President Dan Coons opened the meeting introducing himself then reciting the 2021-22 Rotary International Theme - Serve to Change Lives, followed by the Rotary Vision Statement:
Together we see a world where people unite and 
take action to create lasting change - 
across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves
Chris Krueger shared an inspirational thought for the day essentially reminding everyone that there is a direct relationship between optimism and success.  Lola McClane led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Introduction of Guests
  • Logan Harper introduced Sean Green.  Sean is an Arizona resident, currently residing in the Scottsdale area, who learned about Rotary while visiting in North Carolina, sparking an interest in joining a Rotary Club.  Sean was attending the Mesa West meeting as a guest of Lu General.
  • Erwin and Joan Reimann were welcomed back after being gone for the summer.
  • Penny May was welcomed back as one of our loyal visiting Rotarians.  She is a member of the Anchorage International Rotary Club.
  • Shelly Romine introduced Joe Genovese who was at the meeting to pick up the bedding donated by members and guests throughout the month of September.  Joe is with Sleep in Heavenly Peace.  They build beds for children who are currently sleeping on the floor, couches with other family members, or other less-than desirable sleeping situations.  They feel like they also build a sense of community when they host and manage build events.  The beds are built by hand by volunteers.  Joe said it is great fun.  It is also very heartwarming to be a part of a bed delivery and assembly team and seeing the joy on a child's face when they receive a bed of their very own.  Mesa West Member Andrea Murphy is an active volunteer with Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
  • Warren Williamson introduced Keith Hong who has worked with Warren for over twenty-five years.
  • Lu General introduced her guest, her father, Tony Rose, who promptly told Lu to "Go clean your room!" 
  • Jim McGown was welcomed back from his summer travels.
Rotary Minute - Polly Cady
Polly shared information about Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI).   Polly is the current Chairman of RLI in Rotary District 5495.  Many Rotary educational activities are directly related to job training for club and Rotary leadership positions.  The "L" in RLI does stand for leadership, but all Rotarians are leaders, and most are likely to serve formally or informally as a leader in their own club.  RLI is a series of three sessions which have standard curriculum throughout the Rotary World to provide information about Rotary beyond the club level. 
Some call RLI Rotary's "college of knowledge."  Polly  indicated she first attended RLI after being a Rotarian for over twenty years and testified the experience was eye-opening.  She'd had no idea what she hadn't known.  One of the benefits of attending RLI is the ability to expand our network of Rotary friends and acquaintances.  Topics are introduced and basic information shared by the facilitators, but the real benefit occurs when others in the session participate in a facilitated discussion about each topic, sharing their personal related experience and knowledge.
The three sessions will run concurrently, via Zoom, Saturday, November 6 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM.  Because it will be online, it will be free.  When RLI meets in person, there is a nominal fee to attend.  The planners try to move where it is offered to various locations in the district, making it accessible to attend as well as offer a little in-state Rotary tourism.  CLICK HERE to email Polly if you have questions or would like to register for the September 6 session.  If you have never attended RLI in the past, you will need to register for the first session, as the curriculum is intended to be studied in sequence.  For more information, download a flyer.
Don Boucher was presented with his RLI completion certificate and pin by Polly. Don was not able to be present to receive the items from District Governor Bret McKeand during his recent official DG visit to Mesa West Rotary.
Appreciation of Greeters
President Dan thanked John Benedict and Jack Rosenberg for arriving early to give members and guests a warm welcome to the meeting.
Ace of Clubs Raffle
Chuck Flint explained that each week the funds taken in from raffle ticket sales are divided with 1/3 going to the club operating fund, 1/3 available to the person whose ticket is drawn, and 1/3 being added to an accumulating pot.  In addition to winning the small pot, the person whose ticket is drawn also wins the opportunity to attempt to draw the Ace of Clubs from a deck of cards.  Any card other than the Ace of Clubs is immediately destroyed.  Each week, the deck gets smaller making the odds of drawing the ace and winning the large pot just a little bit better.  Chuck announced that the small pot would be $60 and the large pot was up to $535.  Chuck asked Don Boucher to draw the winning ticket, which was held by Shelly Romine.  Unfortunately for her, the card Shelly drew from the deck was the King of Hearts.
Happy Bucks - Greg Okonowski
  • Pam Cohen contributed.  She was happy to see so many visitors as well as members returning from their summer travel at the meeting.  She had babysat her grandson Wilder over the weekend while his parents celebrated their anniversary.  Unfortunately, he was a sick little boy, so it wasn't as much fun as she had hoped.  She loved the Musical Interlude.
  • Ed Koeneman was happy that the misting system recently installed on his patio by Don LaBarge and his crew works great.  At one point during the installation, Ed saw honorary member Rod Daniels working on the system from the top of a ladder.
  • John Pennypacker contributed.  He enjoyed the musical interlude and noted that another talented vocalist was present at our meeting.  Our speaker, Paige Goetzenberger is very talented!
  • Donna Goetzenberger was happy to be at a Mesa West meeting.  As District Chair for Rotary Youth Exchange, Donna has been attending a lot of Rotary meetings - just not hours.  She has been busy interviewing students who want to go on exchange during the 2022-23 Rotary Year.  She thanked Chuck Flint, Ed Koeneman, and Dan Coons for helping her out by each taking a turn on sitting in on outbound candidate interviews with her.  She also thanked Don LaBarge for arranging for a $5,000 donation to be made to the Youth Exchange program to help cover the expenses of outbound candidates whose families could not come up with their portion of the cost of their child going on an exchange.
  • Paige Goetzenberger was happy to be Donna's daughter and get to attend Rotary with her.  She was missing math class at school and was very happy about that.
  • Polly Cady wanted to be billed $20 because Allan wasn't at the meeting to share his cash.  She was thankful for some furniture movers Don LaBarge had recommended.  She really enjoyed hosting the Musical Interlude and would love to do it again.  
  • Shelly Romine contributed - she was just happy!
  • Jim Schmidt expressed his happiness at being home from their trip to Egypt.  He and Rosalyn, along with their son and daughter-in-law had taken a trip to Egypt, which looking forward to it sounded like a wonderful adventure.  It was an adventure - just not in the way they imagined.  There were multiple flight issues plans, lost luggage, "Pharoah's Revenge" stomach ailment that kept them from sight-seeing and more...  Hearing about it was entertaining, but we all knew living it had to be a nightmare.
  • Dick Myren made his traditional contribution for himself and Rod Daniels.  He also contributed sad dollars.  He recently returned from a trip to Iowa where he did get to see family there, but was not able to connect with a long time friend who he played a lot of golf with over the years.  After he returned, he learned that his friend had played golf in the morning, shot par, and then had a stroke and died.  Dick pledged $30.  His alma mater, Iowa University is doing well this football season.  They are undefeated in their conference and ranked 3rd in the nation.
  • Ron Thompson was very happy.  He pledged $100 toward his Paul Harris Fellow account at The Rotary Foundation.  His wife, Toni, has accepted a position with Strayer University as Provost.  His son accepted the new position he had been looking at with American Express in North Carolina.
  • Jim McGown had purchased a new boat, which made his trip to New York more expensive.  In some cases he had to pay for an extra room, and spent more on gas.  He said it was worth it.  In July and August, they logged 38 enjoyable hours on the boat.  While in New York, he made up meetings at the Cooperstown Rotary Club and had a good time doing so.
  • Don LaBarge contributed lightly saying that with all the family occasions coming up next week would be very expensive for him.  He says he is everybody's family handyman resource.  He indicated Debbie Koeneman had some more work needing to be done at their place.
  • Jim Crutcher contributed - celebrating his 64th birthday on October 20.  He said he is 20 days older than his bride, and that they have been a couple for fifty years.  (Doing the math, they have been a couple since they were 14.  Wow!)
  • Lu General said they still use, and have often recommended, an AC guy Don LaBarge recommended to them a long time ago.  Don knows lots of people and knows which are good at what they do.  She recommended members put Don on speed dial on their smart phones as an emergency resource.
  • Colleen Coons contributed saying that one of the frustrations in retirement is that she no longer could call IT support with computer issues.  She recently had an issue but used her own ability to navigate resources, figure out what the problem was, and resolve it.  She was happy to announce she is now her own "help desk."
  • Penny May contributed sad dollars.  Her youngest sister had recently died very suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep.  After trying to reach her by phone, someone was sent to check on her.  She was more than a sister, she was Penny's best friend.  As Penny was getting ready to come to Arizona, she had a headache.  She had a COVID test and tested positive.  Alaska Airlines generously rebooked her flights with no penalties.  Penny did not enjoy the ten days she was confined to home with no visitors allowed.
  • Jeane Crouse heard from her cousin Mark who said his best friend was traveling to Arizona and he hoped Jeane would keep him entertained while here.  The BFF was a divorced man and Jeane congratulated his ex-wife.  At the same time the cousin's best friend was to be here, Jeane had already committed to dog sitting Goliath, a Great Dane at her home.  The BFF wanted to go out to dinner.  Jeane didn't want to leave Goliath home alone, so she thought they could go to a restaurant she knew of where dogs were allowed on the patio.  When the BFF arrived to pick Jeane up and it became apparent Jeane planned to bring Goliath with her, he said "You're not putting that dog in my car."  After some back and forth, BFF made an ultimatum - "You'll have to decide.  Go out to dinner with me or stay home with the dog."  It wasn't difficult for Jeane to decide.  She and Goliath enjoyed a nice evening at home celebrating Goliath's fifth birthday.
  • Greg Okonowski contributed sad and happy bucks.  His mother-in-law had passed away.  He really enjoyed being able to take advantage of the fee tickets members had made available to attend the Phoenix Suns basketball game October 6th.
  • Starting October 14 Mesa West Meetings will start at noon.  Members and guest should try to arrive early so they can fill their plates, be seated, and ready to for the meeting to begin promptly at 12:00 PM.
Program - Paige Goetzenberger - My Rotary Youth Exchange Year in Austria 2019-20
Donna Goetzenberger, as District Youth Exchange Chair, was very happy and proud to be introducing her daughter, Paige as our speaker.  She used a resumé prepared by Paige to accompany her college admission applications.  Paige is a senior at Arizona School for the Arts where she carries a 4.12 GPA.  She received a scholarship to study in Austria for a year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.  She was one of six selected to be delegates  to a Collegiate Mock United Nations of Far West Conferences in San Francisco.  Since returning from her exchange, Page has become an accomplished boxer, training twice a week with a pro in Phoenix.  Readers can CLICK HERE to view the full resumé.
Paige began by stating that the reason she had her phone with her was to keep track of time so she wouldn't make the meeting run longer than it should.  She was using the same slides she had used when she made her final presentation to her host Rotary Club in Austria.  She did not translate the wording to English, believing it would be fun to to see them as they were originally prepared in German.  Paige said she is now eighteen.  She was less than sixteen when she moved to Austria for a year.
Paige arrived in Austria on July 26, 2019.  She was welcomed by her host family who were holding lots of signs.  In Austria, she had four sisters, adding that one was enough here.  After two days in Viena, her host mom took Paige with her to work - the Austrian Parliament, where Paige was introduced to the Austrian Chancellor.  Shortly after her arrival, she spent two weeks studying German.  Her host family took her on a family outing to Croatia.  Things were happening so fast, and it was all so interesting, she wasn't missing home very much.  Paige admitted she probably frustrated her parents by failing to communicate much during her first month abroad.
Doing what a host mother should - photos were taken of Paige on her first day of school in September.  In the photo she is holding a cone like a small child would be given on their first day of school there.  The cone was filled with candies and sweets.  
She had an opportunity to participate in an activity with other Youth Exchange Students.  They went on an eight-hour hike. Page did NOT wear shoes appropriate for that activity, so even though it was fun meeting people and doing things with new friends from all over the world, it was memorably miserable, as well.
In October, Page had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Vienna.  Her host mom decided their home would require German-only conversations to help Paige become more practically fluent in German. 
In November, the family had a 100-day celebration.  Paige wanted to help her host family enjoy some traditional Thanksgiving treats.  Canned pumpkin was not available in stores there.  Paige attempted to create the pumpkin puree using a fresh pumpkin.  It was a failed mission.  It was awful and chunky and tasted terrible.  They could not relate to why pumpkin pie was a treasured treat for their daughter from Arizona.
In December, Paige learned about evil-looking creatures that would roam about carrying oxtail whips.  They would chase naughty kids. Salzburg was already a favorite city in Austria, but it was even more enchanting as Paige spent Christmas and celebrated the New Year with her host family.  Instead of stringing electric lights on their tree, the lit real candles.
In January, there was a ball - much like prom here.  Paige had the opportunity to do a lot of skiing.  She was not new to skiing, but not at the level of expertise that her host family was used to.  On one trip, they did all black runs, and Paige was thankful to endure that trip with no injuries.  At one point she pointed out that her ski was broken and her host father said they would worry about it after they finished their run.  It was clear Paige thought is miraculous that she survived that day on the slopes.
In February Paige attended a formal with school friends and participated in more ski trips.  She told of one activity which was much like Mardi Gras. 
In March Paige had the opportunity to travel to Ireland on a school trip.  Then COVID happened.  They had to do their school work from home.  She and her sisters started doing yoga together as a way to stay fit and make their time go faster.  In April, Paige suggested they have "spirit week" at home, which they did.  They had an 80's day, a beach day, and a gender bender day where she and her sisters dressed like boys.  They didn't leave the house for two months.
In May, she had the opportunity to visit a castle.  In June, they were back in school.  
In June, Paige joined in the celebration of her twin host sisters' birthday.
In July, Paige took a five-hour test that involved reading, speaking, listening, to test her fluency in German.  She passed and has a certificate to prove her proficiency.
Summarizing some highlights of the trip, Paige enjoyed being immersed in the Austrian culture and traditions.  She was proud of becoming fluent in German.  She was aware that the world being smaller than it seemed before.  Rotary brings the world together with Youth Exchange.  The students learn a lot about their host country, but they also learn a great deal from their peers during Youth Exchange outings.  They have the opportunity to converse about their experiences from a wide variety of cultural perspectives.  She felt like Rotary brings the world together through the Youth Exchange program.  
Paige is hopeful that plans for one of her host sisters to spend Christmas with her family here in Arizona will come to fruition.  Paige is an active volunteer with Shoebox Ministries where they pack hygiene supplies for the homeless.  Her first choice in Universities is Loyola of Chicago.  They have a program where students can begin their studies in Rome, and it is her goal to be accepted into that program.  She was thankful for her Youth Exchange experience which included the year of preparation.  As they prepared, the students were taught that they would be representing our country, our state, and Rotary, and that they would be asked lots of questions.  She was very thankful she was taught how to give impartial answers.  Being impartial bridges gaps.  She would love to see the exchange program grow.
One of the things Paige is currently involved with at her school is helping to create a less restrictive school dress code.  She was invited by the administration to participate in the process.  She hopes the outcome will be that students are kept in class rather than being sent home as a punitive measure.  The school she attends is a school that encourages artistic expression, and she feels their current dress code and the way it is enforced is counter to that culture.
CLICK HERE to view all the slides Paige shared during her presentation.