The 72 clubs comprising Rotary District 7120 in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region recently attended the annual district conference at The Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs.
Representing Victor-Farmington Rotary Club were Bonnie and Ross Cottone, Judy and Dave Luitweiler, Galen Powers, Jim Crane, Karen Parkhurst and Russ Perrin.
Approximately 350 Rotarians and guests attended the conference that included a general business meeting, reports from district officers and committee chairmen, workshops on the opioid crisis, Rotary’s Childhood Poverty Initiative and Saratoga Springs Rotary Education Foundation.
Two presentations highlighted the historical significance of the Saratoga region. Local author Hollis Palmer discussed the history of Saratoga Springs. Victor-Farmington Rotarian Dave Luitweiler presented a program on the historical importance of the Battle of Saratoga that was fought in 1777 and is considered the most important battle of the American Revolutionary War.
The annual governor’s awards went to clubs that demonstrated exceptional contributions advancing Rotary’s Five Avenues of Service: club service, community service, vocational service, international service and youth service. Victor-Farmington Rotary received three awards for the club’s projects involving international service, vocational service and club service. The club received a special recognition award for exceptional service in promoting the goals of Rotary’s literacy programs, and was recognized for making the third highest per capita club donation in District 7120 to the Rotary Foundation.
Rotary International exchange students from foreign countries spending a year in District 7120 and those from the local area who will spend a year abroad in 2018-19 as Rotary exchange students participated in the conference. The students had a weekend of activities, projects and social events. Claudia Denali, the Victor-Farmington Rotary exchange student from Italy, was in attendance, as was Grace Morgan, a Victor Senior High School student who will spend next year in Latvia as a Rotary exchange student.
The conference’s opening dinner had a Cinco de Mayo theme. The conference coincided with the running of the Kentucky Derby. A special pre-race party featured Rotarians in racing attire and fancy hats. Mint juleps were available at the party. The Kentucky Derby was telecast live on a TV screen during the banquet.
Paul Harris, who founded Rotary in 1905, encouraged Rotarians to pursue their projects in furtherance of the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” Harris pointed out that nothing prevented them from having fun while doing it. His guidance was evident during the conference with social functions balancing serious work and business.
Victor-Farmington Rotarians visited two restaurants in Saratoga, as well as the Saratoga Battlefield and Hubbardton, Vermont, site of the Battle of Hubbardton in July 1777.
Incoming Rotary Gov. Mike Slovak said next year’s conference will be held in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania.