Club celebrates anniversary, welcomes Korean teamBy Stephen Dawkins Published 2:28pm Thursday, April 11, 2013
The Rotary Club of Chilton County recently celebrated its 10th birthday with no shortage of good news to share with the community.
The club was chartered on March 26, 2003. It now has 14 members and is involved in several efforts to benefit Chilton County.
One of those efforts is Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. The local Rotary club selects two juniors or seniors at county schools to attend a leadership camp and receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Colby Chambers of Maplesville and Samuel Gasson of Thorsby were this year’s selections.
The pair attended the camp March 14–17 at Camp ASCCA.
Camp participants go through team-building exercises as well as hear from speakers on the topic of leadership.
“It was a great experience,” Chambers said. “I learned a lot about the characteristics of leadership.”
Gasson said he enjoyed visiting the environmental center at Camp ASCCA and Dick Pearl’s talk about “How to be a Champion.”
“I’m going to have to be a leader, so I was glad to be able to participate in this camp,” Gasson said.
Rotary Club of Chilton County President Bill Evans said RYLA is an example of the club helping the community.
“We’re selecting some of the top young people in Chilton County,” Evans said. “They are the leaders of tomorrow, so we’re sending them to a leadership camp.”
The club experienced more excitement Wednesday as a Group Study Exchange team from South Korea visited Chilton County.
GSE is an annual program where the Rotary district that includes Chilton County sends a group of young professionals to a foreign country, which in turn sends a team to southern Alabama.
The GSE team from South Korea was treated to lunch and toured Mitchell Dam and the LeCroy Career Technical Center during their time in the county.
Local Rotarians were eager to hear the Koreans’ thoughts about the tension building with their neighbor to the north.
Jae Kwang Kim and Mi Lye Bok brought interesting perspectives, as Kim works at a U.S. military base in South Korea, and Bok is married to a member of the South Korean military.
Bok said that most younger Koreans don’t worry much about threats from North Korea because they have become commonplace, while Kim said he understands the concerns shared by Americans and older Koreans.
“We get people from Korea visit us here, and we send a team to Korea to study their culture,” Evans said. “It’s just a good all-around cultural exchange.”
GSE team leader Tomas Hong said he was glad he and his countrymen could participate in a program that fosters “better friendship through the support of education and alleviation of poverty.”
In addition to RYLA and GSE, the Rotary Club of Chilton County serves the community through sponsoring the Clanton Christmas Parade, distributing free dictionaries to every public school third grader in the county and other projects.
Current members who helped found the club are Judy Benson, Yolanda Fox, Carl Mims, Roger Yeargan and Steve Yeargan.
Steve Yeargan said starting the group entailed much work, but seeing the good the club has done makes it worth the effort.
“It’s been a wonderful 10 years,” Yeargan said. “Good members have come and gone, but I think everybody that’s been in the club has enjoyed it.
“We’ve been fortunate that, even though sometimes everybody can’t be at all the meetings, when he have an event everybody usually helps out. It’s been a great club with with good people who are easy to work with.”