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Karen’s Korner, Vol. 6: The Final Chapter

My year as President of Campbell Rotary – serving Campbell, Willow Glen and West San José – is coming to a close on June 30th, and our new president, Brad Cox, will take the helm on July 1st. Relocating or moving to a new place is a stressful activity and can take a lot of your time, but you can make of this a nice experience, click here to learn the best way of how do this.

This year’s Rotary International theme was “Be the Inspiration” – three words with so much meaning. Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative. The members of Campbell Rotary have been my inspiration all year, and here are just a few of the reasons why:

1. Our members’ commitment to service is phenomenal. No matter what the task or the project, there have ALWAYS been more than enough members of the club and the West Valley Rotary Community Corps to accomplish the task, sometimes on very short notice.

2. Our members are giving and generous. Not only have members stepped up to donate to the Rotary International Foundation, the club foundation, and the End Polio Now campaign, but when called upon without notice to “pass the hat” at a meeting, we consistently raise hundreds of dollars for local charities.

3. Every single member participates fully. We all know situations where a small group does all the work… NOT the case here. Every member of Campbell Rotary has fully participated in serving our club and community this year. This year was the 2nd Annual Orchard City Chili Cookoff, and I am so proud to say that every member of this club stepped up and took part to make it a success. Our new members jump in with energy and enthusiasm and join a committee as soon as they have their red badge.

4. Our members are joyful and welcoming. Guests ALWAYS remark about how welcome they feel when they come to lunch with us, including our incoming District Governor, Ramesh, who was astonished at the level of connection and caring our club has. He said he has never experienced something as extraordinary as he did with this club.

5. We are family. The connection members have to one another is, without a doubt, inspiration itself. When someone is sick, a spouse dies, or they just need a ride to meetings, we have one another’s back… no matter what. When members celebrate, we celebrate with them. We stand by each other.

So, to the members of Campbell Rotary I say, thank you for being my inspiration this year. You have made me a better leader and a better person, and it has been my honor and privilege to serve as your president. You truly are the inspiration.

Yours in service,

Campbell Rotary Awarded RI Presidential Citation for 2017-2018

Campbell Rotary was one of only seven clubs honored with a Rotary International Presidential Citation for the 2017-2018 Rotary Year at the District 5170 Avenues of Service event on October 4, 2018. President Karen Russell accepted the award on behalf of the club.

The Presidential Citation recognizes clubs that support each of Rotary International’s strategic priorities by completing certain activities. Clubs have the entire Rotary year to achieve the citation’s goals in the following areas:

  • Support and Strengthen Clubs
  • Focus and Increase Humanitarian Service
  • Enhance Public Image and Awareness

There are six goals under each of these categories, and in order to be eligible for a Presidential Citation, a club has to achieve at least three of the six goals in each category.

Congratulations to Past President Peter Allen and all of our members for earning this recognition for our club!

Karen’s Korner, Vol. 3

From time to time, our President Karen Russell will write an article or missive to keep you up to date on what we are up to… or other random thoughts.

I have had two members come to me in the past few weeks to ask if they should continue as club members because their jobs keep them from coming to weekly club lunches. They said they do not feel like active members if they cannot come to lunch. That got me thinking…

What does it mean to be an “active” member of Campbell Rotary?

First of all, it is not just about coming to lunch. Yes, that is part of it, but not all. Lots of things happen at lunch — club announcements, happy/sad dollars, and the marble draw, as well as a great lineup of speakers.

Not being at lunch really does make a member feel disconnected and out of the loop. So I have been thinking of ways to make lunch come to those who cannot come to it. Here are a few ideas I have and I need help implementing them:

  1. Send all club announcements via ClubRunner so all members have them. These include upcoming events and sign ups as well as service opportunities.
  2. Offer online signups for all club events.
  3. Live stream meetings so remote members can watch during lunch hours.
  4. Post videos of weekly speakers on our website and social media.
  5. Put the Happy/Sad shares in a summary and send that out via ClubRunner so all members know what is happening in people’s lives.

But again, coming to lunch is only part of the Rotary experience. At Campbell Rotary, we ask that members participate in two activities a month — that can include lunch, as well as a club board/committee meeting, social event, or service project.

Rotary is also letting board members know about the things that matter to you. It is caring about your club and participating in the way that best works for you. We have members who cannot come to lunch, and they are significant contributors to the club and the Rotary Community Corps. They support the club “behind the scenes.”

All members matter, and not just because of the “numbers”. Rotarians are generous of spirit, active in their communities, and leaders in their professions and professional organizations. They believe in the good in the world and in making the world better for others. Rotarians act with integrity in their daily lives.

Being a Rotarian is about sharing a spirit of service and of taking action to make our community better. It is about developing relationships and friendships within the club, and living the principles of the Four-Way Test.

When the two members who came to me with their concerns heard this response, I’m happy to report they decided to stay. You see, they discovered they are active members after all.

Yours in service,

Karen’s Korner, Vol. 1


Welcome to a new Rotary year, and thank you for being a part of our Rotary family. For those who do not know me, I am Karen Russell, president of the Campbell Rotary Club, serving Willow Glen, West San José, and Campbell. From time to time, I will write an article or missive to keep you up to date on what we are up to… or other random thoughts.

I have just returned from the Rotary International Convention in Toronto with a much greater understanding and appreciation for what Rotary is doing around the world. The biggest realization I had while in Toronto is that Rotary is about more than eradicating Polio. Yes, we are so ridiculously close that Rotary International (RI) is now preparing their own five-year plan and looking towards their next BIG goal for the world.

Rotary actually has five areas of focus, and they are all interconnected: disease prevention; clean water and sanitation; maternal and child health;  literacy and education (I heard Laura Bush speak on this topic); and community development. Each plenary session during convention focused on one of these areas and how it was related and connected to the others.

Over the past year, our club has participated in a strategic visioning process, and we are in the process of creating an action plan for our club’s five-year vision. Here’s a look at what we’ve developed…

Our Vison
The Rotary Club of Campbell, Willow Glen, and West San José is the “go to” service club for the Campbell, Willow Glen and West San José areas and is known for serving the underserved on our communities and for its annual chili cookoff to fund its philanthropic activities.

Our Mission
How we will achieve our vision:

  1. Membership: We will have a strong, involved, and active membership of 60 members consisting of 70% business owners, with a 50-50 gender balance. We will provide educational and interesting programs for our members. 100% of our members will participate in giving to the International Rotary Foundation every year as well as our Club Foundation. Our annual PolioPlus campaign will grow into a public music festival.
  2. Club Service: Simplifying our new member process, we will have a three-year leadership development program for all members and create a process for all members to have the ability to bring forth service project ideas to the club.
  3. Vocational Service: We will develop a scholarship program for students wishing to enter the trades or other non-college routes to careers,  a mentor program for young people in our communities, and  better branding and other Rotary “swag” to create a higher awareness of Rotary in our service areas.
  4. Community Service: We will develop a strong Rotary Community Corps to give members, potential members, and friends in the community the opportunity to participate on multiple and ongoing service projects. We will partner with other Rotary Clubs in our area on service projects, and develop a “big”, sustainable service project that is ongoing.
  5. Youth Service: We will continue to offer competitive scholarships to local students for college and/or vocational education. We will expand our annual backpack program to benefit one or two other organizations in addition to Uplift Family Services and co-sponsor two Enterprise Leadership Conferences each year in conjunction with other Rotary clubs.
  6. International Service: We will collaborate with other Area 8 Rotary clubs on International service projects, and with four (4) other Rotary clubs in India and El Salvador to provide clean water systems and hygiene in three (3) countries.
  7. Fundraising: We will explore other fundraising opportunities in addition to the annual Chili Cookoff, such as obtaining corporate sponsorships of at least $20,000 per year and auctioning off civic leaders.
  8. Public Awareness: Our club will march in every parade in Campbell and Willow Glen, improve our branding and public relations in Campbell, West San José, and Willow Glen, and have a club booth at all Campbell and Willow Glen festivals and events.

It is a big vision, and I invite our entire community to become a part of it.

In service,

Picnic in the Park

Join the Rotary Club of Campbell on October 3rd for our annual outdoor lunch at John D. Morgan Park. We’ll meet at the picnic tables by the ball fields on the Rincon Avenue side of the park. As usual, lunch will be catered by the kitchen at Uplift Family Services.

We hope to see you there! As always, stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for more details about our meetings, projects, and socials. If you like good people and giving back, you should think about Rotary.

FYI: Our lunch on Tuesday, October 17th, will be at the Morgan Autism Center, 950 St. Elizabeth Dr., San José (between Meridian and Leigh), when our club will be recognized for our support of their work.