Land O’ Lakes has its own Rotary Club, again

After being a satellite of the Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Noon club, the Rotary Club of Land O’ Lakes has regained its independent status.

The Land O’ Lakes organization had existed for years, then merged with the Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Noon, and then became a satellite club.

It took some time to reach the required membership level, but the Land O’ Lakes Club is a standalone club again, said Sandy Graves, president of the revived Land O’ Lakes Rotary Club.

These are the original members that started the club, from left, Larry Giannone, Elayne Bassinger, Sandy Graves, Terri Dusek, along with Perry Bean, who is district governor of Rotary.
(Courtesy of Dave Wright)

“You have to have 20 to officially charter,” Graves said. “We’d get real close and then a couple would quit, or move or whatever.”

The group wanted to be on its own so it could focus on needs in Land O’ Lakes, as well as helping in broader efforts, Graves said.

“We need the Rotary in Land O’ Lakes again. Land O’ Lakes needs a strong civic organization,” Graves said.

Rotary provides the opportunity to do a lot of good, not only locally, but in the nation and the world, as well, Graves said.

Now that the club is official again, it is on the Rotary Club locator, which makes it more visible, she said. “People who are coming in that were Rotarians somewhere else, or want to join Rotary, they’ll be able to find us easier,” she explained.

The club meets on Fridays at 8 a.m., at Copperstone Executive Suites, 3632 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.

Meetings include breakfast and generally last for an hour.

Anyone who is interested in joining the club can come visit a few times for free to find out more about it before deciding if they want to join, Graves said.

“We want people who are committed,” Graves said.

Besides Graves, other officers of the club are Jim Englemann, president-elect; Barb Goiran, secretary; and, Elayne Bassinger, treasurer.

The group also has a membership committee, a foundation committee and a public relations committee, Graves said.

One of the club’s projects involves purchasing weather-resistant outdoor instruments, which will be placed at Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park, Graves said.

They’re oversized instruments, which can be played by children and have even been known to be played by adults, she said.

“These instruments are very good for kids with autism or Tourette’s Syndrome,” she said, because they can be soothing and can help them with their concentration.

Graves estimated it would cost about $10,000 to purchase the instruments, but added that could be more or less, depending on how many and what type of instruments are purchased.

The group recently raised $1,200 through a fundraiser.

The money came from a chance drawing for a five-hour scalloping trip for four, sponsored by Pasco County Commissioner Mike Wells Jr.

Graves hopes the club will be able to secure a matching grant for the funds it raises to help purchase the outdoor musical instruments.

The club also is planning to do a Land O’ Liberty Salute, which involves decking out trees in the median of Land O’ Lakes Boulevard with red, white and blue ribbons — as a gesture of patriotism, in time for the Fourth of July.

The club also will be involved with Traditions on the Green, at Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park, an annual tradition which features holiday music by local schools.

Graves encourages anyone who is interested in learning more about the Land O’ Lakes Rotary Club to come to a meeting.

Being part of the organization can be a rewarding experience, Graves said.

“It’s like anything in life. You know, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it,” she said.

Published June 13, 2018

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