The Rotary year goes from July 1 through June 30, and this one has really flown by. It brought changes to our club with new challenges, new members and a new meeting structure. We also honored many of our traditions in terms of charitable giving, supporting the community, our participation with The B'ville Big Chill, Seneca River Days and much more. Here are some highlights as we look back:
We have welcomed 10 new members. That might not sound like a big number, but we have about 65 members overall, so it's huge! Each month I write in this space with reasons why you should join Rotary. In this case, you might want to get in before we are full. Just kidding - that won't happen. But really, people are seeing how fun we are and all the good we are doing, and it's irresistible.
We changed up our meeting structure for our Wednesday lunch gathering and it's really transformed our time together. We basically flipped the order in which we have lunch and a meeting, so that we now have a meeting and then lunch. When checking in, members and guests can opt into lunch for $10 (knowing the menu in advance) or just pay $1 to attend the meeting. We kick off the business meeting and our program right away at noon, with lunch delivered just as we are winding down the meeting. Members and guests can stay after to enjoy their meal, or head back to the office to finish up their day. It's insanely convenient for being a mid-day meeting!
We gave out a lot of donations, helping organizations like Vera House, The MOST, Clear Path for Veterans and the B'ville Christmas Bureau. We bought a new poster printer for the Baldwinsville Public Library and made a significant contribution towards the expansion at Beaver Lake Nature Center. This past spring we cleaned up the river trail along Meadow Street and last summer we put on a BBQ that was free (and really fun) for local senior citizens.

We helped local students with three scholarships, a monthly recognition program for teens that exhibit our motto of "Service Above Self," made a contribution to the fundraising efforts of the marching band so they can go to the Rose Bowl parade at the end of the year, will be sending a student to July's Rotary Youth Leadership Awards at Caz College, hosted a weekend of fun for all the Youth Exchange Students in CNY and supported the Keep the Ball Rolling after prom party. We also continue to sponsor our Interact Club at Baker and Durgee, which is basically Rotary for teens.
We partnered with local businesses to put on a fun event with the Trivia for Charity tournament. For eight weeks, at the Syracuse Trivia Company's Wednesday night trivia at WT Brews, teams competed to accumulate the most points. The winner got $1,000 donated to their charity of choice. The winning team was the Smartini's and their charity was the Rescue Mission. It was a lot of fun to have Rotarians compete each week, sharing in a beverage and finding out what everyone's strongest trivia topics were!
Each weekend we sent home food with local elementary children who are at risk of hunger when school is not in session through our Backpack Project. Thanks in large part to the donations collected at last November's Turkey Trot, and in coordination with volunteers from our club, the B'ville Interact Club, B'ville Kiwanis, the library and St. Mark's Lutheran Church, we were able to expand to serve all elementary schools and contribute donations to the student-run pantry at Baker. 
We implemented a Charity of Choice program for club members only. Every time a member attends a meeting, they get to submit a form with their name and a charity that they also support. There are up to eight opportunities each month to submit an entry and at the end of the month we draw a winner. The winner's charity gets a $100 donation in their honor! We have now given donations to Meals on Wheels, Female Charitable, The Rotary International Foundation and more, and we are supporting the causes that matter to our members.
Finally, our club, along with all 42 clubs in CNY, was challenged to implement Acts of Kindness by the District Governor. In November, we surprised election day poll volunteers at 13 locations around B'ville with snack platters to help them through their long day of volunteering. In December, we surprised customers in the Dunkin drive-thru with a free breakfast - the first $200 worth of orders! And this month, we may just knock on your door and offer you a brand new American flag (especially if the one you are flying looks ready to be refreshed!). We will continue spreading kindness in the coming year as new ideas are generated!
Oh and I can't leave out our fundraisers, which also happen to be fun community events. The B'ville Big Chill helps make the dreary, cold winter days a little more fun with the polar plunge, local food tasting and pub crawl. We partner with the Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce on this project that had a record turn out this past January. And we are now just days away from the 25th annual Seneca River Days. This is a family-friendly, two-day festival that spans two parks, includes live music, food, fireworks and so much fun. Click here for details! You will not want to miss this special weekend June 14 & 15!
So as you can see, we did a lot and still have some big projects to complete before the end of the month. This isn't even all of it! There is always something happening, whether it's a social opportunity, a community project or an interesting program at a club meeting. Be sure to check out our meeting schedule along the right side of the page if you wish to join us and see if it's a fit for you. We'd love to have you!