One last hurrah!

Sherry on the Road

As rotary 2015-16 draws to a close, we look back on the events that influenced and molded the year. The culminating event was “The Conference of Clubs”, held on May 20 and 21st, a celebration of our accomplishments and achievements over the past 12 months.

Starting off the conference, we had a presentation of awards to clubs and individuals: District achievement awards, Presidential Citations from RI, and Membership awards were given out to several clubs. This session concluded with recognition of several individuals for their dedication and service to Rotary. Appreciation Awards went to Terry Lubsen for his work in Microcredit, Bill Beamish for his service to Youth Exchange, and Peg Glink for her work on this District Conference. “District Service above Self” award went to Don LaBarge, for all his work behind the scenes, making sure everyone always received the equipment and supplies they needed for events, and being the keeper of the “District Locker”. The final award was “Rotarian of the Year” given to John Wintersteen for juggling so many “Rotary hats” and other hats, never complaining, going about the business of getting the job done, whatever it takes. We congratulate all these club and individual award winners!

Next on the program, were presentations from 9 different clubs of projects and programs these clubs had done in their community and around the world—to name a few, water filter project in South America, Special Day for Special Kids, Choices and Cowboy Up programs—making the right choices in school, Microcredit program (short term loans for business owners in Mexico), Food bank and Habitat for Humanity programs across clubs. The last plenary session of the day was the installations of incoming club presidents, district leaders and DGE Tonya Watson. The day ended with a hospitality picnic outside on the veranda, with a rotary band. The evening was pleasant, with a slight breeze.

On Saturday, we had a lineup of the future of Rotary—our youth! The “path to rotary” was demonstrated by interactors, Rotaractors, Youth exchange. A former ambassadorial scholar told her story of how Rotary changed her life, and our emerging leaders, our young professionals, talked about how the seasoned and young Rotarians can come together to make Rotary relevant and vibrant for all ages. Aiyana Havir told her story of “the path to rotary, from RYLA, all the way through to being a youth exchange student and beyond. The rotary world opened her eyes!

(Check out the YouTube Video of the Conference:

Our keynote speaker on Saturday, was Vice President of Rotary International, Greg Podd. He conducted a town hall with the audience, sharing what it is like to be the vice president, and fielding questions from the audience. It was quite interesting and informative. At lunchtime, he shared his thoughts on Rotary, where it is and where it is going. It is up to us to do what is needed to keep Rotary relevant in the world and our communities. His presentation was inspirational, and thought provoking!

The most influential event of the year, was the decision to merge two Arizona districts, ours and 5490. Both districts had struggled with membership and filling leadership positions for some time. This is a voluntary merger and we will be forming a brand new district, 5495, as of July 1, 2017. Nancy Van Pelt, from 5490 will be the first District Governor of this new district, followed by our own Jim Erickson the year after. Arizona rotary can only get stronger and better!

As my term draws to a close, I want to thank the clubs for their dedication and service. You all are what makes Rotary work. It has been an absolute honor to have served as your District Governor this past year. Let us move ahead, and continue to make Rotary great!

Yours in Rotary Service
DG Sherry

Update! Status of the Merger of Districts 5490 and 5510

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April 18— The Merger was officially approved by the Rotary International Board of Directors

May 13—An information and organizing meeting was held to prepare for merging 15 specific District-level programs, committees and services.  A Co-chair representing each District is assigned to each of the 15 “Task Areas.”

Currently—Co-Chairs are beginning to assess their Task Area,  identify resources and develop action plans.


Q- How will the Merger affect my favorite District-offered programs and services?
A- Programs and services for Rotary year 2016-17 have already been defined, so you will probably see little or no change. This will be a year of transition between what is already in place and what will emerge in the future.

Q- When does the new District officially begin?
A- District 5495 will officially begin next year—July 1, 2017. Everyone involved in the transition is motivated to do their best to prepare for that date. At the same time, there will undoubtedly be unexpected loose ends and challenges, so assessment and adjustment will be ongoing.

Q- What if I want to be involved? What if no one ‘invites’ me?
A– Step up… this is your Rotary. We are all volunteers and each of us gets involved according to our own interests and available energy. To share your expertise in an area being merged, contact the appropriate Co-Chairs

A– This merger is very complex. Working across 75 clubs and 2300+ people is a challenge. Patience and broad vision are encouraged. Please speak up if you perceive something that concerns you. We all want the optimum outcome.

Q- What is the background behind merging our Districts?
A- For more information about the background and goals, please explore the merger documents at

Don’t forget! Your participation is a valuable part of the merger process. Please check out

Rotary Jeopardy at Mesa West


Under mandate from District Governor Sherry Mischel to make Rotary FUN, Mesa West’s Club President, Ed Koeneman, sought to do just that. Rather than convene a traditional fireside chat event, Mesa West recently held a Rotary Jeopardy night to accomplish many of the same goals as a fireside. This was a great opportunity for fellowship, learning more about club members, learning about Rotary, and having a fun time all the while.

There are many ready-made Jeopardy PowerPoint templates available on the Internet. Some are better than others. President Ed convened a “council of elders” to help him generate the various categories and questions. Categories included Member Trivia, Rotary Info, Rotary Foundation, Know Your President, and Alphabet Soup which tested the contestants’ knowledge of the vast array of Rotary acronyms.


After a great potluck dinner, three contestants were randomly selected from members and guests in attendance. The game board was projected onto a large screen and the PowerPoint was controlled by the M.C. (President Ed). Contestants used paddles to signal when they knew the question to the answer (remember… this is Jeopardy). Scores were kept manually. At the end of the night, Robert LaBarge was declared the winner and granted a Paul Harris Fellowship from accumulated club recognition points. Already a PHF, Robert in turn, made his wife Tina a PHF.

This experiment turned out to be educational, a great fellowship opportunity, and most of all… FUN! You are welcome to contact Ed Koeneman at for tips and pointers on holding your own Rotary Jeopardy event.

Sun Lakes is going to Sweden

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Sun Lakes Rotary is going to Sweden on a Friendship Exchange from August 23rd thru Sept. 4th, 2016. We have space for two additional couples to join us. The Swedish came here last Spring and were hosted by the Sun Lakes Club,so if you join us you will not have to home host them even though they will be hosting us for the ten days we are there.

Sun Lakes Rotary Members and some members of 5510 have been on 24 of these exchanges and this will be our 25th.  It is a GREAT way to see a new country while staying with Rotarians from that country. The Swedish all speak pretty good English which makes for a comfortable visit.

Please contact Frank Wiley at for more information.


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Start planning for you next community project for Rotary year 2016-17 and apply for a District Grant!

The District Grants Committee will match a club’s contribution starting from $500 up to $1,000.

The grant application must be submitted between March 1 and June 30, 2016.

For additional information, go to the District 5510 Website:, and scroll down to District Grant Guidelines and Application.