Tony Bates of Rockport has been elected president of Camden Rotary Club, replacing Jim Bowditch of Camden.

During the club’s recent annual meeting at the Samoset Resort, Bowditch reported that the club donated $52,000 during the past year, about half to local charities and half to graduates of Camden Hills Regional High School in the form of scholarships and achievement awards.

The club broke new ground in obtaining a Rotary District grant for Sarah’s House, a place where cancer patients will be able to stay when they travel to the Bangor area for treatment. The club is one of many involved in this project.

Bates recently attended the Rotary International Annual Convention in Lisbon, Portugal and returned with a greater awareness of the organization's global reach, which includes participation in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and many other activities.

"When you become aware of Rotary's many wonderful projects, your heart swells with pride and your mind is filled with what is possible," Bates said. "I realized at the convention what it meant to teach a child to read, or to remove cataracts from a woman's eyes so that her granddaughter can go to school instead of staying home to care for her."

A highlight of the meeting was the presentation of Paul Harris service awards — named for the founder of Rotary International and given in recognition of outstanding service—  to Karen K. Hansen of West Bay Rotary, and Camden Rotarians Dave Jackson, Jean Burleson and V.O. Harkness.