Rotary Rewind – Aug. 6, 2023
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Statistics on partisan polarization presented as part of our program last week by the SAGE Citizen Project.
If you did not make it to our last Rotary Club of Forest Grove meeting, here is what you missed…
This Week (And Future Weeks) At The Cornelius Public Library: With construction taking place at Pacific University, and our regular meeting space being utilized as classrooms, our weekly meetings will be off campus for the foreseeable future. Beginning this week, our regular meeting place will be the Cornelius Public Library, 1370 N. Adair St., Cornelius. Please plan your Wednesdays accordingly.
Name Badges – The Rules Have Changed: With the move to the Cornelius Public Library, members were asked to take their badges home with them at last week’s meeting. Normally, we would fine members for taking their badges home…but it is now the opposite. Please bring your own badge to the meeting to avoid a $1 fine. All fine money collected goes towards the club’s contribution to the PolioPlus fund.
If you were unable to pick up your name badge when we were at Pacific, please let President Amy or secretary Janet Peters know to see if arrangements can be made to reunite you with your badge.
Changes In Lunches – Advance Orders: With our meetings moving away from Pacific University, we are struggling to find the right number of lunches to provide for our meetings. For the last few meetings, the club has had to pay for lunches that went unclaimed at a cost of $15 per lunch.
In order to try and mitigate these costs, the club is going to try a pre-order approach for lunches. There will be two ways to order your lunch:
- Sign up for lunch on a sign-up sheet that will be distributed at weekly meetings.
- Email email@example.com by no later than noon on Friday before the following week’s meeting.
Lunches will only be ordered for those who pre-order. If you order lunch, your account will be charged regardless of your attendance. The club cannot continue to subsidize the cost.
If you have questions or feedback, please contact President Amy Tracewell.
Thank you for your patience as we work through this change in our weekly meeting location and logistics.
Golf Tournament Next Week: Our annual golf tournament is coming up on at Sunset Grove Golf Course. Join us for this social event and nine holes of golf with some unique rules to make it fun (such as teeing off from your knees, hitting blindfolded, etc.). Non-Rotarians are welcome to participate. Lunch for all members will be available at noon with the golf portion of the day commencing at 1 p.m. As per our new procedures, you must pre-order lunch in advance by no later than Friday, Aug. 11.
Did we mention string?! Be sure to bring plenty of cash to purchase string to help your chances of winning (and reduce the number of strokes needed to do so).
For more information, or to register to play in the tournament, contact Tim Schauermann.
Steak Feed Update: The money is all in and we can now report that the 2023 Steak Feed was our best ever! We made $9,460 as a club, which will go to benefit our involvement in the Rotary Youth Exchange program. Thank you everyone for your hard work and especially to Geoff Faris and the Steak Feed committee!
Concours d’Elegance Committee: If you are interested in getting further involved with the Concours d’Elegance, our annual car show, the steering committee is always looking for volunteers to prepare for the show throughout the year. For more information, contact Tom Raabe or Geoff Johnston.
Nyuzen Sister City Recognition: The City of Forest Grove’s Sister City Committee is looking for local businesses who would like to participate in a video celebrating the 70th anniversary of the city’s sister city relationship with Nyuzen, Japan.
The video would involve local businesses holding a 70th anniversary banner and will be presented in Japan to the people of Nzuyen in late September. Filming takes just a few minutes and can be done on August 11 or August 16.
If you are interested in participating with this project, please contact Pat Truax at 503-310-7740 or firstname.lastname@example.org and she will schedule a time with you. Thank you in advance for your support of the sister city program.
Past Programs: Did you miss a meeting or want to go back and check out a program again? Most of our programs since May 2020 (over 100 videos to date) are archived on our club’s YouTube page. Visit https://bit.ly/fgrotaryprograms.
Service Opportunities For Club Members
Corn Roast: The Forest Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce’s annual Corn Roast & Harvest Festival will take place on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. along 21st Avenue and College Way adjacent to the Pacific University campus. The chamber, as they do every year, is looking for volunteers to help with set-up, takedown, trash collecting and more.
If you are interested in volunteering, please visit the event’s Volunteer Sign-Up Page to select your spot. If you have any questions, please contact Claudia Yakos at 503-720-8133 or email@example.com.
Forest Grove Oktoberfest: The City Club of Forest Grove will be conducting its third annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, Sept. 23, 1-7 p.m., in downtown Forest Grove. This family-friendly event is expected to be larger than ever with vendors, activities, music food and beverage.
The organizing committee has asked if our club would like to have a booth. They have also asked if the club would come up with a carnival-like activity to have at the booth. If you are interested in spearheading this for the club, or if you have ideas, please let President Amy know.
There are also a number of volunteer opportunities to help make the event a success. Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and either a 2023 Oktoberfest commemorative stein or a food voucher.
FGHS Community Food Pantry: Our club’s support for the Forest Grove High School Food Pantry continues. Thanks to its partnership with the Oregon Food Bank, food donations are still welcome but are of less need at this time. Of need, however, are toiletries and hygiene products as well as household cleaning materials.
During the summer, the Food Pantry is open Mondays from 2-3:30 p.m. The pantry will be closed on July 24 and Sept. 4. The pantry is located along Nichols Lane between the football field and the Basinski Center. Click Here for more information on the FGHS Food Pantry and on other resources for those experiencing food insecurity.
Additionally, Rotarian Gwen Hullinger has put together an Amazon wish list of items that can be purchased and donated. Click Here To View That List.
Around District 5100
Vibrant Club Workshop: Club leaders (and anyone looking to help Rotary grow) should mark their calendars for Saturday, Sept. 30, for District 5100’s Vibrant Club Workshop. Designed to help club’s grow and become more educated about Rotary, the workshop will go over foundation work, public image, membership and much more. Information on time and location will be forthcoming.
District 5100 Newsletter: Click Here To View The Monthly District 5100 Newsletter
Around Rotary International
A Mission To Help The World Go Green (from August 2023 Rotary magazine): In 2005, midway through a two-year assignment with the Peace Corps, Kristin Wegner Guilfoyle returned home to Illinois to attend a friend’s wedding. That’s when fate came striding down the aisle.
At the reception, Wegner Guilfoyle was seated at a table with a judge who was a member of the Rotary Club of Joliet. Wegner Guilfoyle told the judge about her work with biosand water filters in the Dominican Republic. The next week, at the judge’s invitation, she spoke to the Joliet club — and, after she returned to her Peace Corps posting, club members provided her with financial and practical support, as well as some invaluable guidance about the direction of her life.
“It was completely serendipitous,” says Wegner Guilfoyle, looking back at the chance seating arrangements at the wedding. “To be honest, I didn’t know where I fit in when I started with the Peace Corps. Rotary helped me see how to use some of my different skills in applicable ways to make a difference.”
Eighteen years after that fortunate encounter at her friend’s wedding, and with the knowledge gained from her Peace Corps experience, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, and her own Rotary service, Wegner Guilfoyle has a clearly defined mission: to help the world go green. That impulse was there from the beginning.
“Part of my childhood was learning about the environment,” she says. “We always did stuff outdoors, and I would go to environmental education camp. And I remember writing a letter to the local newspaper about pollution.” At Purdue University, she began pursuing a degree in civil engineering, but the classes she took, and the emotional impact of the 9/11 attacks, changed her course. “The more I studied and learned,” she says, “the more I wanted to work on peace and sustainability and create a positive change in the world.”
After graduation, Wegner Guilfoyle joined the Peace Corps for the two-year assignment in the Dominican Republic. She extended her stay for a third year after the Joliet club arranged for more than $11,000 in funding for the biosand filters project. What’s more, two members who were civil engineers — Harold Hamilton and Dan Malinowski, still members all these years later — visited Wegner Guilfoyle in the Dominican Republic, providing technical expertise about water filtration and sustainability.
As she worked alongside her mentors, Wegner Guilfoyle guided members of a youth group called Brigada Verde: the green brigade. She taught several high school students how to use the water filters, and they deployed across the country to train other students and adults. In addition to collaborating with rural and urban communities on water, sanitation, and education projects, that opportunity to offer lessons in “leadership development” remains one of her proudest Peace Corps achievements.
Having a better sense of her career path, Wegner Guilfoyle made her next stop Boulder, Colorado, where she earned a master’s degree in environmental leadership at Naropa University. While interviewing Peace Corps volunteers for her thesis on the impact of storytelling, she connected with Steve Werner, a former Peace Corps volunteer and a member of the Rotary Club of Denver Southeast. She began speaking at Rotary clubs, which led to the Rotary Club of Boulder Flatirons sponsoring her for an Ambassadorial Scholarship.
In the Peace Corps, Wegner Guilfoyle had read Gaviotas, Alan Weisman’s account of a village in a desolate region of Colombia that used modern technologies to establish itself as a thriving and sustainable community. Inspired by the book, Wegner Guilfoyle chose to continue her environmental studies in Colombia at Universidad de los Andes and the Sasana institute.
Through a student at Sasana, Wegner Guilfoyle made another opportune acquaintance, a Microsoft employee who was leading a technology project with an Indigenous group in Colombia. From that connection grew an endeavor that would engage her for nearly a decade. Backed by funds from multiple Rotary clubs, District 5450 (northern Colorado), and The Rotary Foundation, Weg-ner Guilfoyle managed a project that provided solar panels and vaccines, rebuilt a school, and launched an organic coffee cooperative, Amas la Sierra, in Sogrome, a remote village in the Santa Marta Mountains of northern Colombia.
Wegner Guilfoyle accomplished all this while she held a full-time job with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, participated in community projects with the Boulder Flatirons club (which she joined in 2013), and began her pursuit of a PhD at the University of Colorado Denver. Her dissertation focused on efforts by four U.S. cities to mitigate climate change, a topic inspired by her work among the Arhuaco people in Sogrome, where men wear white hats to symbolize their reverence for the ice-capped mountains that surround them.
“Seeing the impacts of climate change on [the Arhuaco] — they’re losing access to the water reserves in the ice — and knowing that I live in a country that’s contributing to that, I focused my dissertation on the U.S., because we’ve got a lot of work to do,” says Wegner Guilfoyle. “I wanted to look at what I can do in the place that I live.”
Having joined the quest for clean energy at her new job — at the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, which is based at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory — and with two young children, Wegner Guilfoyle has, for the time being, stepped away from the Boulder Flatirons club. But seemingly the impulse to mentor can be one of the traits of a good mother.
“Having kids reinforced my commitment to working in sustainability,” she says. “I want to continue to model environmental leadership for them and show them ways to collaborate and innovate. People say, ‘Kids are the future and they have to figure it out.’ But I think we have to demonstrate leadership to them by finding ways to solve things so their future challenges aren’t as overwhelming.”
This story was originally published in the August 2023 Rotary magazine.
Last Week’s Program: William Howe, SAGE Citizen Project
Last week, we welcomed William Howe of Senior Advocates for Generational Equity (SAGE), who spoke to us about the organization’s Citizen Project.
A non-profit, non-partisan organization, SAGE’s mission is to inspire people over 50 to give forward with their time, money and voice so that younger and future generations can thrive. SAGE’s motto is that communities can grow when elders plant seeds that communities enjoy the shade of.
The Citizen Project addresses the challenging trends in the U.S. that show that the nation is growing increasingly divided along political and other lines and growing more hostile toward people who hold different views. The project aims to collaborate with other groups to address polarization issues in communities and families.
Howe presented a handout with a number of statistics related to partisan polarization. According to PEW Research, before the 2020 election, only about one in five Trump and Biden supporters said that they shared the same core American values and goals. The handout also referenced a Gallop poll that shows that Americans are increasingly less confident in many of the nation’s institutions, including Congress, the media, the U.S. Supreme Court, organized religion, police, military and others.
The handout referenced another PEW poll that shows that increasing numbers of people, both Republicans and Democrats, believe that members of the opposite party are closed-minded, dishonest, immoral, unintelligent and lazy.
Howe discussed how in the past, if people did not agree on issues, they would not refer to the ones they disagreed with in those terms. He referenced the state of Iowa, which voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections as a state but then voted from Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. He also referenced speeches by former Oregon governor John Kitzhaber, who talked about how legislators would often get together for beverages after sessions despite their adamant differences.
In the past, Howe said, it has been historically over issues related to foreign policy. The concept of votes in Congress going largely along party lines, Howe said, is very unusual in the long history of the U.S. When you only vote based on what team you are on, he said, you can’t lead.
Where do we go from here? Howe believes that the easy thing to do, but the unproductive thing to do, is to blame others. He rhetorically asked how many times we have voted for a candidate in the opposite party? How many times have we discussed hot-button issues with someone with divergent viewpoints in a respectful manner?
In conclusion, Howe said that he is a big fan Rotary and the work that Rotary does. He encouraged our club to think about taking on the issue of polarization as a community cause. He believes that groups like Rotary have more power and can magnify more than what just individuals can do.
You can learn more the SAGE Citizen Project at the project’s website.
As part of the presentation, Howe shared the poem “Practicing The Complex Yes” by former Oregon poet laureate Kim Stafford, which was written for a SAGE conference:
When you disagree with a friend,
a stranger, or a foe, how do you
reply but not say simply No?
For No can stop the conversation
or turn it into argument or worse —
the conversation that must go on, as a river
must, a friendship, a troubled nation.
So may we practice the repertoire
of complex yes:
Yes, and in what you say I see…
Yes, and at the same time…
Yes, and what if…?
Yes, I hear you, and how…?
Yes, and there’s an old story…
Yes, and as the old song goes…
Yes, and as a child told me once…
Yes. Yes, tell me more. I want to understand…
and then I want to tell you how it is for me….
Wed., Aug. 9: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Cornelius Public Library, 1370 N. Adair St., Cornelius
Program: Carl Heisler & Tim Schauermann, Club History
Thurs., Aug. 10: Executive Board Meeting, 7 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 16: Golf Tournament
Lunch at noon, golf at 1 p.m.
Sunset Grove Golf Course, 41615 NW Osterman Rd., Forest Grove
Thurs., Aug. 17: Board Meeting, 7 a.m.
Wed., Aug. 23: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Cornelius Public Library, 1370 N. Adair St., Cornelius
Program: Club Assembly