Volume XIII, Issue 1: July 11, 2014

Welcome President Barbara!!

Passing the Torch (And the Pom-Pom?)

Last week, the Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise began “Lighting Up” the new Rotary Year with Barbara Browning as our new Club President! “I have been waiting for this day,” she said, “for a very long time.” Barbara was originally slated to be our President for 2013-2014, but she and Past President Jessica McKnight swapped years. Barbara said that at the President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) earlier this year, someone used the metaphor of a space launch for the incoming Presidents’ years.

President Barbara said that she has been doing a lot of planning for her year, being very mindful about committee assignments “so that people are on committees that are meaningful and will contribute positively to their own lives and to their Rotary experience.” She believes that the careful planning will allow us to travel farther in our Rotary “launch”.

Barbara then provided some information about the new President of Rotary International, Gary C.K. Huang. He is the first RI President from China (he belongs to the Rotary Club of Taipei, Taiwan) and he is the third of seven siblings. His family moved from mainland China to Taiwan when Gary was a year old. His parents told him that getting B’s was okay, but he had to participate in school activities and clubs. He played sports, including soccer, track, and basketball, but he also participated in speech competitions and he was the president of his high school class. After high school and two years in the military, Gary attended the University of Southern Michigan, and he was surprised at the wide-open feel of the Midwest. It was his American hosts who gave him the name “Gary”, after one of their favorite actors – Gary Cooper. He went on to graduate school at New York University, and returned to Taiwan to work for a small insurance company. He made an agreement with the chairman of the company – no matter how large the firm became, Gary would always be allowed time to participate in Rotary. He and his wife Corinna have two daughters, a son, and two grandsons.

Gary’s theme for the year is “Light Up Rotary”, which reflects his belief that Rotary often brings light where there is darkness. He also wants Rotarians to have fun while they serve, which strengthens the bonds that join us.

We also have a new District Governor – Kevin Eisenberg of the Rotary Club of Calistoga. Kevin has adopted “Pride and Joy” as the theme for District 5130. And Barbara also has a theme, one that ties in with Gary’s and Kevin’s – “Have Fun and Get Things Done”.

Barbara listed her goals for the year:

  • Have a great time with lots of fun
  • Support and inspire the committees to do great things
  • Have excellent meetings with interesting and diverse programs that inform, educate, and inspire
  • Have a variety of fun fellowship opportunities that members will be excited to participate in 
  • Engage members in ways that are personally meaningful and inspiring

 To help inspire us and to help us track our Rotary-related activities, Barbara introduced the “Participation Grid”. This is a matrix of 100 squares arranged in a 10×10 grid. Each time we are involved in a fellowship event, attend a committee meeting, work on a service project, support Rotaract, or participate in Rotary in another way, you should enter your name into one of the squares. The grid will be posted in the sign-in area as you come to each meeting. As soon as the grid is filled we will cut up the grid, and a random square will be drawn for a Paul Harris Fellowship. The Club that introduced the idea at PETS said that they do it once a year, but our Club is so active, we expect that we will fill it up at least four times.

President Barbara said that she is also bringing back the Rotarian of the Month recognition. She said that she loves this concept. “I really want to be able to recognize people who are going above and beyond, and who are really engaged.”

Club Leadership
Our Executive Committee for the year is:

  • President Barbara Browning
  • Secretary Lori Breyer
  • Treasurer Bryan Reeser
  • Sergeant-At-Arms Janice Newman

And our Directors are:

  • Terri Clark – Club Service
  • Susan Jansson – Community Service
  • Bob Johnson – Vocational Service
  • Angelo Bacigaluppi – International Service
  • Scott Heller – New Generations
  • Howard Stauffer – President-Elect
  • Jessica McKnight – Past President
  • George Cavinta – RCAS Foundation Vice-President

Barbara noted that Bob Johnson was named to the Board last week to replace Dawn Elsbree, who is leaving our Club. Her family is moving out of the area, and we wish them well.

Committee Goals
President Barbara asked her Committee Chairs to set high goals, citing the line from Suzanne Collins’ “Catching Fire” – “Aim high in case you fall short”.  Some of the Club Service chairs discussed their goals last Friday.

Membership – Co-Chairs Karen Burgesser & Angelo Bacigaluppi:  The committee is hoping for nine new members this year, and they encourage all of us to take a look around at our colleagues, business associates, and others in the community who might be a good fit for our Club. Invite them to a few meetings so they can get an idea of how our Club works. Karen said that every one of us should carry around a few of the card-sized “What Is Rotary?” brochures. Wear your Rotary pins and other logo items, and talk about Rotary positively and often. New Member Proposal forms are available on the members area of our website. Once a member is proposed, the committee meets with that person to explain the benefits and the responsibilities of being a Sunriser – especially the time commitment and the financial commitment involved.

Mentorship – Brandi Easter & Bob Johnson, Co-Chairs: This committee is charged with shepherding new members through the Red Badge to Blue Badge process, and they serve as resources for the members beyond that time as well. Each new member is assigned a primary mentor – someone they can turn to when they are not certain about any aspect of Rotary. The mentor may not have an answer immediately, but they can help the new member find it quickly. Bob noted that we all serve as mentors to new members – please help them integrate into our Club.

Fellowship – Romi Hitchcock Tinseth & Charlie Jordan, Co-Chairs: “We’re going to get together,” Romi said, “at least once a month – that’s the goal.” They have a lot of ideas already, but they want us to share our ideas with them as well. “There’s stuff we all go to anyway,” she said, and we can create fellowship opportunities from those. We have two opportunities this month – the North Bay Rotaract Re-chartering Celebration on Wednesday, July 16th and a group visit to the Ferndale Rotary Club meeting on Thursday, July 31st, to support its first woman President. Other ideas on the front burner are a progressive dinner, “Pints for Nonprofits” at the Mad River Brewery, cash mobs at various businesses, and theater and movie events. Romi also said that they are planning to organize some family events where we can all get out and play games. To focus their efforts, the group came up with the acronym “RISE”, which is short for “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone”. Ain’t it the truth, ain’t it the truth!

PR & Communications – Julie Vaissade-Elcock, Chair: Julie said that the committee’s goal is to get our name into the media at least once each month. That will show our community what our Club is doing, which will help attract new members and generates support for our fundraisers. Please take lots of photos of the Rotary events you participate in and send them to Julie. Even if you don’t feel that your photos are “PR worthy”, Julie can still use them to support our bid for District Awards at the end of the year. Scott Heller added that each week when we are at our meeting and also when we are at a Sunrise Event, we should use our phones and post a Facebook check-in to keep Rotary and our Club in people’s minds. Our website will soon have a page where we will be able to purchase Sunrise Rotary shirts and pins. Janice Newman reminded us that our rolling cabinet at the meeting entrance has space for photos and clippings for each of our Club’s Avenues of Service, so please clip and post!

Programs – Karen Burgesser & Gregg Foster, Co-Chairs: Karen said that having a President who is a professional organizer has brought some changes. “Last year [for the Programs Committee], we had a chart, and we filled it out,” she said. “But this year, there’s all these codes and percents.” The idea was to have a certain number of programs on specific topics, such as fitness. Not all slots are filled, so please let Karen or Gregg know if you have an idea for a future presentation. 

Sergeant-At-Arms – Janice Newman, Chair: Janice said that her committee arrives every Friday morning by 6:30 am.  The group sets up the room for our meeting, checks in members, provides a report of the day’s finances and attendance to Treasurer Bryan Reeser and Secretary Lori Breyer, and takes down and stows everything at the meeting’s end. Janice said that their intent is to “make the President’s meeting run smoothly”.  They are hoping to add at least one more member to step in when one of the other members is traveling for work or on vacation.

Recognitions – Ceva Courtemanche, Chair: Ceva said that her committee has the same goal as last year, which is to recognize Sunrisers in all aspects of their lives – not just waiting until someone appears in the paper. Each committee member is assigned certain Sunrisers, and their job is to find out interesting things about him or her and bring those to the attention of the Club. They will talk with your family or your co-workers (or even you) to find nuggets of information. Ceva also has a lot of new games for us to play, and we played one last Friday! Which leads us to …


  • Ceva asked Randy Mendosa about his (very) recent retirement. “It’s only the third day,” he said. “It feels like vacation.” 
  • Janice Newman was contacted by a man claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Department, saying that she had been fined and being held in contempt of court for missing jury duty. The total fine was $992, but he offered to waive the $189 processing fee if she was willing to go to Safeway and purchase two cash vouchers to pay the fines. And for her convenience, she would only need to read off the voucher numbers to him. He also insisted that she not break contact with him – she would need to stay on the phone. During the call, she called her husband Craig, who in turn called the Sheriff’s Department. They told him it was a scam, and Janice told the guy off and she didn’t get taken. However the mother of one of her co-workers did fall for the scam and lost $1,000. Always be cautious if you receive a call demanding money. You can always tell them that you are hanging up and calling the listed number for the Sheriff’s Department or whatever business or agency is supposedly calling you. You’ll probably get an argument, but stick to your guns.
  • Our game last week was a multiple choice/multiple guess mini-bio of President Barbara. We had to know things like how much money Barbara won in one of our weekly raffles when she was a Red Badger,  who she surprised with a Paul Harris Fellowship, and what year it was. It was a lot of fun, ’cause my table got all the questions right! We bad, uh-huh!

Coming Distractions

  • July 16 – North Bay Rotaract Re-Charter Party
  • July 22 – Exchange Student Alex Rialet’s Going Away Party
  • August 3 – Social Event with District Governor Kevin Eisenberg
  • August 5 – Group Make-Up at the Ferndale Rotary meeting (5:30 pm)
  • August 21 – Board Meeting with DG Kevin
  • August 28 – Club Meeting with DG Kevin PLUS Club Photo Session!