Welcome to District 5495 News

District 5495 held its most recent Rotary Leadership Institute on Nov. 18 at Mohave Community College in Kingman, Arizona.
More than a dozen district Rotarians participated in the three-course event, with four graduating and earning their RLI certificates. Graduating were Tina Greenwood, Katheryn Tuberty, George Smith and Wanda Tyus.
Robert Wertz, chair of the District 5495 Peacebuilder Committee, presented a special program on the program and how clubs and Rotarians can promote peace and conflict resolution. 
For more photos, click HERE to visit the RLI page on the district website, and click on "photos."
My wife and I genuinely love the holiday season. It brings us such joy to gather with family and share all the wonderful traditions of turkey, Christmas trees and multi-colored cookies.
And we try to be very mindful of the reason for the bluster of activity. On Thanksgiving day, we make a special effort to show our gratitude for all of our blessings.
Rotary is one of those blessings and I recognize we all give of our time, talent and treasure as part of our Rotary experience. This weekend thousands of Rotarians and others will be pedaling hard in Tucson to end polio. Many thousands more will be donating dollars for those riders. It’s a great example of the time, talent and treasure philosophy. We need all three to make a difference.
The Rotary Foundation, as you know, is my charity of choice. The Paul Harris Society could use some more members amongst its ranks. And it would certainly be wonderful to recognize more AKS or major donors. But what I would really like to see is more Rotarians making a Rotary direct commitment of any kind. The amount is less important than the act of giving in whatever capacity any Rotarian can comfortably contribute. The nice thing about Rotary direct is you set it and forget it. It takes little effort and makes the whole process of tracking and tallying simple. https://my.rotary.org/en/rotary-direct
Each of us is blessed in different ways. Some have more time, others have more talent and some are more able to put forth more treasure. But all are equally important. I am thankful for what each of you do to make this world a better place.
Have a very happy Thanksgiving!
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
Joe Sweeney of the Rotary Club of Prescott has been selected to serve as District 5495 Governor in 2026-27.
Born and raised in California, Joe is a former president of the Rotary Club of Santa Clara and board member of the Santa Clara Rotary Foundation. He has served as an Assistant Governor for District 5170.
He and his wife, Linda (also a Rotarian), moved to Prescott in 2020, He served as president of the Rotary Club of Prescott in 2021-22 – during the club’s 100th anniversary year. In District 5495, he was appointed Assistant Governor in 2021 by PDG Bret McKeand and serves as AG for the clubs in Prescott and Sedona.
He currently sits on the District’s Visioning Committee, Membership Committee and Bylaws Committee. He is a graduate of Rotary Leadership Institute and Rotary Leadership Academy. He serves as an RLI facilitator and RLA coach.
While in California he assisted in the creation of two Rotary clubs, including the LGBTQIA club in San Jose and the Rotary Club of Silicon Andhra, whose membership is primarily Native American.
He was involved with the creation of Rotary Means Business networking group in District 5170 and the successful Silicon Valley BBQ Championships fundraiser. In Arizona, he has played a key role in forging a Rotary partnership with the American Red Cross and staging Rotary-supported blood drives throughout the district.
“I am committed to working tirelessly to support and empower our clubs, advance Rotary’s initiatives, and ensure the district continues to make a positive impact in our communities and around the world. Together, we can strengthen Rotary’s legacy of service,” says Joe.
The District Nominating Committee, chaired by PDG Tonya Watson, selected Joe on Nov. 3 after a rigorous written interview process followed by an in-person interview. Joe will follow DGE Michelle Holcomb (2024-25) and DGN Jim Schmidt (2025-26).
He founded and operated a construction business in California. He and Linda have three children.
We are very excited for our continued leadership in District 5495 and hope you will join the District Governor line in lending your full support to Joe.
We need your help, as a Rotarian, to raise funds and awareness for The Rotary Foundation this Giving Tuesday, 28 November.

This global day of generosity is an opportunity for all members to make a big impact, with a gift of any size that supports projects you’re passionate about. Here’s how to get ready for Giving Tuesday:
The Foundation will recognize the top three clubs in fundraising, donor participation, and online giving. Find out which clubs were recognized last year and set a giving goal for your club this year. Just be sure the gifts are made on 28 November!

We know that with your help, Giving Tuesday will be a bigger success than ever.

The Rotary Foundation
Rotary's Alphabet Soup of Acronyms
RYLA, RLI, CLA, PETS, RLA, GNTS, GETS — Some of our guests and new members are probably mystified by what appears to be a secret Rotary language spoken at our meetings, as we casually take short-cuts in our speech, tossing in convenient acronyms — which we may never take the time to explain.  Perhaps it is time to "crack the code" for our newer members.
What do all of these Acronyms listed above have in common?  They are all Rotary leadership training programs — and Rotary definitely excels in providing personal leadership development opportunities for all of our members, regardless of your age.
RYLA - Rotary Youth Leadership Awards - is a stellar 4-day leadership training camp which, in our Rotary district, happens for Middle School (6th - 8th grade youth) at Camp Wamatochick in June, and for Senior High youth at Camp Pinerock in January.  Our Prescott Sunup Rotary Club has traditionally been been heavily invested and involved with both of these camps over the years, and our club member A.J. Sheridan has just this year taken over the reins of the Senior High RYLA (an immense job), as the RYLA Chair.
RLI - Rotary Leadership Institute - is a grass-roots, interactive training program for Rotary club members who want to learn more about Rotary, and about the different ways in which other Rotary clubs operate.  It consists of three levels of courses.  Usually all 3 levels are offered on the same day, 4 times each year, at different locations, which rotate around our district.  Our club reimburses the $65 registration fee for each course (which includes lunch and the materials) to our members who participate in this program.  The latest series of RLI courses is being offered this Saturday at Mohave Community College.
CLA - Club Leadership Academy - is a training program for incoming Rotary club officers and directors.  It is usually held in the Spring at some location in the Phoenix metro area.
PETS - President-Elect Training Seminar - is a mandatory weekend training program for incoming Rotary Club Presidents.  Currently our district is participating in the multi-district Southwest PETS, which will be held Feb. 1-4, 2024, in Los Angeles.
RLA - Rotary Leadership Academy - is a "graduate" online program for Rotarians who have already served as Club Presidents, and who are interested in doing "a deeper dive" into Rotary, in preparation for assuming some possible leadership role at the district level.  It has consisted of six 1-month courses, usually taught by Past District Governors. 
GNTS - Governor-Nominee Training Seminar - is a 3-day mandatory training program for those who will be serving as a Rotary District Governor two years from now.
GETS - Governor-Elect Training Seminar - is also a 3-day mandatory training program for next year's District Governors.  GNTS and GETS sessions are held in conjunction with Rotary Institutes for paired Rotary Zones.  Our Zones 26-27 Rotary Institute, serving the 30 BIG WEST Rotary Districts, just concluded in San Diego.
The above submission reprinted from the Rotary Club of Prescott-Sunup Newsletter.
Rotarians and friends from throughout District 5495 gathered Oct. 24 at O.H.S.O. Brewery in Phoenix to observe World Polio Day. Members enjoyed a buffet meal and raised funds to help Rotary achieve its mission of eradicating polio. The event also coincided with Game 7 of the National League  Playoffs, and members enjoyed cheering on the hometown Diamondbacks as they won the game and punched their ticket to this year's World Series!
As we pull up on World Polio Day, Tuesday October 24, I am so cognizant of how much of our efforts in Rotary are geared toward fundraising.
As an example, we will be having a district fundraiser, Pints 4 Polio, on that Tuesday and hope to raise a few thousand dollars at the event. And the key to creating hope in the world is to implement the funds we raise into community service. Turns out we are really good at that, as evidenced by the End Polio Now campaign and countless other club projects.
But there is a second and very important aspect to our fundraising. And the best and most successful fundraisers have really nailed it. I’m talking about the fellowship side of the events. So many clubs actually state this as part of their “4” way test… Is it Fun!???
And when it comes to the design of a fundraiser, it pays to think first in terms of the friends, sponsors and partners we will be working with and how we can have fun with all of the stakeholders. How can we engage them, our members, and the public at large to attract them to come to an event? That should be the first question. Worry about the bottom line afterward.
This time of year is so exciting for me. The Mexico USA Friendship Conference and Global Grants Exchange is right around the corner. It packages up all of these things; fun, friendship, fundraising, and project design, all into one fast-paced, blast of a weekend. Hopefully, you’ll be joining us in Prescott for this annual fiesta.
As I have been on the road a lot lately, it has been great to see all the different fundraisers going on in the district, from clubs doing duck races, to wine tastings, to golf tournaments, to Octoberfest events, every kind of imaginable raffle, pool and auction… even pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners. Keep up the innovation and the hard work. I know it’s not easy but if we remember to factor in the fun and friendship from the very beginning, we will definitely be starting from the right place.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
This important role in our district is to assist clubs in finding an international project partner, encourage our membership to engage in international projects and emphasize the importance of international service throughout the district.
Craig served as District Governor in 2012-13. As Craig said, “Our organization is indeed Rotary International and it is that international connection makes us able to accomplish more.”
PDG Craig has international experience starting shortly after becoming a Rotarian. His first opportunity came when his club, Phoenix Rotary 100, engaged in a project in Cananea, Mexico. They helped to furnish a school. Since that time, nearly 30 years ago, he has been involved in international outreach in many areas and in many countries.
As Craig said, “I am so happy that someone in my Rotary club offered me the chance to assist on an international project. I was hooked.”
The idea behind the role of DISC is to motivate clubs and Rotarians find their way to do ‘good in our world’ on an international scale. The DISC doesn’t initiate projects. The job is as a facilitator for anyone interested in international service by connecting them to resources and mentors. The DISC can’t do this alone, however. We need volunteers:
  1. Who have had international Rotary experience and will help connect clubs to international partners.
  2. Who have designed Rotary Friendship Exchanges (RFEs).
  3. Who have participated or directed Global Grants (GG)
  4. Who have participated as cadre on GGs
  5. Who have had international projects that were not GGs
  6. Who have expertise in any of the 7 areas of focus
If you want to help. If you need assistance in designing an International Project.
Who You Gonna Call: DISC!
PDG Craig: cw_10_46@icloud.com. Cell: 602 561 1487
You may have recently seen the call go out for candidates for District Governor for 2026-2027. And as I have been traveling the district and visiting clubs, I have seen a great number of leaders in our clubs that I think would make fantastic DGs. However, my inbox is not overflowing with applications yet. I know it’s a big job and a big decision. I have also spoken to a number of these members to encourage them to apply but I often hear doubts about timing.
For many of us, the question does come up as to when is the “right” time to take on any leadership role, whether that be in Rotary at the club or district level or in other aspects of life. I can assure you the right time is now because tomorrow is not promised.
The last district governor from the Rotary Club of Prescott served in 1981-1982. He was my neighbor. And the thing is, I never really knew Woody Smith. But I knew his wife, Lois. She may or may not have called the cops on me for a particularly loud party held while my parents were away one weekend. It probably wasn’t the noise. It was probably all the cars up and down the street.
At any rate, Woody was too busy doing Rotary to call the cops. He was known as Mr. Rotary. His daughter recently told me a story I hadn’t heard before. The year directly after his governor year, Woody passed away of a sudden heart attack. And I asked her if they regretted him being so busy and on the road constantly during the year that turned out to be his last. Her response was “no, he was doing what he loved.”
Later in life and oddly enough, Lois became a client of mine and, as I got to know her and the family better, I loved hearing about the stories of Woody’s adventures in Rotary. And he had a real passion for chartering new clubs. Since his passing, the family have always been great supporters of Rotary and the Rotary Club of Prescott.
Opportunities to lead come and go but they don’t often come back. When you are called and you believe in what you are doing, the time really is now.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
Aug. 26, 2023
To all Club Presidents, Club Secretaries, Assistant Governors and Past District Governors:
Applications from qualified candidates are now being accepted for the position of District 5495 Governor for 2026-2027.
November 4th, 2023, has been established as the date all qualified candidates will be interviewed by the District Nominating Committee. Applications shall be submitted electronically to the District Vice Governor PDG Tonya Watson (rotarytonya@gmail.com) no later than 11:59 pm AZ on October 25, 2023.
The Nominating Committee will notify each applicant of the time for his or her interview appointment to be conducted on November 4th at a location yet to be determined. 
Applicants, please submit:
  • the District Governor Nominee Form containing an endorsement by your club officers. Click here to access the form.
  • your biography and a photograph
  • a statement addressing your desire and qualifications for the position
  • your written response to the following questions: