In 2018, the Rotary Club of Pacific Grove celebrates seventy years of service to the community through a commitment to enhancing the environment, protecting health and safety, and working to improve the lives of its members and the citizens of the city we love. From hands-on building projects to funding local programs, the Club has been involved in services that help the needy, support youth and families, and promote peace, harmony, and fun in our backyard and around the world.
This year marked the fiftieth anniversary of organizing and staffing an Invitational Track Meet at Pacific Grove High School for students representing more than 20 county-wide schools. Since the 1990s, the club has managed the annual Good Old Days parade where businesses, groups, and individuals tell their stories in a cacophony of color and energy marching down the middle of Pine Avenue. And for many years the club has presented a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence at the opening of the Fourth of July barbeque in Caledonia Park.
Other visible projects range from building the Little House in Jewell Park (and fifty years later rebuilding it to meet ADA standards), providing benches, tables and barbeques at Lovers Point, restoring the Gazebo in Jewell Park, building Washington Park and elementary school playground equipment, funding Sea Otter and Whale statues in Berwick Park, and signage at the Museum of Natural History, to donating funding and countless hours of labor to convert the auditorium at the Middle School into the Pacific Grove Performing Arts Center as a community show place.
Less visible are numerous charitable and educational activities such as preparing regular I-Help dinners for the homeless, donating to blood and food banks, distributing dictionaries annually to all Pacific Grove third-grade students, staffing and funding Rotacare to provide free medical services for the uninsured, giving scholarships for college and leadership training to high-school seniors, and fostering Job Shadow Day for students to observe club members performing their professional occupations.
These services are supported by distributions from the Pacific Grove Rotary Legacy Fund and grants from the national Rotary Foundation. The Legacy Fund began in 1992 when Club members provided seed-funding to establish a long-term source of financial aid for projects and programs serving the city. Investments are overseen and proceeds allocated to worthy causes by a board elected by Club members. The Fund is sustained by donations from Club members and annual fund-raising activities. Current major fund-raisers are a Beer and Wine Garden at the Good Old Days arts and crafts street fair and the Pacific Grove Rotary Concours Auto Rally, one of the most popular free-to-spectators events during Monterey Car Week in August.
But Rotary is not all work and no play. Members enjoy fellowship activities that include attending Giants baseball games and ice hockey at the Shark Tank. Golf and bocce ball challenges enhance relationships with other local clubs. Civic, community, academic and social speakers instruct and entertain at luncheon meetings that are open to the public. Holiday parties, winery tours, and theater visits are scheduled throughout the year.
For more information about the history of the Club, see the book created by Karen Calandra on the 60th anniversary in 2008. To learn about current activities and projects contact the President or membership person listed in the column at right.