have a very active Youth Exchange Committee, which hosted Mozara Abdalla this year, sent Sylvie Leppig to Belgium, and will be sending Trula Rael to Italy later this summer. It’s a dedicated group of Sunrisers, many of whom serve or have served on the District Youth Exchange Committee.

The Final Awards
President Barbara presented three last awards at the June 19th meeting. Her first was the Rotarian of the Month Award, which she presented to Cam Appleton. Cam is involved in just about everything, and he is a long-time supporter of all things Youth Exchange.

The Rotary Star Award went to Craig Newman. Barbara noted that she can ask Craig for anything, including guidance when needed.

Barbara said that she conferred with her “Wingmen” – Bob Johnson and Scott Heller – before deciding on her Rotarian of the Year. Here are his bona fides as described by Barbara:

  • He served on the Sergeant at Arms Committee
  • He supported her in her excitement
  • He helped her with her challenges
  • He provided wise and loving counsel
  • He showed up every week to help her with the AV equipment
  • He was “at my side from beginning to the end”
  • He cooked her meals and did her laundry
  • Finally – “I couldn’t have done it without him”

Yup, it was Ron Sharp. Bob and Scott said that it would have been wrong to name someone else! Congratulations, Ron! It’s a very well-deserved honor!

The Wingmen with Ron and Barbara


On to the Debunking!

A few days later, in a town called Blue Lake, a group of Sunrisers, significant others, and at least one Rotary Kid gathered to kidnap an RCAS Club President, for the evening. President Barbara had hoped to pull off a Progressive Dinner this year, but it didn’t pan out. However, we were able to provide a “Progressive Debunking”. Former President “Kahuna” George Cavinta loaded Barbara up with supplies she would need at the Kate Wolf Festival the following day. Her pack done runneth over by the time George got through. (Thank goodness he only insisted on the absolute essentials!)

At each of the succeeding stations, Barbara was allowed to sign a Participation Grid with only four squares! Before she could do this, however, she was required to perform an action or series of actions intended to exemplify the dignity of her office. Soooo …

… the first stop was (naturally) the Logger Bar. There, Former President Bob Johnson asked her to answer just a few simple questions, to earn her first Participation Grid square. [Your Editor was not in attendance for this portion of the Debunking, but I’m sure it went well – for everyone but President Barbara, at least!]

The First Participation Grid Square – On The Road To Victory!!

The group then crossed the road to Stardough’s, where Former President Scott Heller presented Barbara with a very special cowboy hat. While she wore this work of art, Former President Dick Johnson helped her sing a few songs about, well, crying. As if it were controlled by an unseen hand, the hat helped Barbara shed tears on cue (and unbeknownst to her). This permitted her to add her name a second time to the Participation Grid.

…Gonna Cry With A Little Help From My Hat …

Since that watershed moment failed to electrocute our President, we all moved on to the next stop – the Mad River Brewery Tasting Room. There, Former President Janice Newman required her to take as many selfies as possible. (I believe that the use of a selfie stick was prohibited.) Barbara filled in the penultimate square on the Participation Grid.

Then we crossed another road to Wallace and Hinz, where we regaled Barbara with awards – some were runner-up awards, but recognitions all the same. She signed the fourth and final square on the Participation Grid, Bob threw the squares into the hat, and had Barbara draw the winning name. It could, of course, only … be … Susan Jansson!!!

The close came with the traditional Debunking song, written for the occasion by Dick Johnson. This year, the title was “We’re Arcata Sunrise”. Click on the link below to watch the video.

Thank you, Barbara, for leading us in a very inspiring year!
In your honor (and by your side), we’ll keep having fun and getting stuff done!!!