Adopt-A-Class April 4, 2014

The students from King Elementary school are scheduled for their House for Hermit Crab Lab on Friday April 4, 2014 at 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM. This is a large group of students so half of the group will be in our labs and the other half will do a tide pool/harbor walk then they will switch.

Any members of the San Clemente Rotary are welcome to join us- the 9:30 lab is the same as the 10:30 lab. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you so much for supporting the Adopt A Class program, this is a very special group of students and this is a truly special opportunity for these students to experience hands on learning outside of the classroom.

RYLA 2011

This year we  had 13 juniors from San Clement High School attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camp.  We also had one of last year’s SC students, Brennan Clinebell, return as one of the alumni who are in charge of planning and running this year’s camp.

One of the highlights for Rotarians every year is to get a visit from the RYLA kids in the weeks after their return. It is an inspirational meeting filled with teenagers opening up about the changes that the experience had on them both in the short term from 1st time attendees, and in the long term, from alumni who return during their senior year to serve as camp counselors. Year after year we get to see once introverted or clique-ish high school juniors gush about how their perspective has changed and how they are more filled with understanding and compassion for others as a result. This year was no different and included the following activities.

The students were driven to the bus in Orange where they were assigned to a family.  This year the families were categorized by countries.  Upon arriving at the camp in Idyllwild, the buses were met with loud music, beach balls being thrown at the buses, and many shouting alumni and adult volunteers.  The first day was filled with “ice-breaker” games, a talent show, a campfire, and a speaker who shared her experience of her seven-year battle with cancer.


Saturday was spent at Boojum, a high-adventure ropes course, where students were physically and mentally challenged.  Some of the challenges were as follows:  Leap of Faith; Pipe Dream; Spider Web, plus more.  At night there was another speaker and a dance for the students to let off steam.


Sunday, the closing morning had another excellent speaker and a wrap-up session that included some very heart-felt stories as to how RYLA impacted some of the students.


For more info visit

San Clemente Rotary International Service

The Rotary Club of San Clemente has been involved in service internationally since its inception over 65 years ago. As Rotarians with the motto: Service Above Self, there has always been a strong push to not only help those in our community, but reach out and around the world.
Reaching out to the world can be done in two primary ways. First by organizing and implementing projects based on the ideas and passions of local Rotarians. The second way is to give monetary support to the programs already in place and run by Rotary International, the governing body all Rotary clubs belong to.

Below is a brief synopsis of some of the projects that local Rotarians have organized and implemented in the very recent past.

Guatemala Dental Clinic

The San Clemente Rotary Club has established a year-around Dental Clinic in 2007 in Santa Catarina, which is run by a local volunteer group AMOR.  A part-time dentist provides services at significantly reduced costs and no-costs to poor and needy people from 44 villages surrounding the City. The up keep of this continued venture is monitored by the Rotary clubs in San Clemente and Santa Catarina.

Guatemala Health Fair

In 2000 our first health fair was organized and put on in the city of Santa Catarina. We now send Rotarians every fall to participate in what has become a marvel of local involvement from the people of Guatemala, as they supply doctors, dentists, and nurses from neighboring major cities and provide services including preventive health care, emergency assistance, and education in good health practices. In addition educational materials are distributed including the book “Where There is No Doctor” for villagers to take back to the most secluded villages and provide them with understanding on lifesaving skills like first aid and sanitation among other things. To date we estimate the health fair has served (people, if you know the number or can estimate. If not change this sentence to how many we helped at our last one) . We are also very proud that the event like the dental clinic is highly sustained in man power at this point by the native Guatemalans as this gives the project the greatest chance at continued success for many years to come.


Guatemala Kids

We have been working with the Santa Catarina Mita volunteer group Fraternidad Catarineca to support 2 children over several years at the beginning of their school experience. Club members  met the Kids during the 2010 Health Fair and have so far provided them with their first items, focusing on school supplies (backpack, books, shoes, uniforms, etc.) and making sure they have access to regular medical & dental check-ups.

Hospital Supplies to Mexico

Through our association with the local hospital here in San Clemente and the Rotary Club in (city), Mexico, we have been able to arrange the sharing and transport of equipment and beds to the people of Baja Mexico. This is a great example of Rotarians simply being aware of an entity with something to donate (Saddleback Hospital) and connecting them through Rotary’s contacts to people in need. In terms of work and monetary commitment this is a small ongoing project, but the organization of Rotary around the world is what makes it happen instead of going to waste. And you can bet the people of (city in mexico) are glad to have these valuable resources.

Haiti Relief

The readiness of Rotarians to give and to serve is never more evident than in times of humanitarian crisis like those seen in Haiti after the earthquake that devastated the region. Before telethons could be organized and Hollywood celebrities could get on board, San Clemente Rotarians were sending relief in two specific forms.

Shelter Boxes –

In Haiti one of the most pressing needs was for adequate shelter for the thousands of people who were displaced when their homes were destroyed. We saw the answer to this in the shelter box program. Enclosed in each shelter box are essentials like a tent and stove as well as other items for a family to cope after a disaster. These boxes, already put together by as the brain child of a Rotarian, working with Rotary was able to ship them out immediately. Rotarians around the world kicked in what they could and the San Clemente joined the cause of helping immediately by sending these boxes to the people of Haiti. Learn more about the shelter box program and how it continues to help people in disaster torn regions by going to their site Shelter Box USA

Operation Rainbow-

Another early need of the Haitians, was for medical attention. Orthopedic surgeon and Rotarian Gus Gialamas came to the San Clemente Rotary Club and asked for assistance in sending him and a group of doctors to the boarder towns of the Dominican Republic (where refugees were fleeing) and set up mobile hospitals through a group called Operation Rainbow. Gus returned with heart wrenching stories of the devastation, but also the hope they were able to spread through their life and limb saving work.

These are just a few of the most recent issues the San Clemente Rotary Club has undertaken in their quest to live “Service Above Self”

There are numerous other examples and ways to get involved, including taking part in an international project on the Rotary International level.  Click here to see some of the great things being done by Rotary International around the world that you can be a part of.

San Clemente Rotary Vocational Service

As one of the main “Avenues of Service”  in Rotary, vocational service is an opportunity for Rotarians to use their skills both professionally and personally to mentor and support youth in the community. The San Clemente Rotary Club has a number of ongoing and recuring projects in vocational service; here are just a few.


RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and is Rotary’s leadership training program for young people. RYLA participants can be ages 14-18. San Clemente Rotary sends between 6-9 local high school students to RYLA camp in Idyllwild once a year. This camp is made up of all the participants from district 5320 and is an intensive weekend of character building.

RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship, and personal growth, and aims to

  • Demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth
  • Provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders
  • Encourage leadership of youth by youth
  • Recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities

Ask any RYLA participant and they will tell you what a transformative experience it is for them.

Character Counts

Although not a program specific to Rotary, Character Counts is a program we support and fund in San Clemente because it meets similar goals to those in vocational service. Based on the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship, Character Counts is an ongoing curriculum in the schools and community that culminates in a Jamboree celebration of good character put on by the the community.

Student of the Month

Every month during the school year we recognize, with and award and a stipend, one or more of San Clemente’s best and brightest students. Recognition is not simply reserved for straight A’s in the classroom but for service and exemplary leadership and character.

Rotary Scholarships

In addition to small stipends given to students of the month, San Clemente Rotary has a fund set up for the sole purpose of providing college scholarship funds to graduating seniors as a way of both rewarding them for their hard work, and encouraging them in their further academic pursuits.

Vocal Competition and Speech Contest

Rewarding character and leadership in our youth means recognizing and supporting them in a wide range of their talents and pursuits.  This can be experienced by attending our annual vocal competition or speech contest. Here local youth are encouraged to share their talents and receive positive praise for their efforts. In addition, winners of each competition are sent on to the district level to compete for scholarships and other recognition.

Annual Wrestling Tournament

You may wonder how this found its way into vocational service? This is an event that has its roots in the San Clemente Rotary. Founded by the late Pete McKenzie, a Rotarian and father to a large adopted family. Pete found out early as he mentored his children, that sports had the capability to help develop character. He especially had a fondness for the wrestling program at San Clemente High School and organized the tournament as a way to both raise funds and bring the best wrestlers in the region to their front door.

San Clemente Rotary has continued the tradition , and after Pete’s death the tournament was renamed The Pete McKenzie Memorial Rotary Wrestling Invitational. To this day it is an honor to participants to be invited and attracts schools from far and wide as well as generates badly needed funds for the program.