Promoting the idea of “service above self,” the Rotary Club consists of neighbors, friends and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our community. As one of their many ways of carrying out this mantra, Rotarians raise money to fund various charitable organizations and causes, including the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund, the Food Bank of Westchester, the Open Door Foundation, and End Polio Now. The club typically hosts a guest speaker at each of their weekly luncheon meetings, associated with a given organization, who will elaborate on their cause, to which the club could consider for a donation at the end of the year.
Additionally, the club sponsors charitable events including the annual Pancake Breakfast & Blood Drive, held each Spring at The Church of St. Mary the Virgin; and Charter Night, held around February or March, wherein club members honor both a Rotarian and a community member, each of whom have fully demonstrated the “service above self” motto through their commitment to volunteer work in New Castle neighborhoods. The honorees receive the Paul Harris award, named for the original founder of the Rotary Club International, and the Community Service Award, respectively.
The biggest and most buzzed-about Rotary Club-sponsored event, however, comes in the form of Community Day. Held annually each September at the Chappaqua Metro-North train station, the event serves not only as a fundraiser for various not-for-profits, but also acts as a means to bring people to the center of the community, make them aware of the particular organizations, and strengthen the neighborhood bond. Fusing booths that advertise worthy causes and town merchants with bouncy castles, music, face painting, rides, and cotton candy, Chappaqua Community Day is always a huge hit for residents of all ages. The 2015 Community Day is set for September 26th.
If this all seems exciting to you, the good news is that applying for membership is easier than ever! Rates are offered at four different fixed stages (full, active, friend, and guest), so if it looks like your busy schedule won’t allow you to attend every meeting, you can still be considered as a Rotary Club member! Note: While any New Castle community member may become a Rotarian, all must be approved by members of the current Rotary group.
“Friendship, involvement, and community service probably sums it up,” says Rotary Co-President Peter Davidson. “And learning [about charitable organizations] through our speakers program.”
Keep in mind, he adds, whether you are a community member contemplating applying to Rotary, or a current Rotarian carrying out your club duties, “in addition to what we do locally, Rotary International [the main Rotary service organization] has a world-wide impact.” And it’s for that reason why they do what they do, and why their service work is so crucial to the function of our community.