Today was our annual visit from the district governor.   What we lacked in numbers (only 11 members present) we made up for in unusually quiet gathering this week!  We also had 1 guest (Chet's exchange student from Thailand, who shall go by her nickname Wow).   She's staying with Karen and Chet for the coming school year, while attending U-32 High School.   Chet and Karen are awaiting the arrival of their second exchange student from Japan.   Also in attendance was prospective member Charlie Dindo (this marks the second publication of his application to join the club).   If no written objection is filed within 7 days, Charlie will be asked to join the club.   His classification is tentatively identified as Granite Manufacturing-Drafting.   Also a guest of the club was Charlotte/Shelburne Rotarian Elaine Dates, wife of our district governor.

Ted started off the proceedings with a happy dollar for the new flag stand (brought in last week by Bob P.) and now the new flag and flag pole, which Bob shortened last week to fit the confines of our current location.  Roy followed up with a happy dollar for the story in today's Times-Argus about Rock of Ages sale of 40,000 cubic feet of granite to the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. for its 76-story skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates.   Roy said it will give him one more thing to talk about during his tours at Rock of Ages.

Chet then offered a happy dollar while introducing his guest and exchange student, the aforementioned Wow (real name Warisa, though I'm not sure of the spelling).

President Bill introduced our speaker, District Governor Steve Dates of the Charlotte/Shelburne Club.  His first act was to present Roy with the Crystal Citation in recognition of Roy's role as chairman of this year's district conference cruise held in May.    DG Steve began his remarks by noting that the district will underwrite the expense for one nominee per club in District 7850 to attend the Rotary Leadership Institute.   The institute is held at various locations throughout the fall and spring.   More information is available on-line at

Steve noted his involvement in Rotary began a relatively short time ago, in 2005.   He's a Jersey native who attended UVM and stayed here since.   He worked for 30 years at IBM in a variety of capacities before retiring in 1999.   Steve pointed out that his goal as district governor is to help clubs succeed in the year ahead.

This year's theme for RI is "Engage Rotary...Change Lives" and Steve talked about how clubs can make that a reality. He noted that there are 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide and that number hasn't changed in about a decade.   No. America has experienced a loss of about 28,000 Rotarians in that period, or the equivalent of about 400 Rotary clubs.  He attributes that loss to not engaging Rotarians at the club level.  "Our primary customers are the members in our clubs" he said adding "we need to have welcoming, outgoing clubs" to keep up interest.   Good programs and projects will help to engage Rotarians sand grow our membership, which results in greater contributions to the Foundation, and more active, enthused volunteers for club projects.

This leads to the second part of this year's theme...Change Lives.   Growing our membership will lead to more people changing more lives for the better.  

As for District 7850, DG Dates said  we're doing well overall, with a net increase of 10 members in the past five years.   District 7850 has created two new clubs (Ossipee, NH and Drummondville, Que.) and is awaiting approval of a charter for a third new club in Granby, Quebec.   His goal for each club in the district is to grow by one new member over the course of this year, which would result in 42 new Rotarians in our district.

Steve mentioned this year's district conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington April 25-27, 2014.

He closed by talking about the work being done to eradicate polio in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria.  India had been polio-free for a year-and-a-half and he said there's hope that we'll see the last new case of polio in those four countries by the end of the Rotary year.

President Bill presented DG Steve a club banner, and had him pull the winning ticket, which went to Roy.   No luck on the marble draw however.

Check our web site home page for details on upcoming programs.