Rotarians distribute hoodies to youths at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club. Photos from Rotary Club of Sequim archive files

Rotarians distribute hoodies to youths at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club. Photos from Rotary Club of Sequim archive files

Decade Nine: The 2010s

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Over 90 years of community service, The Rotary Club of Sequim has been proud to support our local community by providing leadership in the building of our current library building, the Carroll C. Kendall Unit of the Boys & Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula, the organization and running of the Irrigation Festival Parade since 1963 and putting on the Salmon Bake for more than 50 years.

We also work to support our youth, both financially in the form of gifts of sweatshirts for Boys & Girls Club members, graduating senior high scholarships, teacher grants for classroom teaching aids,assisting in the purchase of band uniforms and musical instruments for students, and the 20 years of the Harry Hughes Fourth Grade Dictionary Project.

The club, over the years has hosted more than 40 inbound exchange students and more than 35 outbound students to a total of more than 25 countries. Local host families open their home to a student for typically a three-month period of time.

Each student becomes “one” of the family helping with chores like preparing meals, regularly attending school, traveling with the family and generally assimilating into a typical American lifestyle. Exchange students change homes approximately once a quarter with the goal of meeting as many folks as possible and having as rich an exchange experience as possible.

Host families need not be Rotarians but are encouraged to interact with the club so the students become familiar with their club members. The goals is to help students become fluent in English, feel a part of our culture and become ambassadors when they return to their home country.

The club has recognized Sequim Senior High students as “Students of the Month” during the academic year for an undocumented amount of time, easily extending back into the 1950s. Being established as a men’s club it recognized male students until the 1990s when young women also began being recognized.

Students are nominated by high school teachers for their academics, their participation in extra-curricular activities and their community-mindedness.

A new and very exciting project the club has recently implemented is to provide “adaptive bikes or trykes” to children in the Sequim school district who have physical limitations and are unable to ride two-wheelers. Trykes have been gifts to children in the special needs class at school and have been monumental to their physical and verbal skills.

One child, formerly non-verbal has learned to say the word “bike” to indicate her desire the ride! The most recent bike gifted was presented to the school itself, rather than an individual. This bike will be used by trained faculty in the classroom with children ranging from middle school to high school.

These high quality bikes are built to accommodate a variety of limitations and include foot straps on pedals, seat belts and a steering tiller for the faculty to assist with. Bikes are also built to accommodate a child’s size and to be able to “grow” with the child as they mature.

Celebration moved online

Rotary Club of Sequim members had planned to celebrate its nine decades of community service through the remainder of the year culminating with a Celebratory Tea on June 18.

However, because of the nation’s ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic and a need to continue social distancing for the unforeseen future, the club’s 90th birthday celebration will be postponed until Aug. 20.

Join members of the club from noon-1:15 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20, via the Zoom app on an electronic device or in person at Pioneer Memorial Park, 387 E. Washington St. To get a Zoom invitation by email, send a request to sequim rotary@gmail.com at least one day prior to the meeting.

The club has prepared a PowerPoint presentation that highlights its 90 years of service to the community of Sequim, the nation and international projects. A member will share experiences in becoming a Rotarian and a guest presenter will discuss the club’s current community project: providing adaptive bikes to youth in the Sequim School district who have physical limitations and are unable to ride a traditional bicycle.

All are welcome, including former members, spouses of former members, former exchange students and club members.

Editor’s note: This is the ninth and final article in a series highlighting the Rotary Club of Sequim, whose byline is, “People of Impact.”

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