Happy Birthday After Hours!

Next Friday, June 4th we will celebrate our 10th Birthday with friends and family, current members and former, with drinks and Chicken Q and live music from our favorite Tom Conrad. We will toast to the amazing accomplishments Rotary After Hours has achieved over the past decade. Whether you bought a ticket or not, come join us for any part of it and be impressed with the IMPACT we've had on the world. 
I'd be remiss not to mention that May is Youth Services Month and part of our long laundry list of accomplishments, is our investment in Rotary's Youth Services (and beyond). Let's take a trip down memory lane!
Our winning sHARk Tank project last year provided a van for kids at The Good Fight Community Center. By doing so, we are helping the organization's mission of providing at-risk and disadvantaged youth with hope, encouragement, and a safe environment to develop personal goals, discipline, and values that help them lead productive lives.
For several years, RAHtarians have served as counselors at RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards), a weekend long camp that transforms young people into more confident, focused individuals with a better understanding of the world around them. Not only does it impact the students, but it impacts the adult Rotarians who spend their weekend with the kids. It was the late Dave Knutson's favorite weekend of the year. Watch this video and see why!
Locally, the Interact Clubs in each of the area high schools are a glimpse into Rotary and what "Service above Self" means. iFeed is the big Interact project, taking place every November that benefits both local food pantries and hungry children in Nicaragua. Rotarian advisors, including our own Nick Ragner, mentor and guide Interactors as they carry out projects and develop leadership skills.
And then there is Rotary Youth Exchange; a program that builds peace one young person at a time. Since 2016, our club has hosted a Youth Exchange student each year. Eugene came to us from Taiwan, Clara from Italy, Miki from Poland and Hagen from Austria. Students learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become immersed in Western Wisconsin (and American) living. It changes their lives, but it changes our lives too. Each student has left their own unique mark on many of our hearts and our club is greater because of it.
RAH, we've done well when it comes to investing in Youth ... but our work is not done. As the wise Bill Pritchard says, "Be open to the opportunities working with young leaders in our communities by engaging them, mentoring them, and working side by side with them on meaningful projects. It’s an investment in their future and in the world they will live in after we’re gone. And it’s work that will forever enrich their lives… and our own."
Hope to see you at our 10th Birthday Bash on Friday (June 4th),
Marissa Dickinson
Rotary Club of La Crosse-After Hours, President 2020-2021
(*For optimal viewing there is an option at the very top that states "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view it online." This will ensure no stories go left unread.)