Welcome to District 5495 News

District 5495 will hold its first in-person district conference in two years when it gathers May 13-14 at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center in Prescott, Arizona.
According to District Governor Bret McKeand, the primary focus will be on our clubs and the impact they are making in their communities and throughout the world.
 "Despite the challenges we've all faced over the past few years, it's inspiring and reassuring to know that our Rotary clubs in District 5495 have continued to do incredible work to 'Serve to Change Lives,'" said Bret.
 "We intend to spotlight those activities and celebrate the tremendous gains we've made over the past year to return to normal. Most important, we want to have fun and get re-acquainted with our Rotary family."
Our district was forced to cancel its last two district conferences due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the speakers to appear will be Nabil Oudeh, Past District Governor from District 7040 in Canada. Mr. Oudeh will serve as the official Presidents Representative for Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta and will speak on several topics throughout the conference, including providing the keynote address during the Saturday evening closing ceremony. In addition, Mr. Oudeh will also speak at the Peace Symposium on Thursday, May 12.
 The conference kicks off Thursday, May 12 with a Peace Conference during the day and a first-ever district fundraiser to benefit The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona.
The fundraiser will be held at the Phippen Western Museum in Prescott. Tickets are $100, with all proceeds benefitting TRVFA.
The event will feature a catered barbecue dinner, silent auction and entertainment by Past District Governor Alan Havir. Western dress is encouraged for the event.
 Registration for both the peace conference and TRVFA fundraiser are separate from the district conference.
Register here.
District Conference begins Friday, May 13
 The district conference officially kicks off at noon on Friday and will celebrate "Over a Century of Service in Arizona." Four D5495 clubs that have celebrated their 100th anniversary over the past 12 months will be recognized, including The Rotary Club of Prescott, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021. 
Speakers will focus on Rotary's theme for this year: "Serve to Change Lives," and a number of clubs and district Rotarians will share updates on their projects and the impact they've made in their communities this past year.
 Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in several service projects planned that weekend at the resort and at a nearby veteran's medical facility. Those who attend are asked to bring 10 non-perishable food items for a project on Saturday, plastic grocery bags to donate to a project hosted by the Rotary Club of Tempe Downtown, and flexible plastic bottle caps to donate to a project hosted by the Rotary Club of Phoenix East.
Programs run throughout the afternoon, followed by our district’s annual hospitality suites function in the evening. The conference culminates in a special awards ceremony on Saturday evening.
According to Conference Chair Mary K Clark, attendees can expect a number of other fun surprises and programs throughout the weekend.
Three Rotarians from District 5495 are among this year's graduating class of the Rotary Leadership Academy.
District 5495’s RLA Graduates, Class of 2021-22:
Susan Bethel, Kingman Route 66 RC
Todd Harris, Four Peaks, RC
Katheryn Tuberty, Prescott-Frontier RC
The three will be presented with their RLA certificates at the upcoming District Conference.
This accomplished and talented group of Rotary leaders have met and exceeded the program challenges and demonstrated the rigor necessary to complete the Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy’s academic program. They successfully completed the Academy’s course of study.  
Each month (September, October, November, January, February and March) of this Rotary year, they worked both online and via Zoom to explore Rotary leadership through the Academy’s six courses. On the average, each course calls for 10-12 hours or cumulatively 60 to 72 hours or more of online, offline and Zoom learning activities for the completion of all courses. As you know from your own experiences, Rotary seminars, and workshops in and of themselves can be quite challenging given the time constraints of our busy lives.  Their commitment is truly above and beyond and calls for a Rotarian’s personal tenacity and determination.
RLA is intended to be the Rotary graduate program follow-up to the three levels of Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) and follow-up learning opportunity for past club presidents.  It is a source for linking talented Rotarians to the leadership needs of our district. The Academy explores in depth the areas of (1) How Rotary Works/Arizona Rotary Leadership, (2) The Rotary Foundation, (3) Working Collaboratively to Meet Fundraising Needs, (4) Pathways to Rotary, (5) Becoming a Branding Champion, and (6) Fiduciary Responsibilities and Youth Protection. Through these courses and conversations with one another and faculty RLA student deepen their Rotary knowledge and skills and enhance their leadership talents.
District 5495 is truly fortunate to have leaders of their caliber available to provide Rotary leadership services now and in the future.
When you see them at a club meeting or district activity/event, please be sure to congratulation them on their outstanding accomplishment.
If you are interested in expanding your Rotary leadership knowledge, understandings and skills and learn about the Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy (RLA), a joint leadership learning adventure of District 5500 and District 5495, simply check out its website, arizonarla.org.
District Grants update.
Thanks to all the clubs who have completed final reports for their 2021-22 District Grants on time.  That's one step toward qualification for next year's grants.
Remember that the deadline for new applications and for completing all of the qualification requirements is May 31. Detailed instructions are available in the District Grant Guidelines.
Please be sure to sign the MOU. You can do this directly on the website, or you may choose to download it from the website and upload the completed, signed form to your grants page.
A side note:  I'll be out of cell phone range for approximately the first two weeks of May.  I promise I'll get to your questions and application as soon as I get back.
As always, please address questions to me, Rebecca Wilks rebecca@skylineimages.net.
John Germ, chair of The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees, visited District 5495 April 1-2 as part of his "Two Drops Tour" to encourage Rotarians to continue their focus on supporting Rotary's End Polio Now campaign.
The district hosted two small receptions for John and Judy Germ at the Doubletree Resort Tempe. During both receptions, John provided a brief update on current contributions made to the foundation, as well as the status of Rotary's 40-plus year efforts to eradicate polio.
"We're so very close, with only two nations left where the wild polio virus still exists," said Mr. Germ. "But the remaining challenges are incredible, and we need everyone's support now more than ever."
John predicted the virus would be eliminated by 2023 and declared completely eradicated by 2026.
He also thanked District 5495 for its strong support this year for both The Annual Fund and the End Polio Now campaign.
John Germ is the retired board chair and CEO of Campbell & Associates, Inc. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
He joined Rotary in 1976 and served as RI President in 2016-17. In 2013 the White House recognized him as a "Champion of Change."
A video of DG Bret McKeand interviewing Mr. Germ on the current status of Rotary's initiative to end polio and other issues can be found here.
The 2022 Rotary International Convention 4-8 June in Houston, Texas, USA, is fast approaching, and so is the deadline for attendees to take advantage of the reduced registration rate.  After two years, this is an opportunity for us to meet new friends and reunite with old friends.

This will be a convention like none before, showcasing Rotary’s ability to bring people together, connect, share ideas, and strengthen our friendships as we Serve to Change Lives. We have overcome so many obstacles in the past two years, and this is our chance to show the world what Rotary does best. We look forward to welcoming you and your club members to Houston in 2022! 
The Rotary International Board met earlier this month and confirmed the 2022 Rotary International Convention will be held as an in-person event in Houston, Texas from June 4-8, 2022.

With a continuing commitment to the health and safety of all Rotary members, it was also agreed that all registrants must provide proof of their full vaccination status or proof of a negative rapid antigen test (professionally administered),and follow all established health and safety protocols.

Understanding that many people delayed registering for the Convention until there was clarity about the event and safety protocols, an additional promotional registration rate of $495 has been authorized through the end of February, and will apply retroactively to higher rates that may have been paid starting in December.

The Convention and Host Organizing committee is pulling out all stops to ensure that this event is a WOW! as this will be the first time our international Rotary family has been back together in more than 2 years. 

District 5495 held its first in-person Rotary Leadership Institute in over a year when it met March 19 at the ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management in downtown Phoenix.
Mesa West Past President and Member Polly Cady is currently serving as Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) Chairman for Rotary District 5495.  She was delighted to be able to hold the first in-person RLI since the COVID pandemic began in the spring of 2020.  All three sessions of RLI ran concurrently Saturday, March 19, 2022.  The staff of the Thunderbird School of Global Management were very welcoming and happy to share their space with Rotary for the day. 
Gwyn Nichols, who completed RLI virtually is a member of the Thunderbird Rotary Club and was instrumental in making the connections necessary to hold RLI at such a prestigious facility.  Gwyn also wanted to receive her RLI completion certificate in person.
 Completing their third and final RLI session were three Mesa West members - Pam Cohen, Colleen Coons, and Logan Harper.  Ron Klaphacke, President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Wickenburg was a member of the graduating class as well.
Mesa West Rotarian Bob Zarling, who had completed RLI virtually, accepted the invitation to come to the campus to receive his completion certificate in person.