Saturday, March 02, 2024

Keyes shares update on Sandpoint Rotary, programs

| July 12, 2022 1:00 AM

Sandpoint Rotary Club recently celebrated its 56th year of making a difference here, in our country and the world.

Outgoing Sandpoint Rotary President David Keyes became club president last July 1 and as his term comes to an end, he answered a few questions about Rotary.

  1. What is Rotary? According to, Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million “neighbors, friends, leaders and problem solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.”
2. Does it mean something different here? With more than 46,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries, Rotary has many different focuses but there are a few guiding principles for all clubs. Rotary’s motto is: Service Above Self.

We also apply the 4-way test:

Of the things we think say or do:

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

And will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Our club this year added:

And will it be fun?

Each club is unique and is a reflection of its members as well as the needs of the community.

 3. What is the main focus of Sandpoint Rotary? Youth. While we have many interests, nearest to our hearts are our youth. Whether it is sponsoring the Book Trust, building a playground, sending out and receiving exchange students, hosting student leadership camps, overseeing Interact clubs in the high schools and funding and recognizing youth activities, we are all over it.
4. Any focus on older students? This year we awarded $25,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors – the most we have ever given. Rotary is second only to the US government in the amount of scholarship dollars given every year. We are also focusing on career tech students by establishing scholarships for them with proceeds from a golf tournament we are holding at the Idaho Club on Aug. 29.
5. What about fighting polio? Rotary has been leading the international fight against polio since the 1980s. Our financial commitment has topped a billion dollars, Polio is close to being eradicated and is down to four new cases in the entire world and they are in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We had a Sandpoint Rotarian recently go to India as part of a polio inoculation clinic. She says the experience changed her life. Our club had the highest percentage of giving to the Polio Plus Society than any club in our District. I want to be on the winning team and to have made a difference when polio goes away.

  1. Tell me something I don’t know about Rotary? We believe in world peace and as a result of our committment, we are the only civic organization in the world with a permanent seat at the United Nations.

  2. I see Rotary signs all over the place. Can you name a few of your recent projects? A few during the past year that come to mind include: Completing the Rotarian Trail at Pine Street Woods, restoriing and chinking the log cabin at the Museum. We constructed a listening area at the Music Conservatory.

We are beginning to focus on our many local projects to spruce them up and have better signage, etc. The branding committee will have an active year.

8) Seems like you always have activities Sandpoint Rotary is hosting or participating in. Can you name a few?

The recent CHAFE ride comes to mind. The Rotary year runs from July 1 to June 30 so I was lucky enough to have two CHAFE rides in my year, As a result of the Sept. 11 ride, we presented a $75,000 check to our school district to help fund an After School Reading program. This was the third year of sponsoring this program and we have given a total of $150,000 to it. Proceeds from our June ride are still being tallied and we will soon announce how much we are going to give the local Book Trust. CHAFE has raised nearly $1 million for local causes and club activities. More than 90 percent of our club members participate in CHAFE.

The club was honored to take over the American Flag distribution program from the Sandpoint Lions this year. We now deliver more than 200 flags to area businesses and residences every appropriate holiday in and around Sandpoint. We have more than 100 members so we are always searching for ways to help. A side note: we added 30 additional flags along the Fourth of July parade route in the downtown area to recognize and thank the Lions as well to really add a patriotic flair to downtown. We will soon be talking with more businesses to see if we can make the Avenue of Flags a consistent theme.

We sponsored a miniRYLA high school leadership camp in November and another one in May. This ongoing program reinforces team building, decision making and gives participants a chance to find their strengths. The club’s Youth Services committee is very busy.

After shutting down the international youth exchange program for two years due to the pandemic, we are hosting two students this coming school year and sending one outbound student. The exchange program is so important and really does change lives. Interested in hosting a student or sending a student overseas? Contact Rotarian Amy Bean at

We assist and enjoy a partnership with Firewood Rescue.

9) Anything else?

We also donated money and/or time to other causes such as:

• $15,000 for a Pine Street Woods welcoming area. Rotarians also donated money to this project individually. Log builder Collin Beggs will be the contractor. Our hope is to have a time capsule and  Peace Pole as part of the project. A great collaboration with Kaniksu Land Trust.

• $1,500 to build a safer fence at Head Start. We did this in collaboration with the Elks.

• Up to $5,000 and volunteers to help with the summer lunch program.

•  $2,000 to Better Together Animal Alliance.

• We continued our projects in Mexico thanks to Rotarian Nancy Lewis.

• We donated a total of three Shelter Boxes to Poland to help refugees from Ukraine.

• We had a member lead an effort to sew thousands of masks to help fight the spread of COVID.

We did a lot more than this and gave to many more causes but there isn’t room to list it all.

Any last thoughts?

We continued to attract great new members - Robby and Barbara Robb, 86 and 85 respectively are our newest, oldest new members and Paul Meyer, 25, was our youngest, newest member and we added 12 new members this year. Unfortunately, we also lost two, outstanding members. Dann Hall and Royal Shields were great and the club and our community misses them.

Sandpoint Rotary is in great hands with our new president, Donna Lorenz. 

Anything new for you?

I was lucky enough to be nominated as Assistant District Governor by the current AG, Arthur Pollock and am looking forward to that challenge and to continue to learn more about Rotary. Being president of this vibrant club was so exciting but I couldn’t have done it without an engaged board of directors and committee chairs as well as every single member stepping up when asked.

Thinking about joining or learning more about Rotary? Contact me at and I might even buy you lunch at one one of our Wednesday meetings at noon at Tango.

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