Welcome to the 2020-2021 Rotary Year! This year, the Rotary theme is “Rotary Opens Opportunities”.
Each month, District Governor Bill Pritchard will share some thoughts and goings on from around the district.  Click on the link below to read Bill's July message.
TOGETHER,we see a world where people UNITE and take action to CREATE lasting CHANGE
Across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
Dear Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors and friends,
Welcome to the 2020-2021 Rotary Year!  
This year, our theme is “Rotary Opens Opportunities”.
Not so many years ago, (2014/2015), I remember preparing to become Club President of the Rotary Club of La Crosse.  I was nervous then about the responsibilities ahead of me and the challenges of leadership.
Now, here in 2020, at the beginning of our Rotary journey together, I am still somewhat nervous.  The responsibilities are larger for me this time.  But so are the possibilities.  I am so excited to share with you all the opportunities that lie in front of us.
I am proud to continue Past Governor Edwin Bos’s strong commitment to growing Rotary.  I am excited to continue to work with our fantastic District Governor team – Past Governor Bos joins District Governor-Elect Karen Hebert, District Governor Nominee Ben Bauer, and later this year we will select our District Governor Nominee-Designate to join the team.  Together, we work to serve you – to help you increase the IMPACT and REACH of our clubs within your communities, to increase the ENGAGEMENT of our clubs with the greater district and our greater world, and to continue to ADAPT to our changing environment with an inventive, entrepreneurial, and resilient spirt.
This past 90+ days has certainly challenged us to maintain our Impact, Reach and Engagement.  Due to the emergence of COVID-19, we have had to ADAPT in ways that were impossible to have foreseen or in many cases even contemplate.   In many cases, we have not had the opportunity to physically spend time with our close friends that most of us find within our Rotary clubs.  But this adversity has reminded us of the strengths of our Rotary District and our clubs, and has also opened the doors for some incredible opportunities.
Our district is in wonderful shape.  We are financially strong.  Our Rotary Foundation continues to be recognized as one of the world’s best charities.  In virtually every community that we find a Rotary Club, that club has a rich heritage of making their communities better place to live.
But we cannot stand still and be satisfied with everything we have done.  The COVID-19 pandemic has “forced” many of our clubs to meet virtually.  And you know what?  We have mostly found that it was not so bad… in fact in many cases we have found the virtual environment attractive in many ways.  We are going “digital” – much faster than we may have anticipated. 😊  I hope that your club will CONTINUE to utilize a digital presence once we slowly and carefully return to meeting in person.  I believe you will find it easier to remain engaged members as you have yet another way to stay connected and involved.  Some Rotarians may complain a little that it does not look or feel like their “old” Rotary.  That’s OK – we need to continue to change. As Paul Harris said, “we have to be revolutionary from time to time.”  And now is the time to be revolutionary.
I look with hope for “revolutions” all across our district this year.  I look for revolutions in terms of new club creations – perhaps focused on cause based clubs, remote clubs, clubs that perhaps ONLY meet virtually – can you image a virtual club that gathers and is purpose driven around working thru Rotary on environmental issues?  I can – I’d like to see at least two new clubs in our district this year – I look to John Locke and the Membership Committee to be the driving force in this area.  I look to Josh Mansee and our Foundation Team to continue the true strength we find in our district – we are a charitable folk and we recently have done an outstanding job of searching out projects to enhance our communities along with communities around the world.  Ben Bauer is crafting a team of talented Rotarians to craft a comprehensive targeted plan – watch for more details on these efforts as we move through the year.  Finally, our Youth Team has not seen such a challenging environment in memory – a cancelled short term and long term Youth Exchange Program, a rescheduled RYLA event, and our Interact Clubs significantly curtailed by the COVID environment.  But I see great opportunity in the face of these challenges – our clubs having the opportunity to regroup and to craft Youth Program plans that are even more solid since we’ll have the opportunity to look ahead instead of just react.  Look below for updates from these key committees each month.
Our clubs are so unique… we make real differences in our communities and the world – we need to share these with the world!  There are unique opportunities that the place we find ourselves open – not only for our clubs but the for the people that our clubs serve.  I would like to strongly encourage each of you to take this opportunity to strategically look at how your club impacts your communities, reaches beyond your community to engage in our greater world, and continues to adapt to the opportunities presented.  I encourage you to have at least one strategic planning meeting this year.  Look ahead at your club five years from now… what value will it bring to your your communities?  What value will each of you receive by being a member?
Opportunities abound… we are here because we believe in Rotary opportunities, in opportunities for others and for ourselves.  We believe that our acts of service, big and small, create opportunities for people who need our help.  Each of these opportunities… every act of service… create further opportunities to inspire and change each of us.
I could not be more honored and proud to be your District Governor for the 2020-2021 year.  I look forward to the great things we are going to accomplish on our journey together.
Be well and healthy,
Bill Pritchard
2020-2021 District Governor