Welcome to District 5495 News

March 23, 2024
Desert Willow Conference Center
4340 E Cotton Center Blvd, Phoenix, AZ  85040
Register for a day filled with your peers and like-minded Rotarians. Click here to register. 
There will be LOTS of learning, LOTS of new acquaintances who will become your future friends and LOTS of ideas (some crazy and some a little more sedate).  You will discover opportunities for club growth and your personal growth as a leader.  To round out the day, there will be food, music and a generally good time had by all!
LET’s get LOTS
out of March 23, 2024!



Full registration; 5 sessions, lunch and snack breaks


RLI registration; 5 sessions, lunch and snack breaks


Grant Seminar only; 2 sessions only, no lunch

no cost

Grant Seminar only; attend 3 open sessions and lunch


Facilitator of 1 session; attend 4 open sessions and lunch


Facilitator of multiple sessions and lunch

no cost

The District 5495 Foundation team has scheduled three Grants Management Seminars in March – two in person and one via Zoom.
Attending a Grants Management Seminar and submitting a Memorandum of Understanding is REQUIRED by The Rotary Foundation before a club can qualify for Global and District Grants.
For a club to qualify for grant funds in the Rotary year 2024-25, at least two club members must have attended a GMS. See all qualification requirements posted below.
Who should attend? It is recommended that the club’s Chair for The Rotary Foundation and President-Elect attend. Please note: A Club can send as many participants as desired!
What will be learned: This 3-hour seminar will cover the responsibilities for grant stewardship, the application process, and reporting requirements. The seminar will also help a club start planning early for a District Grant.  A District Grant provides additional funds for a club’s local/community projects in 2024-25.  A club can apply for a District Grant between Feb 1st and May 31st, 2024.
There is no charge to attend a Grants Management Seminar. Below are the seminars scheduled:
* Saturday 1-4 p.m. March 9, 2024
Glendale Elementary School District
System of Care Center
7677 W. Bethany Home Road
Glendale, AZ 85303

* Wednesday,  March 13 at 5:00 PM Zoom
Registration required for credit (I will send a registration link from Eventbrite)
Click on QR Code to register:
Meeting ID 82249107439
Passcode 51742
* Saturday, March 23 at Club Leadership Academy.
Registration is required, although there is no charge to attend the GMS portion of CLA. The Grants Management Seminar will be held 10 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
Club Leadership Academy will be held at Desert Willow Conference Center, 4340 E. Cotton Center Blvd., Phoenix.
Click here to learn more and to register.
One of the reasons I think many of us love living in Prescott is the fact that we have four seasons and last week, winter finally hit us in full force. We got about 2 feet of snow at our house.
That’s not unusual. We typically get one of these types of storms each year. The unusual thing was I didn’t get to experience it at the time. I was on the road as I have been most of this year. Last week was the President Elect Training Seminar in Los Angeles. This is a milestone marker in the Rotary calendar, not just for presidents but for governors too, where the incoming leaders begin to shape up plans and put together new teams for the coming year.
And transitions in leadership can be a time when conflicts arise. Disagreements about direction, speed of change, key roles, etc. can sometimes lead to tempers flaring and harsh words. But the only way to make progress is to go through these transitions and improve. It is one of the big positives that comes with one-year terms of office. Just like the changes in seasons, it forces us to take steps we might not normally take if we were continuously relaxing in the warmth of a summer afternoon.
As one of our areas of focus is peace and conflict resolution, we should begin with ourselves and our families, and then extend to our clubs. A good place to start is with some personal meditation and self-care.
Then clubs can be sure they are fun and welcoming, and the leaders should be on the lookout for trouble spots where a conflict could arise. These will inevitably be made worse if ignored, or they can be shut down before they flare up by simply giving members the ability to be seen and heard. Usually, the club bylaws hold the key to resolution if there is a serious disagreement.
Then we can be intentional about our efforts to promote peace with projects in our communities and in the world. Those efforts could take the form of a district or global grant or any type of club project. Remember, every act of service is an act of peace.
Most of you have heard me speak about the Peacebuilder Network of clubs in the district. Currently, the network is leading an effort to lobby the Arizona state government to pass a bill to erect a Rotary Peace Pole at the state capitol (SB 1513), which has bipartisan support. If you are of a mind, please help us by contacting your state representatives and asking them to support this effort.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
District 5495 Presidents-Elect joined District Governor-Elect Michelle Holcomb at this year's Southwest PETS, Feb. 1-3 at the LAX Marriott in Lost Angeles. The annual presidents-elect training included over 500 presidents from nine districts from throughout the Western United States. Our 2024-25 presidents attended educational programs and heard great talks from inspiring and motivational speakers. For more photos, visit the photo albums page. Click HERE.

By Dan Himelspach
Rotary International Director

Interestingly our soon-to-be RI President Stephanie often addresses her remarks to “My Rotary Family.” The concept of embracing our fellow Rotarians as family members could have a surprisingly far-reaching effect.

Rotary is an organization that practices prosocial behavior. This means we take actions that benefit others or society - the opposite of antisocial behavior. Prosocial behavior is often associated with multiple positive outcomes, including reduced stress, improved mental health, and enhanced well-being.

Studies have found that volunteering, doing acts of kindness and helping others involves building and maintaining social connections which are associated with lower blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health. People who experience these outcomes tend to have an increased lifespan and experience greater happiness.

I believe Rotarians are happier, more engaging, and more fun than the general population. Is it because Rotary is an organization focused on prosocial behavior and therefore, we are the beneficiaries of this practice?

As you know there are only two ages in Rotary – the “young” and the “young at heart.” Have you ever wondered why there are so many “young at heart” Rotarians? Perhaps it is because our stock in trade is prosocial behavior and therefore Rotarians simply live longer and are happier.

Viewing our fellow Rotarians as family would encourage even more actions from Rotarians to benefit others. By following Stephanie’s lead to recognize our fellow Rotarians as family and intentionally practicing prosocial behavior, we not only would experience tremendous individual benefits we would make the world a better place.
Mentoring and Mentors
As we honor Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend, we get to spend some time at the RYLA camp in Prescott. The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program is incredible. It’s hard to say who has more fun, the delegates from high schools all over the district, or the volunteers who come from a number of different clubs. But lives are certainly impacted in a positive way.
Our good friend and past Youth Services Chair, John Wintersteen, tragically and suddenly passed away before this year’s RYLA could take place and he was always at the head of the list of volunteers at camp. He served as a mentor for so many kids, and for so many of the rest of us too. He will be sorely missed.
But the thing about being a mentor is mentorship gets passed forward. The impact a mentor makes will continue on as those that are downstream from things like a positive example, a good lesson, a kind word of encouragement or even some stern feedback, will eventually lead the recipient to take up the call to serve in a similar capacity.
Vocation has long been called the lost avenue of service. But with all our wonderful youth programs, we can see beautiful examples of vocational service. We create opportunities for learning and growth. We share unique perspectives and experiences that create not only lasting memories but lasting change in the hearts and the trajectories of those we serve alongside, and in ourselves.
As we move into 2024, I’d invite you to take stock and give some thought to those who have mentored you in the past. What lessons did you learn? How did those mentors make you feel? Oftentimes, people just need someone else to believe in them to let their own light shine. Who do you believe in?
Let’s share that belief and support where we can. You never know when your mentoring will create a ripple that turns into a wave or where that wave will eventually come ashore.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
Registration is now open for the 2024 district conference, a joint endeavor with District 4100 in Mexico.
"Two Nations, Two District: One Rotary," the joint district conference for District 5495 and District 4100 opens 5 p.m. Thursday, May 2, 2024, and ends at noon Sunday, May 5. 
The conference will be held at the spacious Centro de Convenciones in Puerto Penasco, Sonora.
Early Bird Special: $275 

Full conference registration includes all conference activities at the convention center and on the beach, and all conference meals! Early Registration ends January 31, 2024, and the price then increases to $300 on Feb. 1.
The convention center in Rocky Point is in the hotel zone near Sandy Beach. There are also many options for home/condo rentals and RV parks in the area. Please see the information at the link below for phone or email reservations and promo codes for discount rates at selected properties. 

District 5495 will be coordinating group travel for those who choose not to drive themselves and there will be transportation from the hotels to the convention center.

More information: cos@rotary5495.org
By Etelka Lehoczky
Rotary International President-elect Stephanie Urchick announced that the 2024-25 presidential theme is The Magic of Rotary and called on members to recognize and amplify the organization’s power to save lives.
“Don’t misunderstand me – we are not going to end polio or bring peace to the world by waving a wand and saying some funny words,” Urchick told incoming district governors at the Rotary International Assembly on 8 January. “It’s up to you. You create the magic with every project completed, every dollar donated, and every new member.”
Urchick, a member of the Rotary Club of McMurray, Pennsylvania, USA, said she saw the magic of Rotary on display when she was helping install water filters in the Dominican Republic. Two boys were watching as dirty water entered the filter, then ran out clean at the other end.
“One of the boys grabbed my sleeve and said, ‘Show me the magic again,’” she said. “Obviously, the water filter wasn’t magic. We worked hard to transport those filters, install them, and work with community leaders in the area to maintain them. But those boys knew that easy access to clean water would change their lives. Knowing that I played a small part in that certainly changed my life.”

Prioritizing peace

Urchick urged members to champion Rotary’s Action Plan, find a balance between continuity and change, and work for peace. She plans to host a presidential peace conference in 2025 with the theme “Healing in a Divided World.”
Rotary has a long history of promoting peace through its network of peace centers, Urchick noted. Located at top universities around the globe, the centers have trained nearly 1,800 peace fellows who are now working in more than 140 countries. The newest center, located at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul, Turkey, will welcome its first class of fellows in early 2025.
“The Rotary Peace Fellowship began more than 20 years ago to equip peace and development professionals from communities around the world to become effective catalysts for ending and preventing conflict,” Urchick said. “This conference will focus on Rotary’s peace efforts and provide opportunities to learn together.”
In addition to emphasizing peacebuilding, Urchick reiterated Rotary’s commitment to eradicating polio. She urged the incoming governors to join or initiate PolioPlus Societies in their districts and do all they can to help end the disease.
“Contact elected officials and other government leaders. Remind them that polio is still a threat. Push them to support polio eradication,” she said. “Polio remains our top priority and requires our fullest commitment, but there is so much important work to do.”

 The year-long effort to raise funds needed to pursue state approval for an Arizona Rotary license plate has been successful, and the next step now is to submit to the state a final design for the specialty plate.

Rotarians across Arizona are invited to help create a design for the specialized Rotary license plate. All designs are to be submitted by Feb. 15, 2024.

The Arizona Rotary License Project was launched in 2022 by Stephen Phair, then-president of the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes. The Rotary Clubs of Arizona License Plate Fund, featuring Rotarians from the two districts serving Arizona, initiated a fund drive to raise the $32,000 required by the State of Arizona to pursue a specialty license plate.

The fundraising efforts were successful, and the committee must now submit a proposed design to the state.

Once approved by the state, Arizona drivers will have the opportunity to select a specialized Rotary license plate to be proudly displayed on their vehicle. Specialty plates cost an additional $25 per registration, with $17 going back to the Rotary Clubs of Arizona.

“We are asking Rotarians across Arizona to tap into their creative side and come up with a design idea,” said Stephen.

The State of Arizona has specific guidelines for the design process. Design guidelines and a sample standard license plate template are below.

All designs must also conform to current Rotary branding requirements, as found in the Rotary Brand Center.

Again, the deadline to submit plate designs to the Rotary Clubs of Arizona License Plate Board is Feb. 15. All designs should be emailed to azrotarylicenseplates@gmail.com. From there the License Plate board will pick its favorites to send to Rotary International and then the state for final approval.

“I think this is a terrific opportunity for us to showcase Rotary in Arizona and participate in a continuous fundraising effort that will benefit our communities across the entire state,” said Kevin Pitts, District 5495 Governor.

Click here to learn more about the Arizona Rotary License Plate project.

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