Dear Fellow Rotarians,
Over the past 15 weeks, I have had the privilege of visiting 71 of our 72 clubs! We Rotarians dream of making our communities better places to live, and in District 5495 we are doing just that! At every visit, clubs showcased their impressive projects and traditions. I wish there were a way that each and every Rotarian could have the opportunity that I did, to see how we are living up to our theme of ‘Rotarians Making a Difference—Together!’
I have challenged every member to ‘Be that one Rotarian who has an idea and takes it to the club.’  And that is exactly what’s been happening. All over our District, members, clubs and committees are proposing and exploring new ideas, making positive improvements and considering innovative practices! 
Just a few examples … One club is looking into using the Arizona School Tax Credit to ‘Crowdfund’ a music program in a local school. Multiple clubs in an area are exploring how they can collaborate to start a Passport Club together! One Rotarian investigated whether and how he could get an official Rotary license plate established here in Arizona. Your ideas and energy are contagious—keep them coming, and please share. I’d love to know your ideas and how they turn out!
Earlier in November, a team of Rotarians represented our District at the Zone Institute in Reno. Zone Institutes are annual meetings where past, present and incoming district and senior leaders gather to share information, build connections and exchange ideas about Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. Each year, in our Zone 25/26, specific resource groups are targeted to receive specialized training and have an opportunity to interact with other leaders in their areas of expertise. Each of the 22 Districts in our Zone sends representatives. 
I am proud that this year our District Resource representatives to the Institute were Public Image leaders Bob Murray and Rusty Pile, and Leadership Development Resource Leaders Angel Aguirre and Susan Williams. Our Emerging Leaders representatives were Jay Schlum and Kevin Pitts. Kudos and thanks to all of our D5495 Ambassadors to Zone! They shared some of our own great ideas and innovations, and they also brought back new ideas and best practices for supporting our clubs.
In this issue, Chandler Rotarian Gabrielle Schwarz has written a feature article about Peace Poles.  Not only does she provide an overview and resources for clubs, but she also tells the inspiring story of discovering Peace Poles while walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. While on that journey Gabrielle learned about Rotary and, on her return, she became a Rotarian. Gabrielle is the chair of the District’s Peace Pole Project.
A dynamic team has been meeting regularly to plan for the 2018 Conference of Clubs on June 1st and 2nd at the Wigwam Resort. Are you looking for an enjoyable opportunity to share your talents and get to know other members? Whether you are a professional, a hobbyist or simply want to learn something new, consider joining one of the many specialty teams that are working together to put on this event. You can be part of the energy and the future of our District.
I wish you a Holiday Season rich with peace and joy.