Category Archives: Just for Fun!

Matt Barba 2017

Matt Barba’s Best Week Ever

Matt Barba’s boss calls him “Mr. Fixit”.  If it’s broken, he will fix it.  So it was no surprise to his co-workers that Matt spent a lot of his free time over the last 19 years carefully restoring a 1960 Chevrolet Hardtop.

Although he spent years locating the right vintage parts, Matt added enough personal touches that, when it came time to enter his first car show, he decided to enter the Chevy in the “Best Modified ’58 – 66″ class.  There’s tough competition in that class at the Orange Plaza Car Show, and Matt faced competition from 22 other terrific autos at the April 9th event.

IMG_20170413_125711Matt’s two-decade effort paid off, as he beat out everyone to capture Best of Show!  His boss was proud, his co-workers were proud and everyone gave him a big hand when they gathered again the following Thursday.  But this time, the boss was talking up his other achievements. You see, Matt’s co-workers voted him “Orange Firefighter of the Year”, an honor he collected at the 43rd Annual Police and Fire Awards co-sponsored by the three Rotary Clubs of Orange.  Seems that Matt might not have had a lot of free time to build that car, in between going to school and working as a paramedic, a fire/arson investigator, and as advisor to the Fire Explorer post.

Congrats Matt, on your best week ever!


Treats in the Streets 2016

A Tradition of Treats

The other day, project chair John Bouyer was asked to complete a survey for the City of Orange, describing our experience as a vendor at the annual “Treats in the Streets” fall event.  So, he did some math and figures that this little Rotary club has participated every year for the last 15 years.

Boy, have things changed!  In the early days, we had a photo booth, complete with a haystack set and our club President dressed as a scarecrow. We’d take a Polaroid, shake it a bit, and then put it in a little paper frame to be sold for a buck or two.  One year, we almost made money at that.

Then digital photography came about and we tried to adapt.  But who needs our photos when everyone has a smart phone?

The last few years we’ve been running carnival games and handing out candy.  (Uh, candy was always part of the deal.)  Ring toss, bean bag toss, goldfish toss…if you can toss it, we will host it.

It’s been fun 15 years and we wonder what the next 15 will bring!


Cruise Night 2016

Cruise-In to End Polio Now

We’ve raised $250 this season with our “Cruise-In to End Polio Now”, but we ain’t done yet!  Join us for one last night out under the lights at the Village of Orange on November 30th.  Our partner, The Habit Grille, will donate 20% of that evening’s sales to our “Polio Plus” campaign.  But only if you come and enjoy some of their yummy food!  Download the Cruise Night Flyer and present the coupon when ordering.

Thank you to our car community for helping us make history!


Back to Broadway for Elwyn California!

The ladies of Orange Plaza Rotary filled one of 18 sold out tables at the 3rd Annual Fall Fling, benefiting the work programs of Elwyn California.  Elwyn provides vocational training and job placement for persons with disabilities.

The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza has been a longtime supporter of Elwyn, participating annually the Elwyn Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser.  That event is now retired, but the “Fall Fling” is a rapidly growing and hilarious event that will add fun and funds to Elwyn’s programs.

In addition to sponsoring a table at the event, Orange Plaza Rotarians provided two gift baskets for sale in the silent auction.  And our resident theatrical ham, PDG Rae, served as one of the “models” in the “Backstage to Broadway” event, strutting around the room to the Chicago tune, “All That Jazz”.

Save the date for next year’s event (September 23, 2017) when Elwyn’s cast will be Rockin’ the 50s!

Speaker Series Entertains and Educates

Orange Plaza Rotary isn’t always on the go.  Sometimes, we take a break from our many service projects and sit down for food and drink with an interesting speaker.

Our Wednesday night meetings at Marie Callender’s are low-key and interactive, allowing us to get to know each other and our guests.  In the last month or so, we’ve had a great time with:

Marran, LynnDr. Lynn Marran – The founder of Children in Focus, a nonprofit organization that screens and treats children for functional vision problems that can interfere with learning. Over 30 optometry students have participated in training to detect these problems and more than 400 children have benefited from the program. Dr. Marran volunteers at local schools and shelters through Vision for Life and the Illuminations Foundation to provide eye care for the needy.




Chris Epting – Chris Epting, author of the new book “Teddy Roosevelt in California”.  Through firsthand accounts, speeches and rare photographs, author Chris Epting tells the story of a great and profound journey that had a lasting effect on conservation history and the National Park System.


Hope NelsonHope Nelson – This former Rotary Youth Exchange Student spent an incredible year in Emsdetten, Germany sponsored by the Rotary Club of Conroe, TX during 2007-2008. It was one of the most influential years of her life, where she “caught the travel bug”. Upon returning, she attended Texas A&M University and joined the Corps of Cadets, graduating in 2012 with a double major in International Studies and Russian, and earning a commission in the United States Army as a Military Police Officer.  Throughout her career, she has spoken at clubs throughout Texas and Missouri about the impact that Rotary Youth Exchange made on her life.

Davis, Kristen


Kristen Davis – Member Kristen Davis did a great job presenting “Let’s Talk Rocks” at the July 11th meeting. We had six kids in the audience, and a couple of them brought rocks to share with Kristen and ask for her professional help in identifying them. A trained geologist, Kristen has a large personal collection of rocks and minerals and takes regular “field trips” to find new specimens. Thanks for the “craft talk” Kristen!

Next up?  Rotary District 5320 Governor Ray Sanford.  Join us on July 20th!


On the Road: Old Orange Brewery Co.

We had fun welcoming guests and trying out the great craft beers at Old Orange Brewery Co. during our May 25th mixer and social.  Past District Governor Jim Paddock visited us to recognize Rae Shirer for contributing more than $7,000 to The Rotary Foundation. We then inducted Mary Noguera into our club and celebrated with a round of great brews. What did PDG Jim have? Why, the “Cussin’ Jim” IPA, of course.


Change Your Life in Just 3 Days!

By Rae Shirer, PDG

You’ve seen all of the clickbait on the internet:  “10 Things to Do to Change Your Life Forever”, “10 Positive Habits That Could Change Your Life”, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”, and thousands more links and websites hawking motivational speakers, books, diet milkshakes and exercise equipment.

But none of it sounds fun!  So let me share with you a Rotary secret that will not only change you but 200 other people too–in only 3 days!

The secret word is “RYLA”.  Wut?  “RYLA”, stands for “Rotary Youth Leadership Awards“, a program that develops self-confidence, teamwork skills and leadership traits in high school students.

Sounds boring?  Stick with me here.  In Rotary District 5320, the RYLA program is a two-and-a-half day adventure in the San Bernardino mountains.  Each spring, Rotary clubs sponsor 180 high school juniors from throughout the District to attend the camp for free. (That’s the “awards” part.)  On Friday afternoon they get to know each other in “families with icebreaker games, group art projects and by creating their own “air guitar” musical number to perform for the rest of the campers.

Some may stay up late in the RYLA study hall, but they might regret that decision on Saturday, when everyone heads out for a full day on the “Boojum” high ropes challenge course.  They, and their adult “parents”, swing from trees, climb rock walls, and solve physical puzzles along the challenge course.  By 4 p.m., parents are tuckered out but campers are still raring to go…

…to the Saturday night dance and bonfire (complete with ‘smores).  No twerkin’ but plenty of fun.

By departure on Sunday, kids who had never met before Friday are saying emotional goodbyes, trading phone numbers and social media, and making summer reunion plans.  In only 3 days, their lives have been changed for the better.

Change your own life in only 3 days–serve as a RYLA volunteer.  It won’t even cost you $29.95 plus shipping and handling.

2016 Car Show Winners

2016 Car Show Winners!

Under challenging conditions, nearly 400 car enthusiasts competed for recognition at the 22nd Annual Orange Plaza Car Show on April 17th in beautiful Old Towne Orange.  Thousands of spectators enjoyed the warm weather (91 degrees), light breeze (25 mph gusts) and fabulous local restaurants (yes, they really are fabulous).

Thank you to our many sponsors for making this show the premier event in the Southland!

Elwyn Bowl 2016

Bye-Bye to Bowling

Orange Plaza Rotary members and special guests gathered for the last Elwyn California Bowl-a-Thon on April 9th.  Elwyn is shifting their fundraising efforts to other events, such as the “Pinot and Palettes” event on June 26th and the 3rd Annual Fall Fling, set for September 24th.

Our club has sponsored bowling teams for more than 10 straight years, often including students from our Interact Club at El Modena High School, RYLA students, and other special guests.  Over the years, we have claimed the “Rotary Challenge” trophy several times, in a tough category of competitors from the Rotary Clubs of Huntington Beach, Anaheim Hills, Fountain Valley and Long Beach.

We will miss this opportunity for fun inter-club rivalry and fundraising with our friends.  However, we will continue to support Elwyn and their mission to provide vocational training and job placement for persons with disabilities.



Car Show Sponsor and Vendor Opportunities Now Available

2016 Car Show LogoOld Towne Orange will be rockin’ to the classics, customs, hotrods and streetrods on display at the 22nd Annual Orange Plaza Car Show, April 17, 2016.  Orange Plaza Rotary is the proud host of this Southern California tradition, which attracts 15,000 spectators to view 400 vehicles, enter to win fantastic prizes and sample the tastes of the many restaurants in this foodie mecca.

Vendor spaces and sponsorship opportunities are now available online at the event registration website.  Vehicle entry registration opens on February 1, 2016 at 8 a.m.  sharp.  Bookmark the registration page so you don’t miss a thing!

For more information about the Orange Plaza Car Show, please see the links on our website, or contact us at carshow @