March 2024
Club meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesday of the month 6:00p - 7:00p.

Currently we're searching for a location that can support 20-30 people for our meetings with a reasonable minimum spend. If you have a suggestion, please CONTACT US
Interesting in learning more about Rotary?  Join us for a meeting anytime!
Club Executives & Directors
President & Social Media
President Elect
Service Projects
Rotary Foundation
On Tuesday 2/13, our guest speaker was Kelly Loeb, Community Engagement Coordinator for the KU Alzheimer's Disease Research Center!
Kelly started by explaining the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's.  Do you know the difference?  Kelly shared dementia is the overarching term for symptoms affecting cognitive ability, while Alzheimer's is actually a specific type of dementia.  There are other types of dementia as well.
Kelly also explained that we shouldn't confuse normal aging with dementia.  Things like forgetting a name, misplacing your keys, or forgetting why we walked into a room aren't necessarily indicative of dementia, especially if they are one-off or infrequent occurrences.  Signs of dementia that should be watched for include difficulty with everyday tasks, repeating the same stories or questions, communication challenges, personality changes, etc.
The good news is there are MANY different ways to learn more about what the KU Alzheimer's Disease Research Center is doing to support patients and families through treatment and prevention!
Interested in participating in a research study?  KUMC is looking for people 65-85 years old to join an avocado study.  The study includes compensation, as well as a free 12-week supply of avocados!  Click HERE for more on that.  
KUMC also has other research study opportunities as well.  Those can be found by clicking HERE.
You can also join their weekly webinar (hosted on ZOOM) where they talk all about Alzheimer's, including prevention research, understanding risk factors, and much more!  You can learn more about their webinars by clicking HERE.  
Our first meeting of 2024 was held at Coach's Bar & Grill in Overland Park.  The food and service was amazing!  THANK YOU to Coach's for welcoming our club in!
Even though she's been a Rotarian with our club for a few months now, we were able to officially welcome Patti into our club!  Welcome Patti! 
Our guest speakers were Tina Johnson and Dara Macan from Hope House Kansas City.  Hope House is a safe refuge for those trying to break the cycle of domestic violence.  Hope House provides support services that educate and empower those affected by domestic violence.  Some of the services offered by Hope House include safe shelter and offsite hotel placement, basic necessities, crisis intervention and support, life skills groups, therapy, court advocacy, transitional housing, and MUCH more!
Tina and Dara shared that domestic violence isn't always physical abuse.  Hope House defines it as " ongoing pattern of intimidating, controlling, and/or abusive behaviors that are used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another person."  For many it's an ongoing cycle that may not be obvious to the victim.  Additionally, abusers don't fall into specific categories, so identifying a victim or an abuser can be difficult.
The good news is Hope House can help!  If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, PLEASE reach out to Hope House!  Their confidential 24-hour hotline is (816) 461-HOPE.
Our club recently celebrated 2023 with our annual club holiday party!  This year, we celebrated at Garozzo's Ristorante in Overland Park.  2023 was a busy and productive year for our club.  Some of our service projects and accomplishments included:
  โ€ข  Welcoming 5 new members (Shelley, Rebecca, Patti, Cindy, and Steve) to our club, with 4 of them being first-time Rotarians!  ๐Ÿ™‚
  โ€ข  Volunteered for many organizations, including Ronald McDonald House (2x), Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Shawnee Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Johnson County Christmas Bureau, Shawnee Adopt-A-Spot, and more!  
  โ€ข  We donated over $5,000 in funds or food to organizations like The Golden Scoop, Harvesters, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Ronald McDonald House, and more!
  โ€ข  Social activities our club participated in included wine making, tours of a Lenexa Fire Station and the Lenexa Public Library, Kansas City Monarchs, club chili challenge, and more!
As Club President, I'm proud of the great work our club does in the Kansas City community and the commitment of each of our members to Rotary's motto Service Above Self!  The selflessness of our club members is second-to-none and I'm excited to see the great things we're able to do as we head into 2024!  THANK YOU to each of our club members for being amazing Rotarians!  - Matt
Happy Holidays!
One of our club's favorite volunteering events each year is the Johnson County Christmas Bureau (JCCB) Holiday Shop.  This year over 20 club members and friends volunteered their time to help assist shoppers with "shopping" for their items and handing out things like books, toys, groceries, and MUCH more!  Each year, the JCCB provides these items for thousands of low-income folks in our Kansas City community.  To learn more about this great organization, please visit their website and learn how you can get involved in 2024!
THANK YOU to our club members and other volunteers who helped this year!  Unfortunately, we didn't get pictures of all our Rotary volunteers but many of their smiling faces are here!  
On Wednesday 11/15, several of our club members volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House - Longfellow House in Kansas City.  RMH provides a place for families to relax, eat, shower, and sleep while they are waiting on hospital care for their family.  Families have access to 41 rooms at the Longfellow House and can spend anywhere from a few days to 6 months at RMH!  During our volunteer time, club members helped sort incoming donations and prepared dinner for the guests staying at RMH.  Dinner included salad, rice, beef & broccoli, honey sesame chicken, egg rolls, and Michelle's yummy desserts!  We fed over 30 people during the event and the extras were boxed into to-go containers for families to grab-and-eat over the next few days.
Also, THANK YOU to club members who brought snack donations to our club meeting the night before!  RMH stocks their pantry with quick snacks for families to have while they are on the go.  Our club members donated 3 large boxes of snacks for the RMH pantry!
Our guest speaker at last week's meeting was Barbara Kopack Hill.  Barbara is on the Board for the Johnson County Christmas Bureau and a Rotarian with the Overland Park Rotary Club!
Barbara shared an update on what the JCCB is doing to prepare for this season's Holiday Shop.  The JCCB Holiday Shop serves 10,000-12,000 low-income community residents each holiday season.  Clients sign-up to participate in the Holiday Shop, which lasts about 1 week in early-December.  Once clients arrive, they are escorted through the shop by a volunteer who helps them pick out books, clothing, personal care items, toys, and much more!  JCCB is community funded (no government funding) and relies on the generosity of donations and volunteers to provide this amazing service to our community.  The JCCB Holiday Shop is one of our club's favorite volunteer events!  This year we have 20 members volunteering their time on Tuesday 12/5.  There are still some volunteer slots available on other nights!  If you are interested in helping with this awesome event, please visit their sign-up page here:  JCCB Holiday Shop Volunteer
To wrap-up our meeting, club members assembled holiday food boxes for Harvester's Community Food Network.  Our club was able to donate 50 boxes to Harvester's this year!  Each box includes green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, corn muffin/bread mix, stuffing, and gravy.  Boxes were delivered to Harvesters last week โ€“ just in time for the Thanksgiving!
We officially welcomed 2 new members into our club at last week's meeting.  Cindy & Steve Doerr are first-time Rotarians who are excited to be joining Rotary and getting involved in our community service efforts.  Welcome Cindy & Steve!  We are excited to have them in Rotary and honored they wanted our club to be their Rotary home!
Our guest speaker was Jake Eisenberg, play-by-play radio broadcaster for the Kansas City Royals.
Jake began his broadcasting career while attending the University of Maryland, where he called a variety of events for the University.  Since graduating in 2017, Jake has done play-by-play across quite a few networks and many different sports, including baseball, field hockey, volleyball, soccer, basketball, and more!  Prior to joining the Kansas City Royals broadcast booth, Jake was a play-by-play broadcaster for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate โ€“ the Omaha Storm Chasers.  Jake has also done some fill-in broadcasting for the New York Mets, which included pre- and post-game player interviews!
Jake shared that he loves the challenge of being a radio broadcaster because he knows listeners can't see what's happening, so it's up to him to call the game so listeners can visualize the game in their mind.  He started his presentation with having members close their eyes while he described a sunny Summer afternoon at the ballpark, complete with the smells of popcorn and the sounds of the game.  It demonstrated how a well-told story can help a listener feel they are part of the action!  Next Summer, if you can't make it to the game, turn on the radio and let Jake take you there through his broadcast!
The last few weeks have been VERY busy for our club!
Our guest speaker on Tuesday 9/26 was Penny Postoak Ferguson, County Manager of Johnson County.  Her speech was highly informative with a broad overview of BOCC priorities which are the Shawnee MED-ACT station (expected completion in Q1 2024), the Mid-America Sports Complex improvements, the Nelson wastewater facility, the new Household Hazardous Waste facility, and a complete renovation of the Merriam Plaza Library.
Future plans include the Panasonic Energy/Astra Enterprise Park in western Johnson County as well as the Flint Commerce Center.  Johnson Countyโ€™s adopted budget is $1.79 Billion for FY 2024, which means we have a total of 4,269 FTEโ€™s, an increase of 75 FTEโ€™s over 2023.  Also on the good news front, it is a decrease in the mill levy and this is the sixth year in seven years when the mill levy has been reduced.
A few fun facts that Penny shared.  Johnson County as a percent of the Metro population is 28%, as a percentage of the Metro employment is 34%, and as a percentage of the employment growth in the metro, Johnson County is 44%.  In addition, Johnson County pays 38% of all the taxes for the metro!
A short 2 weeks later, we had our annual club chili social!  THANK YOU to Rebecca and Mark for hosting us!  Club members are encouraged to bring their best pot of chili and we vote for a winner to represent our club at the Lenexa Chili Challenge.  Mark Schremmer (husband of club member Colleen) was this year's winner!  Congratulations Mark!  
Since Mark wasn't able to make it, we cooked his recipe for the Lenexa Chili Challenge.  Mark's recipe took 45th place out of 186 chilis submitted for judging!  Pictures below are from both our club chili social and the Lenexa Chili Challenge.
Do you enjoy a relaxing hike outdoors?  And do you enjoy learning more about this great city we live in?  If so, Urban Hikes KC combines both of these opportunities into one fun-filled adventure!
Lisa Pena, founder of Urban Hikes KC, joined us at our club meeting last week to share her passion for both the outdoors, as well as teaching others about Kansas City - the past and the present!  Urban Hikes KC provides 3-5 mile guided tours (2-3 hours) in both Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.  Guides will lead you along a route that discovers the history of the area being hiked, as well as any interesting present-day facts or attractions.  Hikes they offer include the Crossroads/Westside, Strawberry Hill/Downtown KC, Artful KC Streetcar, Quindaro Ruins, Plaza & Crestwood, North KC, a Wine & Cheese Hike, and MANY more!  Most hikes are around $38 per person.  Individuals can sign up on their website (you'll be grouped with other individuals) or you can reserve a private group/work outing!
Our club is considering a mid-October hike, which will be open to anyone who wants to join us!  If you would be interested (assuming the TBD day and time work for you), please let us know here:  Rotary Hike
This week our club visited the Johnson County Library Resource Center in Lenexa! 
Our visit started with a presentation about the library system, including the history of when the library was formed, and who the library serves today.  Did you know the first Johnson County Library location opened more than 70 years ago in 1952?  Today the library has 14 locations and serves over 2 million people each year!  The library has over 1.3 million in-person visits annually by visitors that have access to over 5 million items.
Since our visit was to the Resource Center in Lenexa, our tour included seeing some additional services not offered at the other branches.  Do you have an old VHS tape you'd like to convert to a digital file?  What about printed photos you'd like to have digitized?  The Resource Center can help!  They have the equipment and staff to help with those conversions and more!
The Resource Center is also the home to the Black & Veatch Maker Space.  The Maker Space features technical equipment such as laser cutters, vinyl cutters, electronics repair, 3D printers, and MUCH more!  Visitors can reserve time to use the equipment (but need to bring their own materials).  There are also volunteers to help show you how to use the equipment, if needed!
To learn more about what the library offers, and become one of the 168,000+ library card holders in Johnson County, visit their website at!
Our club meeting this week started with us welcoming 2 new members to our club!  Rebecca, wife of club member Mark, officially became a Rotarian on Mon 8/7.  Congratulations and welcome Rebecca!  Shelley, a former member of the Sunset Rotary Club, has been with our club for a couple months now but we finally had the chance to officially welcome her as well.  Congratulations and welcome Shelley!  Both will be amazing Rotarians for our club!
Our guest speakers this week were Officer Roman Madrigal and Sergeant Matt Burger of the Shawnee Police Department.  Officer Madrigal and Sergeant Burger shared their history with the SPD and the work they both now do with the SPD CORE Community Outreach team.  Some of the events the CORE team supports in our community include Cram The Cruiser, Giving The Basics, Shop With A Cop, National Night Out, and more!  The CORE team also coordinates the SPD Citizens Police Academy, a 12 week class (held twice per year in the Spring and Fall) available to folks who live or work in Shawnee.  To learn more about the CPA, check out this link:  Shawnee CPA
Thank you Officer Madrigal and Sergeant Burger for joining us!  And THANK YOU to ALL of our area first responders for the work you do each day to keep our communities safe!
We started our new Rotary year off with 2 amazing speakers in July!
On Tuesday 7/11, we heard from Trey Meyer, Supervisor of Umpires at 3&2 Baseball of Johnson County.  Have you ever wondered what 3&2 stands for?  It's a reference to a full count in baseball (3 balls and 2 strikes).  Trey shared with us he supervises a staff of roughly 425 umpires who work more than 11,000 games each year across 27 fields at their complexes in Shawnee and Lenexa!  Trey also talked about the shortage of umpires at the local, state, and national levels.  3&2 Baseball is actively looking for more folks to join their organization as umpires.  Umpiring opportunities are available to both teenagers and adults, men or women.  3&2 Baseball will provide new umpires with training, hands-on experience, and support through the process of becoming an umpire!  If you are interested in learning more, please CONTACT US and we'll get you connected to Trey!
At our meeting last Tuesday 7/25, we welcomed our new 2023-2024 District 5710 Governor Jenalea Randall!  As DG, Jenalea supports 41 clubs in our District (northeast Kansas) with over 1,900 members.  Jenalea talked about RI President Gordon McInally's vision for the 2023-2024 Rotary year of "Creating Hope in the World".  One of the great things about Rotary is Rotarians can Create Hope at a local community level, while also partnering with other clubs to Create Hope around the world through the connections and power of Rotary!  Jenalea shared her areas of focus this year for our District include 1) helping solve the mental health crisis we have in Kansas (did you know Kansas ranks LAST in the nation for mental health?) and 2) empowering girls by supporting projects and creating opportunities for them to feel empowered to share their views, ideas, and opinions!  
Thank you to both Trey and Jenalea for visiting our club in July!  We'll be hearing from the Shawnee Police Department Community Outreach Team at our next meeting on Tuesday 8/8.  If you're interested in joining us for that, please CONTACT US.  We'd love to have you visit!
What an AMAZING Saturday morning some our club members had this past weekend!
Club members, along with a couple of friends, volunteered their time with Sleep in Heavenly Peace to help build beds for kids in the Kansas City metro that don't have a bed of their own.  SHP is committed to ensuring "No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town!"  This past weekend the SE Kansas City chapter held a bed build, which featured over 70 volunteers who built 100 beds to be delivered to kids right here in KC!  Beds delivered by SHP include a new mattress, pillow, and bedding.
In addition to volunteering, our club's 2022-2023 District 5710 grant, supplemented with our own club funds, allowed us to donate $3,000 towards this build!
If you'd like to participate in an upcoming build or help deliver beds, SHP is always looking for volunteers.  You can learn more about volunteer and donation opportunities here:  SHP SE Kansas City
Thank you to each of the folks below who volunteered their time this past weekend!  Your time ensures another 100 kids won't be sleeping on the floor in our town!  
๐—ง๐—›๐—”๐—ก๐—ž ๐—ฌ๐—ข๐—จ to each of you who joined us in March for our Music Bingo fundraiser!
All proceeds from the fundraiser went to both ๐—ฅ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฑ ๐— ๐—ฐ๐——๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฑ ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ž๐—– and ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—š๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฆ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฝ. Each of these amazing organizations received $1,000 from the club fundraiser!
This week, a few club members visited ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—š๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฆ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฝ to give them the check and to enjoy some of their delicious homemade ice cream! Their store is located in the shopping plaza on the southwest corner of 95th & Nall in Overland Park. You can also learn more from their website at
THANK YOU club members Diane, A.W., Mike, Kelly, Gary, Becky (and Mike), Rob, Colleen, Jim, Kristin, Dave, Caroline, Terrie, and Matt for volunteering to do drink sales with the Lenexa Rotary Club at the Lenexa Art Fair on Saturday 5/13 9:00a-7:00p!  This is one of 3 events in 2023 that our club will do with the Lenexa Rotary Club.  The others will be the Lenexa BBQ Battle Fri 6/23 & Sat 6/24 and the Lenexa Chili Challenge Fri 10/13 @ Sat 10/14.  Profits from the drink sales go to each of the clubs to help support projects in our community!
Tony Andresen from the Kansas City Downtown Rotary Club 13 joined us at this week's meeting to talk about Rotary Youth Camp.  Celebrating their 99th year, Rotary Youth Camp has provided a free camp experience for almost 300,000 disabled and disadvantaged kids in the Kansas City area!  This year they have, once again, partnered with the Kansas City Monarchs to raise funds for Rotary Youth Camp.  A $20 donation gets you 2 infield reserve vouchers, a Monarchs baseball cap, and a Monarchs pennant!  Best of all, the entire $20 goes to Rotary Youth Camp!  
Our club is also planning a Western Johnson County Rotary outing together to use our tickets.  If you would like to join us (even if you are not a club member!), please let us know HERE!  You can also indicate on this form if you will need tickets and we will coordinate with Tony to get those for you.
If you'd prefer to go on your own and still need tickets, here are a couple of options for purchasing tickets this week:
Granfalloon Pep Rally (see flyer below) โ€“ Thu 5/18 5:00p-7:00p
Sutherlands in Waldo โ€“ Fri 5/19 7:00a-9:00a
Sutherlands in Olathe โ€“ Fri 5/19 7:00a-9:00a
Roasterie in Leawood โ€“ Fri 5/19 7:00a-9:00a
Thank you for supporting Rotary Youth Camp!
THANK YOU to everyone who joined us for Music Bingo in late-March!  After totaling the profits, our Board recently approved donations of $1,000 to each of the organizations we raised money for:  Ronald McDonald House KC and The Golden Scoop!  Both of these organizations play an important role in supporting our Kansas City community!  
Also, once again, a big THANK YOU to our 2023 sponsors!  
Lastly, THANK YOU again to our club members who donated prizes for this year's event:  Cindy & Dave Huston, Jim Houvener, Marla Williams, Becky & Rob Johnston, Diane & A.W. Pickel, Mike McVey, Caroline Becher, Kelly Vaille, and Misty & Matt Wright!
THANK YOU Becky, Rob, Misty, Sheila, Jim, and Matt for your help doing trail cleanup this past Saturday 5/6!  The results โ€“ we were able to remove a couple bags of trash from the trail!
Our Adopt-A-Spot section of the Clear Creek Trail in Western Shawnee starts at Woodland (just north of Shawnee Mission Parkway) and runs east .8 miles until it meets the Gary Haller Trail.
For our meeting this week, our club members toured Lenexa Fire Department Station #5!  
There are 3 shifts that work at the station, with each of the crews working a 24 hour shift.  Our walk through the station included seeing their kitchen and dining area, day area, sleeping rooms, weight room, and, of course, the firetruck!  They shared how grant money has allowed them to upgrade their equipment to help keep them and our community safe during a fire, accident, or other disaster.  An example they showed us was the personal thermal imaging equipment (smaller than a cell phone) each firefighter carries to help find someone in a smoke-filled room or dark place.
Our tour also included an overview of what areas Station #5 covers.  Did you know Lenexa Fire shares responsibility of Shawnee Mission Park with Shawnee Fire?  Emergency needs in the south half of Shawnee Mission Park will be handled by Station #5.  As such, they are equipped with an ATV that can be used on the trails to get help to people quickly.  Have you ever noticed numbered signs on the trails?  Giving that number to a 911 operator will pinpoint exactly where you're at to emergency personnel.
We wrapped up our tour by bringing dinner for the crews as a THANK YOU for the tour and for all they do to keep our community safe.  Dinner included homemade BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, smoked mac & cheese, chips, and more!  Thank you to the club members who made or brought something.
Our next club meeting is Tuesday 5/9 5:30p at the Blue Moose in Lenexa.  Our guest speaker will be Trey Meyer from 3&2 Baseball.  If you'd like to join us, please send us a message
Our speaker at our most recent club meeting was our own club member A.W. Pickel, III.
A.W. is a Lieutenant Colonel with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).  A.W. shared what CAP does and how civilians can volunteer and get involved.
The Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.  Volunteers with CAP, both on the ground and in the air, help with things like search and rescue, wildfire and tornado response support, Red Cross blood transport, and MUCH more.  A.W. volunteers as a pilot in the Kansas Wing of CAP and shared there are opportunities for civilians to help with both ground and air support.  One specific area of need A.W. mentioned is for volunteers who enjoy taking pictures to join the flight crew and take pictures from the sky!  
A.W. also shared information about the CAP Cadet Program, open to young people from 12-18 years old.  According to the CAP youth website, CAP cadets participate in a year-round program where they fly, learn to lead, hike, camp, get in shape and push themselves to new limits.  Also, CAP cadets who may be interested in joining the Air Force as adults may be able to enter at an advanced grade if they achieve the appropriate level (cadets are NOT obligated to join the military, though).  More information about the CAP cadet program can be found here:
Interested in learning more about volunteering?  Send us a message and we'll get you in touch with A.W.!
Music Bingo is back for 2023!
Once again, the Rotary Club of Western Johnson County will be hosting our virtual Music Bingo Fundraiser!  2023 proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House KC and The Golden Scoop!
A big THANK YOU to our 2023 sponsors!  
Also, THANK YOU to our club members who donated prizes for this year's event:  Cindy & Dave Huston, Jim Houvener, Marla Williams, Becky & Rob Johnston, Diane & A.W. Pickel, Mike McVey, Caroline Becher, Kelly Vaille, and Misty & Matt Wright!  If you want to donate a prize or be a sponsor, there's still time!  Please click on this link to learn more: SPONSORS & PRIZES
Want to join us as a player?  Reserve your spot in Music Bingo by clicking here:  MUSIC BINGO
Our guest speaker at this week's club meeting was Jessica Davenport from The Golden Scoop!
The Golden Scoop is a local ice cream shop that provides meaningful employment for people with developmental disabilities.  Their store is located at 95th and Nall Ave in Overland Park, and their product line includes homemade ice cream and baked goods, smoothies, coffee and more!  Also, did you know The Golden Scoop was recognized as Yelp's 2022 "best ice cream shop in the state of Kansas"?! 
Check out this segment that Good Morning America recently did on the The Golden Scoop:  GMA Video
Interested in supporting The Golden Scoop?  You're in luck!  The Golden Scoop is one of two organizations our club's upcoming 2023 Virtual Music Bingo fundraiser on Tues 3/28 will be supporting!  Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to both The Golden Scoop and Ronald McDonald House KC.  You can learn more about our virtual fundraiser here:  MUSIC BINGO
Did you know the City of Shawnee had over 6,600 volunteer hours in 2022?!  That's an average of over 18 hours each day!
This week's guest speaker was Elizabeth Griffith, Volunteer Coordinator for Shawnee.  Elizabeth shared with us many of the volunteer opportunities the City of Shawnee offers each year such as Adopt-A-Spot, Bluebird Steward, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Wildlife Habitat Restoration, and more! 
Our club has participated in the Adopt-A-Spot for many years.  2-3 times per year, our club members do cleanup on roughly 1 mile of the Clear Creek Trail near Woodland and Shawnee Mission Parkway.  Our club members have also volunteered with Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  NHN projects we've been involved with include painting, deck repair, tree trimming, replacing light bulbs and smoke detector batteries, and much more!  
Interested in volunteering?  Contact us!  We'd love to have you volunteer with us on a project!
You can also learn more about volunteering directly with the City of Shawnee here:  Shawnee Volunteer
Our guest speaker this week was Nicole Damiano, Head of Community Outreach for the SFD Community Support Team in Shawnee.  Nicole shared information regarding CERT or Community Emergency Response Team.  Shawnee, along with neighboring cities, offer CERT training for their citizens.  CERT teaches us what to do in an emergency situation.  Whether it's a community-wide emergency or something right in your own home, being prepared can literally mean the difference between life and death! 
As a FEMA-supported program, CERT is nationally implemented to train citizens in basic disaster response skills.  It teaches team organization, disaster medical operations, fire safety, search & rescue, and MUCH more!  You can learn more about Shawnee's CERT training HERE.  You can also view the Shawnee CERT flyer HERE.
Want to get involved?  Good news!  Shawnee CERT training is coming in April!  It will be 24 hours of classroom and hands-on training spread out over 4 days.  The schedule is:
Sat 4/22  9:00a - 5:00p
Wed 4/26  6:00p - 10:00p
Sat 4/29 9:00a - 5:00p
Wed 5/3  6:00p - 10:00p
You do NOT have to live in Shawnee to take this training!  If you're interested, you can sign-up HERE.
As Rotarians, this is another great way to support and serve our community! ๐Ÿ™‚
Thank you to each of our club members who donated food, drinks, and their time today to help the Ronald McDonald House Family Room in Overland Park!
The RMH Family Room provides a place for families to relax, eat, shower, and even sleep while they are waiting on hospital care for their family.  Our club volunteered to make 40 baked potato meals, which included all of the usual fixings โ€“ cheesy queso, butter, sour cream, and more!  These meals will be given out to families over the next couple of days.
If you'd like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at RMH, check out their website HERE!
Have you ever wondered how wine is made?  Thanks to Diane and A.W., some of our club members learned the process at last week's wine making club social! 
Club members started with a kit which included the grape juice, squeezed grapes, and other ingredients important to the wine making process.  Steps included:
โ€ข  Heating water and adding the clay base
โ€ข  Adding the grape juice from the kit
โ€ข  Squeezing the remaining juice from the grapes and adding the squeezed grapes
โ€ข  Checking the alcohol content of mixture
โ€ข  Lastly, adding the wood chips and the yeast.
The mixture will now sit for 6 months to ferment before it can be bottled.  Members were also able to sample and help bottle a previous batch, which had already been fermenting for 8 months!
We officially welcomed a new member, but a familiar face, to our club at this week's meeting.  Welcome Cindy Huston!  Cindy is the wife of club member Dave Huston and a past Rotarian.  We're excited to have Cindy return to Rotary as a member of our club!
We also celebrated club member Kristin Johnson, who is now a Paul Harris Fellow!  Kristin has been with our club for over 6 years and has served as President, Membership Chair, and more!  Kristin's positive energy and Service Above Self attitude are just a couple of reasons why she is very deserving of this recognition!  Congratulations Kristin!
After a few announcements of upcoming events and service projects, which include preparing lunch at the Ronald McDonald House and our annual Music Bingo Fundraiser (more info to come on that soon!), we welcomed our guest speaker Keely Schneider, Executive Director at Workforce Partnership.  Workforce Partnership supports workforce development programs for adults and youth in Johnson, Wyandotte, and Leavenworth counties.  Ms. Schneider shared trends happening in the labor force, both pre- and post-pandemic, that are influencing challenges in our current job market.  The good news is Kansas is doing well when compared to the national averages but there's still work to do!  Workforce Partnership provides workers with employment workshops, skill assessments, in-depth counseling, funding for job training/education, and MUCH MORE!  They also support employers with services like recruitment assistance, work-based learning at a reduced cost to the employer, retention assistance, and more.  If you'd like to learn more about how they can help you, check out their website at!
We had a great turnout this week at our 2022 club holiday party!  A special THANK YOU to our District Governor Stephanie Meyer and her husband Bryan for joining us as well!
Our club has had some nice growth over the past few months and we were able to officially welcome a few of our new members at the party:
Colleen recently transferred into our club.  Colleen shared she is looking forward to getting more involved in local community service projects with our other club members!  Welcome Colleen!
-  We also welcomed Becky and Rob into the club. Becky is a Past President of the former Johnson County Rotary Club.  Becky's husband, Rob, is a new Rotarian that has heard all of the great things Rotary does and he is excited to be part of that!  Welcome Becky & Rob!
Diane also recently joined our club.  Diane is the wife of A.W., another WJCR club member.  Diane was previously a member of the former Sunset Rotary Club and she has been actively involved with our club at meetings and special events for a while now!  Welcome, Diane!
Lastly, we presented Marla with her Level 5 Paul Harris Fellow pin!  Rotarians have the option of contributing funds to the Rotary International Foundation, PolioPlus, etc.  As their lifetime contributions increase, they achieve different levels as a PHF.  Congratulations, Marla!
THANK YOU club members (and spouses!) for volunteering at the Johnson County Christmas Bureau Holiday Shop with us last night!  We had a GREAT turnout of volunteers!
The JCCB Holiday Shop serves 10,000-12,000 low-income community residents each year.  Clients sign-up to participate in the Holiday Shop, which lasts about 1 week in early-December each year.  Once clients arrive, they are escorted through the shop by a volunteer who helps them pick out books, clothing, personal care items, toys, and much more!  JCCB is community funded (no government funding) and relies on the generosity of donations and volunteers to provide this amazing service to our community. 
Last night, our club volunteers helped handing out books, personal care items, escorting clients, cleanup, and more!  This is one of our club's favorite events each year!
If you are interested in volunteering, JCCB is always in need of help this time of year.  The 2022 Holiday Shop runs through this Saturday 12/10.  To sign-up as a volunteer, please visit their volunteer page here:  JCCB Volunteer
We used our time at this week's meeting to assemble holiday boxes for Harvester's Community Food Network!  THANK YOU to Kristin and Misty for doing the shopping! Our club was able to donate 40 boxes to Harvester's, just in time for the holidays.  Each box includes green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, corn muffin/bread mix, stuffing, and gravy.  Boxes were delivered to Harvesters on Wednesday 11/23!
As a reminder, we will not have a 2nd Tuesday meeting in December since club members are volunteering at the Johnson County Christmas Bureau Holiday Shop on Tues 12/6 and we will be having our Club Holiday Party on Thu 12/15.  We will have a social for our 4th Tuesday meeting on Tue 12/27.
Happy Thanksgiving!  Personally, I am thankful to be part of such a fun and engaging Rotary club, that cares about helping others in our community.  I'm sure I also speak on behalf of our club members who feel the same way!  ๐Ÿ™‚

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