The District Dispatch


The Monthly Newsletter of Rotary District 6250

February Edition

Important Note: Deadline for district newsletter submissions is the 25th of each month.
The newsletter will be distributed by the first full week of the month.

District Governor's Message

Dear Rotarians,

February is World Understanding Month.  That would seem to make February an opportune time to remind us of Rotary’s theme this year – Peace Through Service.

Rotary continues to do so much to help promote world understanding.  We support one of the largest youth exchange programs in the world, knowing that every one of our students brings his or her cultural background to the clubs and families who host and returns home with a much greater understanding of the world.  We sponsor Peace Scholars to study at eight selected universities in the United States, England, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Sweden and Argentina.  We have scheduled three peace conferences this year in Hawaii, Tokyo and Berlin. Even more broadly, we carry the Rotary message of Peace through Service in all the local and international projects we continue to carry out individually and collectively.

Membership: I am pleased to report that William Pritchard of the La Crosse Downtown club has agreed to serve as chair of the district membership committee.  Bill has met with me and other district Rotarians to discuss member recruitment and retention.  He is in the process of recruiting membership coordinators to assist in this vital work throughout the district.  If you would like to join Bill’s committee or if you would like to inquire about how the membership committee might help your club, please contact Bill.  His contact information: or (608) 785-1727.  Bill has been serving our district as the chair of the Ethics Committee for the last two years and last spring was a member of the Friendship Exchange Team from our district that visited Brazil. Bill’s commitment to membership growth will undoubtedly benefit our district.

Fund Raising: Jerry McAdow, a member of the Madison West-Towne Middleton Rotary Club has completed another successful season of biking for a purpose.  Friends and fellow club members have been challenged by Jerry to pledge money for every mile that Jerry rides, which is donated to Madison West Towne-Middleton’s foundation to help it carry out its mission. It is inspiring for me to see the efforts that a single Rotarian makes end up benefiting so many. It is just one example of the many creative ways that our clubs have found to raise the money necessary to fund projects in our communities and around the world. If any of you have a fund-raiser that has been successful for your club, I would love to have you share it with me.  

District Training:  In order to be prepared for “Future Vision,” the name given to the program changes coming to our Rotary Foundation on July 1, we are conducting three Grant Management Seminars, the first of which has probably already been conducted, even before you read this. The three seminars are in Tomah on February 2, Wisconsin Dells on February 21 and Madison at the District Assembly. Please be sure at least one member of your club attends one of these seminars.  We are having our annual District Leadership Training Seminar on February 9, beginning at 8:00 at the Glacier Canyon Lodge at the wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells.  Registration is open for these events.  Look at the District Calendar on our district website for links to registration.   The Presidents Elect of all of the clubs in the district should be signed up for one of the pre-PETS conference calls on either February 20 or 21 and for PETS at the Westin Hotel in Itasca, Illinois on March 8, 9 and 10. We also hope to have all of our Assistant Governors who will be serving in the 2013-14 Rotary year at PETS fro training.  We firmly believe that attendance at these training sessions is essential for the success of every one of our clubs.

Sadly, I must report the unfortunate news that Betsy Demaray, our Rotary International Director (Zones 28 and 29) and Rotary’s first female officer (Treasurer) died in the last week of January.  Betsy was a dedicated Rotarian leader who will be missed greatly by all of us who knew her. 


Peace Through Service

Rob Stroud
District Governor 2012-2013
Rotary District 6250    

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District News, Events and Announcements

Registration Open for Midwest President Elect Training (P.E.T.S.)

MIDWEST  P.E.T.S. - President Elect Training
March 8-10, 2013
Westin Chicago Northwest
400 Park Blvd.
Itasca, IL 60143

What is Midwest PETS?
Midwest PETS is the combined efforts of seven  Wisconsin and Illinois Rotary Districts for training of incoming Club Presidents.The purpose of the presidents-elect training seminar (PETS) is to develop and assist club presidents who have the necessary skills, knowledge, and motivation to lead an effective club.

Who should attend Midwest PETS?
All Rotarians who have been selected by their club to serve as Club President next year. Also included are district trainers, district leaders, assistant governors and facilitators.  There are fees to attend PETS so all District leaders should contact their District leadership to determine qualification for reimbursement at the district level.
This is a very special and meaningful time for presidents-elect and the training is designed specifically for PE's for their year as Club President. PETS training is a required meeting for all PE's. Attendance Fees of the Club President are paid by the Club in their dues to the District.  If a president-elect is unable to attend, they must contact their governor-elect for direction.
Who should register for PETS?
All attendees must register for PETS. Don't forget to also register for hotel accommodations if required.  You will be directed towards loding registration at the end of your PETS registration.

Visit the Midwest PETS website for more information on:

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District Membership - Attracting and Retaining Members

Greetings District 6250!  My name is Bill Pritchard, and I’ve been asked to chair the District 6250 Membership Committee.  Since accepting the challenge in late December, I have been spending the month of January talking with many talented people throughout our Zone and District to understand what our current status is in terms of Membership and Retention.  It is quickly obvious that almost everyone… everywhere… in each club… is focused on attracting new members.  That’s Good!  It is just as obvious that retention of our members is just as important. 

Mary Beth Growney Selene and her team put out a fantastic Zone monthly newsletter.  While reviewing the December issue, I came across an excellent article on the similarities between The Metropolitan Opera & Rotary in the areas of membership attraction and engagement.  I encourage you to find this article… I’ll be happy to send it to you if you wish… and review the key points.  They include (1) evaluating your current success/challenges in attracting new members, (2) evaluate your current club to see if each member is engaged and relevant and if not, Why not? (3) Evaluate your club to see if it relevant in your community and finally (4) to ask your members if they believe your club is all it can/could be.

The key after this self-evaluation is to do something.  I am looking to build a District-wide committee of Rotarians who are interested in helping build a menu of options/tools that clubs can employ to help attract new members and create and retain our current members.  If you feel as strongly as I do about the value of Rotary, of being a Rotarian, and of adding value to District 6250, please reach out to me at  I am looking for 6-12 people who are interested in identifying and creating these options/tools.  Over 2013, I look forward to meeting and working with you to make our clubs more sustainable and relevant!


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Future Vision Grant Management Seminars

Seminar Dates & Locations

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Wisconsin Dells

Friday, May 31, 2013
Madison, WI

Under the provisions of the Rotary Foundation’s Future Vision program, club’s desiring to participate in the grant program must be certified.  Part of that certification process is attendance at a Rotary Future Vision Grant Management Seminar (GMS).

District 6250 will offer three Grant Management Seminars and the three sessions will be identical in terms of the content that will be delivered.  Clubs need only have representation at one of the three sessions.  It is recommended that the club president-elect and foundation chair attend the GMS meeting.

At the GMS you will learn:

  • How to successfully manage a Rotary Foundation grant.
  • Foundation stewardship expectations
  • How to prepare clubs to implement the memorandum of understanding
  • How to qualify your club to receive Rotary Foundation grant funds.

Click here to learn more about dates and registration.

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Rotary Gets Ready to Explore Lisbon

Rotarians from around the world gather each year to exchange great ideas, connect with old and new friends, have fun, and advance the work of Rotary.

The 2013 RI Convention will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, 23-26 June.

From the bustling House of Friendship to breakout sessions to preconvention meetings, the RI Convention is your way to connect with the family of Rotary. 

Those of us who attend will have the chance to see the broader family of Rotary.  Nothing brings home the internationality of Rotary quite like the Rotary Convention. 

The RI Convention offers unparalleled opportunities for networking in person with Rotarians who share a commitment to Service Above Self. 

Visit the International Convention Website and register today to secure your spot.

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Rotary Youth Exchange Students Enjoying Winter and learning about Polio Plus

The Wisconsin Rapids Noon Rotary club recently hosted our district’s inbound and recently chosen Outbound students. Over forty students got together and had a day of skiing and snowboarding at Granite Peak in Wausau. Cold and icy snow didn’t keep our students from having a great time. Some found themselves loving a new sport and no one got hurt!

In the evening each group had a meeting with the Inbounds discussing how their year is progressing and the Outbounds starting their orientation for the exchange year ahead. As we have every year, our students learn about Rotary service projects.

Be sure to include your inbound and outbound students in any club service projects you have. They love to be included. One of the Rotary initiatives they learn about is Polio Plus. The students will be collecting at the district conference again as they have in the past. They know that we are “this close” to eradicating Polio.

Judy Levine
Rotary District 6250 Youth Exchange District Chair


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Short Term Rotary Youth Exchange for Summer 2013

Did you know that Rotary has an alternative to the long-term exchange program for high school age students? STEP (Short Term Exchange Program) is a 1 month exchange program where a student from the US is matched with a student abroad. Each of the two students spends a month abroad at each other’s home, enabling the two students to spend a total of two months together. It is a great alternative for students who are unable to participate in the long term program. There is no cost to the club, and minimal costs to the student – a $250 application fee plus the flight and spending money.

A few key points of the program:

• A participants’ family needs to be able to host a student in their home during the same summer that their son/daughter goes abroad.
• Countries which participate in STEP are more limited than the long term program, but still many options in Europe and South America are available. 

Help spread the word to recruit strong candidates age 15-19. If you know any of the foreign language or social/world studies teachers at your local high school, please forward them the attached informational flier and encourage them to contact me for more information. More information including applications are available on the Short Term Youth Exchange webpage.    Applications (downloadable from the district website) are due February 28th for next summer.

Janine O’Rourke, STEP Chair
Fitchburg/Verona Rotary

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Friendship Exchange with Southwest Nigeria

I am excited to announce a Friendship Exchange with District 9110 which includes Lagos and Ogun States in Southwest Nigeria.  The outbound dates are:  March 12-22, 2013 and the inbound team will visit June 11-21, 2013.  We anticipate 8 to 10 travelers on the trip.  My friends in District 9110 will attempt to involve the team in local polio immunization efforts as well as visits to projects sites that have been supported by our two districts.  This would include The Wheel Schools (Rotary-supported schools for the children of beggars’) and other projects like microlending or water projects.

Our district’s relationship with Nigeria goes back to 2002 when we exchanged Group Study Exchange teams.  Since then clubs in our district have partnered with District 9110 in 7 matching grant projects including the donation of a reverse matching grant from District 9110 to the Rotary Club of Madison West Towne Middleton to support a homeless family project at the YWCA.

Our friends in Lagos are excited to host our Rotarians.  Travel costs for this trip are estimated at $2000-$3000, and would include airfare ($1300-$1600), visas costs, and other incidental travel expenses.  You will generally be hosted by Rotarians who will show you the same warmth, family spirit and love that my husband and I have experienced on our visits there.  Remember that this is an exchange.  You will need to be available to host inbound team members in your home or area during their visit.  After your return, it is my personal wish that you engage your club and community in support of a project in Nigeria, like the Wheel Schools.

Please let me know ASAP if you are interested in this friendship exchange. My email address is:  Phone is 608-516-1306. Planning will begin ASAP in order to allow time for visa applications.

Best wishes,
Mary Kessens

PS  Please feel free to share this information with your Rotary Club and Rotary friends.


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Zone 28 News for Districts and Clubs

Click here for the latest edition of the Zone 28 Coordinator Newsletter!

RI Treasurer Betsy Demaray was recently laid to rest.  We can take the opportunity to reflect on how precious life is.  Please take a moment during the day to remember Betsy for her leadership and dedication to all the values we hold true in life.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you throughout the PETS season.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to be of assistance to you in your Districts.

Thank you for all you are doing for Peace Through Service.

Best Regards,

Mary Beth Growney Selene
Zone 28 Rotary Coordinator, 2010-2013
Rotary International Director, 2013-2015


Club News, Events and Announcements

Do you have an upcoming Club Event or accomplishment that you would like to announce? Send your pre-written article to:  Click view a Calendar of Club Events.

Madison Rotary Clubs Well Project Featured in Publication

As appeared in the January 2013 edition of InBusiness Magazine.

The Greater Madison area’s Rotary Clubs discovered the true power of leverage when they took roughly $15,000 in local contributions, collected from 14 local clubs, and parlayed it into almost $53,000 through matching grants that tapped into the financial wherewithal of the global Rotary Foundation and the Rotary District 6250 (Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota).

The aim? To provide a new well, water tank, and water distribution system to the people of San Rafael, Guatemala, a village consisting of about 100 households that previously had no reliable local source of clean water. 

To read more, follow this link to the full article from InBusiness.

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La Crosse Area Rotary Clubs Second Annual Leadership & Ethics Awareness Conference

On Tuesday, January 29, over 200 High School Juniors from 12 different Highs Schools attended the 2nd Annual La Crosse Area Rotary Clubs Leadership and Ethics Awareness Retreat.  Held at the La Crosse Center, this high-energy, interactive retreat sets the stage for students to be reflective about their school, how they treat each other and resolve conflicts.  The half-day conference ended with each student creating a plan of what they will do differently to make their school a safer, more peaceful environment for all students.  Being Juniors, they are able to take and implement this plan not only for this year, but their Senior year as well.  The retreat was facilitated by staff from Youth Frontiers, a non-profit based in Minnesota that offers a variety of grade-level retreats that build positive school communities where every student feels accepted, respected and safe.  The La Crosse Area Clubs Ethics Committee – co-chaired by Jodi Widuch of the La Crosse Downtown club and Judith Erickson of the Valley View Rotary – has had active participation from most of the La Crosse area clubs: Holmen, La Crescent, Caledonia, Rotary After Hours, Onalaska Hilltopper and Rotary East.  The retreat was funded by financial contributions from each area club, the Rotary Works Foundation, and the School District of La Crosse.  It is hard to imagine a more impactful Ethics & Leadership event for our young people, nor find an event that Rotarians throughout the La Crosse area could feel more proud of.

If your club has held a successful Ethics/Peace event, be sure to share your success story with Bill Pritchard at


RI News

The Rotarian Magazine

The Rotarian Magazine is our link to the greater Rotary world. The pictures and stories tell us of the wonderful work that is being done, in and through Rotary, to make the world a better, safer and a more peaceful place…all because we are advancing the key elements of social justice, health projects, and educational opportunity and alleviating the dire effects of poverty.

A person is not free if they are hungry. A man is not free when he has to watch his children die because of the lack of clean water or adequate food. A mother will not be free if her sick child cannot receive medical care and when people are not free they will seek social justice even if it means going to war to achieve it.

Our magazine, paid for in our RI dues, is not junk mail. It makes you and me “literate” in the great story of Rotary. Read it. Share it with others. Drop it off in a public area where literature is offered, a dentist's reception area, the waiting room at your local hospital or when you go to your accountant's office to pick up your tax filings. Plant the seeds of Rotary by sharing our great story.

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Update on Annual Giving

New RI Foundation Donation Forms

Club executive members can now download a Multiple Donor Form that is pre-populated (filled out) with details of club members including their ID number. This form is on at member access. Club presidents and club secretaries have access to this form. Also club treasurers and club Rotary Foundation chairs can get this form if they have been registered on member access by the president or secretary. Select the club members who have donated and add the amount of each donation. The new form makes it easy to forward donations from a group of club members who contribute weekly, quarterly, etc. More Info.


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Foundation Reports

Each club in District 6250 has established a foundation goal and the question is how are the clubs going about the achieving those goals? Have each of the clubs done an every member enrollment? Successful clubs take the time to ask each member to make a pledge commitment to the Rotary Foundation. Fulfilling that pledge might involve a quarterly billing by the club secretary/treasurer or participating in the direct deposit transfer from the Rotarians checking account to the RI Foundation account or it might mean a monthly charge to a credit card. Successful clubs establish a process that allows their members to both make and fulfill the commitment.

Click here to view the updated Club Goals Report!

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Attendance Report

Reporting Tool for District Attendance

Check out the reporting tool for District Attendance!

Clubs can view each month’s attendance in a visual graph. Also Club Secretary’s can request access to update their information directly online!

Click here to submit your club's attendance report

Click here to see the full Attendance Report.


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