Rotary Club of Great Falls, Montana                

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Last week fellow Rotarian Sherrie Arey and her colleague Chelsey Hutmacher at NeighborWorks Great Falls gave us a retrospective on that organization's remarkable accomplishments over the past 40 years in Great Falls. 
Right from the start,  NeighborWorks has been "committed to building strong neighborhoods, creating successful homeowners, and promoting quality, affordable housing throughout Great Falls."
Since 1980, the organization has helped over 2,200  community members own their first home. It has removed or renovated roughly 500 distressed properties and  added  over 350 trees, adding $50 million to the community's tax base. Programs in homebuyer education, including counseling on planning and budgeting for a purchase and preventing foreclosure, have given first-time homeowners a solid foundation to build on. Owner-built homes have given 135 families "sweat equity" in their homes since 2005.  The high school house program has resulted in providing 42 homes for the local market, with the ancillary benefit of providing career training for high school students since 1997.
NeighborWorks reaches out beyond its mission to be a true community team player. Programs like Neighborhood and Business Watch, the Annual MApril Clean-up, and the Downtown Safety Alliance are examples of their efforts to "stretch" the organization to realize our community's potential. We are fortunate to have such a ground-breaking program - literally and figuratively - in our community!
To keep the numbers down, a small crew of Rotarians visited Camp Rotary last weekend for the annual camp clean-up. They fixed benches at the upper and main camps, split wood, put the garden cart together, and took out the bridge upstream in Rafferty Creek. They also got a start on the trash. Since it will be a while till we can schedule campers, a more complete clean-up will take place closer to our opening date.

It was a beautiful day at Camp Rotary, Sheila Rice reported. She was also thrilled to learn, after all her years at Camp Rotary, that there is an upper camp! We'll all have to take a look when we do the super-duper cleanup ... hopefully soon!
It is always inspiring when you get a presentation from someone passionate about his or her work and we had two occasions to experience that feeling last week. At noon on Tuesday, fellow Rotarian David Thomas gave a power-point presentation on his recent trip to South Africa to teach in a program called Mathematical Modeling for Girls.
The strategy behind the program is to raise the college-going aspirations of adolescent girls by teaching them college-preparatory content with college-aged girls as mentors. At the University of Pretoria, David engaged the girls in Geogebra, Netlogic, and Tinker Plots, using hands-on tools and real-life situations to teach complex mathematical concepts. It's not so much what they learn that is important, David reminded us. "The most important discovery a child can make is that they just made a discovery." 
In his spare time, David enjoyed the beauty and the wildlife of South Africa. He showed us pictures of lions, giraffes, and hippopotami he encountered and told us a little about his observations.
Before Polio Plus, before Sabin, before Salk, there was Basil O'Connor. The scrappy son of an Irish immigrant in Massachusetts, he began selling newspapers at age 10, quickly organizing a monopoly of the best routes. He played fiddle in a local dance band to earn money for college. After graduating from law school, he struck up a friendship and then a law partnership with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The rest is history.


Knowing that social gatherings are not recommended right now, we have decided to cancel the remaining March noon and evening meetings, including the monthly social on 3/19. 

The Board will reassess the public health situation after next week to decide if we should meet on March 31st.

Thank you for understanding.


To see how Rotary International is responding to COVID-19, please click here:

For local COVID-19 resources, please follow the CCHD's website at:

For the 25th consecutive year, Great Falls Rotary honored local Scouts who joined the Eagle and Gold Badge ranks during the last year. As usual Bill Harp organized the event, which honored 32 Eagle Scouts and one Gold Scout, who logged more than 104,603 community service hours to earn their awards.  They join the ranks of 705 young men and women our club has honored through the years.
Great Falls Public Library Director Susie McIntyre brought us up to speed on one of our most beloved community assets - our public library.
Our library has more than 29,000 card-carrying patrons and over 135,000 holdings. It is more visited than  our movie theaters and prides itself on being accessible and welcoming to all.
The library is continually upgrading its collection, as well as its programs and services. In addition to the popular bookmobile program, serving isolated and underserved portions of the county and community, the library has a homebound program and an online check-out service, allowing you to browse the collection online, and check out a book to pick up at the desk at your convenience. The library also provides the public with free meeting rooms for free events and has recently arranged for free parking in the three metered spots in front of the library.
The library is 52 years old and is showing its age. Flooding in the basement and the need for a new roof will need to be addressed soon. All in all, though, a very positive update from a very upbeat library director!
Every now and then the featured presentation at our weekly meeting just kind of takes your breath away. Last week's noon meeting was one of those times.
Fellow Rotarian Kelley Aline responded to the call for a speaker after a cancellation and she addressed us on the subject of "Young Women and Fire." Beginning in 2005 after her freshman year in college, Kelley became a wildland firefighter. It is physically demanding work, traversing steep and rugged terrain, digging lines, hauling chainsaws and 40-pound packs, working a full days and many nights, sometimes only grabbing 30 minutes of sleep, and then rising at 2 a.m. to start again. As a competitive racer and former farm kid, Kelley was up to the task. 

Over the course of the next several summers, she met smoke jumpers and heli-repellers and became part of a hot shot crew, fighting fire at a higher level because of her proven experience and ability. She fought fires in over 15 states including Alaska in that role and was eventually promoted to senior leader of a crew. Unfortunately, a knee injury made it impossible for her to perform at the level she felt was necessary, so she accepted her supervisor's offer to staff a lookout in the Bob Marshall Wilderness instead for the summer of 2011.

With no running water, no electricity, and no digital access, life at a lookout is quite isolating. "You wake up and make yourself breakfast thinking, This is the greatest life there is!  By 10 a.m, though, you're down to, This is pretty good stuff. By noon, you're restless and looking for a distraction and by evening you're wondering about the meaning of life." She stayed in the Bob by herself from July 2 - October 10, visited every now and then by some hikers and running into a bear or two. Looking back, she says it was an unforgettable experience.
It was also an unforgettable presentation. To look at this demure young woman, now a financial adviser, you would never guess the strength of body, mind, and spirit beneath that charming smile and professional demeanor. You go, girl! 
Club Information

Welcome to Great Falls Rotary... 
Join Us for Our Next Meeting!

Great Falls

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 12:00 PM, and the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at 5:30 PM.

Meadow Lark Country Club
300 Country Club Blvd
Great Falls, MT  59405
United States of America
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
President-elect Nominee
Immediate Past President
Bulletin Editor
Club Risk Manager
Web Site Administrator
Club Historian
Community Service Chair
Rotary International Foundation Chair
Public Relations
Camp Operations Director
Camp Rotary Director
Speaker Committee Chair
Great Falls Rotary Foundation Liaison
Judge John Parker
Jun 02, 2020 12:00 PM
Covid and the Courts
Evening Meeting
Jun 02, 2020 5:30 PM
Toby's House Crisis Nursery
Monique Hammond via Zoom
Jun 09, 2020
Hearing Loss - a problem for all ages and genders
Mary Moe
Jun 16, 2020
Rotary Bylaws
Shane Etzwiler
Jun 23, 2020
Great Falls Chamber
Tom Moore
Jul 14, 2020
Jul 28, 2020
Big Brothers Big Sisters

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