John White attended the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Ft. Myers South on Monday, February 17. This club of 109 members operates without paid staff and is celebrating fifty years. Like all the clubs in Southwest Florida, it was spun off from the Rotary Club of Ft. Myers that John visited a week earlier. This club seems to support a range of local and international charities and also sponsors an Interact Club. A couple other items: New members are expected to attend a board meeting and they also have a commitment to clean up a nearby roadway.
The luncheon was held at a Crowne Plaza Hotel. $20 paid for a hot buffet lunch. A total about 50 attendees included just a few guests and visitors. Beyond the female president, diversity of any kind was not apparent. Members wore the big, round, old style metal badges. Opening activities like a religious invocation, pledge of allegiance, the introduction of guests, happy dollars, fine for an absent Rotary pin, and a couple jokes were typical. An unusual feature was a minute or two where all the attendees walked around and personally greeted other attendees. Very welcoming!
The speaker was from the Lee County schools. He is an administrator in charge of the athletics at public schools throughout the county, including 15 high schools. He was proud of the fact that his schools offer 23 of the 26 sports recognized by the State of Florida. He was supportive when bowling came along and promoted it by telling kids, “How else can you earn a varsity letter without running, jumping, or sweating and also enjoy a cheeseburger while playing?” He noted he was not keen on video gaming as the newest addition to the list but recognized the benefits of teamwork. What was interesting in his talk was that football is the only sport played by professionals that has its path only through high schools. Another surprise was that the head football coach at each of his high schools gets only a $4,600 addition their annual salary as a teacher. That amount is set in the union contracts and is the highest of any of the various coaches. There is some exceptional dedication among coaches but lots of turnover, as well.
The speaker got standing ovation at the end of his talk and the Club President announced that a donation to PolioPlus will be made in his name.
John finds that visiting other clubs is great way to stay connected while away from Ann Arbor and learn about what else is going on in the Rotary world. It’s easy to do, too. Simply download the Rotary Club Locator app to your smartphone or go to the ClubFinder link on the home page of www.rotary.org.