Inspiration comes in many forms, in many ways. And every day, Rotary members are inspired to support their local, national, and global communities through the good works of The Rotary Foundation. 

Come be amazed at the impact Rotary members are having, each and every day. But prepare for a performance like no other.

On September 19, 2017, Rotary District 5340 will officially be recognizing Robert and Beatrice Tomko Day, in celebration of Past District Governor Bob and Bea Tomko.
Bob Tomko served from 1968-69 as District Governor of what was then known as Rotary District 534. A member of Rotary since 1954, Tomko was instrumental in raising awareness and support for PolioPlus during its early days, and helped raise the profile of District 534 both locally and across the globe.
Bob and Bea left Ohio to move to Vista, California in 1953. It was there they opened Tomko's Vista Video television sales and repair. The following year, Bob joined the Rotary Club of Vista, where he was a true force of nature. Bob went on to serve many leadership roles within the club, as well as District 534 that encompassed much of Southern California.
In 1977, Bob and Bea built a second home near Bishop, California, and it was there that they founded the Rotary Club of Mammoth Lakes in 1981. Over the following decades, they continued to split their time between Bishop and Oceanside. Before Bea's passing in 2016, the two of them spent 70 years together, traveling the world both for pleasure and with Rotary International.
In the November 1975 issue of The Rotarian Magazine, Tomko shared his experience of traveling to New Guinea, where he had served during World War II as a combat radio operator with the U.S. Army. Little did he know that he would return to Papua New Guinea decades later, not as a soldier, but as a Rotarian and ambassador for world community service.
San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) announced the arrival and the departure of 24 talented international student musicians representing 12 countries for their 13th annual International Youth Symphony (IYS) program at Casa del Prado, Balboa Park. Each year, top musicians from around the world travel to San Diego with assistance and support from Rotary District 5340's International Youth Exchange program. On July 17 the international guests began rehearsals alongside top SDYS musicians, under the direction of SDYS Music Director Jeff Edmons, who enters his 22nd season with SDYS.
Gary McElroy, Committee Chair of the Rotary District 5340 MusiCamp™ Youth Exchange said of the IYS program, "The objective of the Rotary Youth Exchange program is to foster world peace, international understanding and good will by extending international communication at the personal level through the exchange of high school and college age students.  I believe our partnership with SDYS as an organization is a compelling match of our missions and values, which is turning students into leaders in our communities." 
The Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship will be holding a Life Rolls On event on September 10, 2017.  This event features adaptive surfers at La Jolla Shores, and is an outstanding way to share the story of Rotary with a fantastic group of volunteers and friends while celebrating disabled children and adults.  Learn more about Life Rolls On at  Check out photos and their event page on Facebook.  

Pictured from left to right: Dave King, Paul Donick, Don Glover, Hilda Parks (Salvation Army) Rick Bramble, Cathy Glover, Susan King, Benita Page, James Parks (Salvation Army) – others participating but not pictured were: Doug Dawson, Dave Brooks, Dick and Pat Norfolk, Jim Hyldahl, & Diane Berry.


On August 12, for the second year, the Rancho Bernardo Rotary Club assisted the Escondido Salvation Army with providing essential school supplies to over 200 children from low income families. The Club contributed over $800 toward this effort.  Each student received a backpack with binders, dividers, ruled paper, folders, crayons, pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, rulers and other essential items to start school. Thirteen Rancho Bernardo Rotarians checked the students in, assisted  loading backpacks and helped distribute a bag of Hallmark supplies to each family.  Rotarians also served food and supervised a water slide activity.  What a great way to begin the school year for these children.

The Old Mission Rotary Club sponsored a retro 50’s party at The Air Conditioned Lounge on Thursday, August 17. 
Pictured from left to right:  Erika Rodriguez of Pacific Beach Rotaract, District Governor Scott Carr and Belgica Crespo of City Heights Rotaract
Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary invites you to enjoy an amazing day of craft beers, ciders, food, music and fun at Carlsbad Brewfest 2017. Please join us on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at Holiday Park in Carlsbad and help us take action to end Polio. $5 of each ticket will be donated to your Club's PolioPlus Fund. With the Gates Foundation match, that turns $5 into $15!
Barry Levine, past president of the Miramar Semper Fidelis Rotary Club and CEO of Sperry West, a US manufacturer of covert security cameras and related equipment recently spoke to the graduates of the Corporals Course for Marines on the Miramar Marine Air Base in San Diego.  While he praised WWII veterans, he noted that while they served admirably, many were drafted and didn’t want to be in the military.
In front of several hundred assembled Marines in the Bob Hope Theatre, he told them they were the new Greatest Generation.  They have all volunteered (enlisted) to serve our country and are great young men and women wo will fight for the United State of America when and wherever they are called upon.  Barry shared from experience that when they go home to see their old buddies, they will probably find, as he once did, that they are pretty much the same “kids,” while those who serve in our military often been doing important work and have learned and grown tremendously.
Barry presented the highest scoring Corporeal with a ceremonial sword, engraved with the name of the recipient and made to their size.  The swords are sponsored and arranged by the Miramar Semper Fidelis Rotary Club. 
The next Rotary International Convention is slated for June 23-27, 2018.  If you book in the next few months, you could save over $150.  Also, you can pick the closest hotels and get the best deals.
This will be the last convention in North America for another two years - take this opportunity - and meet new and old friends from around the globe.   Two clubs - Rancho Bernardo and Torrey Pines are in place to break their historic attendance records - does your club want them to get away with bragging rights?
The Rancho Bernardo Rotary Club is organizing travel trips around the Convention time to such once-in-a-lifetime places as Niagara Falls and a local winery.  Keep your eye on Newsbits for future updates. 
For more information on the Rotary Convention in Toronto, click here.
For hotel information, click here
Calling all Interactor advisors and Interactors.  Please be aware there is an Interact Symposium scheduled for September 9, 2017.  This is a wonderful event to attend.  Below is the link to download the registration and parent permission forms and to pay registration fees online.  Click here.
Do you want to participate in a polio immunization exercise?  There is an upcoming trip to Accra, Ghana West Africa slated for October 2017 during the 12th Annual West Africa Project Fair where you will be able to participate in a polio immunization exercise.  The experiences you will have will stay with you forever.  You get up early in the morning, travel with local Rotarians to a village, health clinic or impoverished neighborhood, and for the next few hours, you change.  Small children come up to you to say thank you.  Mothers and fathers smile at your knowing that you are giving their child a chance for a better life.  You meet with the leaders in the village to learn their needs and their hopes.  It is hot, dusty and it makes you uncomfortable but it is exquisite! 
For full information, download the full details here or contact

Last year, Rotary Club of La Jolla applied for a $3,000 grant from Rotary District 5340.  We took this grant along with donations from our club members and other community members and purchased an innovative playground unit that would withstand the elements of Haiti.  It is a polyester-wrapped, steel reinforced climbing cable structure with six seats that the kids can still grab and play and won’t burn the children when playing in Haiti’s hot climate. 


After multiple delays in shipping, unexpected customs fees and challenges, the playground arrived in Haiti in July and was erected and children were and still are ecstatic. 


Rotary Club of La Jolla is looking to return to Jeremie, Haiti January 14, 2018 and assist with other projects at the children’s home in Jeremie, Haiti.  If you are interested in supporting Rotary Club of La Jolla’s efforts or joining other Rotarians “Making a Difference” in Jeremie, Haiti, please contact Lora Fisher at 858.731.6694 or email Lora at


Hands of Peace and Rotary have concluded a successful District-supported summer program!  Every year for the past four summers in San Diego and 15 summers in Chicago, Hands of Peace brings together Israeli, Palestinian and American teens to empower young people to raise their voices as leaders of change. This summer, we have almost 100 courageous individuals between the two sites that are taking part in this 19-day process, were they learn to put their bravery and emotions to the test. 
Amidst the intense dialogues, our participants also get to experience team building skills while visiting a ropes course, attending religious services at a Temple, a Mosque and a Church, often for the very first time, and putting their writing skills to the test preparing and delivering speeches at multiple events.  Social activism in both San Diego and Chicago are incorporated into our programming through projects like the Hunger Van Project, whose mission is to provide the needy with a means and path to self-sufficiency, or lectures  by Azim Khamisa, who carries an inspirational message of forgiveness, peace and hope.
By balancing daily dialogue with other opportunities to build trust, mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and ultimately, action our goal is to create impactful change by developing future leaders who are committed to a positive and just peace.
Rotary members from Encinitas Coastal, San Diego Coastal, Downtown Breakfast Club, Del Mar/Solana Beach, La Jolla Golden Triangle San Diego e-Club and Chula Vista Sunrise have participated in the program through volunteering, hosting teens and attending events and offering support.  Three clubs in the Chicago area support the program and the founder, Gretchen Grad, has been awarded two awards by Rotary International: 1) The Willie Frankel Award for Harmony and Understanding from the Rotary Club of Wilmette, and 2) She was named a "Paul Harris Fellow" from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
A great big thank you to all who helped support this year’s Care ‘n Share Toy Drive at the San Diego County Fair.  To date we have distributed 14,189 new and gently used stuffed animals.  By my math if you count the smiles on the faces of recipient children in the region plus the smiles in the hearts of the donors themselves and those who smiled at the sight of the generosity of others at the Fair, that is well over 30,000 smiles! In a project this size no role is too small, each person is important, and we could not have done it without you!
Please share the pride and delight in knowing we’ve distributed the stuffed animal donations to a wide variety of outstanding organizations:
  • 5,675 to Promises2Kids
  • 5,598 to Foundation for the Children of the Californias / Hospital Infantil
  • 2,006 to San Diego Police Dept Southeastern Division Juvenile Services Unit
  • 465 to Rady Children’s Hospital Audiology Dept
  • 200 to Dignity Delivery
  • 195 to Escondido Rotary Club for 1000 Smiles Project
  • 25 to Angels Foster Care
  • 25 to San Diego Uptown Rotary Club
We’ve also contributed three car loads of new and gently used games and toys to Assistance League North Coast Thrift Shop, and we have an additional 500 stuffed animals set aside for distribution at the holidays.
So many did so much to help make 2017 a banner year! Our distributions were almost twice what they were last year, thanks to you.  For all involved, a big THANK YOU is extended for the pro-bono graphic design and printing and collection boxes and website design, and for the many hours spent sharing our story at the big wooden boxes and in the booth at the San Diego County Fair, and for delivering and maintaining the collection boxes at the 50+ library locations, and for sorting daily the seemingly endless bags of 15,000+ donations, and for helping decorate the Care ‘n Share booth, and for loading and driving the delivery truck, and for recruiting our wonderful volunteers, and for doing all of the other little things that helped make this such a tremendous success!

The Rotary Club of Pakurnga invite you to join the ultimate 17-Day Rotary Tour of New Zealand scheduled for April 6-22, 2018.

The Tour Key Points and Highlights:
  • The Tour includes 4 Rotary fellowship events.
  • The Tour size is limited to 26 persons. (Within a 30/33 seater coach.)
  • Accomodation will be 4 to 5 star and includes all breakfasts.
  • A professional ‘Top Tour Guide’ will travel throughout the Tour.
  • An optional 4 day pre-tour to Northland/Bay of Islands is also offered.
Here are some of the 62 tours/visits, of which all but one is included within the tour price:
Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, Auckland Sky Tower, 2 hour tour of ‘Hobbiton’, Te Puia ( Rotorua centre of Maori culture and geothermal wonders), Huka Falls, Napier wine tasting,  Wellington’s Te Papa Museum, Weta Workshops, Ferry to Picton, Hanmer Springs, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Arrowtown, Queenstown, Milford or Doubtful Sounds, Dunedin and Christchurch City Tours.
Below are two of the typical comments we received from all our 2017 Rotarian tourists:
“We thought the tour was fantastic.   Sharron (the Tour Guide) was brilliant.”
“We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the tour and you are to be congratulated.”
Cost of tour:
The 17-day tour price is: NZ$6,495pp share twin. NZ$8,390pp single.
The 4-day pre-tour price is: NZ$1,495pp share twin. NZ$1,890pp single. To receive the full 9-page itinerary, email both  and
Rotary District 5340 maintains a web-based calendar that highlights District events on the home page at However, visitors can also see what other Rotary clubs are doing by regularly checking out the Events Calendar.
The Events Calendar provides a graphic month-at-a-glance view of all events that the District and member clubs are doing. Located under the main Events menu, the Events Calendar gives you a quick look at Rotary happenings across the Southern California region. And with one click, clubs entering their own events into ClubRunner can also ensure their events appear on the main District calendar.

Your very own District 5340 Don’t Wait, Vaccinate Committee is ready to help. We’re not just about polio eradication or childhood immunizations. We advocate for and educate about all types of immunizations for all ages. If you’d like us to bring an engaging program to your Rotary meeting – whether it is to educate, inform or advocate, we are happy to do this for your club. More information can be had by clicking <here>. We promise, no needles are involved. Contact Myrna Kinter at to schedule a date.


This past weekend, the District Membership Rally brought Rotarians from corners of the District to the University of San Diego to share tips and ideas on membership.
More than 70 attendees were welcomed by the "new sheriff in town," District Governor Scott Carr (San Diego Downtown), as well as District Membership Leaders Dianne Crawford (Southeast San Diego) and Dawn Van Siclen (Carlsbad Hi-Noon). The rally also featured the help of facilitators who helped lead group discussions, while sharing best practices on member engagement. 
Collaboration between clubs can be very beneficial offering a wider pool of ideas, actions and results.  There are five clubs in District 5340 - Area 8 - inland North County who have learned that this is a great model for getting things done efficiently and effectively.  They meet for morning coffee and compare notes on joint projects they can all work on. 
This group of 11 people, representing all five clubs, met recently to discuss two significant projects:
  1. A significant undertaking to plant 200 trees, in cooperation with the City of Escondido and, in keeping with the request of RI President Ian Riseley, to plant a tree for each member by Earth Day 2017 (planting scheduled for October 28).
  2. To assess how the five clubs can help support the upcoming Foundation Seminar on September 23.
In addition to joint projects, these clubs have encouraged their members to join the other clubs at their regular meetings to make announcements about their signature fundraising events, or other announcements of interest.  Years ago, this was strictly prohibited!  Now, it is encouraged.  It's a pretty warm fuzzy bunch.  Together the local clubs consist of over 250 Rotarians.  I think we can all agree, clubs can do a great deal more together than they can alone.  This is a great model for other clubs to consider.
Judy Colaneri is the owner of Spanish Steps, a Spain-based travel company that offers van-supported journeys along different routes of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, France and Italy.  Judy is not a Rotarian, but has developed a deep friendship with Krishna and Bonnie Arora, members of La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club in San Diego, California, District 5340, who have traveled on multiple Camino routes with Spanish Steps.  Over the years she has heard about the projects they and their Rotary Club have been involved in.
One day while Krishna and Bonnie were in New Delhi, India, with a group of 10 Interact students from San Diego county on an Interact student exchange trip, Bonnie received an email from Judy.  The email said, "I was thinking that it might be nice to offer a trip on the Camino where all the benefits or profits would go to one of the foundations you are involved with...We thought of you and all the good things you do.  What do you think of this idea?...I just love what you and Krishna are doing and would love to participate in some form."
This sparked the beginning of the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club's "Rotary Camino Fundraiser".  Spanish Steps offered to provide a one week, van-supported journey covering the last 117 kilometers (73 miles) of the Camino de Santiago, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela and donate profits back their Rotary Club for service projects.
Linda Stouffer, another member of La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club, who had also walked a Camino route with Spanish Steps, was on the Club's board of directors.  She helped to gain approvals and orchestrate the fundraiser.
The date was set for March 31 - April 8, 2017, and flyers went out, giving members the opportunity to walk this pilgrimage as a group and earn funds for the Club.  When word of the Fundraiser spread throughout District 5340, members of other clubs signed up to participate as well.  12 Rotarians and spouses, representing 5 Clubs in District 5340, participated in the walk:  La Jolla Golden Triangle (Louise Andres, Krishna and Bonnie Arora, Wayne Davis, Linda Stouffer and Steve Wallis); La Jolla Sunrise (Steve Andres, Steve and Carol Cross), Borrego Springs (Martha Deichler), San Diego Club 33 (Christy White), and Escondido After Five (Steve Davis).
The group began its journey in the Roman walled city of Lugo, Spain, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Those who arrived a few days early attended a meeting at the Rotary Club of Lugo, and were able to meet Assistant District Governor, Antonio Quesada Estangui.
Throughout the journey, Spanish Steps guides, Judy Colaneri, Virginio Corsi, and Francesco Corsi, were always available to support the group.  Rather than accept a salary, they volunteered their services so that more funds could be raised.  When some of the hotels where the group stayed learned of the fundraiser, they offered major discounts as their contribution.
After the Rotarian pilgrims returned home, La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club received a check in the amount of $23,657.75 from Spanish Steps.  Plus, members and friends who did not physically participate in the walk, contributed funds to sponsor the walkers, and raised an additional, $5,467. A total sum of $29,124 will make a difference in the lives of many throughout the world. Specifically, the funds will be utilized for the following projects:
  • Provide Bio-sand filters for clean drinking water in the Kilimanjaro region of Northern Tanzania;
  • Provide furnishings for St. Paul's Veterans rooms, San Diego;
  • Restore an education center in a slum community in New Delhi, India;
  • Build a house for a family in Tijuana, Mexico;
  • In conjunction with Feeding the Homeless, provide outreach services to homeless in San Diego;
  • Repairs and improvements for an orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico;
  • Provide blankets for Syrian refugees in Macedonia;
  • Install solar panels for school in Jalalabad, Afghanistan;
  • Provide IdeaPaint in classrooms for OASIS Senior Learning Center, San Diego;
  • Rotary Club of Santiago de Comopostela (Project TBD), Spain;
  • Provide sewing class material to middle/high school students, in Borrego Springs
All of this was possible because Judy Colaneri saw the good hands-on work done by Rotarians and found her own way to make a difference.  Thank you Judy and Spanish Steps!
For all those involved or interested in Rotary’s Peace initiatives, you don’t want to miss attending the District Peace Leadership Seminar on Saturday, September 16, 9:00am-12:30pm at the Ronald McDonald House.  This seminar, presented by the District 5340 Pathways to Peace Committee, is designed to educate, motivate, and engage our Rotary club Peace Chairs and those with an interest in becoming a Peace Chair in their club. 
Peacebuilding efforts have been developing rapidly throughout our Rotary world and District 5340 is very much engaged.  Practically every service project and program Rotary does throughout the world brings increased prospects for less violent resolution of conflict.  Pathways to Peace is focused on ways to advance this aspect of Rotary. 
Seminar participants will hear how their involvement can advance Rotary peace objectives. We will discuss key responsibilities for Peace Chairs, how clubs develop and connect to programs, and ways to involve club members.  New this year will be a panel of experienced Peace Chairs who will provide first-hand advice and lead discussion among seminar participants. 
The seminar is free, but registration is requested for planning purposes.  Contact Seminar Chair Sandra Schrift ( with questions and suggestions.  Also, for more information, you may download the event flyer or you can register here.
Rotary has officially unveiled the brand new Rotary Club Central. Hosted within, Rotary Club Central provides centralized goal tracking and management for both clubs and districts. The new Rotary Club Central represents a significant upgrade since the portal debuted five years ago, featuring a new updated navigation, faster loading speeds, and compatibility with mobile devices. 
Rotary has announced the insurance assessment rates that will be charged for the 2017-18 year. The insurance assessment rates will be charged on the July Club Invoice.
Rotary provides Clubs and Districts with insurance coverage under the U.S. Rotary Club & District Liability Insurance Program. The program is offered through Lockton Insurance. The policies comes with self-insured retention (SIR) for each claims, and these assessments fund the $250,000 self-insured retention of every general liability claim and $25,000 deductible of every directors’ and officers’/employment practices liability (D&O/EPL) claim, under the U.S. Rotary Club & District Liability Insurance Program. The assessment amounts depend on claims activity per state, funding needs of the self-insured retention, the cost of excess insurance, and credit for past claims history. 
Rotary President-elect Sam F. Owori died Thursday, 13 July.
After the sudden loss of RI President-elect Sam Owori, Rotary International finds itself in the unusual position of seeking another individual to lead the 1.2 million member organization beginning July 1, 2018.
Owori, 75, died last week after complications from leg surgery in Texas. Owori was a member of Rotary International (RI) for 38 years in his native Uganda, and would have been only the second African to lead the organization in its 112-year history. 
"Sam was a special person in so many ways, and is a huge loss," said Ian Riseley, RI President. "This is a difficult time for all of us, and while it is hard to think about replacing our friend Sam so soon, we have to move ahead in the best interests of our organization."
Rotary International has a line of succession that is planned out for years in advance. Owori's death raised many questions among Rotary clubs as to how the vacancy would be filled, and what steps Rotary would take to ensure continuity and a smooth transition of leadership.


SURF's up! The Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship (SURF) Rotaract Learn to SURF event this past week was a great success, with over 30 participating and everyone having a blast! Kudos to all volunteers for making this event a success, especially to Bob Gladwell of the Rotary Club of Lake Arrowhead and his son, and to the Rotary Club of Del Mar and the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club.

Phil Bresnahan, PhD and Tyler Cyronak, PhD of Scripps Institute of Oceanography attended and shared with the group about Smartin and how surfers in our community are providing valuable data on changes in ocean temperatures. Equipped with GPS sensors, telemetry and eventually the fins made by Future Fins will have pH sensors to gather ocean acidity. You can learn more by going here.

People of Action

Rotary is where individuals come together to change the world for good.
With over 1.2 million members across the globe, Rotary is the place where business and civic leaders come to share ideas, connect, and get inspired. 
Rotary members are people of action, dedicated to sustainable, impactful change in the communities in which they live and work. 
To learn more about joining other leaders in your community, visit a Rotary club near you.
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August 2017


District Governor Scott Carr
Scott C. Carr
District Governor 2017-18
Rotary District 5340
Rotary District 5340
2247 San Diego Avenue
Suite 236
San Diego, CA 92110

619-2-ROTARY Phone
619-299-3826 Fax
 Rotary. Making a Difference