An Edmonds Rotary President’s Kind of Thank You (and look ahead)

We all know that Edmonds is a special community with beloved traditions, including the 4th of July parade and fireworks show, Downtown Halloween celebration and holiday tree lighting — thanks to the work from our Edmonds Chamber of Commerce.

The Edmonds Rotary Club has proudly been part of the Edmonds community since 1951 and has contributed to the city in numerous ways during these 70 years. Our scholarship program has impacted nearly 300 Edmonds students, who collectively have received almost $300,000 to help further their education.

We also donate school supplies and backpacks to school kids in need. In the last year alone Edmonds Rotary collected and packed 10,000 snack packs for Washington Kids in Transition.

We buy hundreds of toys and donate them every holiday season to families who can’t afford them.

These are all reasons why raising money is an important part of our work.

In a nutshell, we are a collection of community-minded people who want to make Edmonds — and the world — a better place.

And it’s this focus on our community that inspired me to first join Edmonds Rotary four years ago, and then take on the responsibility of serving as its President. My term officially expires the last day of this month, and I wanted to thank the club and Edmonds community for this amazing experience.

Together we accomplished a lot in the past 12 months — and it wouldn’t have been possible without support and cooperation inside and outside Edmonds Rotary. Change isn’t always easy — especially when you have a long and successful history. But there were a number of changes we were able to make this past year that will have a positive impact on both the club and community for years to come.

First, we are proud to partner with the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary Club and Alderwood-Terrace Rotary Club to pledge $130,000 to the Edmonds Waterfront Center. We are committed to increasing this amount to $150,000 and we’re excited to move into the new “Rotary Room” that we are sponsoring! This move was important for a few reasons:

  • It’s a clear opportunity for us to truly investment in our community.
  • The sponsorship of Rotary Room will provide a long-term home for both Edmonds Rotary clubs (after years of having to change locations).
  • It’s a great opportunity for collaboration between local Rotary clubs who all want to help our community. Pat Thorpe was my key point person on this project and I appreciate her work here!

One of our bigger moves (literally) was moving our lunch meeting location to Claire’s Pantry in April. Our new venue is awesome, members (and guests) have a great variety of lunch options and, especially important, we save almost $3,000 per month compared to our previous location and arrangement. This is money we can put back into our community! The move also provides a stable home for our lunch meetings until the new Edmonds Waterfront Center is ready for us to move in. This would not have been possible without the work of our special task force that was created to study this issue and find alternatives. Thank you Adrienne Miller, Michael Kealy and Cecille Schuman!

Edmonds Rotary has a long history with Meadowdale High School. We’ve honored students of the month from MHS for years, as well as provided scholarships to eligible students. This year we deepened our relationship with the school, with the goal of encouraging community service, while also exposing students to Rotary and our values. We are proud to sponsor the MHS service awards and recognize students who completed 100-plus hours of community service. We also created the first annual Vern Chase Memorial Service Award, in recognition of one of our most respected and beloved Rotarians who we sadly lost in 2018. MHS student Ricky Canziani won the first award, and his name is engraved in a plaque that will be featured at the high school with future winners.

I’m also very excited that for the first time ever, Edmonds Rotary will sponsor an Interact Club at MHS this upcoming school year. Interact clubs bring together young people to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of “Service Above Self.” Thank you Richard Okimoto and Amie Armstrong for championing our efforts here!

Introducing Edmonds Oktoberfest

But what we’re probably most excited about is the launch of a new event in Edmonds in 2019 that we’re confident will become a new favorite city tradition — Edmonds Oktoberfest!

This will be an Edmonds kind of Oktoberfest with its own unique twist on the traditional Bavarian fall festival.

Scheduled for Sept. 20 and 21, Edmonds Oktoberfest will be the first event of its kind in our area. The main event is a brewfest featuring local breweries where you can taste samples of your favorite flavors. And yes, wine will also be available.

It’s not just beer and wine though — Edmonds Oktoberfest will also be a family-friendly event with activities (and root beer and food) for kids and parents alike, including bouncy houses and interactive games presented by local non-profit organizations that promote inclusiveness.

Food trucks with an assortment of tasty bites will be parked along 8th Avenue, and we’re also incorporating Urban Craft Uprising — featuring nearly 100 booths of local indie craft makers.

And who’s ready for a Pet Parade? That’s right — we’re hosting the city’s first Pet Parade, along with a fun 5K and 1K walk/run!

And of course — much more is in the planning stages. Stay tuned to edmondsoktoberfest.comfor our website launch and updates.

Supporting the 1st Edmonds Oktoberfest provides local businesses and citizens alike with an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new event — and build a foundation for an annual event that has the potential to raise tens of thousands of dollars that we will put into our community

Raising money for a new inspirational inclusive playground

We have helped build playgrounds in Edmonds — and around the world. But we’ve never helped build a playground quite like a new inclusive playground we’re now planning in partnership with the City of Edmonds.

The inclusive playground will be an exciting and imaginative space at the new Edmonds Civic Park, where all ages and abilities will be able to play and explore at their own pace. We’re hoping to include playground features that can be accessed and enjoyed by those in wheelchairs — as well as all kids from age 5 to 90.

While I’ll be stepping down as President, I’ll remain very involved in Rotary (and Edmonds) as I’ll be leading the Oktoberfest and Inclusive Playground committees. I can’t wait to watch the seeds planted this past year grow and flourish in our community in the upcoming years ahead.

— By David Kaufer, President
Edmonds Rotary Club

(Sponsored by Edmonds Rotary Club)

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