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The Barn Opens, Corporate Members Invited!

It was one of those warm, heartfelt, fun Rotary meetings that make me glad to be a Rotarian.

President Bruce Harris started off the meeting with a story about a motivational speaker he and Tory Paxson had heard during the past week.  The story involved pushups, candy, and our HS Interact students’ reason for being part of our Rotary movement: Being integral to our community, giving back, and a reminder that together, we can work to become better people.  What great young people!

With that, together, we recited Rotary’s Four-Way Test.  It asks us to think about the things we think, say and do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned?  Does it build goodwill and better friendships? And is it beneficial to all concerned?  And then many of us added the Fifth (usually unspoken) rule of the Four-Way Test:  Is it fun?

With that, we enjoyed Chef Amy’s good haddock chowder and celebrated our two newest members; Sue Hochstein and Melody Reese.

Bruce introduced the proposed bylaws amendment which will allow our club to accept “corporate” memberships.  The idea goes beyond corporations to include non-profits and businesses of all varieties; the idea is that a business entity can select one person to be the “primary” Rotary member, and that person can select two other people to come to meetings and be part of the fun.  Cost of a corporate membership will be twice the cost of an individual membership, with the goal to spread the knowledge of Rotary and what it does to folks who are not ready to become individual members.  This idea has been noodling around for years; it really came to the top of the agenda in discussion with member Deborah Bronk, who said she would love to introduce other Bigelow scientists to Rotary, but that because they are only in the area for the few years, they weren’t really incentivized to join our club.

In discussion, several people pointed out that our club is doing great in terms of membership, and that many of our recent members have joined because of the Rotary Barn.  They come to shop; they stay to help out, and they get excited by our goals and they join the club.  So it’s not like we need corporate members, but as Tory stated it, the point of adopting corporate memberships is to meet potential members where they are.

After this and other good comments, the club voted unanimously to accept the bylaws change.

Tory spoke about Presidents-elect Training, which involves club presidents-elect from most of New England, and she spoke specifically of her peer president-elect from our neighbor club, Damariscotta-Newcastle.  Stephen Searles is as interested in the environment as is she, and he and Tory are hoping/planning that our clubs can work together more closely next year, as we did pre-pandemic.  Lorraine Faherty, our Assistant Governor and also a member of the Damariscotta-Newcastle Club, announced that next year’s Governor, Marion Cheney from the Dover, NH club, would love to join our two clubs on a service project, perhaps environmentally related, in lieu of coming to speak at a club meeting. So stay tuned for more.

Judi White awarded Bruce Harris a Paul Harris Fellow for his contributions to The Rotary Foundation, the 501( c) 3 that underwrites all the good Rotary does around the world.  “You, too, can get fabulous prizes for your donations,” she told the cheering crowd.  

Patty Seybold thanked the club for donating a spirometer to the Health Center.  Good for us (once I figure out what a spirometer is!).  

And everyone thanked Linda Clapp for the excellent and successful social at the Whale’s Tail last week.

On the calendar:  This Friday, May 31, from 4:00-6:00 pm, we are invited to a social at the Maine Maritime Museum sponsored by the Bath Sunrise club.   The evening will include behind-the-scenes tours, refreshments, and admission to the gallery exhibits.

And one week later, on Friday, April 7, we will have Teacher Appreciation Day at the Clubhouse.  This event, which started during the pandemic as a way to say thank you, looked like it was going to be axed this year because of the BRES closure.  But Ingrid and Irene Fowle had a brilliant idea somewhere during the second round at last week’s social:   Why not celebrate all our teachers at once chez Rotary?  It looks like we will have around 50 teachers that afternoon, so all hands on deck:  Please talk to Irene or Ingrid about how you can help; check out the sign-up sheet, and volunteer to bring cookies.

By that time, the Big Grey Rotary Barn will be open for the season.  We cheered for the dynamic quartet that more-or-less manages (I use that term loosely) our Barn activities:  Laurie Zimmerli (furniture); Debbie Graves (pickups); Barbara Thornton (boutique); and Irene Fowle (voice of reason).  Laurie reminded us that there’s work for all talents and physical abilities, and asked everyone in the room to stand who had been involved in pickups, sorting, selling and (the ever-popular) dump runs.  Needless to say, no one was left in their seats after all those tasks were itemized.

The Barn opens for the season this Saturday, April 1, from 8:30 to 11:00 am.  Between now and then we need to fill it, and much discussion (and hilarity) ensued about this week’s pickups.  Just know that the Barn is our major (and amazingly successful) fundraiser; last year we brought in about $130,000, so hauling other people’s cast-offs is not only remarkably worthwhile, those of us involved make it really, really fun.

Last but certainly not least, Laurie led the club in telling stories from the Barn.  Most of them fell into the you-had-to-be-there category, so I’ll just note them here for the cognoscenti:  Mike Thompson and the bedframe; Mike Pollard and the zebra; and winner-takes-all goes to Tony Curulla and the moose.

Want to be part of the fun?  Want to give back while hanging out with great people?  That’s what our Rotary club is all about. We meet Thursdays at 6:00 pm at the Rotary Building, 66 Montgomery Road, Boothbay Harbor.  Join us!