At the club’s annual dinner meeting on June 30 at the Cellardoor Vineyard, West Bay Rotary celebrated a successful year of service. A highlight of the evening was awarding the honor of Paul Harris Fellowships to Bruce Malone, Karen Hansen, Tim Dresser and Noel Cox. Earlier in the year Skip Day also received the award. Malone, Cox and Day are multiple award recipients.

President David Wiggin ended his year of leadership by passing the gavel to President-elect Troy Curtis. Before doing so, he reviewed the year’s accomplishments.

More than $43,000 was donated by West Bay during the year to a variety of projects and causes, both local and international. On the local level, scholarships were given to students for technical training. In addition, the club administers several other CHRHS private trust scholarship programs. This year, 32 students’ applications were reviewed by club members. Two scholarships were presented for high school students to attend the Camden Conference, and a young adult within the community was sponsored to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Program with other young adults from Maine and Quebec. In addition three students received financial support to visit colleges.

Also in the youth department, West Bay and Camden Rotary Clubs cooperated in an active Rotary Youth Exchange program, together hosting students from Mexico and Germany, and sending students to Peru, France, Spain and the Czech Republic. The two clubs also worked together to establish a community-based Interact Club in Camden. Interact is a Rotary-sponsored nonprofit, nonpolitical, international service organization of secondary school age youth. The new Midcoast Interact Club has already completed several important projects, including building a playhouse for the recent Habitat for Humanity auction and raising money for two Shelterboxes to aid the Japan earthquake survivors.

Under the leadership of West Bay, members and other volunteers have mentored students at CHRHS who have expressed an interest in specific career fields. The program has been held at the school in group sessions. Another popular youth project is West Bay’s Four Way Test reading program, which teaches a code of ethics to first-grade students at the Lincolnville Elementary School each year.

Locally, major donations were as follows: $5,000 to Five Town Communities That Care, $1,800 to the Camden Food Pantry, $1,500 for fuel assistance for the towns of Rockport and Lincolnville, $1,100 to the Camden Snow Bowl, and $1,300 to Atlantic Engine Co. No. 2 for survival gear. Recipients of $1,000 were Camp CaPella (for disabled children), The Rig (teen center), and Coastal Mountains Land Trust.

Smaller donations of $500 were donated to the Knox County Teen and Young Parent Program, Coastal Trans, Meals on Wheels, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Area Interfaith Food Pantry, and Tanglewood/Blueberry Cove 4-H Camps. Smaller but significant donations were made to the Camden-Rockport Animal Rescue League, People to People International Program, Make a Wish Foundation, Dempsey Challenge cancer foundation biathlon, Knox Suburban Little League, CHRHS Amnesty Group, Pen Bay YMCA, and the Maine Lung Association Trek Across Maine. West Bay also provided the town Christmas tree for Christmas By the Sea. In addition to cash donations, three food drives each were held for the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry and the Camden-Rockport Animal Rescue League.

The club was also generous with international projects: $2,500 was donated to the Yachana Technical Institute in Ecuador, along with another $2,500 match from a private source, $1,000 to the Rotary District 7790’s project to bring clean water to a needy village in Ecuador, and $350 for school supplies in South Africa. Through club funds, supplemented by donations from club members, three Shelterboxes (including a tent, cooking supplies, tools, sleeping bags, blankets or mats, water purifying tablets, etc. enough for a family of 10) were sent to provide housing to victims of the Japan earthquake and one box was also sent to Pakistan. Also, $5,225 was sent to The Rotary Foundation for international projects, as well as another $2,000 for Rotary’s premier project, Polio Plus, which has nearly eliminated the curse of polio throughout the world.

Funds for club donations were raised by a number of fundraisers: volunteering at the Maine Homes, Boats and Harbors Show; The Chowder Challenge on Camden Windjammer Weekend, Christmas Tree Sales, The Chili/Chowder Challenge at the National Toboggan Races, a vacation raffle, and through donations at the Electronic Waste Recycling Project, which is also a community service project that enabled citizens to responsibly recycle electronic waste. This year more than 58,000 pounds were recycled.

Other hands-on projects included conducting mock interviews with four people who were enrolled in CHRHS Adult Education programs and have recently gone through the Work Ready program at the CareerCenter in Rockland. The purpose of the interviews was to provide the people with simulated real time interviews. Members also talked with the interviewees, all of whom were between jobs, about self-assessment skills, networking, building a list of prospective employers to contact, writing resumes and cover letters, getting interviews and following up on interviews. Members continue to serve hot lunches to senior citizens at the John Street United Methodist Church once a month through a program sponsored by Meals on Wheels.

Recently members have been asked to serve as the committee to interview applicants for the new national Wheels to Prosper program, created by used-auto dealers around the country to provide free vehicles to worthy local citizens. In this area the vehicle will be donated by Rockport Automotive.

Funds have been set aside and plans are in the works for a future children’s playground to be built in Camden during the next year.

Not “all work and no play,” West Bay held fellowship events, including a holiday party, a progressive dinner, a 25th Club Anniversary party, and “Tiki Time” (cocktail) get-togethers. Important to the success of the club are the programs held as part of every weekly meeting.

West Bay Rotary meets at 7:15 a.m. every Thursday at the First Congregational Church in Camden. To attend a club meeting, contact Membership Co-Chairmen Gary and Roberta Walker at 236-9477. For more information, visit Westbayrotary.org.