Tonight we had the pleasure of hosting Emma O’Coin whom we sponsored to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Conference (RYLA) in June. Another student we sponsored, Rebecca Mahon, was unable to attend this evening with Emma. Emma was one of over 200 students from 50 Clubs in Rotary District 7910 to attend the 3-day conference at Fitchburg State University. Geared primarily on leadership training, the sophomore students learned conflict management, problem solving, important communication skills with lots of breakout sessions and presentations. Emma shared her experiences on everything she learned,the challenges of the programs, the friends she made and expressed interest in being a program facilitator next year.
For the third year in a row Sturbridge Rotary together with the Sturbridge Lions and the Parks and Recreation Committee cosponsored a free concert on the Sturbridge Common. Returning was Dan Gabel and The Abletones, an 18-piece band that plays the swinging sounds of the 1940s. The Moon Maids made their first appearance this year singing a number of songs from the 40s and reminiscent of other female vocal groups of that era. We even witnessed a local couple dancing in the street to the swing music. A large crowd gathered on this perfect evening and most were keeping time to the music!
Sturbridge Rotary sponsored two Tantasqua students to attend the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Conference (RYLA) held at Fitchburg State University. Over 200 sophomore students from 50 Clubs in Rotary District 7910 attend the 3-day conference that includes presentations, activities and workshops on Leadership, Ethics, Communication Skills, Problem Solving, Conflict Management, Community & Global Citizenship. These students engage in small and large groups sessions ending with a celebration and presentations on what they’ve learned from attending.
Students sponsored this year are Rebecca Mahon and Emma O’Coin. These students will attend a future Rotary meeting to share their experiences with Club members. Ainsley Maus from Tantasqua was sponsored by the Brookfield Rotary Club. Since 1993, Sturbridge Rotary has contributed $11,110 to sponsor local students attending RYLA.
Sturbridge Rotary has been awarding scholarships each year to students since 1974 with a cumulative total of $207,210. Recipients this year from Tantasqua Regional High School are Madison Porter, Thomas Goodwin, Andrew Houle, Ryan Kievra, Tyler Pourmand, Caitlyn Mills.
An additional award was presented from the Wendell Wright Scholarship Fund to Chloe Powell. This award is presented in memory of Wendell whose wife is a Sturbridge Rotarian.
All recipients were invited recently to attend a Rotary meeting at which they each shared information about themselves, their goals and inspirations.
The 6th Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser to benefit the St. John Paul II Food Pantry and held recently. Attendees enjoyed appetizers, a great meal, raffles, and dancing. As part of the festivities, a check for $3,000 was presented to the Rev. Kenneth Cardinale for the Pantry. The Pantry serves over 400 families each month so this donation will be put to good use to feed families in need. To date, the Sturbridge Rotary Club has raised $18,000 from the Dinner Dances for this worthy cause. Shown presenting the check is Club President Austin Jenkins and Rev. Cardinale.
Several Rotarians helped again this year with the distribution of food, turkey vouchers, toys and gift cards for which Rotary donated funds. All of these items were added to other gifts donated by school families and community members. Rotary worked with Lisa Meunier, school nurse at Burgess, who identified 40 Burgess families (impacting 150 individuals) going through difficult times this Christmas. The St. John Paul II Food Pantry delivered the 40 boxes of food to Burgess and the rest of the items donated were added to the boxes. Rotarians and Burgess staff members helped deliver the boxes to the cars of the recipients. While we have given this donation previously, this was our second year with hands-on delivery of the food, cards and gifts. Our efforts gave us a much closer look at the impact of our humanitarian work as Rotarians and it’s very rewarding.
Heather Weston, Director of the Sturbridge Senior Center spoke with us about Sturbridge becoming a dementia-friendly community. Her discussion included a comparison of the normal aging process versus Alzheimer’s Disease. She also explained the 10 early signs and symptoms of dementia. Heather’s plan was presented at a community Town Meeting and has been followed by training sessions with various Sturbridge Departments, restaurants, banks and churches. Further, the Senior Center holds a Memory Cafe every month which is sponsored by different organizations, corporations or individuals in the community. The Cafe offers Arts & Crafts, music, ice cream social, singing, dancing and other interactive events. The Cafe is proving to be a huge success.
It is with great pride that we recognize two more individuals as Paul Harris Fellows (PHF). Otto Prohaska, PhD has been a member of Sturbridge Rotary since 2012 and served as president in the 2016-17 Rotary year. Otto was recognized with his second PHF pin. At Otto’s side is his wife, Julie, who received her first PHF recognition. With the addition of Otto and Julie, Sturbridge Rotary has a total of 70 individuals who have received the PHF recognition with 21 of them having received it more than once. Congratulations to Otto and Julie!
It’s always a great pleasure to have PDG Jim Fusco visit the Club. Following the interactive discussion on membership, Jim reviewed the success of the Community Food Collaborative (CFC) as a joint project with the Southbridge Club through the Rotary Community Corps (RCC). The CFC garden is a great first project for the RCC and the success of the garden in its first year is very impressive and a great project for the Club to build upon.
WE HAVE A WINNER !!!!!!
The drawing for the winner of the basket with $1,000 worth of lottery tickets was drawn at the Rotary meeting tonight. All 1,000 lottery tickets were sold at $10 each. We are happy to announce the winner is a woman from Southbridge with ticket number 0765. She will attend the meeting next week to claim her prize! CONGRATULATIONS!!!
The Sturbridge Rotary Club has donated over $190,000 in scholarship money over the last 46 years. We could not do this without the help from all of you who bought tickets from us each year. We want to thank you for all your support to award students scholarships toward their college education.
Lois A. Breault-Melican, Chapter President of the American Chestnut Foundation of MA & RI, presented the history of the American Chestnut Tree from the Chinese blight that nearly wiped out the chestnut trees to the experimental program to bring this amazing tree back to the forests. Lois reviewed the different aspects of the initiative and the progress being made including the experimental Chestnut Tree farm at Tantasqua Jr. High School.
Roberta Watson, director of the St. John Paul II Food Pantry, visited the Club and summarized the amount of fresh, organic vegetables delivered to the Food Pantry by the Community Food Collaborative (CFC). The total yield was 1,524 pounds from 20 different vegetables. Favorites by the recipients were cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelons and winter squash. Roberta noted 831 people, which includes 164 seniors, each month appreciated the efforts of the CFC in an average of 310 households.
Lisa Meunier was presented with a check to help in her efforts to provide gifts and turkey dinners to families and their children who are in need during this Holiday Season. Lisa shared statistics of those experiencing difficult times and challenging physical and emotional health, all of which is being addressed by Burgess School and its staff.
Members of the Club spent another afternoon selling chances to win a basket of Lottery Tickets worth $1,000. This time they attended the Craft Fair at Tantasqua Regional High School. We printed 1,000 tickets and started selling them in early September. When we arrived at the Craft Fair we had a little over 100 tickets left to sell and SOLD OUT within a few hours. All proceeds from the ticket sales are used for scholarships for Tantasqua students pursuing a college degree. Our thanks to everyone who bought a ticket(s) for this very worthwhile local cause. The drawing for the winner will be held in early December. Stay tuned to hopefully see your name as the winner!!
It was really good weather late yesterday afternoon when we completed the harvest of potatoes followed by the fall cleanup. It was bittersweet to put the garden “to bed” for the winter after such an active and successful growing season. Ten of us worked for over an hour to get everything cleaned up and to put the tools away. We are anxious to get the final tally from the St. John Paul II Food Pantry on how many pounds of fresh organic vegetables we produced this season to help those in need of food.
We aren’t resting over the winter. The Board of Directors are having their first meeting next week to start organizing and prioritizing the ‘To Do’ list for next year. Thank you to Head Cabbage Joe, Klaus, Glenys, Pauline, Jim, Bob, Bill B., Eunice, Karen and Bill P. who helped last night. We also want to thank our sponsors and donors whose generosity helped us get the supplies we needed to start the Community Food Collaborative. Lastly, we’d also like to thank our 90+ volunteers who have given us encouragement and support all season. Rest up this winter everyone because we’ll need your help again next season as we bring the garden back to life – bigger and better!
Joe Coan, President (a.k.a. Head Cabbage) of the Community Food Collaborative (CFC) spoke with the Club recently about the first year of the garden. The garden is located near the lower back parking lot behind the Sturbridge Town Hall. Joe gave us a history on the plans, development and progress along the way. Everyone on the board, Joe and many volunteers worked hard on everything that needed to be done this first year. The yield from the garden surpassed our expectations leaving us with a challenge to expand next year in an effort to increase our yield. To date we have delivered over 1,500 pounds of fresh organic vegetables to the St. John Paul II Food Pantry and we still have to deliver the potatoes. We have a long “To Do” list this winter after we put the garden to bed. Our final work night is this Thursday after which we’ll celebrate our success. Joe acknowledged and thanked the board members, our sponsors, donors and all our volunteers who helped us this year. Keep checking our Facebook page for updates. https://www.facebook.com/CFCGardens/. If you’d like to be put on the volunteer list for next year, contact us at CFCGarden357@gmail.com.
Joe (left) is shown with Rotary President Austin Jenkins.
The Sturbridge Rotary Club awarded $5,000 to The Barton Center for Diabetes Education, 30 Ennis Road in North Oxford, MA. The donation was used to support expenses associated with operating their programs including medical expenses, supplies, food, and so much more.
“We are fortunate to be the recipient of Sturbridge Rotary’s gift,” said Lindsay McCarthy, Associate Director, Director of Grants and Events. “Rotary understands the impact felt by children with diabetes.”
The mission of The Barton Center is to improve the lives of children with insulin-dependent diabetes through education, recreation and support programs which inspire and empower. For over 86 years, The Barton Center has provided a summer-long residential camp program for children with type 1 diabetes at Clara Barton Camp. The Barton Center significantly expanded its services in 2010 to include a second residential camp, Camp Joslin, in Charlton, MA. The Barton Center also operates an adventure program, family camp, Vermont Overnight Camp, day camps in NY, CT and MA, and a wide array of year-round educational programs for children, families, and caregivers. All Barton programs promote proper diabetes management and health enhancement strategies in a safe environment.
“We’re happy to help support The Barton Center with funds from our Educational Trust account,” said Rotary Past-President Bob White. “One of Sturbridge Rotary’s areas of focus is youth which also includes support for managing health issues. Barton offers so many programs to help children with diabetes that funding toward their efforts was a perfect fit for us.”