Youth Exchange comes full circle

By Jake McMichael, Youth Exchange Program Chair, Wilsonville Rotary

The Wilsonville Rotary Youth Exchange Program has now come full circle, what with the return home of two WHS students, the first of our “Rebound” category. Amanda Weatherly and Biz Harms have been welcomed home this month from a year abroad studying in Slovakia and Austria, respectively. Each will be the program speaker at several Rotary luncheon meetings in September, telling us about their exciting year in a foreign country.  As we welcome home the 12th grade “Rebounds”, we are in the process of interviewing five new 10th grade applicants for both the short and long term exchange programs for the 2018-2019 school years. These WHS students will undergo considerable training by the local Rotary District during their 10th grade year to prepare them for their adventure abroad in the 11th grade.

Bracketed by these two bookends, we have three WHS 11th graders involved in the exchange program this year. Lily Burhop will be departing in late August to Cherepovets, Russia, which is about half way between St. Petersburg and Moscow. She has been in contact with her host family who will meet her in St. Petersburg and drive to her new home where she will be the big sister in a family of younger siblings. There are presently two WHS juniors abroad in South America under the Rotary Short Term Exchange Program (STEP). Lila Durig is spending the entire summer in Argentina, while Sophia Somerscales is in Brazil for the summer.  The STEP is a family-to-family exchange.  The Durigs and the Somerscales will be hosting their “host sisters” from the respective host S.A. families during their summer vacation period in December – February, our winter.

We recently said a tearful goodbye to our long term 2016-2017 inbound student from Switzerland, Anna Knill.  Anna was a Super Senior at WHS who won our hearts with her outgoing and loving personality.  She excelled academically and in sports, being captain of the WHS Girls Swim Team this past year. We are looking forward to the arrival of our new inbound student from Mexico on August 18th (just in time for the eclipse). Samantha Barbara Buholzer Prieto is a dual citizen young lady, whose father emigrated from Switzerland to Mexico. She has been accepted at WHS and will be here for her 11th grade year. We have several host families involved with “Sam”, and we are looking for additional families interesting in hosting Sam for a three month interval.

Involvement in the Youth Exchange Program as a long or short term participant and/or as a host family can be an exceptionally rewarding experience. You should check it out. Contact Jake McMichael at, 503-312-9596 Cell, 503-694-2127 Home.

Using Music to Heal the World

(This op-ed was published in the Wilsonville Spokesman on July 19, 2017)

Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, David Sanborn, Dinah Shore, James DePriest, Judy Collins and Itzhak Perlman: what do all of these people have in common? Yes, they are all wonderful singers and musicians. But did you know that they also share something else? All had polio in their youth.

While polio seems very distant from our lives here in Wilsonville, it wasn’t so long ago that it was a dark specter that appeared every summer. The disease defied the happiness of long summer days swimming, picking berries, playing baseball and simply being a kid. Could it reappear in the U.S? In our community? Of course it could. Just as Zika, H1N1, Ebola, and other global contagions have come, so could polio again, which is really only a plane ride away.

Polio was deemed eradicated in the U.S. in 1979. Ten years after that polio cases still totaled 350,000 worldwide. But by 2013, global polio numbers were down to just over 400 cases, thanks to major efforts by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, and generous foundations, including Bill Gates. And today? We’re down to seven cases this year in two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are more than 99 percent of the way there, and we did it in less than 40 years. Without eradication, experts predict polio will rise again quickly, with as many as 200,000 new cases a year over the next 10 years.

Most at risk of getting polio are the most innocent: children under the age of 5. While there is no cure for this devastating disease, there is a vaccine which prevents polio. And if you attended a Wilsonville Rotary Summer Concert in the past and put money in the End Polio Now buckets, then you have probably paid for a vaccine that may have saved a child’s life or prevented untold pain and suffering.

With the recently announced extension of the two-for-one match by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary’s ambitious goal this summer of collecting $12,000 over the four concerts would be enough to vaccinate more than 36,000 children with the Gates’ match. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Wilsonville residents donated enough to impact that many children’s lives?

It seems fitting to share music together, to dance together, to watch our children splash together in the fountain in Town Center Park as we celebrate our community and how powerful we can be when we join together in common cause. Whether you can give $1 or $20, your donations really mean something at our free, annual Rotary Summer Concerts. We can’t wait to share all four of these special evenings with you this summer. Thank you for being a part of this great community.

Tim Crowley is the president of the Rotary Club of Wilsonville. He lives in Wilsonville and is the owner of Crowley Landscape Management, Inc.

Looking Into Space With The Hubble Space Telescope

From the dawn of humankind to a mere 400 years ago, all that we knew about our universe came through observations with the naked eye. Then Galileo turned his telescope toward the heavens in 1610.

In the centuries that followed, telescopes grew in size and complexity and, of course, power. They were placed far from city lights and as far above the haze of the atmosphere as possible. Edwin Hubble, for whom the Hubble Telescope is named, used the largest telescope of his day in the 1920s at the Mt. Wilson Observatory near Pasadena, Calif., to discover galaxies beyond our own.

But according to our speaker on July 13, retired Lockheed Martin senior staff engineer Tom Styczynski, all that changed dramatically in April of 1990 when the Hubble Space Telescope was launched, marking the first significant advancement in astronomy since Galileo’s telescope.

In a talk entitled The Hubble Telescope:  Insights From A Former Hubble Engineer, Styczynski provided Rotarians and guests with a detailed account of the long and complex development process of the telescope, and particularly of his own very important role, in what has turned out to be a very successful endeavor.  Styczynski was intimately involved in numerous ways during the 1980s and even after the launch before he went on to other projects.

The Hubble was the first major optical telescope to be placed in space, the ultimate mountaintop. Above the distortion of the atmosphere, far above rain clouds and light pollution, the Hubble has an unobstructed view of the universe. Scientists have used Hubble to observe the most distant stars and galaxies as well as the planets in our solar system.

And now, thanks to four servicing missions and more than 25 years of operation, our view of the universe and our place within it has never been the same.  The Hubble is expected to remain in service until the middle of the next decade.

Message from the President: Tim Crowley

Have you ever wanted to make a difference in someone’s life?  Have you ever wondered if what you do every day really makes a difference?  If you’re like most people, you’ll answer with an enthusiastic “Yes!”  I know for me personally, not only do I want to make a difference in my community, but I also want to improve the lives of others around the world that were not fortunate enough to be born in a country of such abundance.

I am so excited to be the Rotary Club of Wilsonville’s President for 2017-2018. This year, the theme of Rotary International is “Making a Difference.”  In March of 2013, I joined Rotary to build relationships within my community and grow my business.  But I became a Rotarian, and I remain a Rotarian today, because I know without a doubt that I am making a difference in people’s lives right here in Wilsonville, and all around the world. What I do as a Rotarian, what we do as a Rotary Club, and what Rotary International does collectively, truly makes a difference.

What do we do to make a difference in Wilsonville?  We strengthen our schools by raising funds with our Pancake and Omelet Breakfasts; we teach critical thinking skills to our children through our Chess for Success program; we make the hopes of a higher education a reality by awarding numerous scholarships to local high school students; we foster and encourage a spirit of service by recognizing and rewarding the efforts of students at our regular meetings; we build character and teach life skills by sponsoring a local Boy Scout troop; we strengthen our community and enrich the lives of our residents by providing our free Summer Concert Series; and finally, we touch the lives of inmate mothers and their children by creating an environment that strengthens the family relationships and strives to end the cycle of crime with our award winning program Through A Child’s Eyes. This powerful two-day event just concluded its 15th year and has been so successful, it is being modeled throughout the state.

Those are just our local programs!  We also make a difference around the world by providing support for local university students to bring renewable energy sources to remote areas in Tanzania in the Solar Hope project. We have a vibrant Youth Exchange Program that literally changes the course of young people’s lives by providing a “world” experience and perspective. We partner with other Rotary Clubs to complete humanitarian projects and promote peace in all parts of the world. We are saving lives and eradicating disease by being a leading fundraiser for END POLIO NOW. This amazing effort has brought about a dramatic drop in new Polio cases, from approximately 350,000 new cases in 1989, to only 7 new cases in 2017.

That’s a long list of “stuff”, but how do I know for a fact we are “Making a Difference”?  I’ve felt it and I feel it all the time! I got goose bumps when the school counselor told our club what it meant to the students receiving our scholarships. I cried tears of joy and gratitude, when I heard an inmate tell her son, “I love you.”  I’ve been choked up too many times to count, hearing about the international efforts of volunteers risking their own lives to administer a life-saving vaccine in the fight against Polio, or providing the basic necessities that we take for granted in this country.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that the Rotary Club of Wilsonville is “Making a Difference.”

Upcoming Lunch Speakers at Wilsonville Rotary

Interested in hearing any of the speakers below? Visit the Rotary Club for lunch. If you’re smart, you’ll join the Club and gain many rewards through volunteerism that makes a big difference right here in Wilsonville, as well as across the world. Meetings begin at noon and end at 1:00pm, Al Kadar Center in Wilsonville.

Upcoming Speakers:

June 15: The Transitional Youth Program; Speaker is Bert Waugh, Jr., Founder

June 22: The Civil Air Patrol Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow; Speaker is Lt. Col. Ed Bos, Vice Commander of the Oregon CAP Wing

July 27: Getting Your Project Out In Front of People With Social Media & Online Marketing

August 3: The Rose City Rollers (Roller Derby Team); Speaker: Kim Stegeman, Exec. Director, Rose City Rollers

August 17: What You Should Know About Alzheimer’s Disease; Speaker: Dr. Rob Winningham, Interim Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Western Oregon University

September 7: The Ongoing Cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Site; Speaker: Ginger Wireman, Washington State Dept. of Ecology

November 2: Creating an innovation eco-system and economic driver in higher education; Speaker: Dr. Nagi Naganathan, President, Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech)

TACE Opened Everyone’s Heart of Gold

Crystal Magana and her daughter spoke about the positive impact of TACE at Heart of Gold.

On Saturday night, February 25, 2017 the Wilsonville Rotary had a full house for our Heart of Gold “Mahalo” Dinner and Auction. Mayor Tim Knapp was chosen as 2016 First Citizen. We had a record 254 people who signed up to attend and we feasted on a great Hawaiian dinner. Theme development was perfect in terms of decorations, food, garb, and even a few Hawaiian words in President Martens’ speech.

Crystal Magana, our TACE speaker, was terrific and her speech resulted in collecting over $13,450 for TACE. With increased income from sponsorships, and doing well at both the silent and oral auctions, Rotary is well positioned to carry on with all it service projects. The various committee chairs all did a first class job, and many thanks go out to them.

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