IMG_0001One of the goals of Rotary International is “Growing Rotary. During her term as District Governor, Jane Helten appointed Rick Brown from the Rotary Club of South Whidbey as “Special Representative” to lead a group in the research and potential formation of a new club on South Whidbey Island. For many years there had been discussions about creating a second club in the area. This request had come about because members of the community had stated they would join Rotary if the meeting time were other than 7:00 A.M. In the course of that research it became apparent that the time of day was in fact the key to a new club.

On January 12th 2012, six members of the Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island, Rick Brown, Sharon Edberg, Jane Helten, George Henny, Collin Curtis and Jonathan Sage, met to evaluate the feasibility of a new club. They were the core group researching and setting up the new club.

On Feb 6, 2012, the “Rotary Club of Whidbey Westside” became identified by Rotary International as a provisional club. At that point weekly meetings were scheduled and the club started recruiting new members.

At the March 13th meeting non-Rotarians were invited for recruitment into the club. As a result of the meeting, and others like it in the following weeks, members were added to the club. This club is unique in that several of the members have joined with their spouses/partners as “Associate” members. And while they are not “official” members, they are as active as their partners. In order to be chartered a membership of twenty-five had to be achieved.

On April the 9th, 2012 the meeting venue was moved to the China City Restaurant in Freeland, WA. The club met there at 5:00 PM with the business meeting starting at 5:30 PM. This proved to be a great venue for the members to get to know each other and bond in fellowship and a common interest in serving the community.

During the provisional period the group started doing community service projects and on April 19th the first community work party was held at Meerkerk Gardens.

The formation of any club must naturally have fellowship. The first social was held on May 7th, hosted by Island Athletic Club and titled “Oliver or-a Twist”; a martini event. Fellowship has become one of the hallmarks of the new club.

June 11th, the second work project involved the club members assembling hygiene packets for Ryan’s House, a local non-profit providing housing for homeless teenagers.

On June 25, 2012 The Rotary Club of Whidbey Westside was chartered with the following charter members Rick Brown, Jane Helten, Sharon Edberg, George Henny, Collin Curtis, Jonathan Sage, Mary Bell, John Crowser, James Doike-Foreman, Gordy Edberg, Katie Grindon, Ed Halloran, Steve Hunnell, Katherine Lawrence, Clyde Monma, Jerry Morrison, Ashley Morrison, Peggy Zafarana, Debra Vallis, Debbie Torget, Chet Ross, Nan Roth, Gwen Jones, Celia Black, and Lauren Pool.

Past District Governor Larry Jubie and his wife Linda, District Governor-Elect Sean Hogan and his wife Carol, District Governor Nominee-Designate Lyle Ryan and his wife PJ attended charter night along with District Club Extension Chair Christiana Flessner. Guests from San Juan Island, South Everett-Mukilteo, and Fildago Island Rotary clubs were present. District Governor Jane Helten read the letter of congratulations from RI President Kalayn Banergee. She then presented the Rotary Club of Whidbey Westside with their “official” club charter.

Once chartered, work was begun immediately on a club logo and trading banner design. After several drafts, both were approved by the club membership.
The appointment of the Special Representative, Rick Brown, proved to be key. His vision and tenacity in recruiting, motivating others to recruit, and organizational skills were driven by a goal of chartering before July 1st. It was six months and two weeks from the first meeting to charter. The club would not have formed as quickly as it did without him. District Governor Jane Helten presented Rick Brown with the first charter pin.

Sharon Edberg served as Secretary during the provisional status and agreed to stay on the first year as Secretary of the newly formed club. She worked diligently in getting the club set up with Club-runner and records updated.

Jonathan Sage, all things techie, and the guru for Facebook. Jonathan set up the Facebook page on Feb 16th and the club communicated via Facebook. He also served as web-master when Club-runner was established for the bulletin. He served as the PR Director once the club was chartered.

Collin Curtis was instrumental in contacting many of the first recruits from a list that was compiled by Collin and supplemented by the six members of the organization committee. Collin served as New Generations Director after charter.

George Henny was a great recruiter and an asset for meeting facilities when the club was formed. Any new club that is chartered must have a past President serve as President of the new club in its first year. George was Past President of the Rotary Club of South Whidbey and agreed to serve as the first President of the Rotary Club of Whidbey-Westside.

A Past Presidents council was formed to assist and guide the club. Members consist of Rick Brown, Jane Helten, George Henny and Sharon Edberg all of whom have served as Presidents of other Rotary Clubs. This core group has proved invaluable in the formation of the new club as it moves forward. Their experience and history brings much needed Rotary knowledge to make a new club strong and sustainable.

It is with great appreciation to each of them for the time they have devoted to aid in the sustainability of a new club. Membership climbed to thirty-two within the first year and the club exceeded all expectations for contributions to the Foundation while completing local and international projects as well as revitalizing and supporting the Interact Club at the local high school.

Click below to view our charter letter
RC of Whidbey-Westside, Washington, USA RI letter