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!
We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of our dear friend and Rotarian, Tom Davis, who left us on October 13th.
Orange Plaza was Tom’s last Rotary club, and we know how lucky we are. In nearly 40 years as a Rotarian, Tom Davis left his mark. He was the “tree guy” behind the Rotary Club of Villa Park, procuring the saplings given to grade schoolers in celebration of Arbor Day. Even after transferring to Orange Plaza Rotary, he continued to volunteer at Villa Park events and to stay in touch with good friends there. Tom supported youth programs, working directly with El Modena Interact, and kept us connected to international service, in partnership with the RC of Villa Park. For Tom, Rotary was a family affair and we were thrilled to welcome his daughter Kristen as a member. Tom opened his home to the family of Rotary as well, and we had a wonderful time celebrating the end of summer at his home with our friends. Thanks for the memories, Tom. We love you and will miss you!
A celebration of Tom’s life will be held November 21st at 11am at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange, CA. A lunch reception will be held afterwards.
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:
Dr. 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 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.
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!
Orange Plaza Rotary received numerous honors for its work during the 2015-2016 Rotary year. The club was recognized for its activity in all areas of Rotary service, including its international service project partnering with the nonprofit organization “Stop Hunger Now”. For its efforts in organizing a food packaging event that sent more than 40,000 meal servings to Vietnam and the Philippines, Orange Plaza Rotary was honored with the “John Boyd International Service Award” presented by fellow Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Brea on July 11th.
The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza Rotary was recently named “Best Small Club” among the 45 Rotary clubs in District 5320, which includes all of Orange County and parts of southern Los Angeles county. The “Best Club” banner was awarded at the May 2016 District Conference in Newport Beach by then-Governor Kevin Padilla of Placentia.
On behalf of Rotary International President Ravi Ravindran, Governor Padilla also presented the prestigious “Presidential Citation” to Orange Plaza for the Rotary year ending on June 30th. In making the award, Rotary International noted the participation of more than 75% of Orange Plaza members in “hands-on” projects in the community, praised the group’s sponsorship of a student service organization (El Modena High School Interact) and thanked the club for its financial support of The Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of Rotary International.
Orange Plaza Rotary (widely known as the organizers of the Annual Orange Plaza Car Show) also received the “Quality of Life” Award from the Orange Chamber of Commerce on June 16th. The award, shared with two other Rotary clubs in the city, recognized the club for outstanding service by a nonprofit organization. OPR’s local service projects include quarterly food drives for homeless veterans, design and installation of custom wheelchair ramps for the disabled, and guiding high school students through the signature project, “Mentor Meals”.
The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza plans another busy year of service in the next twelve months, expanding successful programs and adding new community-based projects in the City of Orange.
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.
So this happened…
The members of Orange Plaza Rotary attended the Saturday luncheon at the annual Rotary 5320 District Conference and then hung around for District awards afterward. Oh, how we cheered as our friends in San Clemente Sunrise and Anaheim Hills captured the flag for best project in Community, Youth and International Service! We patted ourselves on the back when we received a Public Image citation and a well-earned Presidential Citation but, truth be told, we were just a wee bit disappointed.
Yes, our motto is “Service Above Self”, but if we are honest with ourselves, we have a competitive spirit running through our tight-knit group. We headed out into the afternoon sunshine, vowing to do better next year.
And then the sun went down, and the lights came up, and dinner was served. We danced, we ate, and we drank. Just a little. Not enough to miss our big moment when Governor Padilla announced Orange Plaza Rotary as the best small club in Rotary District 5320!
After the shock wore off, we got a good night’s sleep. Now we’re ready to do it all again.
‘Cause yeah, we are a little club, but kind of a big deal.
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!
Old 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 @ orangeplazarotary.org.
Orange Plaza Rotary welcomed local car enthusiasts to our regular meeting spot at Marie Callender’s on July 29th. The “cruise-in” was a chance to check out some great cars and catch up with old friends. Many participated in our “Dine-In and Donate” fundraiser, taking advantage of happy hour specials at Marie Callender’s. The restaurant donated 20% of the proceeds to Orange Plaza Rotary, which will use the funds in the battle to End Polio Now. Join us for the next cruise-in event on August 26th at Marie Callender’s.
Cruise into the Marie Callender’s parking lot on July 29th or August 26th for cool cars, happy hour specials and great food!
Present your ticket when you dine and Orange Plaza Rotary will receive 20% of the sale. And don’t forget to order some delicious pie to go!
For Cruise-In July 29th and August 26th
Proceeds support the community and world service projects of Orange Plaza Rotary. Check out our website to learn more about Rotary in your town.