News from the Club President
This is the 18th and final president's column I've written, and it is proving to be the most difficult. During the 2020-21 year, Vicki Wilson and I shared the presidency, and we alternated writing the columns for that first year. I think that made the columns much easier for both of us to write, and we often shared ideas on the month's topics.
On one hand, I'd like to look back over the past two years and come to some sort of important conclusions. Yet I'd also like to keep the focus on the future and ways that we can continue to keep the club relevant, active, and attractive to new members.
Perhaps the easiest way to look back at the last year is to simply ask, "How much good have we done?" I think there are a number of areas in which we have fulfilled the Rotary motto of Service Above Self: mask donations to the SVMC Foundation and the Rescue Squad, continuing to support BROC through bell ringing, donating bingo prizes to the Veterans Home, supporting Head Start's Feeding Families Initiative, volunteering at the Bennington Community Gardens, and working with the VFW to provide care packages for deployed troops.
And let's not forget gleaning apples for the food bank, helping at the YMCA's Healthy Kids Day, having a booth at the VFW's community day, participating in the Battle Day Parade, and celebrating Independence Day with the ringing of the USS Bennington bell.
Internally, we have maintained steady membership levels, attracted a wide array of interesting speakers, and strengthened our social media presence on both Facebook and Instagram. We've successfully transitioned to a new meeting venue and found some great new food options. And of course, there's the excellently edited newsletter you're holding.
And financially we have done fairly well, although we did need to dip into our savings somewhat in order to offset our limited fundraising opportunities, all while continuing to support our scholarship recipients.
Remarkably, we have been able to do this while remaining a "politics free zone" during the greatest internal turmoil that our nation has faced in at least 50 years. As an aside, I believe this has been the keystone to our ability to get all of the above accomplished.
Yet there are also some areas in which we have fallen short, and as the president I realize that it was my responsibility to have made them happen. We have not supported the Interact Club in any meaningful way this year, our suitcase projects have been sporadic, the new member project never got off the ground, and we still face challenges in attracting busy professionals under 50 to our organization.
The good news is that all of these problems can be solved by greater collaboration both within the club and with outside organizations. The best news is that Michael Day will be the president for the coming year, and he brings a more in-depth knowledge of the club's operations than any other member has, as well as a long-standing commitment to Rotary ideals.
Overall, thank you for entrusting we with the leadership of the Bennington Rotary Club for the past year. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with all of you on our projects, and to help continue the club's fine tradition of service as it enters its 71st year.
Yours in Service,
(Past) Club President