Tag Archives: Rotarians

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.

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in Our Club’s History: Happy Birthday to Us!

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century.  This week’s message is shared by committee member Rich Leffler:

Founders Photo

From left: John McKenna, C.R. (Rex) Welton, Art Schulkamp and Bob Nickles

These days 100 years ago were momentous for the Rotary Club of Madison. As you all know, the first meeting to discuss the possibility of forming a Rotary Club here was held on March 13, when Bob Nickles invited three fellow businessmen to have lunch at the Elk’s Club. In addition to Nickles, those in attendance were John C. McKenna, Art Schulkamp and C. R. (Rex) Welton.

On March 20, ten men met and probably discussed a letter and some Rotary literature that Nickles had received from Chesley Perry, secretary of the International Association of Rotary Clubs in Chicago, that explained what Rotary was all about. The group apparently was interested, and they decided to form a “temporary organization,” anticipating that they would affiliate with the IARC. They also elected McKenna as “acting chairman” and Welton as “acting secretary.”

On April 3, nineteen members of the Rotary Club of Madison met at the old Madison Club, adopted a constitution and bylaws, and voted unanimously to affiliate with the IARC. They then elected their first officers, including as president, John C. McKenna, who appointed a membership committee to recruit appropriate people for the Club. Perry had sent Nickles some suggestions on how to recruit members. He advised that forty or fifty business leaders of different lines, many already known to Club members, should be called upon and that it should be explained to them that the Club was “something new and unique which would be a benefit to the city and to them as individuals.” He advised, “Make sure that those who join with you have caught the spirit of Rotary and exclude those who see in the Rotary club naught but possible commercial advantages for themselves.” He also invoked the concept that “He profits most who serves best.”

Typically for this Club, although the Club had voted unanimously on April 3 to affiliate with the IARC, there seems to have been some ambivalence about a relationship with the greater Rotary organization. Welton told Perry of these doubts: “Many of the members, in fact most of them, have somewhat hazy ideas of what the Rotary Clubs are really doing and of the lines along which they are working.” Perry would have liked to have sent more explanatory literature to the Madison club, but he explained that “As the whole Rotary movement is in a process of evolution–not only as to its philosophy but as to its literature, we are not able to send out just the printed matter we should like you to have.” Instead, Perry appeared personally before the Club on April 17. Finally, on May 16, the Rotary Club of Madison formally applied for affiliation.

Charter Pic

On June 10, Perry wrote to the Madison club that “We are pleased to advise you that your application for membership in the International Association has met with the approval of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors by whose vote [on June 2, 1913] the Rotary Club of Madison has been made an affiliating Rotary Club.”  Perry enclosed with the letter The Charter, making Madison, with thirty-three members, the seventy-first Rotary Club in the world.

Rotary Holiday Spirit Spread throughout our Community!

During the month of December 2012, many of our fellow Rotarians took time to make someone’s Holiday just a little bit better.

Bell Ringing 2012 3   Bell Ringing 2012 4  Bell Ringing 2012 5  Bell Ringing 2012 1

There were a number of opportunities to provide service, and we caught a number of them in action.  Some members rang Bells to raise funds for the Salvation Army.  Pictured above from left: Donna Beestman, Ellie Schatz, Christine Beatty, Joe Silverberg and Nan Zimdars

Toy Depot 2012 Photo 1  Toy Depot 2012 Photo 2

Others chose to sort donated food with the Share Your Holidays Food Campaign for Second Harvest Foodbank.  We also distributed toys at the Empty Stocking Club Toy Depot at the Alliant Energy Center, where over 11,000 children in our community received a gift.  Pictured above from left: Lew Harned and Tom Lucas.

Road Home Party 2012 2And our Annual Holiday Giving Tree was able to provide 60 gifts to children at local organizations.  And Santa Jim Ruhly and Elves Cheryl DeMars and Ted Waldbillig visited and shared a meal at The Road Home, an organization dedicated to helping families with children that are homeless.   Our club has received thank you notes from children at The Road Home shelter, and we are sharing a few here so you know the children appreciated the gifts.



Thanks to everyone who volunteered as well as the Community Projects Committee (and our Rotary office staff) who helped organize these activities!

These are just a few more examples of how our Club and its members provide direct Community Service to those who could use a little help.

— submitted by Tim Stadelman, Community Projects Committee Chair

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in our Club’s History – George Wallace Visits Club in 1964

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs part of our celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Rotary Club of Madison, Jerry Thain and Rich Leffler are publishing original documents from the Club’s archives and other sources. We hope that these documents will recall for you the rich history of the Club and the times during this momentous century.

This week, Jerry Thain provides the following history piece:

The Rotary Club of Madison has had many famous people speak to it over the years. Possibly the most surprising name among the list of speakers is that of Alabama Governor George Wallace, whose February 1964 talk was an attack on the pending Civil Rights Bill that was enacted by Congress later that year. Since it was almost universally thought that some version of the civil rights bill that had been strongly promoted by President Lyndon Johnson was certain to be passed, political observers believed that Wallace’s purpose in speaking against it around the nation was not so much to block enactment of the bill as to start promoting himself as a future candidate for President. That campaign, of course, was ended when he was seriously wounded by a would-be assassain’s bullet in 1968.

I trust it goes without saying that this post is in no way an endorsement of the arguments by Wallace but simply the citing of a notable moment in our Club’s history. The Wisconsin State Journal reported picketing took place outside the meeting and there was a report of a supposed assassination plot as well.  As most know, Wallace later recanted many of his earlier views on civil rights and ran for Governor on a different platform.

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in Our History Continued

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial Logo


The October 3, 1939, Rotary News summarized remarks made to the Club by Henry Noll, a native of Germany who had been a Madison newspaperman for 36 years, about getting back to the United States after being in Germany in the summer of 1939 and in Vienna when World War II began. He also noted his personal assessment of the political climate in Germany just prior to the war. The Rotary News caption “Interesting Experience” seems quite the understatement.
–submitted by Jerry Thain

Rotary Hikers on the Ice Age Trail July 14

–submitted by Jocelyn Riley & photos by Jeffrey Steele

Patty Franson & Ralph Cagle at the Trailhead

   About an even dozen Rotarians and guests (the numbers varied a little throughout the day) headed for Parfrey’s Glen near Devil’s Lake State Park on Saturday July 14.  The weather grew progressively warmer and more humid as we wound our way up hill and down dale on the Ice Age Trail that leads to Parfrey’s Glen.  The trail was narrow and rutted, filled with large and small stones and exposed roots that kept everyone looking down at the path to avoid tripping.  “It’s a trippy path,” a complete stranger called out as some of us neared the end of the long route before the somewhat-paved shorter path leading to Parfrey’s Glen itself. 
    There were many strangers passing by and many opportunities to talk to them briefly as we (unexpectedly) shared the path with participants in an event called Dances with Dirt.  Dozens and dozens and more dozens of people raced up behind us, called out ”On your left!”, “Hi!”, “How’s it going?”, and “Thank you!” as they waited for us to move over into the foliage on the edge of the path as they zoomed by on their way to completing 10K, half/full marathons, and 50K/50M events.  They were uniformly polite and some were fun to watch.  One woman carried a construction-paper Olympic torch as she ran “the whole 31 miles!”  And not all of the racers were complete strangers.  “Professor Steele!” called out one runner as he raced by.  “I took your class in 1986–great class!”
    We retired for lunch at the Blue Spoon Café in nearby Prairie du Sac, overlooking the Wisconsin River.  The Blue Spoon advertises “food with personality” and it lived up to its description as our tired crew of ten enjoyed looking out at the river, having some prolonged conversations,  and being, at last, not in the sun, on our feet, or dodging runners.

Rotary Fellowship Groups – Great Opportunities to Make Connections

Our Rotary Club has over 20 fellowship groups to help members make connections with others that have like interests.  At the March 21 Rotary luncheon, members present received fellowship and committee sign-up forms for the 2012-13 Rotary year.  Members not present will be receiving one via email soon.  Be sure to fill out your forms and return them to the Rotary office as your current assignments end June 30.

Below are photos of some recent fellowship group activities.  Other fellowship groups are encouraged to submit photos to the Rotary office for future blog postings.

Fly Fishing Group at On the Creek

Fish Stories Told Here…Some True! 

The fly fishing fellowship enjoyed its best turn out ever with eleven members attending our “ice breaker” meeting on March 8. Todd Opsal and Nick Volk of On the Creek Fly Shop in Cross Plains led an informative discussion on fly fishing. The meeting covered everything from equipment to basic stream side insect life. Wine, cheese and crackers complemented the presentation on fly fishing and most importantly the good fellowship enjoyed by all. Our next meeting is scheduled for 7:00pm on April 12 at On the Creek Fly Shop in Cross Plains. There is a good chance that we will do a road trip to sample some of the trout fishing in southwestern Wisconsin on April 6. We hope to firm up dates for future outings at our next meeting.  Proposed ideas include the ever popular Black Earth Creek, Gordon Creek and a late May trip to Lake Waubesa for Blue Gills followed by a Canadian style shore dinner. 

Submitted by Dana Corbett, Chair of Fly Fishing Fellowship Group

Gayle Langer & Curt Brink

Scotch Whisky Fellowship Group Event

On Monday, March 12, Gayle Langer and Melanie Ramey co-hosted the March Lew Harned Society’s Fellowship event at Gayle’s Cherokee home. Pictured above are Gayle and Curt Brink.  Gayle and Melanie put together a fine selection of scotch and complimented it with some quality cheese and some wonderful shrimp.  Fellowship Chair Ellis Waller gathered feedback from the attendees on what type of community project the group would like to participate in as part of our club’s Centennial Celebration.

–Submitted by Mike Wenzel, member of Scotch Whisky Fellowship Group

Members and guests of the Wine Fellowship Group enjoyed the hospitality of Steve and Meryl Mixtacki on February 12. Pictured here from left: Mike Wenzel, Dick Pearson, Noel Pearson, Todd Perkins, Tracy Perkins and Pat Wilson.

Our Notable Books Fellowship Group meets at Takara Restaurant in Whitney Square. Pictured from left: Ruth Ann Schoer, Darrell Behnke, Rich Leffler, Joan Leffler, Frank Stein and Roberta Stadky.

The Bridge Fellowship Group meets at various homes of its members on a monthly basis. Pictured above from left: Mary Helen Becker, Lori Kay and Jim Ebben.

Congratulations to Rotary Bowling Team I which is currently in first place in this year’s Madison Civic League.  Main bowlers for Rotary I this year are Gerry Thain (pictured at right), Doug Gerhart & George Keehn (pictured at left) with help this season from Dick Goldberg and Mike Engelberger.