SCOUTING AT WVRC on April 10th

TERRY R WHITE led us in the Pledge, commenting afterward that he did well - and we agree!  The song was America, with LENNY FRIEDMAN and GREGG ELLIOTT leading - and a minor problem for us sopranos, the key was a tad low, OK?  GEORGE COX, ESQ. provided the Invocation.  It was The American's Creed, which began by stating "I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, for the people and by the people".  Lincoln's words, of course, and he was a master of the succinct. The Creed concludes with a statement of what an American's duty is - to love his country, respect its laws, and defend it against all enemies.  Well done, GEORGE.

SLOSS VIAU introduced a Visiting Rotarian, Ray Engel from Hawaii.  SALLY BRANT brought along her grandson, Bob Brant, who is in town for some job interviews. Bob is a former participant in our Rotary Japanese Exchange Program.   BILL MICHAEL rose to present his Special Guest, Ron Dutton.  Ron is the President of the Beverly Hills Council of the Navy League, and they sponsor a Sea Cadet program, which is similar to some of the Boy Scout activities. SHARON RHODES-WICKETT again introduced Waverly Johnson, her Special Guest who is with PATH.

The Chair of the WVRC Ambassadorial Scholar Selection Committee, LENORE MULRYAN, next introduced her Committee - KEVIN KOMATSU, RUDY ALVAREZ, CHARLES MAGNUSON, KEN LEVER, SUSAN ALLEN, and new member, JAYNE SPENCER. They have started their interviewing process, and are finding somewhat fewer applicants this year, possibly because of the somewhat chaotic international situation.  LENORE reminded us that Rotary has sponsored 37,000 Ambassadorial Scholars since the program began in 1947 - that's a bunch, and another reason to spread the word about all the good Rotary does.

Prexy TED spoke of the lovely Memorial Service for SUNNY JIM SUMNER which was held at Westwood United Methodist Church this past Sunday.  For those who wish to remember JIM, you can make checks payable to Westwood Village Rotary Club Foundation, and send them to DON NELSON.   The Memorial Service was indeed a meaningful gathering, with over four hundred friends in attendance.  And in honor of SUNNY JIM'S interest in golf, this became the theme for the rest of our meeting.
TED and MARK BLOCK engaged in some repartee, with TED reminding us all that he grew up near Atlanta, and thus this weekend's Masters Tournament brought back many memories of his attending the event as long ago as when he was in Junior High.  He managed to get autographs of - get this - Sam Sneed - plus Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicholas, Gary Player, and Tommy Bolt.  Those relaxed days, allowing spectators to talk to the golfers on practice rounds, are long gone - but the memory lingers. 

April birthdays were next, and the ever-present PP JIM DOWNIE was once again called upon to provide some background music.  As JIM played, YOE began to suspect that at some point the Happy Birthday theme slipped over to Silver Threads Among the Gold - which, if true, is probably appropriate for some of those being recognized today.  They included ELIOTT TURNER on April lst, in Jacksonville, followed by BILL MICHAEL on the 4th in Dallas. CLARK McQUAY came along on the 7th in Alhambra, followed closely on the 8th by DICK ROBINSON, in Altus (yes, that's in Oklahoma). Then a big jump, to the 18th, in Ithaca, which welcomed PP ERIC LOBERG.  Last up was DON PARK, who choose the 28th in Bruning (and you guessed right again, that's Nebraska).
In keeping with the theme, each birthday person received a golf ball - better than some of the BD gifts proffered in the past, in the opinion of YOE.

PP RON LYSTER reported on his motorcycle trip this past weekend - stops included such well-known towns as Searchlight, but also Prescott and Sedona.  There were 16 Rotarians involved, one of whom came all the way from Missouri, and they averaged about 300 miles a day, allowing time for sightseeing along the way.

PP STEVE SCHERER introduced the first of our two speakers, Rick Gables.  Rick is the recent past Vice President of the WLA County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and his theme was to point out the areas of membership growth that are being emphasized.  They have initiated a program drawing on the most successful scout troops, so they can share their methods with those who need help.  The intent is to promote growth across the board.  He noted that families began to look more closely at the Scouting program after 9/11 - the citizenship training and help with making ethical decisions were of considerable interest. He then began to recite the Twelve Points of Scout Law, which are being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent - and there were a lot of WVRC members who jointed in this litany - very impressive, and demonstrative of how widespread the support of Scouting really is.

STEVE next introduced Harlan Hogue, Scoutmaster of Troop One, which he founded in 1994.  They meet at the Red Cross in WLA. Harlan spoke about their Japan Exchange Program, which is similar to our Rotary activity.  On their recent trip they had 15 scouts and 3 adults, and the highlight was attending a Scout Jamboree attended by 20,000 scouts from all over Asia.  Before they left, the scouts had some concerns about staying in homes, and one member was worried about Japanese food - but everyone had a great experience.  Rick Gable's son, Ryan, was one of the 15 members on the trip, and they will go again in 2004.

Q&A -   DON NELSON, Have there been studies of boys in scouting?  Yes, and they find that Scouts set goals, particularly Eagle Scouts.  RAY ZICKFELD, What is your source of funding?  This depends on whether the money is used for operations, capital improvements, or endowment.  United Way was once a major partner, but they now work more with Foundations.  BILL EDWARDS, Have you been attacked on growth, or fundraising?  Yes, but this all changed after 9/11.  DENNIS CORNWELL, What is a Banner Year?  Our goal was 2 million and we exceeded that by 300K.  LENNY FRIEDMAN, How hard is it to recruit the youth of today? If they actually see our activities - camping, etc - they come aboard.  How do families balance sports and scouting?  We can, and do, help them with these choices.  PDG ANDY ANDERSON, How are your Explorers doing?  We now have many specialized Explorer activities, which are designed by the older kids - 14 and 15 year olds, that is.  TONY MARRONE, Do you have federal money support?  Yes, and it is helpful.  Our guest, Ray Engel, wondered about Eagle Scouts.  They have found that Rotarians are three times as likely to be scouts.  LENNY FRIEDMAN, again - With the youth of today, do you recruit the kids or their parents?  Usually, a friend tells them what we are doing, and they come along.  PP HOWIE HENKES - There is a Police Explorer Program, which came under fire - but since has been proven to be most helpful to its members. Their theme is Learning for Life.

You can tell by all the questions that we were interested.  Thanks, YOE, Ernie Wolfe.