New president of local club wants to enhance Rotary ‘brand’By Stephen Dawkins Published 4:29pm Thursday, August 8, 2013
Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a series of stories profiling the new presidents of local civic clubs. A story about new Clanton Lions Club President Tyson Elrod can be found here. Look for stories about new leaders of the local Kiwanis and Evening Lions clubs to publish soon.
There are local civic clubs that have more members than the Rotary Club of Chilton County. There are others that may be more recognizable in the community.
But new club President Gordon Swenson thinks a group of hard-working Rotarians can change that.
Swenson said one of the priorities of his administration is enhancing the Rotary “brand” in Chilton County.
“We want the community to understand that we’re a major service organization,” Swenson said.
The Rotary Club of Chilton County sponsors Clanton’s annual Christmas parade. The club also gives free dictionaries to every county third grader each year and sponsors two local students in attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp. Those students are also given college scholarships.
Expanding membership will allow the club to give back more to the community, and Swenson said he thinks the best way to recruit new members is to have interesting meetings.
The club is in the middle of a series of speakers related to the county’s lack of a hospital. Swenson also plans for the club to schedule a “non-traditional” meeting each month, where members would get together at someone’s house instead of their usual meeting place.
Swenson will have plenty of help in his effort to increase membership. Bill Evans, who served as president before Swenson, is serving as District 6880′s membership chairman.
Along with more members should come more revenue. Of course, the non-profit organization operates only with the community in mind.
“The objective isn’t to make and save money, it’s to make and spend money,” Swenson said about donating to local charities.
The club is planning to begin a Christmas festival that could become a significant annual fundraiser.
“I think that would be a major, major achievement for us,” Swenson said.
Swenson has previously served as president of the Sylacauga Rotary Club and helped found a club in Battle Creek, Mich.
A California native, he holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
Swenson and his wife, Sandra, first moved to Chilton County since 1995. They have one child, three grandchildren and five dogs.