It’s Different here in La Plata

 

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From L – R, Melissa Tyner, Byx Bullock, Daniel Smyser, President Charlie Burch, Jim Cook, PE Jamie Reidy

If you listen to La Plata Rotarians tell the tale, somewhere on journey south on Route 5 / Branch Avenue, as you head past Clinton and Waldorf on Crain Highway, something happens.  I’m not entirely certain what it is, but Rotarian Byx Bullock jokes that the “laws of physics are actually suspended down here in Charles County.”  I suspect that they are referring to their perception that La Plata is a small town where everyone knows each other and “it’s impossible to get lost,” and so the laws of the  “Big City” universe are somehow suspended in their community.

I can’t speak for the town, but I am pleased to report that the laws of successful Rotary Clubs are certainly NOT suspended in the Charles County La Plata Rotary Club.  Here is a loud, rambunctious group of 40 members who clearly enjoy each other’s company.  They pass my favorite “healthy Rotary club” test, which is lots of laughter can be heard at the Green Turtle on Wednesday mornings.  I was pleased to do my dog and pony show about the Rotary Foundation yesterday for them, and also pleased to meet with their Board, as well as Rotarians Andy Colevas and Steve Cumberland from the Upper Marlboro Rotary Club, the night before.  THANK YOU to AG Jimmie Gorski who did a superb job organizing the event at the Olive Garden Restaurant.  (Sorry foodies, but you just can’t get too much better than the family style salads at Olive Garden.  Heck…what do I know….I’m always grateful when I go to a restaurant and the salad has something in it that I recognize.)

Here are a few other things I noticed about the La Plata club.  They have a great mix of younger and older Rotarians, and both groups respect each other immensely.  Rotarian’s Greg Cockerham and Jim Di Misa caught me after the meeting to let me know they are sticking around the club “just to keep the youngsters on track.”   Club President, Charlie Burch, and President Elect, Jamie Reidy, are doing just that.  Here’s just a few things on their list after our Foundation discussion Tuesday evening: 1) Make sure that they do a fireside chat with new members that eliminates any confusion about the Club’s Foundation and the Rotary Foundation (sound familiar?), 2) consider adding suggested TRF contributions to the dues invoices, and 3) get more involved with process for obtaining District Grants.

Here’s what I think.  The Rotary Club of Charles County La Plata is positioned to suck the air right out of their community in terms of being a MAJOR positive force for good.  This is a small town where everyone already knows Rotary because of the club’s signature fundraiser, the Lobster Fest, which raised more than $60,000 last year!  (According to Club President Burch, “They come for the beer…not the lobster.)  All that’s left is for this club to launch into aggressive membership mode where they target 50 – 60 members as a start and then take aim at Lexington Park…the big boy even further South.

If you are headed south on Crain Highway on a Wednesday morning, and you notice that the laws of physics are becoming distorted, I highly recommend you find your way to the Green Turtle for a make up.

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3 thoughts on “It’s Different here in La Plata

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