–submitted by Kris Ashe
Twenty-eight Rotarians attended the event at the Madison Club and a good time was had by all. Jason Beren, who chairs our New Member Event Sub-Committee, welcomed everyone and thanked Mary Gaffney- Ward and the Madison Club for hosting the event and providing all the great snacks.
Introductions were made around the room with comments from everyone about what Rotary means to them. Past President Melanie Ramey charmed the group, as usual. The new members received a great overview of all we do. There were several members who commented on perfect attendance since 1998, one new member commented she had perfect attendance as well since Wednesday was her first meeting! President Tim Stadleman mentioned there are over 25 fellowship groups and over 40 committees for new members to choose from.
Karl Gutknecht spoke about our club being around over 100 years and that it is the 7th largest in the world. He gave an impassioned talk about Rotary and how it is “transformative.” It has changed his life in so many wonderful ways. He referenced the great administrative staff, great club leadership, and the ability to meet and connect with so many interesting people locally and throughout the world. He mentioned just a few of the many international projects we support, Polio Plus, clean water initiatives, Group Study Exchange, projects in Peru and Africa and so much more. He told everyone about our Rotary founder Paul Harris. He said being a Paul Harris Fellow has been his calling card around the world. He encouraged new members to “be involved, engaged, make a difference and consider becoming a Paul Harris Fellow.”
President Tim talked about our recent team of Russian visitors hosted by our club for a week of learning about businesses in the Madison area. Currently, our club is hosting Dr. Veronique Costantino from Corsica, France. She is studying medicine at UW-Madison through a Rotary International grant.
Deb Gilpin is our SummerPalooza Committee Chair, ans she shared a volunteer opportunity set for June 13 at the Madison Children’s Museum.
President Elect Ellsworth Brown talked about the clubs future looking ahead to the new Rotary year. He talked about the rich history of the club and the impact our efforts have made in Madison and around the world. He said the club is working on a high impact project which is part of our strategic plan. He thanked everyone for coming, and the meeting was adjourned.