Summit County Rotary Club celebrates 40th anniversary
Rotary Club president Mary Anne Johnston cut the cake, beginning the celebration of the Summit County Rotary Club’s 40th anniversary. The group, which supports the community through donations, events and leadership opportunities, has grown significantly since it was formed in October of 1975.
“It’s a wonderful service group,” she said. “There is such a wide range of interests, professions, ages — it’s just been an incredible opportunity for me.”
She joined Summit County’s Rotary Club six years ago, chairing the literacy committee for five years before stepping up as president. In her time with the Rotary, she has assisted with the creation of a reading buddy program, as well as short story and poetry contests for Summit County students.
These programs are just a few of the dozens Summit County’s Rotary Club offers.
“Our Rotary Club does such a variety of things; there’s something for everybody,” said Ann Clement, chair of the Community Care Clinic Committee. “It’s an amazing organization that continues to evolved and grow. It’s really exciting.”
She joined the Summit County Rotary Club in 1995, which grew from 70 members then to 114 this year. She added that not only does the group have a very active group of with several different programs, but it also has an active group of high school students as well.
“We have a lot of domestic and international visitors (who) come and visit our club, as well as district and state officials,” she added. “They’re always impressed with how active our club is.”
A HISTORY OF GIVING
The first Rotary Club was started in the early 1900s by Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney and businessman. Since then, they have multiplied to more than 34,000 worldwide. The clubs each focus on five areas: club service, vocational service, community service, international service and youth service.
Summit County’s Rotary Club was formed years later, in October of 1975, by John Farr and Bo Bogan. In 1989, women were permitted to join the Rotary.
“We have a lot of women in this club now, which we did not have in the beginning,” Johnston said.
Every year, the Summit County Rotary raises more than $100,000, which is given back to the community through donations and scholarships. Clement said that Rotary has given nearly $70,000 to the Community Care Clinic since they began sending donations in 2005.
The Rotary also distributes scholarships to Summit High School students, with $14,000 available for students attending Colorado Mountain College as well as vocational schools, in addition to a few traditional scholarships.
“We’re able to impact a lot of kids with money provided to CMC,” David Preaus, Youth Services chair for the Summit County Rotary Club.
He also noted that Summit County students are recognized through the Rotary Young Leadership Awards, with 50 selected to attend a rotary-sponsored leadership club each year.
“It’s an important time in their lives,” he added.
The Summit County Rotary is perhaps best known for its annual Dillon Ice Melt fundraiser, as well as weekly community dinners offered at the Elks Lodge in Silverthorne. The dinner served its 100,000th guest this month after the program was created several years ago to help feed those in need, though the dinner is open to all of the public.
“That’s what makes our club so special, to have such a variety of activities throughout the year,” Clement said. “The more active you are in the club, the more you get out of the club. It’s not just a weekly meeting; it’s an amazing opportunity for people who want to be involved.”
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