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Rotary Club of the Year Announced for 2019-20

It goes without saying that the Rotary year 2019-2020 was more than anyone bargained for.  It was a year of great highs and great lows.  Many things were progressing on the right track until March 13th.


That’s all that needs to be said.  When Rotary International called for an immediate ceasing of all district, club, project, youth activities it meant that as District Governor our world got turned upside down.  Until further notice, NO in-person meetings were to be held out of an abundance of safety.  The first thing that was cancelled was our District Celebration scheduled for May 1-2 in Kearney.  Initially we were al hopeful that we could reschedule for October, but now we know that was not going to be possible.

You might remember that in March 2020, the COVID-19 virus was a complete unknown.  It was known to be spreading human-to-human, and quite rapidly.  So all contact amongst small and large gatherings would cease, full stoppage!  It was only 2 weeks earlier that we were all enjoying each others company and celebrating the upcoming year for DGE Bob Taylor in Denver at PETS.  Although the talk at PETS was often about the horrible deaths in the nursing homes in Washington state, nobody could imagine what the next 16 months would be like.

DG Bob Taylor has endured through a year of uncertainty, accommodation, and nothing like he had prepared for during his 2 1/2 years prior. It meant club visits “virtually”, and in some cases clubs just were not meeting at all.  Early on the district made a commitment to technology and made ZOOM available to all clubs at no charge.  The district would pick up the tab.  It was challenging and difficult.  Several clubs took the challenge “head-on”.  A little virus wasn’t going to derail their plans.

Some clubs, almost immediately scheduled a board meeting over ZOOM to discuss the future plans.  Not willing to pack it up, Hastings Sunrise, Ogallala and Kearney Dawn clubs all began meeting on ZOOM.  Meetings were recorded and made available to members who didn’t make the scheduled time.  In a strange way, maybe ZOOM was a blessing in disguise.

In April through June other clubs tried “zooming”, but it was not for everyone, and some clubs opted to wait out the pandemic.

It turned out to be quite a long wait.

Not until April 2021 did some clubs begin to get back together for in-person gatherings.  Now hopefully with vaccinations, immunity and the virus seemingly fading into history Rotary can get back in the saddle.

The process of determining the “Club of the Year” was systematic.  I gathered many reports, looked at goals versus actuals. In the face of adversity, who was adding new members, conducting online fundraisers, and still engaging their members.  I reviewed websites and Facebook to see which clubs were active (relatively speaking) during the spring of 2020 in their community.  It would take real leadership to keep a club moving forward.

The first report I had was the Presidential Citation.  It was a “report card” of syllabus items that President Mark Maloney set out for every club in July 2019.  It was only two categories, Unite People and Take Action, with numerous opportunities for achievement.  Everyone knew the boxes that needed checking in order to receive the citation.  At the end of June, there were six clubs that accomplished the tasks from President Mark.  But, checking a “+1” box in membership growth, or engaging members in a service project became more difficult after March 13, 2020.  The Presidential Citation was a starting point, not an ending point.

Other clubs not able to achieve the citation were still able to accomplish meaningful club activities. Clubs were awarded points for Membership Goals, New Members, Foundation Goals (Annual Fund and PolioPlus), Foundation Giving, EREY (Every Rotarian Every Year), per capita giving, Rotary Direct, Interact, Rotaract, Public Image using correct Rotary branding (Website, Facebook) and community engagement.

Based on all these metrics, 5 clubs rose to the top of the list. Broken Bow Area Rotary (Pres. Trish McCarron), Hastings Sunrise Rotary Club (Pres. Paula Witt), Minden Rotary Club (Pres. Chris Hazzard), McCook Rotary Club (Pres. Melanie Goodenberger), North Platte Rotary (Pres. Don Kurre), and Ogallala Rotary Club (Pres. Lorena Beckius).

Congratulations to the Ogallala Rotary Club!

    Membership  Foundation Public Image  
Club Presidential
Annual Fund
per capita
per capita
EREY Rotary
Total Pts
Ogallala w/ Platinum 6 $ 111.49 $ 76.34 76% 31% 2 21
Minden 2 $ 130.04 $  8.33 100% 13% 1 15
McCook w/ Silver 0 $ 132.62 $ 10.74 63% 20% 2 14
Hastings Sunrise Achieved 2 $ 177.97 $ 21.57 97% 17% 1 14
North Platte 2 $ 119.12 $ 41.58 55% 15% 2 14
Broken Bow Area w/ Platinum 5 $ 58.37 $ 5.26 63% 0% 2 13