Volume XIII, Issue 6: August 15, 2014

Our New Exchange Student
Last Friday, we met our new Rotary Exchange Student –  Mozara Abdalla from Brazil. President Barbara asked about her trip from her home in Florianopolis, and Mozara said that it was long, and she was still tired after arriving on Monday. She is having fun, and she likes Arcata and Eureka. She said that she was headed to Lake Tahoe for the weekend, so we’ll probably hear about that at next Friday’s meeting.

President Barbara said that she would like Mozara to teach us a new word in Portuguese each week. This week’s word is “bem-vinda“, which means “welcome”. Bem-vinda, Mozara!

President Barbara is excited about the Participation Grid, which continues to fill up quickly. Make sure you’re eligible for the drawing for a Paul Harris Fellowship by attending a RISE fellowship event, having a “date” with Mozara, attending  a Rotaract event or meeting, work on a Rotary service project, or attend a RCAS Committee Meeting / Board Meeting.

Our Outbound Exchange Student, Sylvie Leppig, was scheduled to leave for Belgium on Monday, which was also her birthday. We hope to hear from her soon!

Craft Talk
New Sunrisers must meet a few requirements to transition from being a Red Badger to receiving the coveted Blue Badge. One of these is to give a brief presentation to the Club, called a “Craft Talk”, in which the new member tells about his or her life and career. Last week, we heard from John Gullam, who is new to our Club, but not new to Rotary.

John was born in Van Nuys, in Southern California, but he spent his early years in Newhall. He said that when he lived there, Newhall was “out in the middle of nowhere, outside of Los Angeles. It’s now been consumed by the sprawl.” When John was in junior high, the family moved “even farther out”, to Ridgecrest, which is adjacent to the China Lake Naval Weapons Development Center. “At the time,” he told us, “that was the single largest piece of property the U.S. Government owned, so that if they launched a missile this way and it went that way, it was okay.” John’s father repaired copy machines, and he was part of a support community for the base in Ridgecrest.

As John was growing up, his family did a lot of traveling and camping, and they passed through this area many times, and John remembered it fondly. He said that he has a vague memory of touring the sawmill in Scotia as a young child. So in 1983, when it was time to leave home to attend college, John traded the desert setting of Ridgecrest for the redwood forest and Humboldt State.

He said that he met many Sunrisers during his time there, and since “I’m not applying for a job, I can say I was a Marching Lumberjack”, which led to him becoming a member of the Crabgrass Band.

When John graduated from HSU, his plan was to move to Walnut Creek and find a social services job in the Bay Area. However, during finals week, he was offered a job with an organization called Projects with Industry, which helped displaced workers find employment. It was administered by Redwoods United, Inc., RUI was a nonprofit that employed persons with physical and/or developmental disabilities. John continued to work for RUI, in various leadership positions for many years.

From 1990 to 1996, John served on the board of the Arcata Foundation, with RCAS President-Elect  Howard Stauffer. In 1992, he completed his Masters Degree in Social Services Administration.

In 1990, John met “my beautiful wife, Denise [Fitzgerald], who came with her children Megan and Brandon.” They moved in together in 1992, purchased a house in 1994, and in 1996, they were married. In January, 2001, the couple traveled to Vietnam to adopt their son Jack, who starts high school in the fall. In 2003, they went to Korea where they adopted their son Sam. In 2003, when Redwoods United closed, John and Denise decided that John would be a full-time dad. Those job duties increased the following year when they went to China to adopt their daughter Molly. John explained that “my wife says that I got her drunk to sign those papers”.

John Checks His Notes

Denise worked for Yakima, but when the company decided to relocate to Portland, the family decided to remain in Arcata. In December 2005, John began working at the Northern California Community Blood Bank. Within a few months, he joined the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka. In 2006, John traveled to Ecuador to participate in a World Community Service project. The project solidified his commitment to Rotary and to water projects. “All of the projects we looked at,” he explained, “had some connection to water – either irrigation, clean water, economic development – every project was somehow tied in with people not having the water they needed.” John cited HSU’s connection to humanitarian engineering projects and Engineers Without Borders as resources that our Club can leverage in our international projects.

Spring Fundraiser Update
President Barbara thanked all of us for participating in the recent survey about the future of our Spring Fundraiser. She singled out the interviewers who contacted us for special praise: Bob Johnson, Susan Jansson, Dustin Littlefield, Ian Schatz, Lori Breyer, Karen Burgesser, and Jessica McKnight.

Barbara presented these conclusions from the survey:

  • We will continue with a spring fundraising event, similar to what we have done in past years, with a theme and costumes
  • Susan Jansson will chair the Event Committee, which will work out the details of the event
  • This year, at least, we will put on the fundraiser without a partner
  • We will begin now to develop a PR campaign which will help the community understand that their support of the event helps our Club accomplish great things, both locally and internationally

For Your Calendar

  • August 22 – District 5130 Governor Kevin Eisenberg is the Featured Speaker at our Friday Meeting
  • August 22 – Rotary Day at the Humboldt County Fair – discounted admission if you’re wearing your Rotary pin
  • August 24 – Kevin Ebbert Memorial Run 
  • September 11 – RISE – Fellowship Event at the Mad River Brewery, including a tour
  • September 13 – The Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka’s Fish Feed
  • September 20 – RISE – “Equivocation” at the Redwood Curtain Theatre – 8 pm. For tickets, click redwoodcurtain.com

Special Daze
Howard Stauffer’s birthday on August 10th featured a filet mignon dinner, prepared by his son Adam, who is “quite the cook”, according to Dad. He also received a call from his daughter in Eugene, so the birthday was “above expectations”. President Barbara asked whether he plays music with Adam, but his son is “more into the music of his peer group. But he is beginning to reach the age where he where he would be willing to condescend to play some jazz.”

The following day was Tomas Chavez’s birthday, which he shares with his sister-in-law. So they were joined by their families and 25-30 of their closest friends for an early celebration on Friday night. On his Monday birthday, Tomas had a quiet dinner with his wife Heidi.

Also on August 11th, Ceva Courtemanche and her husband Doug had their anniversary. Note that I didn’t say that they “celebrated”. My notes on this event consist of a single line: “Ceva forgot anniversary”. I don’t know whether I should hope it’s true! Happy anniversary, Ceva and Doug!!!

We also learned that former Sunriser and Past President Travis Schneider and his wife Stephanie welcomed a new daughter recently – Elena Kathleen Schneider. Congratulations!

Last Friday, Ceva Courtemanche recognized our Sunriser of the Week – Cam Appleton. Here some highlights of the tribute Recognitions Committee member Karen Burgesser wrote to one of our Club’s Charter Members:

There was only one
person that I knew wouldn’t want to talk about the Rotarian being recognized
today.  That is Cam Appleton.   That is because Cam doesn’t like to talk
about himself.  However, with Cam, his
actions speak louder than words.  So what
does that mean?  I’ll get to that.  I called his wife Lisa, who was able to fill
in some of the blanks.

tidbits – (according to Lisa) At one time he played piano – and still does
occasionally. Favorite color – Umm–blue; Favorite Car – green TR4 that he had
to get rid of because the baby’s car seat wouldn’t fit; Favorite vacation spot
– San Juan islands; Favorite food – any kind of fish and sushi; He is a
creative cook – and nothing goes to waste; He is an Early bird. Tech Savvy? – Well it’s
questionable  – says no way to Facebook, and still uses a flip phone. He
is good with QuickBooks and Quicken. Can he tell a joke well? – Hmmm, maybe not
his finest skill. Pets? Dog Penny and two not-so-beloved cats Ollie and Zoe.

Gene Callahan, a longtime friend, met Cam in 1999 through the Fieldbrook
Volunteer Fire Department (another “hat” Cam still wears.)   Gene says Cam is one of the finest human
beings he’s ever known … Gene and Cam like to abalone dive and mushroom hunt together.  Gene says that Cam is competent, kind, smart,
and has great leadership skills.  They
worked together on the remodel of the Fieldbrook Firehouse, which was all
volunteer effort.  Gene said, “Cam can
get people to do stuff that is unreal.”

“As a fireman, Cam is the one you want to show up first on the scene –
he is cool and calm under fire and leads in a quiet way.“  Gene summed it up like this “A good friend
will help you move, a great friend will help you move a body”.  Cam is a great friend.

For the full text of Karen’s tribute, including some kind words from Cam’s daughter Thea, click on “Recognitions” in the sidebar on the right. A moving accolade to a great guy!

Boys and Girls Club Update
Last Friday, our Featured Speakers were Lynn Smith, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Redwoods, and Monica Rose, who is the Director of the agency’s Club House program. Monica will transition to being the Area Director on September 1st.

Last October, our Club organized a SWOT (Serving With Our

Liz Smith and Monica Rose

Talents) project to renovate the Club House. The endeavor brought together three additional Rotary Clubs, local businesses, and individuals who spent five days and $40,000 to transform and update the facility.

Liz began by telling us a little about her organization, which was founded in 1938. She said that they serve just over 3,200 children in their various programs, which include stand-alone sites and stand-alone programs.

Liz said that the Club House is in the heart of public housing in Eureka, across from Winco Foods and the Eureka Mall. It serves elementary school age children (ages 5 through 12). “As you know,” she said, “last year you made some pretty significant changes to that site.” 

The Teen Center opened in the fall of 1995, thanks in large part to the efforts of the late Superior Court Judge William Ferrogiaro. The program serves middle school and high school age youth, and it serves 45 teens per day. The building is currently being renovated, with the support of several local Rotary Clubs. Liz said that after the project is completed, the facility will serve about 120 teens each day. 

In 2005, the agency began the Loleta Club House, which is located on the Loleta Elementary School campus. The program is fully funded through a state ASES (After School Education and Safety) grant. It serves students in Kindergarten through eighth grade.

The Boys and Girls Club also operates the Teen Court, which works with first-time juvenile offenders who come in agreeing to plead guilty. They are tried by a jury of their peers. Every position in the court is staffed by teen volunteers, guided by mentor judges and attorneys. Liz said that the program has a recidivism rate of about 4.2 percent. 

For about 40 years, the agency has run the T-Ball program, introducing team sports to young children from Eureka to Trinidad. The Junior Giants program is new this year, and it also teaches participants the basics of baseball while helping boost their self-esteem. Junior Giants is supported by the San Francisco Giants Community Fund and local sponsors.

Liz said that our Club has generously supported the Childspree program. This provides a back-to-school shopping trip for needy children. The program began 15 years ago, with 25 children. Since 2006, when several Rotary Clubs stepped up to help with funding, the number of children served has steadily increased, so that 400 children will be helped this year.

Monica discussed how last year’s SWOT Makeover has impacted the Club House program. She noted that the garden was a big issue. It was overgrown, and the staff didn’t want to take time away from their work with the children to tame that beast. Following our efforts, the garden is now manageable, and the kids planted seeds for various edible plants, and they have begun harvesting. 

We were able to double the size of the sandbox, so where once only five kids fit, now ten can play together. Monica said that we also traded out the existing pebbles for “real sand”. Liz added that we also built a cover for the sandbox, so the local cats are no longer able to make unwanted contributions.

Adding grass was another big deal. Monica told us that when the wind would come up, the dust would blow up in dust devils. The children are now able to play on the grass and not get dirty as they would before.

She also said that the kitchen remodel has led to improvements in the program. It is much easier to provide healthy snacks to the children. Rearranging the space in the kitchen has allowed for more participants in the Cooking Club.

The additional counter space provided in the Homework Room has meant that more students are able to work there without sitting on the floor. More kids fit in the room, which has allowed more flexibility in programming. They now have nine computers available for student use, as well. Other renovations that have led to improved service mentioned included the reorganization of the TV Room, the expansion and organization of the Library.

She said that the membership at the Club House has grown. Parents who tour the facility to decide whether they want their children to attend are more impressed with it, as are potential donors. Monica noted that the kids are proud of the facility and so are the staff members. 

Liz said that a few years ago, the agency adopted a new concept called the “Formula for Impact”. They want to ensure that each young person they serve adopts a healthy lifestyle, progresses in his or her education, including graduating from high school on time, and creates a plan for the future that includes interacting positively with their community. An important part of implementing this idea is to provide “really high-yield, fun, relevant, empirically-based activities”. 

Liz encouraged us to become part of the organization by volunteering in one or more of its programs, serving on a committee, becoming a member of the board, providing in-kind services, or joining the “504 Club” – contributing to its annual fundraising campaign ($504 funds one child for an entire year). For more information, click on the logo below to visit their website:

Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods