ROTARY CLUB OF ELK RAPIDS, MI
P.O. Box 814, Elk Rapids, MI  errrotary@gmail.com
Meets: Tuesdays: 6 pm, Historic Township Hall, 401 River St. and 7 am, TJ Charlies, 135 River St.
 
       
     
 
 
 
Who We Are
The Elk Rapids Rotary Club is part of Rotary International, comprised of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders from around the world who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. Our differing occupations, cultures, and countries give us a unique perspective. Our shared passion for service helps us accomplish good things, ranging from local to global.  Currently (2015), the Elk Rapids Club is comprised of 61 men and women members of diverse occupations.  There are two groups – The primary  club which meets on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 pm. in the Historic Elk Rapids Township Hall on River Street - and a Satellite Group that meets at 7:00 am on Tuesdays - currently (until the snow flies) at the Rotary Pavilion, adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce Building on U.S. 31.

Benefits of Membership
Service:  The primary motivation that drives the membership is to be of service to our community, our youth and to needy causes around the globe.  We provide financial assistance to social service, educational and cultural needs in the local area.  We help winterize homes for those who are unable to do so, themselves.  We help with food pantry drives, roadside clean-ups and other community service activities.   We fund scholarships and other youth-development activities.  Some of our members perform hands-on service in needy areas, overseas – helping provide clean drinking water in Haiti is a current example.  Individual members contribute to worthwhile causes,.  Frequently, the Rotary leverages these contributions with matching money.
Fellowship/Networking:  As one may expect, our Rotary Club is the birthplace of many, long-term friendships, many of them, very close friendships.  Also, the membership is comprised of individuals having diverse backgrounds and occupations – which results in exchanges of information and ideas that are useful beyond the Rotary activities.
Learning:  Most of the weekly meetings feature a speaker or program that is informative about things that are happening in the region, or in the world, that are not common knowledge.  This proves to be very beneficial in, “keeping one in the know”.
Fun:  This is the key ingredient in the meetings and the service projects.  Be prepared to take some good-natured ribbing (and, hand some out!).  If it isn't fun, it isn't Rotary!
 
History of Rotary International
 
“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.” —Paul P. Harris

Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man - Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.

We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.  Eradication of Polio has been at the top of the list since 1979.  We have almost won the battle.
 
History of the Elk Rapids Club (by James G. Sak)
The Elk Rapids Rotary Club was chartered on June 9, 1950. There were 29 charter members. The club is part of District 6290 which includes all of northwest Michigan and several cities in Ontario, Canada.  As such, the club is part of an “international” district!  In the 65 years since receiving its’ charter, club membership has fluctuated between 10 and 61 members.  Current [2015] membership stands at 61, 50 of which are active members, and 11 are honorary members.
 
What We Do
Good Works:
We provide financial support and we provide muscle for worthwhile causes.
Muscle Examples:  home winterizing for those in need, manning food pantry drives, periodic roadside cleanup, construction of civic facilities, on-site assisting with projects in underdeveloped countries  –-
 

 Installing Story-board Pedestals in Rotary Park
 
Financial Support Examples:  supplies for Baby Pantry, truck purchase for Meals on Wheels, Homeless Shelter Equipment, Munson Cancer Center, Art Rapids Concert in the Park, Elk Rapids schools, NM scholarships, water filters for potable water in Haiti, solar lanterns for schools in Malawi - - -
 

 Providing Potable Water Filters and Training (Haiti)
Raising the Money
The club has two major fund raisers each year---a chicken barbecue and a variety show.
 
Barbecue:  The barbecue is held the Saturday of the annual Elk Rapids Harbor Days celebration in early August.  The entire club is involved in setting up a serving tent and equipment and in preparing food, barbecuing and serving.  This event would not be the success that it is if not for the generosity of the local grocery store, the Village Market, which donates all of the chicken.   At the end of the day, all unsold food is given to food pantries.
 
 
 Near the End of a Long Day
 
Variety Show:  The variety show, featuring local citizens, as well as Rotarians, is held in June of each year.  It has been an Elk Rapids  tradition since 1955.
 

Tuning Up
 
How We Function
 
Our club is guided by the officers and the committee chair.  They are, for the 2015-16 year (July 1 - June 30):
 
President ------------------------------------------Tom Klingler           (Runs the ship)
President Elect --------------------------------- Gary Chenoweth     (Gets the programs)
Treasurer ----------------------------------------- Joe Yuchasz           (Counts the money)
Secretary ----------------------------------------  Bill Holdsworth        (Gets the money)
Immediate Past President  ---------------- Myrta Keelan           (Back-seat driver)
Community Service Chair  ----------------- Jim Nothoff             (Cleans the roadside, winterizes the houses, blows leaves)
Good Works Committee Chair ------------ Jeff Lane                (Where-the-money-goes Czar)
International Service Co-Chair  ----------  Bill Donberg            (Fights Polio, Povides water filters)
International Service Co-Chair  ----------  Dean Branson         (Ditto)
Chicken Barbecue Event Chair ----------  Michael Shockley   (Feeds the Harbor-Day crowd)
Club Service Co-Chair  ---------------------- Tom Stephenson     (Sets up equipment for meetings)
Club Service Co-Chair  ---------------------- Don Pond                (Ditto)
Membership Co-Chair  ----------------------- John Demarsh         (Provides fresh blood)
Membership Co-Chair  ----------------------- Stan Sheridan          (Ditto)
President Nominee  --------------------------  Sherry Steffen         (Lady-in-waiting)
Variety Show Co-Chair ---------------------  Jerry DeGrazia         (Runs the big show)
Variety Show Co-Chair ---------------------  Cheryl Knight           (Choreographs the big show)
Youth Services Chair  ----------------------  Thom Ault                (Interact Club, youth leadership, scholarships)
Rotary Foundation Chair  ------------------  Open
Satellite Club Coordinator  ----------------  Open                       (Coordinates the early Birds)
 
The interests and types of activities of the club are revealed in the list of committees, above.  The Good Works Committee, comprised of the various committee chairs, and officers, is the over-arcing body that determines which projects are to be undertaken and the funding allocated to the projects.  Members are encouraged to contact one of the committee chairs to get in on the action.