Rotary overview from District Gov. Julie Craig
We were treated to an interesting review of Rotary activities during our meeting on Oct. 12.
Craig began by reviewing Rotary's five Avenues of Service--Vocation, Community, Club, International, Youth--and encouraged members to get involved. "There are so many amazing things you can do in Rotary," she says.
A member of Rotary Club of Kenosha West
, Craig's term as our district governor runs from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 (the Rotary year). District 6270
is comprised of 54 clubs throughout eastern Wisconsin.
Craig recalled fondly the international conventions she has attended, the 2005 convention in Chicago and the 2009 convention, held in Birmingham, England. They provide a great opportunity to establish friendships and connections near and far, she says. Craig encouraged us to participate in next year's International Convention. It will take place June 10-14 in Atlanta. "Rotarians are really the friendliest people you will meet," she says.
Another good opportunity is our district convention, June 2-3, 2017, in Milwaukee. Rotary Vice President Jennifer Jones, the first woman to hold that position, will pay a visit. Potowatomi Hotel is offering a special room rate for Rotarians who wish to stay overnight.
Now in its 111th year, Rotary International is comprised of 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs worldwide. Craig calls Rotary a "one-stop for volunteers," providing opportunities to do good deeds locally and internationally. These can include "random acts of kindness" and community events, among other initiatives.
Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. Started with just $26.50, the foundation has received more than $3 billion in donations since. During fiscal year 2014-15, the foundation granted more than $162 million for humanitarian projects around the globe (including $123.4 million for polio eradication). "If you want to be a part of an organization that is changing the face of the world," Craig says, "we are it."
A Rotarian for 15 years, Craig is amazed at her rise to position of district governor and participation in corporate functions. "You never know where your Rotary journey will take you," she says.
We are happy to once again make a donation to New Berlin School District. Here, club president Pat McLaughlin presents a check for $1,500 to Natalie Baertschy, Director of Choirs for New Berlin Eisenhower. The funds will be used to purchase a digital piano. This donation is the result of our KIDS From Wisconsin concert in August. "Thank you for your support and generosity," Baertshy said.
Joining in the celebration are Rotary District Gov. Julie Craig and Joe Garza, Superintendent of New Berlin School District.
Experience the taste and history of a neighborhood
People who enjoy dining with some local culture can do both through structured tours. Theresa Nemetz introduced us to her business, Milwaukee Food & City Tours, during our meeting on Sept. 28.
Food and culture tours are not new. Nemetz estimates there are some 500 tour options in about 32 cities. Several Milwaukee firms offer tours of breweries or other businesses. Nemetz credits her great-grandparents, both Italian immigrants, for inspiring her to showcase Milwaukee's rich ethnic neighborhoods.
The seed was planted while visiting New York City one day. After spotting a tour group, husband Wade commented, "You should do that in Milwaukee."
What was supposed to be just a hobby is now nearly 10 years old. "It's a hobby gone wild," Nemetz says. Wade has since left his regular job and is a partner in the business.
Milwaukee Food & City Tours offers a wide variety of walking and bus tours. They are also open to booking a custom tour. While many of the businesses and neighborhoods visited are in Milwaukee, tours have taken customers outside of the metro area.
Cooking shows are driving the public's interest in food preparation. "People want to go and meet the little old guy who makes sausages," Nemetz says. But not all tours involve food. One, popular with shutterbugs, takes patrons to interesting and historic buildings in Milwaukee.
Some of the trends in culinary tours that Nemetz has observed include:
- Allergies: Popular with young people as well as seniors. Those with sensitivities want to know what their dining options are.
- Foodie: Adventurous eaters interested in exploring new neighborhoods as well.
- Generational changes: How changes in the ethnic makeup of a neighborhood are reflected in its cuisine.
- Succession planning: Visiting long-standing family businesses that must adapt when children don't want to take over. "How do you bring an old restaurant to the forefront to make it relevant?" she asks.
Another trend is the shortened lead time for meetings and conferences. Restaurants, caterers and other vendors must become more flexible, as businesses strive to hold events on short notice.