Marked Tree Rotary is first club to move to monthly meeting schedule

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Marked Tree Rotary Club is looking forward to the year ahead, and with a new rotary year are coming some changes to the club.

While the club is still going strong with community projects--such as lighting the Welcome to Marked Tree sign or putting picnic tables at the sports complex, which they are currently working on--the club has struggled with membership over the past year.

Rotary Clubs are required to meet on a weekly basis, but rotarian Jeff Bookout said he had talked with the district governor who said Rotary has been kicking around the idea of allowing small town clubs to move to a monthly meeting schedule to help keep those clubs viable and make it easier for more people to participate.

During last week's meeting, Marked Tree Rotary Club members agreed to move to a once a month schedule for meetings. Bookout said Marked Tree's club would be the first to try this and it would be a pilot program for Rotary. The club is also changing the day it meets from Wednesday to Thursday to better accomodate members.

The club will now meet at noon on the first Thursday of the month at First United Methodist Church. For the other three weeks of the month, rotarians will make up meetings online at Rotary's eClub website where they will read up on projects and updates from other clubs. Service projects will also count as a make-up meeting. Marked Tree Rotary will begin meeting on a monthly basis starting in August.

"The key to it is, these small communities don't need to let these clubs die," longtime Rotarian Bill Stanley said.

Club members also agreed to contribute toward one Paul Harris Fellow each year. A Paul Harris Fellow means an individual or club has contributed $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation's Annual Program Fund, Polio Plus Fund, or the Humanitarian Grants Program.

During last week's meeting, the club also discussed upcoming projects. They plan to put two picnic tables at the sports complex, one on each side of the concession stand, and met with the city to get the okay.

The club is also planning to hold its annual Peggy Bankston Walk on Saturday, Sept. 27, the morning of the Cotton Pickin' Jubilee. The walk honors Bankston, a rotarian and active community member who died of breast cancer in 2005. Since 2006, Marked Tree Rotary has held an annual walk in her honor with all proceeds going toward the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The club also set the date for the annual Rotary Banquet, one of the club's major fundraisers, for Tuesday, Feb. 10.

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