Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta asked us District Governors to pursue four themes this Rotary year: Each One Bring One, Grow More Do More, Days of Service, and Empower Girls. If you were at your club meeting when I visited, you’ll remember that we considered the energy and renewal that comes when each of us makes a commitment to extend Rotary fellowship (Each One Bring One) and give generously to our Rotary Foundation (Grow More Do More).
During the first week of October, 6250 Rotarians, our friends in 6220 and 6270 (our TriCon partners) joined in Rotary Days of Environmental Service, celebrating our foundation’s new area of focus with action.
In this and future Dispatches, we’ll tell stories on the theme of Empowering Girls. I asked women district leaders to tell a story when they, as girls, were empowered. Their stories reveal a critical moment, someone who believed in them (or didn’t), and how they found the courage to move through the challenge, opening their lives to new strength. I hope you enjoy learning what shaped the women alongside whom you serve. In future Dispatches, we’ll tell some of our international and community service stories that have empowered girls.
We have made a lot of progress in what we imagine for girls and women. We have made a lot of progress in what we imagine for people of color, and people with disabilities. There’s more to imagine – for every single one of us. There is so much more to learn.
Empowerment begins with seeing. The more we cultivate the attitude and skill of putting others at the center of our attention, of living “Service Above Self” as others are presented with important opportunities, the more Rotary will flourish. Our joy will be in others’ strength and others’ success.
Our service will change lives. Thanks for reading!
P.S. Now is the best time to REGISTER  for TriCon2022! Listen to what 6220 District Governor Sridhar has to say about it!
 District Governor Karen

Empowered to Lead

It was the Spring of my Junior year in high school and time for candidates to announce for the leadership of the student body for the coming school year. The previous fall the student body had experienced both a tragic death of one student and serious injury to another. We all grew up quickly that November.
When I thought about leading my fellow students, I knew I was ready. I had always been a serious student and had become even more so following the accident, so I put my name in as a candidate for student council president.
Then I learned that I couldn’t be student council president. I couldn’t even be a candidate for student council president. Why?  Only a boy could be student body president.  A girl could be vice-president.  The gender tradition/restriction continued, only a boy could be treasurer and only a girl could be secretary.
And no, I didn’t ride to school in a horse and buggy.  It was, however, a Catholic school slow to respond to changes in society. This wasn’t my first challenge to the administration. I sewed a patch bearing a dove to my uniform blazer. “Take that off.” I wore slacks to an after-football game mixer. “If you want to come to the dance, you have to change.” Would this be another losing battle?
Friends rallied around me. They shared my frustration and encouraged, demanded, that I run for Vice-President. They empowered me to rise to the occasion, rise above my anger at the unfairness of the situation, and run for the office that was open to me. I still remember sitting at the home of one of the upperclassmen when we came up with my slogan. Let the Sunshine In with Lynn. I was elected.  And the following Fall I joined the speech team, writing and competing with my Original Oration about women’s rights. But that story is for another day.

Enjoy the Ride

At the beginning of my senior year in high school, my class was gearing up for creating a legacy through our yearbook.  A few of us were in the crosshairs of our classmates’ vision as they elected the six-member yearbook staff.  I remember being honored and thrilled that my class wanted me to be a co-editor.  The thrill soon wore thin as the overwhelming task of actually creating our yearbook came into view.
The first deadline was haunting us.  There were many pressures: photographs to take, film to develop into pictures, layouts to create, working late after school.  And, at the top of the list, publishing a yearbook our whole class would be proud to have as a keepsake.
In a state of panic, I rushed into Mr. Shold’s office and proceeded to have an emotional breakdown.  He was our yearbook advisor and the superintendent of our school district and I had great respect for him.  Mr. Shold listened to my woes and in a very calm manner encouraged me to focus on the first deadline⁠—one step at a time.  I dried my eyes, gathered my pride, and returned to the team.  We met the first deadline!  One photograph at a time, one layout at a time, we met every deadline.
I gained many valuable life lessons from this experience.  I was definitely outside my comfort zone.  But, I was not alone.  Team members and mentors shared that same journey that contributed to our success.  Deadlines became more attainable by breaking them down into manageable pieces.  Perhaps most importantly, I learned to enjoy the ride⁠—and many cherished memories resulted in the process.

Game of Life

Having the opportunity to start working at age 12 was the first step to my early empowerment.  That was how I began to make choices about the future.
One of my choices was to be the first in my family to go to college. For a young woman from a small farming community in rural Wisconsin this was a bold choice. And it would only happen if I earned enough money.
In high school I was a starter on the girls’ varsity basketball team. I also worked at a local store 20 hours each week to earn spending money and save for my college dream. To be on time for my job I needed to leave basketball practice 20 minutes early a couple of times a week. A few weeks into the season as I was again leaving early to race to my job, the coach called me out. In front of the entire team, he said I lacked commitment and a hard work ethic. And if this continued, I’d find myself on the bench.  I gathered all the strength I could, walked over to him, and said, “I’ll gladly take my place on the bench.” And walked out.
I had a choice that day. I could let his words define me, mold me into his vision of hard work and commitment.  Or I could have faith in myself, my vision, knowing that what I was doing, what I was choosing, demonstrated more commitment and hard work than he could ever imagine. Maybe I lost the game on the basketball court that day, but I have always known it’s the game of life that matters.


My father was an officer in the Army so I moved every one to three years throughout my entire childhood.  Can you imagine moving eleven times before you went to college?  That meant changing schools six times from kindergarten through my senior year, always having to make new friends, and having to settle a home quickly.  It was hard to establish one's presence anywhere when you moved that often.  Now, that is not to say it was a terrible life.  I got to experience living in different parts of the United States including Alaska and Hawaii.  Additionally, I lived in Germany while I was in high school.  We were a strong family unit and I relied heavily upon my parents for my self-confidence, but never realized what others saw in me as a leader until I was in college.
Imagine this: my parents were living in Ft. Worth, Texas when I left for college at UW-Madison.  I was 1,000 miles away from my family.  I knew no one on a campus of 40,000 students.  I had moved a lot but I always had my parents and sister with me.  Now I was on my own.  I chose to make the campus a little smaller by joining a sorority.  It was the best decision I made my freshman year.  Little did I know that I'd find a group of 100 women I could call friends. However, I quickly realized this group was about more than friendship: it was also about building leadership in young women. They saw qualities in me that I had yet to discover. 
Outsiders often view sorority life critically, but having experienced it firsthand, I can affirm the incredible opportunities it provided me as a young woman just discovering herself. It transformed me. 
Through a variety of experiences in the group, I developed skills I used during my college years and beyond.  By my sophomore year, I was asked to be the House Manager for the 50 women who lived in the house, collaborating with the House Parents and Alumni House Board.  This was a leadership position I would never have dreamed I was capable of holding, yet I had developed the skills and confidence to perform the job I was being asked to do.  An amazing transformation had occurred.  From that point forward, I confidently said yes to tasks I was asked to lead, knowing I had the skills to successfully complete them.


St. Agnes Elementary School took my education and molding seriously. Staff knew just what to do – push me, reward me, and penalize me when I was out of line. I responded very well to pushing and rewarding – and not well at all to the penalizing. It was a love-hate relationship from all sides.
Except for that one day. That one winter day, in 1974, during art class.
Steve G. was a classic bully. He was tall, strong, smart, and shameless. He ruined everything that I valued and hurt people who couldn’t stand up to him – which was nearly everyone, including the system. Until this day, I was just an observer.
If the day’s art required sticking things together, we St. Agnes students walked to the front of the room with a scrap of paper on which we would spread a blob of paste from a giant plastic tub. While I was on my way up, Steve smeared his paste on my navy uniform skirt. In that moment I was transformed from observer to victim.
I looked down, sized up the situation, continued to the front, got my paste, turned toward Sister Mary Louise and wordlessly asked for permission to act. I wondered if she, like me, was in the frame of mind to stand up to bullying.
She nodded.
I was empowered.
I stopped beside Steve’s desk, he looked up, and I smeared my paste from his forehead to nose. “I’m going to kill you, West,” he responded. I figured he meant it.
In the hallway a bit later in the day, Steve smashed my face into the bubbler as I drank. Returning to class, Sister suggested I stay after for an hour to let things cool off. I did. Things didn’t.
On my solo five-block trek home - Ninth, Russell, Langlade – Steve appeared. He’d hidden behind a house, waited an hour, and amassed an arsenal of good-sized ice chunks. He whipped them at me – at my head particularly – and I thought I might just die after all. I ran – Rockdale, Biemeret – home; bruised, shaken, afraid.
And liberated.
My memories of what followed are vague. I don’t remember anything more about Steve’s bullying. Since I was so nervous, I’m guessing there was, in fact, less bullying. But the memory of Sister is crystal clear. She supported my stand for justice, knowing that she couldn’t protect me from the risks. It’s important to stand, and I admire the courage in those that do.

Grant Management Seminar – Last Chance for 2022-23 Grant Eligibility

Any District 6250 club wanting to apply for District Grants or Global Grants in 2022-23 is required to have a member attend a Grant Management Seminar this winter. The last virtual GMS session is on Wednesday, February 23 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Any Rotarian can register for the seminar on the District 6250 website: Please join us to be eligible for matching grants for projects that are priorities for your club. 

District Grants

Congratulations to the Mayville Club for receiving a District Grant for their Park Street Square Band Stand project. The new park provides a downtown community gathering place for celebrations, commemorations, and a variety of community functions and entertainment. This project is being led by their new members. A $2,730 District Grant was awarded in late January.
In November, our District Grant Committee announced an open application process for District Grants to help fund projects to be completed by May 15, 2022. If your club is considering a short-term project this winter with a budget less than $30,000, District matching grants are available. Projects can be local or international. Detailed information about District Grants is available on the District 6250 website. Contact Liz Evans at if you have further questions.
Thank you to every District 6250 Rotarian who contributes to the Annual Fund/SHARE program of The Rotary Foundation. Your contributions make District Grants possible for projects like the Mayville Band Stand project. When you drive through downtown Mayville this summer, you can take pride in knowing your support is helping Mayville enhance their sense of community.




Dwight Heaney
Rotary Club of Fort Atkinson
District 6250 Foundation Committee Chair

Youth Message

I want to take the opportunity to kick off the year with some tips for how to learn more about Youth Programs within District 6250 and Rotary as a whole. We have a very strong Youth focus within our district and are active with each of the main areas. If you're not familiar, the different areas of Youth Programs for Rotary are:
  • Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
  • Youth Exchange (Short term and Long Term)
  • Interact
  • New Generations Service Exchange 
    • This is an area that calls out as a youth program. It's for University students going up to age 30, so it sits more in line with Rotaract, which is not part of the Youth programming within District 6250. 
If you visit you can learn about each of these different areas in more detail. Rotary also has newsletters that highlight information on Youth Exchange and Young Leaders in Action, you can opt-in to receive those once signed into your MyRotary account and going into your Account Settings. If you need any help, just let me know! 
The district is currently looking to update our district website as well, so I'd like to know if there's anything Youth related that you'd like to see added or available through our district site. Would committee chair contact information be helpful? A youth specific calendar? A listing of all of our Interact clubs? We want the site to be helpful to you as a member of our district, so reach out to me if you have any suggestions! 
As we look to rebound from a few years off of "normal" Youth Programs, it's important for us to keep our involvement strong and feel supported in our local clubs. If you feel like your club might be slipping away from Youth activities and you want to rejuvenate them, I'm here to help. Here's to a strong 2022 for Youth Programs, continued involvement and growth and getting back to connecting with the smiling faces that belong to the future of Rotary.
Laura Lee

International Service Committee

Haitian Well Project Energizes Club
In 2018, as a memorial to a longtime member of our Janesville Noon Rotary club, we decided to have a Haitian water well constructed, in his name.  The $21,000 necessary for the project was a big ask, considering it had not previously been budgeted -- but the members of our club were determined to find a way to make it happen.
Our club has historically been a leading donor to our Rotary Foundation but has not always taken advantage of the many opportunities to leverage monetary grants available to us.  Since we’d never used a grant to fund a similar project and since several members of our club were planning to travel to Haiti to assist with the construction, this project seemed tailor-made to apply for a $5,000 District Grant match (the maximum one club can request for a single project). 
Our application was approved and along with the $5,000 from the District Grant, sufficient additional funds were raised to move forward.  In late February of 2019, our team of four Rotarians along with three of their family members traveled to Haiti to assist with the completion of the well and structure. It was dedicated on February 26, 2019 (just days before COVID put a hold on so many lives).
This project really helped our club to become even more energized.  Working together to raise the funds, complete the project and meet with the people who would benefit was truly life-changing for many of us.  This is just one example of the benefits of taking on a club-sponsored International service project.
Planning an international project for your Rotary Club can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.  District 6250 has a committee of experienced and dedicated members to assist you with planning the perfect project for your club.  It is called the international Service Committee (ISC) and is akin to having a knowledgeable friend who’s only a phone call or email away.  Whether it’s identifying a worthy project, finding an international partner, providing guidance on a grant application, or simply sharing encouragement to your club, the members of the ISC are available to help.  Projects can be large or small and your club’s involvement can be extensive or, with the help of cooperating partner clubs, minimal.
If you’d like to learn more about how the ISC can help you and your club become involved with a project, the first simple step is to ask for help.  Drop an email to committee chair PDG Chuck Hanson to begin planning, today.
Yours in Rotary Service,
Chuck Hanson, ISC District Chair

We’re hoping this instant whets your appetite for more! Lake Mills High School Interact membership doubled almost 100 in one year. What changed? The club’s advisor shared a vision of Rotary that resonated with students. Watch for the full story in the next Dispatch.

Karen Hebert
DG 2021-22
District 6250
Empowered • Collaborative • Innovative


Welcome to February - Peace and Conflict Resolution and Prevention month in Rotary

Throughout District 6250, Rotarians are working tirelessly to tackle challenging issues that face our society and our world, especially in the scope of peace and conflict resolution.  And as they tackle these challenging issues, they make it a priority to invite in others to provide opportunities of collaboration and growth.
As you likely know, political polarization in the United States is at an all-time high. This has led to less communication and consideration of each other's views, animosity, and even violence. The reduced ability of “Blues” and “Reds” to work together means fewer constructive conversations to address significant problems this country faces. 
Last month, the Rotary Club of Madison, hosted the organization Braver Angels as their speaker at a club meeting. Their presentation was inspiring, informational, and something that the club wanted to continue to pursue as a priority. This led to efforts to provide an event for their club and the clubs in District 6250.
These Braver Angels events facilitate bi-partisan conversations and build skills as a foundation for democracy. Rotary International has embraced working with Braver Angels.
Members of the Rotary Club of Madison will be hosting two Braver Angels’ events that will be held on Friday, February 25 and Saturday, February 26.  Guests of Rotarians are also welcome.
Choose either Friday, February 25   OR   Saturday, February 26
9:00 am to 4:00 pm.   This event will be at Holy Wisdom Monastery, Middleton (accommodation information below)
Cost ($30) includes coffee, tea and lunch.  (Cost is non-refundable after Feb. 16)
Click here to register:
Sessions will be facilitated by trained Braver Angels’ Moderators.  5-8 Republican-leaning citizens (“Reds”) and 5-8 Democratic-leaning citizens (“Blues”) gather together for a full-day of structured conversations. 
Background information:
·       Rotarian Magazine article on Braver Angels
·       3-minute video on a Red-Blue workshop: Americans Experience Braver Angels
·       Braver Angels presentation to Rotary on December 1 (28 min long; starts at 26:00) 
Reserving a space is first-come, first-served. Participants register as leaning Red or Blue to ensure a mix of different views. Independents are welcome and will need to register as leaning Red or Blue. Reserve your spot now. Once all slots are filled on each day, additional people will be able to register as observers. 
Click here to register:
If you would like to stay overnight at Holy Wisdom Monastery, accommodation information is included below.
For more information, please contact: Paul Reiman - 

District 6250 Hybrid Meeting Task Force

As mentioned in last month’s article, this month we are focusing on Growing a club’s ability to boost engagement of individual members. Here are a few thoughts to consider around that subject:
  • Having good audio is critical. The virtual attendees must be able to clearly hear who in the room is speaking. This does not mean the table chatter or background noise but it does mean the person who currently “has the floor”. Be sure to have individuals use a microphone, even if they must go to the front of the room to use it!
  • Make sure that the technology works and you can work the technology. Recruit a person to help with the equipment set up and be sure to debug it before the meeting starts. They don’t have to be a heavy-duty techie, just someone willing to help before and during the meeting. This person can help the person running the meeting by being in charge of allowing the virtual attendees into the meeting, working the mute/unmute function, switching Zoom views etc. 
  • Monitor the chat room by recruiting or assigning someone and have them be the designated person who relays appropriate chat room questions/comments to the in-person group. This does not need to be the tech help person.
  • Introduce the meeting attendees who are virtual to those present in the room AND do introduce those in the room to those who are virtual attendees.
  • Let the virtual attendees have some post meeting time and encourage them to linger a bit to say their good byes amongst themselves, just as those in person attendees linger in the room or hallway and say their good byes.
  • Set expectations with the virtual attendees. Just as you expect in person attendees to “be present” during the meeting, encourage your virtual members to keep their cameras on during the entire meeting. By “being present” they are more likely to be engaged.        
For a few additional suggestions check out this You Tube Video Meeting Do's and Don'ts. Should you have any suggestions on this subject or have a question please drop me a note at  
Mike Dillis
District 6250 Hybrid Meeting Task Force Chair


Ideas Inspire Action in Houston 

The Rotary International Convention is a launch site for service projects that make an impact. It’s the starting place where members learn new skills, find inspiration, and connect with others to create change in their communities and around the globe. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re bound to find inspirational moments throughout the convention. It’s an experience unlike any other Rotary event and will renew your commitment to service and leadership.
Don’t miss your chance to Discover New Horizons and join us in Houston, Texas - June 4-8, 2022. 
If you can’t attend in person, a virtual convention option offers the opportunity to participate in events and share in the convention experience with your friends, family, club members, and community. 
Register now at without worry* and save! 
*If for any reason your plans need to change or the convention is cancelled, refunds will be granted.


Imagine Rotary

Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones wants members to imagine the possibilities in the change they can make to transform the world.
“Imagine, a world that deserves our best where we get up each day knowing that we can make a difference.”
-RI President-elect Jennifer Jones
Jones, who will make history on 1 July by becoming Rotary’s first female president, gave a live online address preceding Rotary’s annual training event for district governors from around the world, the International Assembly.
Jones told us incoming governors stories about “that certain Rotary magic”. Something that Rotarians experience every single day. I’m incredibly moved by this beautiful theme and can’t wait to see how our imagination takes us to action here in District 6250.
Ben Bauer
District Governor Elect (2022-2023)
PrePETS with AG Group #11 - Mick
Lake Ripley Inn
Feb 15, 2022
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
PrePETS with AG Group #9
The Stable
Feb 16, 2022 5:30 PM
PrePETS with AG Group #1
Feb 16, 2022 6:00 PM
PrePETS with AG Group #8
Feb 19, 2022 9:30 AM
PrePETS with AG Group #6
Feb 21, 2022 6:00 PM
PrePets with DG Ben
Feb 23, 2022
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Grant Management Seminar Session #2
Feb 23, 2022
5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
PrePets with DG Ben
Feb 24, 2022
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM
PETS 2022
Itasca, Illinois
Mar 04, 2022 – Mar 06, 2022
Presidents Leadership Series | March
Mar 16, 2022
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
View entire list
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