Tag Archives: New Members

“Rotary Bingo” at The Madison Club October 21, 2014

–summary & photos submitted by Jason Beren


On Tuesday, October 21, at our New Member Event, about 25 new and experienced Rotarians attended a coffee event at The Madison Club (Thanks to Mary Gaffney-Ward for the use of the great room).

The focal point of the event was a cutting edge networking activity known as “Rotary Bingo.”  Much like a scavenger hunt played with a bingo card, attendees had to work their way around the room to fill out their card with the names of the Rotarians who matched each square.

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Prior to the event, attendees completed a survey with questions such as:

  • What is something about yourself that’s unique and people might not know about you?
  • Where were you born?
  • Who were your Rotary Sponsors?
  • What high school activity, club, or sport did you participated in?
  • What unique event have you attended?
  • Have you ever done a unique Rotary make-up international or domestic?

Attendees learned that some of their fellow Downtown Rotarian’s have:

  • Been a ski bum for a winter
  • Spent two months deep in the Amazon jungle
  • Attended a cocktail party on Malcolm Forbes yacht
  • Did a Rotary make-up on Easter Island


Rotary Wine Event January 30 2014

–submitted by Mike Wilson


On the cool and snowy Thursday night of January 30, the Wine Fellowship Group met at the home of Mike & Patty Wilson. All 17 guests brought along a wine with a short description, together with a snack as part of a “BYO Night.” We had several of the regulars attending; the return of some that had not been to the Fellowship lately due to other commitments; and new Fellowshippers providing an excellent mix of individuals.  An extraordinary collection of wines and snacks also arrived, and Steve Mixtacki was able to put these together in groups for all to taste.

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Photo 1: Mary Janet & Karl Wellensiek; Photo 2: Rich & Joan Leffler

All of the wines were excellent and many had special meanings to the donors.  Most are available on the market but some were from personal collections and no longer available, or bought for a special personal event, but all were brought to share and celebrate with other Rotary Wine Fellowshippers.  An extraordinarily good time was had by all, and great fellowship occurred; the essence of the many different Rotary Fellowship groups.

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Photo 1: Juli & Keith Baumgartner; Photo 2: TeDee & Gail DeDee with Mike Casey; Photo 3: Patty Struck & her husband, Larry Bechler

New Member Coffee Event January 9 at Blackhawk Country Club

–submitted by Stan Kitson; photos by Ellsworth Brown

DSC_1094Jason Beren (pictured at left) hosted a Coffee Event for 20+ new and experienced Rotarians at Blackhawk Country Club on Thursday, January 9. We started with coffee and fellowship, quickly moving to introductions and the presentation. Jason, with remarks from Past President (2012-13) Wes Sparkman, incoming president (2014-15) Tim Stadelman and future president (2015-16) Ellsworth Brown, set the expectations for the President Roast and asked that two new members step up as co-chairs.

Jason continued the presentation by reviewing many of the committees, turning to Tim Stadelman, Rob Stroud and Donna Beestman to elaborate on CECADE, Rotary International and Ethics Symposium. It was stressed that joining most of the committees is simply a matter of contacting the Rotary office and letting the staff know you’re interested and attending the meetings; there is no reason to wait until the official spring sign-up period.

DSC_1097Jeff Tews (pictured at right) followed with an interesting discussion about fellowship groups, prompting members as to why they joined the groups they participate in and how they benefit from joining. More than one commented that they joined Rotary because it brought three “desires” together… “the desire to give back to the community, the desire to create new friendships and the desire to help their businesses…” The latter results from the first two.

We adjourned at 8:45.

Buon Appetito! A Tour of Italy at The Madison Club

–submitted by Kay Schwichtenberg; photos by Kris Ashe

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Buon Appetito!  That is how Chef Andrew Wilson greeted 38 Rotarians and their guests on Tuesday evening, November 5 at the Madison Club.    A tour of Italy through its cuisine was on tap for the evening.


Part of our tour allowed us some time in the kitchen with Chef Wilson.  He demonstrated making pasta from scratch as well as some delicious fillings.  The pasta was prepared with local eggs from a farm in McFarland, many with double yolks resulting in wonderfully rich tortellini.

From there we gathered in the dining room to begin the ‘official tour’ starting with a Sicilian first course of octopus, fennel and olives.   The Emilia-Romagna region was next with a wonderful tortellini en brodo.   The third course was a specialty from the Lombardy region, Osso bucco and polenta.  And if we had not had quite enough with the wine flights and food, we finished the evening with a Piedmont specialty, Gianduja chocolate tart, sea salt caramel gelato and candied hazelnuts.

When we left for the evening everyone was saying– complimenti alla cuoca!  Thank you to Culinary Arts Fellowship Group Chair Valerie Kazamias (pictured at left) for organizing this event for our group.

Recent Rotary Fellowship Group Events

Second Century Networking Event October 22

–submitted by Mike Kosolcharoen; photos by Michell McGrath

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Photo 1: From left: Mike Kosolcharoen, Jason Beren & Erin Luken
Photo 2: From left: Paul Ranola, Michelle McGrath & Tim Conroy
Photo 3: From left: Victor Rodriguez, Michelle McGrath, Matt Goetzke & Sam Adams

The Second Century Committee hosted a networking Happy Hour at Sardines on October 22. There was a great turnout of members and prospective members as well as guests from other Madison Rotary Clubs. The event was open to the entire Downtown Rotary membership, and we had a diverse turnout across all demographics! Members had a chance to get to know each other– socializing at Sardine, one of the coolest settings in Madison. Stay tuned for similar Second Century events coming!

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Photo 1: From Left: Rob Stroud, Scott Campbell & Tripp Stroud
Photo 2: From Left: Mike May, Victor Rodriguez, Trey Sprinkman, Matt Goetzke & Sam Adams

Kurdish Culture and Music Night October 24

–submitted by Rich Leffler; photos by Rich Leffler & Jenny Sereno


Back row from left: Nate Brand, Fred Marshall, Phil Levy, Mark Moody, Candace Moody, Dave Sereno and Jenny Sereno. Front row from left: Majid Sarmadi, Regina Millner, Joan Leffler, Sharyl Kato and Ann Cardinale

About a dozen Rotarians and guests enjoyed a splendid evening at Kurdish Culture and Music Night sponsored by our Rotary Cultural Awareness Fellowship Group at the home of Majid Sarmadi.


Adel Ardalan and Chiya Saeedi

The first part of the evening’s events consisted of a short talk about the Kurds of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, who would like nothing more than to establish their own homeland, Kurdistan. Adel Ardalan and Chiya Saeedi–who are Iranian Kurds and UW Ph.D. students in computer science and electrical engineering, respectively–presented a power point explanation of the complexities of Kurdish languages, music, art, dress, customs, and cuisine, which differ greatly from the Arab, Turkish, and Persian majorities of their countries. In a brief, informative, and entertaining presentation Adel and Chiya did a remarkable job of explaining a complicated subject with knowledge and wit.

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We next had an opportunity to taste some of the delicious specialties of Iran provided by Majid, including pastries, nuts, and a wide variety of dried fruits. Majid also provided superb fruit from his own garden. Cherries from Majid’s tree made a wonderful warm beverage. One other component: a surprise birthday cake to celebrate Nate Brand’s birthday.

After the repast, we were treated to a concert of Kurdish music played by Adel and Chiya on several Kurdish stringed instruments and a unique, resonating, hand-held drum. Music–and dancing–are important elements of Kurdish celebrations and festivities. The musicians were really skilled and the music was not only interesting but enjoyable. At the conclusion, Adel and Chiya played and sang the Kurdish equivalent of Happy Birthday to Nate.

It would take a writer far more able than I to capture the hospitality of the evening provided by Majid and the enjoyment we shared as we learned about Kurdish culture from our tutors Adel and Chiya.

Sharyl Kato attended the October 24 Kurdish Culture and Music Night, and here is what she had to say about the event: “The Cultural Awareness event was amazing, and I wanted to share with other Rotarians how incredible the content, presenters, food, music and rich dialogue were among Rotary members and guests last night.  I so appreciated Majid opening his beautiful home to us and the wise, courageous and talented Kurdish students Adel and Chia who were exceptional.  As was the Kurdish music, food, drinks.  Especially meaningful were the personal stories shared of the trauma experienced by Adel and Chia before coming to the United States.  The deep dialogue amongst attendees regarding the historic, political, cultural and social issues in the middle  east, were very profound on a personal, social/political and global level.  I am grateful to everyone who participated as the evening was the epitome of  the purpose of the Madison Downtown Rotary Cultural Awareness Fellowship Group of which I am a proud co-chair, to gain greater knowledge and create deeper understanding of others and know how we are the same and how we are different, as human beings. “

New Member Coffee Event October 3 at Madison Club

–submitted by Patty Struck

On Thursday morning some 25 new and longstanding Downtown Rotarians met over breakfast at the Madison Club for the first of this Rotary year’s new member events. Jason Beren chaired the event and briefed the group on the schedule for the remainder of the year’s new member events, including Rotary Bingo in Spring of 2014.

After inviting members to introduce themselves and summarize their Rotary involvement, Jason introduced the leaders of three initiatives to talk about service opportunities.

Sorensen_ScotScot Sorensen: Community Projects Scot told us about October’s collaboration with Lions on eyeglass collection; Salvation Army bell ringing and our Giving Tree around the holidays; Tri-Quest volunteer opportunities; and Summerpalooza. He explained how the committee chooses projects by thinking strategically about where service gaps exist in our community.

McGrath_MichelleMichelle McGrath: Youth Exchange
Michelle told us about the Youth Exchange program and about our current Rotary Youth Exchange Student, Kanon Ando from Japan. She stressed the ongoing need for host families and reminded us that Kanon’s experience will be enriched by Rotarians including her in plans such as sports events and field trips.

Larson_DanielDan Larson: Rotaract
Dan told us about the large Rotaract footprint around the world and then described our existing Rotaract chapters at UW and Edgewood. The committee is considering adding a chapter at Madison College. The Rotaract Advisory Committee supports the chapters by helping identify speakers, field trips and community service opportunities. We had a chance to hear from representatives of both chapters talk about their service activities.

It was a great way to kickstart the day! We finished up at 8:30.