Homeschooling is a good option for parents seeking one-to-one, individualized learning opportunities for their children. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard when Beth Martin – high school director for the South Carolina Association of Independent Homeschools – spoke at the club’s Jan. 24 meeting. Martin is a former public middle school teacher who homeschooled her own three children. She said the state association – a nonprofit founded in 1990 – works to ensure accountability for some 22,000 to 33,000 homeschoolers across South Carolina. That includes assistance with curriculum, counseling and class schedules; meeting test requirements; maintaining transcripts and issuing diplomas; providing for special needs students; and college/career planning. Martin said homeschooling can offer young people a superior education – aligned to their own specific needs, learning styles, personalities and interests – at less cost than a private or public school setting. (SC Assn of Independent Home Schools photo)
January / February Message
We have closed the door on the first half of this Rotary year… and what I wonderful first half it has been. According to RI President Ian Riseley, we began a year “that will change all of our lives, in ways great and small, and will probably change the lives of countless others who we may not even know.” His theme … Rotary: Making a Difference in 2017-18!
As we move out of Vocational Month and into Peace and Conflict Prevention / Resolution Month, you should revisit your plan and program to ensure you continue Making a Difference this Rotary Year. It’s time to Gear UP and Get Excited About Rotary as we continue our Rotary “flight path” and end this Rotary year as we began, by Making a Difference both individually and collectively as a District, as we defined who we are.
What is Rotary? I believe as President Ian does, that Rotary is defined by what we do, through impactful action and meaningful service. Who is Rotary? Rotary is you and me, working together by taking actions to serve others. Rotary is “People of Action” … doing good in the world, through service-above-self.
I would like to thank each of you personally, who “rang the bell” over the holiday season; adopted families or foster families within your communities; fed the hungry and provided clothing to those who needed it during the cold weather of winter. Also by giving to your charities of choice, including our own Rotary Foundation, to Make a difference in someone else live; working to provide clean water and accepting the challenge to participate in our Polio Day and week challenge. The children of the world are counting on us and you delivered! Our District members were terrific! Leading the way in Zone 33 in Making a Difference in 2017!
Collectively as a District team, we made a difference by working together to improve literacy in our communities. Some of our clubs began Freedom Reader programs and worked in conjunction with the local library system to “wet the whistle” of our youth; set up Free libraries in neighborhoods where the children have fewer resources to help them improve reading skills; developed First Reader programs within the Children Centers and volunteered in mass to share the written stories with the youngest in our communities; partnered with other clubs and medical organizations to give the “Gift of Life”. The Clubs and Club Members truly performed the “heavy lifting” required to be a successful Rotary … by serving those who needed help the most. Our District was number one in Zone 33 in Annual Fund Giving to the Rotary Foundation and number one in Paul Harris Society Members (there is still room for others!). Giving to the Foundation is what allows all of these wonderful programs of Rotary to continue throughout the year. Providing services to others in our communities and expanding the programs globally … Making a Difference around the world! There are some clubs which have chosen to hold their donations until the end of the Rotary year. I would suggest that they review their goals and release some of the funds now (those founds in your checking or savings accounts) probably aren’t earning the interest to really make a difference; not like the difference that can be made by releasing the funds donated or raised by your members, to continue strong programs throughout the entire Rotary year. Check with your Club’s Treasurers to see if your club has released funds to the Foundation as you may desire them to be released. I am so proud of our Rotarians and District in their active participation in these important programs!
As I have said numerous times, the good news about Rotary is that Rotary offers so many ways one can give back and Make a Difference! We can all find the programs or avenues that mean the most to each of us … thank you for expanding your involvement in the first half of the year; but please don’t stop now.
The District accomplished so many things collectively, that we could never have accomplished on our own…as we made a difference this first half of our Rotary year. I saw so many good programs being executed in the communities within our District, as I completed my club visits in mid-December. I also met so many young exchange students during my travels. What a fantastic opportunity for these students and they are an inspiration to all of us whose lives they touched. For those focused on Eradicating Polio, we helped drop the cases of Polio to only 22by the end of 2017, by providing and administering two vaccine drops on the tongues of the children around the world. A far cry from the 350,000 cases a year which many of our members faced when the Polio Program began in 1985. We lead Zone 33 in financial support to continue the “End Polio Now” program and funding the final campaign. Our District’s Rotarians are awesome!
Membership in the District as a whole continued to increase over the start of this Rotary year. While our growth rate is not as high as we believe is needed to keep pace with attrition, we are moving in the right direction. As you know, the District’s leadership team approved “special grant funds” for each club to hold Rotary Information Events to attract new member prospects. Unfortunately, only one club has taken advantage of these “free funds”. Please consider this program as you start the second half of your Rotary program for 2017-18. I am convinced that it may be as simple as asking someone to join. However, Clubs need to engage our current members to keep Clubs vibrant for generations to come! Finally, if we begin by attracting good prospects on the front end, who want to be involved and are committed to service above self, you will see a “win / win” for growth in the second half of the year.
Rotary needs EACH and EVERY ONE of us, as the vision and strategic plans change! We will need to attract new diverse members, mature members, and young professionals to add the diversity in the club to keep pace. We need our experienced, knowledgeable members to act as mentors, sharing their Rotary stories through friendships. We learn and build from our past, providing continuity & training to our new members and leaders.
Please continue to tell your Rotary stories to everyone who will listen, as it is through the stories that allow potential members to understand not only “what Rotary is” but more importantly, “who Rotary is”. Rotary is a membership association focused on serving others. Rotary offers solutions to others who are in desperate need. Rotary: making a difference not only in the lives of those we serve, but also in our own lives!
Finally, I ask each member to Gear UP for Rotary … be part of the fun and actions within your District. Please attend the District Conference at the Myrtle Beach Marriott, March 9-11, 2018. I promise you a very exciting, informative, and fun-filled conference. We planned this conference around the wisdom of deceased PRID Lambo Schwartz from the Myrtle Beach Club, who stated that a conference should have a little bit of Rotary and “a whole lot of FUN! Book your conference registration on the District Database Calendar now. You must reserve your hotel room, if needed, separately with the MB Marriott. By contract the guaranteed room block ends Feb 15th. So, to avoid having to stay somewhere away from the actual conference site or standing by for a room cancellation, reserve your room needs now and before Feb 15, 2018. Susan and I hope to see many of the fabulous Rotarians we meet on our official club visits. Please don’t let us down!
Columbia’s Capital Rotary has recognized three members for contributions to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable arm that funds programs for world understanding and peace. Honorees include (from left) Mike Montgomery, a Paul Harris Fellow plus-six donor, representing an initial $1,000 donation, plus six additional gifts of $1,000 each; Hal Peacock, a plus-two Fellow with an initial $1,000 donation followed by two more for $1,000 each; club president Blake DuBose; and Tommy Gibbons, a plus-three Fellow with an initial $1,000 donation followed by three at $1,000 each.
2016-17 President Gray Ives holding the Presidential Citation AwardIn order to win this distinguished honor, a club has too accomplish a number of goals. The 2 mandatory activities lubs must achieve are: set at least 10 goals in Rotary Club Central and second, pay semiannual dues to RI on time in July and January. In addition to those, the club has to achieve multiple goals in the areas of: Membership Attraction and Engagement, Foundation Giving, Online Tool Adoption, Humanitarian Service, New Generations, and Public Image. It was truly a successful year put together by Past President Gray, his board, and the rest of club that chipped in and made it all possible. Way to go everyone!
Mt. Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie (photo courtesy of www.tompsc.com)Having been a columnist for both the Moultrie News and the Post & Courier, Mayor Haynie has been in the forefront of Mount Pleasant issues for years through his op-ed columns as well as through his involvement as a private citizen, a family man, and a businessman. In 2015 he decided to run for Town Council which he eventually won 31 of 39 precincts in a 3-way runoff. And in this past November election, he won the office of mayor by a 2-1 margin.
Mayor Haynie speaking to the clubMayor Haynie gave an energetic, humorous and passionate talk to the club and shared some of his visions for Mt. Pleasant, one of which is being more strategic with future development of the city. To see some of his plans for the city’s future, please click here for a summary. Thank you Mayor Haynie for paying our club a visit!
Shelby with sponsor Pat RichardsShelby is a Charleston native who enjoys staying active and taking on new experiences. She works in government contracting as a Management Analyst for a Venture Technologies company. Shelby recently graduated in May 2017 from the University of South Carolina Honors College with a Bachelors Degree double majoring in HR Management and Finance and a minor in Chinese Studies. Her journey with Rotary started in high school when she participated in a Rotary Youth Exchange year to Switzerland. After finishing her year abroad she came back as a Rotex member where she has helped facilitate the RYE Inbound Training Weekends every year since. In college she was a member of Rotaract and served as Treasurer the last 2 years and filed for USC Rotaract to become an official 501c3 entity with the IRS. As a senior, Shelby won the Carolinana Award at USC for her service and leadership on campus and in the community. She is excited to continue her journey as a Rotary member actively serving the local Charleston community! It’s an excellent example of how Rotary International can impact individuals even at a young age as Shelby was in high school when her Rotary journey began. Realizing her desire to serve her community and make it a better place with those experiences makes our club very happy to have her as our newest member. Welcome Shelby!