The District Dispatch


The Monthly Newsletter of Rotary District 6250

March 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,

Our incoming Club Leaders at P.E.T.S
(President Elect Training Seminar) in Itasca, IL.

As we approach the last third of the Rotary year, I can't help but think about not only all that we've done in the District but how much more there is for us to do.  I enjoyed visiting all of the clubs and meeting so many terrific Rotarians.  Now, as often as not, when I visit clubs in the District, I'm not the speaker.  While I enjoy speaking, I enjoy listening even more.  I have been impressed with what I've heard.  We recently had a very successful District Leadership Team Training in Wisconsin Dells, led by our Governor-Elect, Dean Ryerson, and assisted by a number of our district committee chairs.  We have also conducted two Grant Management Seminars in the District to prepare our clubs to qualify for matching grants next year, when the rules governing the Rotary Foundation change.  I say "we" when it really was entirely the efforts of the Foundation Committee, chaired by Joe Ruskey, and the foundation transition team, chaired by Dean Ryerson.  I attended the second session in Wisconsin Dells and was impressed with how well Joe and Dean were able to present the new foundation operating rules to all of us in attendance.  The feedback from both sessions was overwhelmingly positive.  Our District is clearly leading the way when it comes to preparing for "Future Vision."  Joe has an enthusiastic committee working with him in all facets of the Foundation.

We have also started with new membership recruiting and retention efforts  Our District was fortunate to successfully recruit Bill Pritchard of La Crosse as our new Membership Chair.  He has hit the ground running and has begun planning new membership activities.  Bill and Joe want to travel together to present to as many clubs in our District as possible. District leadership in general and Joe and Bill in particular are convinced that one key to a successful Rotary club is to present the Foundation and membership as complimentary.  The thinking is that, as we make our current and potential members more aware of all that Rotary is doing, especially through our Foundation, we will increase both our membership and our giving to the Foundation and participation in the numerous activities sponsored by our Foundation.  If any of you reading this message think that your club might be able to do a better job with membership, invite these two to visit your club and help you get going on the path to growth.

This spring marks the last Group Study Exchange for us.  We have a team preparing to travel to the state of Sau Paulo, Brazil and a team visiting us from Brazil.  GSE Chair Tom Marshall has been working with both our team and with host clubs to make this a successful exchange. The GSE program will not continue under Future Vision, but the Foundation has a very promising new program for us.  We hope to have a Vocational Training Team in the upcoming Rotary year.  There are both similarities and differences between GSE and VTT.  Both programs sponsor travel by team members to another country for a vocational and cultural exchange  GSE tended to often be more cultural than vocational.  VTT's will be comprised of team members who are all engaged in the same (or closely related and complimentary) professions and they will go for a specific vocational activity.  For example, Rotary is partnering with Mercy Ships, which operates hospital ships that visit ports in developing countries and offer medical services to underserved populations.  Rotarians and non-Rotarian team members can spend several weeks on one of the Mercy Ships, volunteering their services in the provision of health care services. GSE teams had one Rotarian and four non-Rotarian team members; VTT teams must have at least one Rotarian and at least one non-Rotarian, but can be of whatever size is optimal for their particular mission.  GSE teams exchanges lasted for from four to six weeks; VTT's will likely be for shorter periods, like one to three weeks, depending upon the destination and the mission.  Teams can be sent somewhere to learn a skill or to teach a skill.  The possibilities are endless.  GSE exchanges were generally arranged by District Governors, after meeting with their fellow District Governors at International Assembly. VTT's can be proposed by anyone  If you club has a project that might fit within the framework of a Vocational Training Team, let me know and we can get more information to you about the requirements for a team.

I hope most of you have already read and heard enough about Future Vision to have some feel for other changes that are coming in July.  We will have more money available for local grants, but you club needs to be certified before you can apply for matching funds.  Certification includes attendance by one or more of your members at a Grant Management Seminar.  As I mentioned earlier, we've conducted two of these already this calendar year and we have another scheduled in May, in conjunction with the District Assembly at Monona Terrace, Madison, on May 31. District Assembly will be held on Friday morning, followed by our District business meeting and then the District Conference on May 31 and June 1.  That may seem like a long time away, but now is the time to plan your attendance.  The District website should be set up for on-line registration shortly and you find a link for the Overture Center ticket office so that you can spend Friday evening at the musical "Wicked" with other Rotarians.  We have a block of tickets and a special price.  If you haven't attended an event at this venue, you will are in for a treat.  It has world class acoustics and is a state-of-the-art facility. OUr District Conference Committee has lined up some great speakers and some inspiring programs.  I hope we have good attendance.  The more of us that attend, the more opportunities there are for learning from each other and strengthening our district.

As I write this, I am in Concourse G at the Minneapolis airport.  There is nothing quite like Rotary travel.  This particular trip is with the International Fellowship of Rotarian Scuba Divers. About 18 of us, mostly from North America, are traveling to Palau, which is east of the Philippines, close to the equator.  I know most of my fellow travelers from previous trips and I know we're in for a wonderful experience.  On almost every one of our trips, we find a local Rotary Club and make a donation to a local service project as recommended by the local club.  Visiting these projects adds immeasurably to the travel and gives us an opportunity t set some of our fellow Rotarians in other countries - something not typically possible as a tourist.  The IFRSD (our motto is "Surface Above Self") is one of many Rotary International Fellowships.  I would urge you to check out all of the fellowships on the website. Many of the fellowships maintain their own websites and links to them can be found on Rotary's site.  Skiing, sailing, flying, motorcycling, canoeing… there are fellowships for all sorts of different interests.

The Traveling Bell:   It has been a while since a club has advised me that it captured the bell. Caledonia has held it for most of the winter.  Now that the weather is starting to warm (I hope), if is safe to get back on the road - even to Caledonia.  I understand that no passport is necessary to cross into Minnesota and I know that Caledonia has a hospitable club.  We'll recognize the clubs who piled up the most miles capturing the bell when we get to District Conference. I look forward to hearing from some of you this spring, when you and at least four of your fellow club members take the bell back to your club.

Since they are about to call my flight for boarding, I am signing off for now. 

Peace Through Service

Rob Stroud
District Governor 2012-2013
Rotary District 6250    

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District News, Events and Announcements

Sponsor a Ticket to Wicked

As many of you know and, hopefully will join us all, the district conference is offering Rotarians the chance to go to see Wicked on the Friday night of the conference. You may also know that the current inbound students and next year’s outbound students attend this conference. We would love for them to go to the play. However, that means that the cost of the ticket is either paid for by the host clubs or, in the case of the outbound students, the cost is borne by the parents of the outbound. The outbound parents are currently trying to save every penny for their son or daughter’s exchange year. Host clubs here have not budgeted to pay for these tickets.

If any of you would like to help donate any amount to helping exchange students attend the play, please write a check to Rotary District 6250, earmark it for a “student play ticket” and send it to:
Rotary 6250 Headquarters
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718

Donations must be received by March 20 so that we have time to get the tickets. Thank you so much for helping.
Judy Levine
Rotary District 6250 Youth Exchange District Chair

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Future Vision Grant Management Seminar

Seminar Date & Location

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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District Leadership Academy Announced

  • What are the key elements needed to lead a volunteer organization such as your Rotary club?  
  • How do you motivate volunteers?  
  • What are the strategies necessary to conduct an effective Rotary or organizational meeting?  
  • How does a leader face challenges in working with a diverse group of people who are members of the organization?


In addition to the above the Saturday, April 20 Leadership Academy program will cover such topics as: leadership succession planning, how to build consensus in making decisions, setting goals, and keeping focus on the bigger mission of the organization without letting the little things get in the way.
These and other related topics will be addressed in District 6250’s first Leadership Academy. Participants will receive a number of resources to assist them in leading volunteer organizations. The program will be interactive, providing time for participants to share cheers and challenges from their own leadership experiences.
This program is designed for those who may not have had experience leading a volunteer organization.  However, it is open to all interested Rotarians in the District.
This program will be limited to the first 24 registrants.  If interest exists the program may be repeated to accommodate that interest.
The registration fee of $30.00 per person includes materials, lunch, and morning coffee; afternoon sodas, and snacks.  If a club sends two persons the cost is $50.00; three persons $60.00.
Register deadline is April 5, 2013.  Click here for more information.

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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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District 6250 Group Study Exchange Team Travels to Brazil

On April 27, our Group Study Exchange Team will be traveling to District 4620 in Brazil for an approximate four month visit. 

Team members include:

Team Leader:
Rotarian Karen Hebert from the Chippewa Rotary Club

Team Members:  
Melissa Bender - Sponsored by the Stoughton Rotary Club
Mark Morris - Sponsored by the Madison West Towne Rotary Club
Denise Carstensen - Sponsored by the Medford Rotary Club
Michael Haven - Sponsored by the Madison Downtown Rotary Club.  
The team will spend four weeks learning about the Brazilian culture and have many opportunities to learn more about their respective professions and occupations.
We wish to thank all of the Clubs in our District who have been willing to sponsor GSE team members.  The team will tell about their experiences at the District Conference.

Thomas Marshall
District Governor, 2008-2009
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
715-423-1921 (H)
715-213-3046 (C)

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Brazilian Group Study Exchange Team Coming to District 6250

A Group Study Exchange Team from District 4620 in Brazil will be arriving in our District on May 5.  They will be visiting Rotary Clubs throughout the District for approximately a month. 

The following clubs will be hosting the five member team:

May 5 - Arrive at the Dane County Airport--overnight in hotel
May 6 - 9  Mt. Horeb Rotary Club
May 10 - 13  Beaver Dam Rotary Club
May 14 - 16  Wisconsin Dells Rotary Club
May 17 - 20  Prairie Du Chien Rotary Club
May 21 - 25  La Crosse Downtown Rotary Club
May 26 - 30  Madison Downtown Rotary Club
May 31 - June 1  District Conference   Overnight in hotel

We wish to extend our gratitude to the above clubs for their willingness to host the team.   Rotarians from throughout the District are encouraged
to become involved with the Brazilian team.
Questions may be directed to:
Tom Marshall
GSE Chair
715 213 3046

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District to Host Ambassadorial Scholar

Over the years, District 6250 has been privileged to host Ambassadorial Scholars from all over the world and this Rotary year we’re lucky to continue that tradition.

Meet Urban Zihlmann, our new Ambassadorial Scholar from Lucerne, Switzerland.

Urban arrived for a year of study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on January 16th.    In Switzerland he majors in English Language and Literature and minors in Psychology.  At the UW his focus is in Linguistics with a goal of ultimately working in Forensic Linguistics.  He has already qualified for Club Volleyball at the UW which can’t help but improve his already strong language skills.  Additionally, his interests span karate, music, writing, photography and magic! 

You are encouraged to help Urban experience Wisconsin from a Rotary perspective so perhaps you could include him in a family event,  a sporting event, or travel around Wisconsin.  And do be sure to schedule a presentation by Urban at your Club to talk about his experiences.  He can be reached at or contact Host Counselor Mary Van Hout @

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You Can't Beat Working with Exchange Students

Our youth exchange students and district team are a great bunch of people. We have a great time together and we are making such a difference in people’s lives. The district youth exchange team is looking for people to help with the district’s program. Help us make a difference in these students’ lives by joining us.

We are looking for people to help with paperwork and/or to be involved with the students. We have tasks that are very involved and those that can be done in a short time.

Is your club interested in hosting the inbound students for a weekend? Clubs don’t have to be hosting an inbound exchange student to host students for a weekend. There is also no cost to the club. Typically, club members host 2-4 students on Friday night, plan an event for Saturday afternoon and then host students all together at a school gym, YMCA, community center or health club for Saturday night.

If you or your club is interested in being involved in any way with youth exchange, please contact District Chair Judy Levine at or 608 220-2949. You won’t regret being involved. 

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Please Help Out Outbound Students

As many of you may know, the cost for families to send their child on exchange is high. Our district has set up the McKinney-Marshall Scholarship to help students who might not be able to go on exchange without financial help. Please consider making even a small donation to this scholarship to help our students.

Please make your check out to Rotary 5250 Foundation and earmark it for the McKinney-Marshall Scholarship. Send it to:

Rotary 6250 Headquarters
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
BE AN ANGEL - Often, we have students who have financial needs beyond what the McKinney-Marshal Scholarship can provide. If you would like to help in a larger way and make a donation to help a student who would not otherwise be able to go, please contact Doug or Sharon Richmond at or 608 592-5391. The Richmonds are our Outbound Coordinators and can provide you with information on helping a specific student.

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Zone 28 News for Districts and Clubs

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

It is so hard to believe March is here already.  As District Governors, you had the luxury of enjoying PETS; as District Governors-elect you and your District Trainers prepared dilegently for PETS and as District Governors-nominee and Nominee-nominees, you hopefully took copious notes for your PETS events.  I hope you all enjoyed a successful PETS.

Please continue to promote membership attraction, engagement and retention in these last four months.  Our Clubs need to know they have resources available to them throughout the Rotary year.  Let's all be there for them as we continue to actively fulfill the roles and responsibilities of our 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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