Imagine Rotary Tour to Highlight Projects and Connect Communities
They’ve fed the hungry, they’ve helped beautify parks and playgrounds, they’ve assisted families with emergency needs and that’s just in the cities where they live. Around the world they’ve inoculated millions against Polio, they’ve built schools, they’ve installed water purifying facilities. Between September 26 and October 7 Rotarians in nearly 70 communities across Western Iowa and all of Nebraska are celebrating their contribution to the communities where they live, the help they’ve given to so many in other parts of the world. In addition, they’re reaching out to leaders of their cities, their businesses, their schools, faith organizations, nonprofits, and local citizens to ask what more can they do.
Following the example of Rotary International’s President Jennifer Jones, the leaders of clubs in Nebraska and Western Iowa are planning an Imagine Rotary Impact Tour that will gather Rotarians from across the region at nine hubs. Barbara Bartle of Lincoln and Deb McCaslin of Broken Bow serve as leaders in their respective Rotary districts and together they’ll travel from Ogallala to Shenandoah, from McCook to Omaha, from Arnold and Broken Bow to York and Lincoln to share Rotary’s story, tour communities, participate in service projects and social activities for a cause.
Rotary clubs in these two districts have an extensive list of accomplishments that includes partnerships within the communities where they reside to help with renovating parks such as the splash pad in Ogallala or the Cascade Fountain in Lincoln, or the planting of trees in McCook to providing flagpoles and flags at the fairgrounds at Shenandoah. Rotarians in our two states provide food for the needy working with Foodbanks and Missions in their cities, serving hot meals at churches and filling Little Free Pantries across their communities. Rotary has a motto of service of above self, so often the work of Rotary clubs goes unnoticed by the general public because members of the clubs don’t seek publicity.
“We’re ‘People of Action,’” noted District 5650 Governor Bartle. “I’m especially proud of what our clubs have done to help the people of Ukraine. From the very first day of the war, Rotarians in our districts and around the world, have shown courage, compassion and commitment.” Bartle, a Lincoln resident, exhibited the ‘People of Action’ theme of Rotary International when she personally went to Poland in April to help welcome refugees from Ukraine. And, while there, she helped coordinate collaboration with the International Rotary Club of Warsaw to help support the refugees.
“Members of our clubs in Western Nebraska have a heart for service,” added McCaslin. “We’re supporting a Girls Empowerment Project in Zimbabwe reaching nearly 10,000 school-age girls. We’ve drilled water wells in villages, provided incubators and neonatal training to combat infant mortality and supported cleft lips and palate surgeries just to list a couple of projects.” McCaslin is from Broken Bow and she’s known throughout her district as someone who spreads enthusiasm and excitement.
“It’s through Rotary we truly can make a difference one child, one family, one little girl at a time,” McCaslin added.
Bartle and McCaslin will call together Rotarians to meet with community leaders and citizens in nine hubs across Nebraska and Western Iowa. The Imagine Rotary Impact Tour will begin in Kearney on September 26, travel next to Arnold and Broken Bow on the 27th, Grand Island on the 28th, McCook on the 29th and Ogallala on the 30th. The following week, the Tour will begin in Omaha on October 3, stop in Shenandoah on the 4th, York on the 5th and conclude the tour in Lincoln on the 6th. “We’re involving people from Rotary clubs across our two districts,” said McCaslin. “We want people to know how we contribute to our communities no matter where we live.”
“In addition,” added Bartle, “We want people in those communities to learn about a new project, the Rotary International Community Assessment Tool. It includes a survey, asset inventory and mapping guidelines to help Rotary members plan their next community project.” Business, government and education leaders in the two Rotary districts will have the opportunity to participate in the Communities in Action project by participating in the assessment.
The Rotary clubs across Nebraska and Western Iowa are part of a huge international organization that includes 1.4 million individual members who are part of 46,000 clubs in 200 countries. The international nature of the organization speaks to the more than 115 years that Rotary has been around. Founded in Chicago, Rotary has become an international peace and service force that has a history of doing good things in the world. Rotary helped form the United Nations, Rotary has nearly eradicated Polio from the face of the earth, and Rotarians are dedicated to being ‘People of Action’ as they focus on seven key goals including promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water and hygiene, helping mothers and children, supporting education, growing local economies and protecting the environment.
The Imagine Rotary Impact Tours involve the nearly 70 clubs in the two districts, with representatives of those clubs coordinating events in each of the nine hubs including tours, meetings and meals. The Media Partner for the Tours is Lee Enterprises providing local news and information, advertising and marketing services across the two states including Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Kearney, York, Plattsmouth, Schuyler, North Platte, Council Bluffs and Columbus. For further information search for Rotary Districts 5630 and 5650.