There were 32 members in attendance at this week’s meeting.  Our only guest was Mary Bak, the Assistant Governor for our Rotary District and member of the Glenview Sunrise Club.  At the beginning of the meeting Rich Lalley announced that our speaker last week, Walter Reed, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor had passed away due to a heart attack on Tuesday, January 12.  He was fortunate to have finished his book on his life as a survivor and we had the good fortune of being the last group to hear him deliver his personal message.
In a new feature for our meetings, David Birkenstein invited a relatively new business owner to our meeting to tell us about her business in a few minutes.  Jeanne Montana is the owner of “Your Loss Your Gain” located at 554 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka.  She briefly explained how her program works on a protein-based diet.  She provided the members with a treat – a gluten free protein bar. 
Kristen Leahy announced that she was looking for business owners who were willing to hang posters for our “Kids Against Hunger” project that will be held on March 12 at the Community House.  Barb Tubekis put in a plug for the Volunteer Center’s “Day of Service” program that is being held on MLK Day at the Community House.  There will be 11 projects that volunteers can participate in that will benefit 20 organizations.  Liz Taylor reported that Arlynn Presser, former President of our club, is having a play she has written, “Remembrance,” performed at the Piven Theater in the Noyes Cultural Center in Evanston on January 29, 30 and 31.  All are encouraged to take in this dramatic piece offered in our backyard.
Patti Van Cleave announced that the club’s Foundation committee would be holding a meeting at the Private Bank at the corner of Green Bay and Scott Avenue on January 27 at 9:00 a.m.   She said that she had received many wonderful thank you notes from the recipients of last year’s grants.  She passed around some of the thank you notes from children.  Robert Mardirossian announced to the club that Family Service of Winnetka-Northfield has changed its name to Counseling Center of the North Shore as of January 1.  The name change was made to better portray the services offered by the agency. 
Happy Buck$ were provided by Jeanne Beckmann and Mark Kotz this week.
Rich Lalley introduced the meeting’s speaker, Sean Nelson, who heads the RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) program for our district.  The program is an opportunity for high school students, nominated by the clubs of the district, to attend one of two conferences held each spring. The 3-day weekend conference offers leadership training.  A sponsoring Rotary Club picks up the student’s expenses.  Sean is a former YMCA director who has been the driving force for RYLA in our district for almost 15 years.  Our district has the largest RYLA program in the country.  Many of the high school students describe the weekend as a ‘life-changing experience.’ During the weekend the students learn about the skills it takes to be a good leader.  They also learn about conflict resolution as well as public speaking.  In recent years the conference has been held at Edwards YMCA Camp and Conference Center in East Troy, Wisconsin.  Each year Sean brings in a number of inspirational speakers.  The students evaluate all of the speakers to help him decide if they relate well enough to be invited the following year.  Other activities include a low ropes course, outdoor problem solving, campfires, a dance, team building activities and appearances by Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.  In the past our club has sponsored a number of RYLA attendees.  We are hoping that Anna Helfand, the sponsor of New Trier’s Interact club and corporate representative of NT to our club, will be able to get several students interested in applying to attend one of the sessions to represent our club.  It is a great opportunity for students to meet and interact with other future leaders.
Rotarians are welcome to come up to the camp to observe and hear the speakers.  This year the two RYLA conferences will be held on March 10 - 13 and April 7 -10.