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The Kelso Rotary Club was chartered May 11, 1923 under the auspices of the Portland, Oregon Club and the District Governor Frank H. Lamb.
Our first president was Dr. John Barton, a prominent local physician.
For years the club met at the Columbia Cafe which was part of the Columbia Hotel on Pacific Avenue, the site of today’s Columbia Apartments for Seniors. When the club outgrew the cafe, it made an interesting move.
The ladies of the Kelso Presbyterian Church offered to cater our luncheon in the church hall. Again the club enjoyed marvelous food in comfortable surroundings. Volunteer groups are subject to “burnout,” and in 1960 the club relocated to Peter’s Gay 90’s Restaurant on South Pacific Avenue.
During this time, the club membership remained at about twenty-five.
It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Kelso Rotary underwent a major transformation. The engine for this change was the late Jerry Kivela, who is best described as a most accomplished promoter. From the start, he recruited new members. About a half-dozen of these new members are among the past presidents of the club. Jerry also encouraged the move to the Red Lion. This move enabled the club to continue its growth.
In 1996, the Kelso Rotary Foundation was established and registered with the Internal Revenue Service to insure that all donations would be deductible under the law. All fund raisers and disbursements are functions of the Foundation. The Foundation board is composed of members of the club board and meets monthly. The focus of the Foundation is funding for youth and family services in our community.
The club focuses on projects to benefit the youth of the community, and is currently in the process of building a skateboard park in Kelso. For its Centennial project, Kelso will be working with other area clubs on a spray park to replace a failing pool in the area.
A “classification” describes the principal activity of the company or business with which a Rotarian is connected. For example, a police officer could be classified as “law enforcement”, a school principal as “public education”. The reason for classifications is to ensure a well-balanced club with members of many vocations.
One of Rotary’s four avenues of service is “vocational service”, whereby we honor and respect our individual contributions to our community through our vocations. New members are given an opportunity to share their vocation by giving a classification talk.
The following is a rough guideline for giving a classification talk:
State your name, where you currently work, and what you do there.
Give a brief history of yourself. This can include where you were born, childhood interests and family statistics, people that had an influence on you, major life events such as military service or travel.
Talk about your work history, training and education. This can include why you chose your profession (or perhaps why it chose you).
If desired, you can share your present hobbies, interests, values and beliefs. This could include why you joined Rotary, what you hope to gain from it, and what you feel you can contribute.
Finally, the best part, it should take no more than 10-15 minutes. It is a great opportunity to share information about yourself. Relax and enjoy!