On July 31, 1980, the Seminole Rotary Club held a special Board of Directors meeting to discuss the formation of a new breakfast Rotary Club in the Seminole area. On that same night, the first organizational meeting for the Rotary Club of Seminole Lake – Sunrise was held. The first regular Friday morning meeting was held on August 29, 1980 followed on September 2nd by our first Board of Directors meeting. By September 16th, we had completed our charter membership list with 29 members.
Charter night for our club was held at Spoto’s on November 15, 1980, although our Charter was issued and our official Charter date is October 22, 1980.
Seminole Lake Rotary Club is a member of District 6950, comprised of 45 clubs and over 2,000 members.
Our Club’s growth has increased steadily from the original 29 charter members, although about two-thirds of those original 29 are no longer with the Club for one reason or another. We remain a strong, active and integral part of the community, representing well the values and ideals of Rotary! Our Club continues to hover in the 30+/- membership range.
THE EARLY PROJECTS
We immediately began to serve the Seminole community by participating in the Seminole Chamber of Commerce Yule Log Lighting Ceremony to kick off the 1980 Christmas season, and by soliciting donations for Christmas baskets.
The spring of 1981 found the club attempting to take on a project of building a home and then selling it. Despite the many efforts of our Club members and the enthusiasm shown for this project by the community, the state of the economy and the real estate industry at that time made it impossible to accomplish this goal. However, it displayed the willingness of our members to reach out and get involved.
Our first major project was the selling of softdrinks, popcorn, and sandwiches at the 1981 Pow Wow Festival. Although our success was not measured in large profits, the fun, fellowship and experience made it a huge success. We made this an annual event, and beginning with the 1982 Pow Wow Festival, we took over the sponsorship and conduct of the Family Fun Run held at Lake Seminole Park.
With the opening of the Osceola High School in the fall of 1981, we agreed to sponsor a Rojans/Interact Club there. Al-though the high school’s club started as an all girl Rojans Club, it is now a coed club, and was officially charted as an Interact Club by Rotary International in the Spring of 1984. The kids from Osceola have assisted our Club in some of its projects (like the Coke sales), and have had some joint projects with us, like a vocational night where we got together over pizza and the Club members discussed their various vocations. Along similar lines, Interact sponsored the first Job Fair at Osceola in 1984, and many of our members were there to help the students learn more about employment opportunities for them.
In the fall of 1982, our Club began a joint project with the Seminole Junior Women’s Club by selling Pumpkins at Halloween time. We solicited the participation of the local elementary schools by giving a part of the proceeds back to the schools for each pumpkin bought by one of their students. For several years, we conducted this project without the women; our “Pumpkin Patch” was part of the local Halloween scene. Competition from numerous other civic clubs and the “big guys,” like Albertsons, made this project no longer profitable to the Club.
Another joint project we still participate in with the Seminole Junior Women’s Club is the presentation of a plaque to the outstanding 5th grade boy and girl from each of the elementary schools in the area at their end of the year ceremonies. We continue this project today with almost 30 awards given out by both clubs.
Other projects in which our Club has participated or has sponsored include the planting of several oak trees for Seminole High School; trees for the Seminole Fire Rescue stations; a Pecan and a Vermont Syrup sale conducted during the Christmas holiday season; and the opening ceremonies for the Park Boulevard Bridge connecting Seminole with the Beaches. We have purchased a robotics fire hydrant and a van for Seminole Fire Rescue’s Public Education section. We also contribute to needy families during the holiday seasons, and have participated in programs to inoculate Haitians for polio and to provide them with toothbrushes by the thousands! Through the Foundation we have supported a major generator for Haiti, water wells in the Philippines, blood pumps in Brazil, and cleft lip palate re-constructive surgery for children in Peru.
TODAY’S AVENUES OF SERVICE
For many years, the success of Rotary has been built on two basic foundations, fellowship, and service. The object of Rotary directs us to exert our efforts towards four avenues of service, club service, vocational service, community service, and international service.
It is the duty of our fellowship committee to see that wholesome fellowship is developed among all members, old as well as new, and this involves activities to promote acquaintance and fellowship. For example, we have an annual Holiday Party between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and our Installation Banquet in June, attendance at which is expected of all members as if they were weekly breakfast meetings, and included in your annual dues. We also try to have a Mystery Night each spring (where only the chairperson knows where we are going), and numerous other opportunities for fun and fellowship, which benefit our community service projects.
Our Club initially met from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. each Friday, but now meets at 7:15 each Friday and if you cannot attend because of pressing business, or other emergency, you can conveniently make up in this area any weekday. We also allow a make-up for any missed meeting in the month by attending our Club’s monthly Board Meeting, usually held on the 3rd Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at a business designated by the Board of Directors. Currently we are meeting at the Seminole Chamber of Commerce.
Although we have a Program Chairperson to coordinate the weekly programs, each member, on a rotating basis, is expected to bring a program of interest to the Club. Some of the more interesting programs have been programs by the members themselves, on an area of interest to them, or perhaps on their business or classification.
Second to club service, the avenue of community service probably receives the most attention, perhaps because more members can relate to it and participate in one or more of the many activities.
The Rotary Club of Seminole Lake has a distinguished record of service to its Community for such a short time in existence. Some of these acts of community service have been described above. More recently, our Club has provided an E-Z Reader scanner & television for the Seminole Library to assist those with impaired vision.
We have also contributed generously to those in need at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sponsor a Christmas party for disadvantaged children with Santa Clause. At the end of the year, we rejoin the Chamber for the annual Kids Appreciation Day in Seminole Park.
For years our Club had sponsored and conducted a family fun run, in conjunction with the Seminole Pow Wow festivities. Now we sponsor a high school track meet at Osceola High School known as the Rotary Warrior Invitational Track Meet.
In addition, on the high school level, we sponsor an Interact Club at Osceola High. Our Rotarians act as advisors to this club, attending its meetings and functions. Interact Clubs give the high school student perhaps his/her first opportunity to participate in school and community projects in a group activity. It may also give that high school student their first touch of Rotary. We also send at least one high school junior to the weeklong Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders, one of the finest leadership seminars in the nation!
We provide scholarships for graduating seniors at both Seminole and Osceola High Schools. Although our efforts are more typically aimed at Osceola, we have continually given a scholarship to a deserving Seminole High Student in honor of the son of one of our former Club Members who unexpectedly died in his senior year.
We also honor those Dean’s List Students twice each year at Osceola High, by presenting them individual plaques at a special breakfast meeting of our Club in their honor, and place their names on a larger permanent plaque kept by the school. At the end of the year, we present awards for the outstanding 5th grade students at local elementary schools, in conjunction with the Seminole Junior Women’s Club.
Four times a year we pick up trash along 113th Street from 86th to 102nd Avenues.
More importantly, we feel that the collective and individual acts of service by our members constitute the real importance of Rotary in our community. New members will find that they will be called upon to serve on some of these projects. We invite you to participate whole¬heartedly when called upon to serve, for this is the real profit to reap from your Rotary Mem¬bership.
We have sponsored a Career Day at Osceola High School, in which many of our Club Members spoke on their own vocations. We have also sponsored an essay contest on The 4-Way Test to promote ethical awareness by today’s youth. Today we promote the local “Teach-In” held in November. Members are encouraged to go spend some time in a school and teach.
The Rotary Club of Seminole Lake has an excellent record of involvement with The Rotary Foundation. Many of our members have opened their homes as Host Families to Foreign Exchange Students who have come to live in our community for the school year. We have also nominated and sent local members of our community on Group Study Exchanges where a team from this area visits a foreign country for 6 weeks and a group from that country reciprocates the next year and visits our area for 6 weeks.
We were the first Club in our District to be a 100% PAUL HARRIS SUSTAINING MEMBER CLUB, each member of the Club having given at least $100 to The Rotary Foundation. We accomplished this, and continue to do so, by asking each member to contribute $10 a month on the monthly dues billings. Approximately two-thirds of our members are PAUL HARRIS FELLOWS having contributed $1,000 to The Foundation. Many have given multiple Paul Harris awards to family and friends. We also ask each member to become a BENEFACTOR. This is where a member has made some estate planning contribution to The Rotary Foundation in the amount of $1,000 or more. Family members and non-Rotarians can become PAUL HARRIS FELLOWS and BENEFACTORS.
THE CLUB FOUNDATION
In 1988, our Club took on a major Fund-raiser, known as our MERCEDES or CAR PARTY at which the “door prize” is a car. To help solicit donations for this event, we formed a separate Club Charitable Foundation registered with the IRS as a 501-C-3 Corporation for the purpose of receiving qualified tax-exempt donations. Although it is a separate legal entity, all members of the Seminole Lake Rotary Club are also automatically members of the Rotary Club of Seminole Lake Charitable Foundation. The Board of Directors of our Foundation is made up of past Club presidents. The Car Party has been an annual event ever since, looked forward to with anticipation by many as THE SOCIAL/PARTY OF THE FALL! It is now called the “FUN-IN-THE-SUN” party where a Harley motorcycle is considered the premier prize!
$75.00 One Time Initiation Dues
$22.00 Monthly Dues (includes attendance at the annual holiday and installation banquets without charge to the member)
$26.50 Breakfast per month
$10.00 Paul Harris Sustaining Membership contribution – you can do more if you want
$10.00 Annual Thanksgiving & Christmas assessment used for providing baskets of food/gifts for the needy
Each member is billed monthly, typically the first of the month, for the previous month. Payment is expected during the billing month. Typically, after initiation fees are paid, the average monthly bill is about $75.00. For that, a member and their significant other can generally participate in all of our functions.
The Holiday Party and Installation normally cost the member an additional $30/each for their guests. It is not uncommon for Rotarians to bring several members of their family and/or friend to one of these two functions.
Mystery night typically costs $30 or $35 each for the Rotarian and guest. Other nights out are usually “Dutch” and occasionally there may be special events or purchases that the Club agrees to front the money and put the tab on your bill (that is announced prior to the event or purchase).
Do not hesitate to discuss any financial questions with your sponsor, the treasurer, or President.
History of The Rotary Club International
4/19/1868 – 1/27/1947
Founder of Rotary
Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, USA, but moved at the age of 3 to Wallingford, Vermont, to be raised by his grandparents. In the forward to his autobiography, My Road to Rotary, he credits the friendliness and tolerance he found in Vermont as his inspiration for the creation of Rotary.
Trained as lawyer, Paul gave himself five years after his graduation from law school in 1891 to see as much of the world as possible before settling down and hanging out his shingle. During that time, he traveled widely, supporting himself with a great variety of jobs. He worked as a reporter in San Francisco, a teacher at a business college in Los Angeles, a cowboy in Colorado, a desk clerk in Jacksonville, Florida, a tender of cattle on a freighter to England, and as a traveling salesman for a granite company, covering both the U.S. and Europe.
Remaining true to his five-year plan, he settled in Chicago in 1896, and it was there on the evening of February 23, 1905, that he met with three friends to discuss his idea for a businessmen’s club. This is commonly regarded as the first Rotary club meeting. Over the next five years, the movement spread as Rotary clubs were formed in other U.S. cities. When the National Association of Rotary Clubs held its first convention in 1910, Paul was elected president.
After his term, and as the organizations only president-emeritus, Paul continued to travel extensively, promoting Rotary both in the USA and abroad. A prolific writer, Paul wrote several books about the early days of the organization and a role he was privileged to play in it. These include The Founder of Rotary, This Rotarian Age and the autobiographical My Road to Rotary. He also wrote several volumes of Peregrinations detailing his many travels. He died in Chicago.