Welcome to District 5495 News

Our Exchange Sons
Some of you may know Erik from the time he lived here in Phoenix 10 years ago. His last name is long, hyphenated and I can’t even pronounce it correctly, but I love this kid.
We just finished up an excellent celebration dinner with him and his wonderful family. Tomorrow, he graduates with a second master's in international business from the Stockholm Institute of Economics, which is one of the top five business schools in the world. My wife says he will soon be head of the IMF.
As family, we have been invited for the ceremony and the festivities here in Sweden. There is really nothing like the bond of Rotary Youth Exchange to unite families from disparate cultures and continents.
I first met Erik 10 years ago when he traveled with Elizabeth to our Mexico USA Friendship Conference in Cuernavaca. At the time, he seemed like a slightly spoiled kid from Scandinavia that was precocious, but not very cautious. What do you want from a 16-year-old? Since then, I have come to know him as a thoughtful, very intelligent and caring person, who really wants to make a difference in the world. He will make a great Rotarian.
And this year, as you know, we have Jose living with us. He is from Ecuador and attends Barry Goldwater High School. Jose has also quickly become an integral part of our family. He is a joyful and easy-going young man, who is quick to smile and always willing to help out around the house.
We have turned Jose into a massive Phoenix Suns fan and he has shared his passion for F1 racing with us, and has instilled in us a love for Ferrari, and a loathing for Red Bull.
Jose has been accepted to study marketing at ASU next year and is so grateful for his experience here in Arizona. Having come from Ambato, a very small town in central Ecuador, his experience has been overwhelming at times, but very instructive.
These life-enriching experiences with young people and families only happen because of the trust between Rotarians across the world that gives parents the confidence to send a child out on Youth Exchange. It is no small commitment to participate in youth exchange, but the rewards are incredible.
 Do you know a young person that would benefit from being immersed in a foreign culture? Would you be willing to open your family up for a new and different experience. Rotary Youth Exchange may be the thing for you. Let us know, if you have any interest.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has officially proclaimed the week of April 15-21, 2024 as "Arizona Rotary Week of Service."
The proclamation reads:
Proclamation in Recognition of “Rotary Week of Service”
WHEREAS the over 3,000+ Rotary Club members in Arizona, through their affiliation with 46,000+ Rotary Clubs worldwide, are dedicated to the well-being of, and to improving the quality of life for, all people in communities across Arizona, and
WHEREAS Rotary Club members believe every act of service helps to build goodwill and peace in homes, schools, businesses, neighborhoods, and throughout the beautiful state of Arizona, and
WHEREAS Rotary Club members believe in Service Above Self as they build communities and bridge divides around Arizona, and
WHEREAS Rotary Club members are People of Action who lend a hand to friends, neighbors, and strangers whenever and wherever there is a need to be addressed, and
WHEREAS Rotary Club members understand the importance and value in building relationships and friendships that cross international, religious and cultural boundaries, and
WHEREAS Rotary Club members recognize that, now more than ever, our fellow residents need our collective assistance to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, safety, and connectedness, and
WHEREAS Rotary Club members are calling out for more helpers to join them in serving and caring for the vulnerable and impoverished in every Arizona community.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Katie Hobbs, Governor of the State of Arizona, do hereby proclaim April 15-21, 2024, as

And urge all citizens to recognize, applaud, and join the service efforts of this organization as it builds goodwill and peace throughout Arizona.
District 5495 will hold its next Rotary Leadership Institute 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Benedictine University, 225 E. Main St., Mesa.
Cost is $65, and includes continental breakfast, lunch and study materials. Click the link below to register.
RLI is a worldwide organization that some refer to as Rotary’s “College of Knowledge." RLI touches on “everything Rotary” and is not just a “leadership” course to become an officer of your club.  RLI is made up of three one-day sessions to give you an overview of what Rotary is and what it does worldwide. 
Its goal is to create ENTHUSIASM for Rotary and show the enormous potential of Rotary service and how with knowledge and excellent leadership in Clubs, the world will benefit.
Rotary clubs and their members throughout Arizona invite friends, neighbors and fellow citizens to join them as they conduct service projects to benefit the local community during the third annual Rotary Week of Service April 15-21, 2024.
Rotary Week of Service aims to bring communities together to address pressing needs and assist families, schools and organizations. Rotary clubs throughout the state are planning a wide range of community projects that include hosting food drives, cleaning local parks, donating items to homeless shelters, planting trees and more.
“We invite our friends, neighbors and fellow civic organizations to join our Rotarians as we perform service projects throughout our state,” said Kevin Pitts, district governor for Rotary District 5495.
“Rotarians do great things all year long, but we felt the time was right to combine our efforts and bring our communities together to focus on one solid week of service. Rotary is committed to making our world a better place – and there is no better place to start than in our own community.”
There are over 100 Rotary clubs – and more than 3,000 Rotarians -- in Arizona serving towns and cities of all sizes. Arizona is served by two Rotary districts – District 5495 and District 5500. The state’s first Rotary club was started over a century ago and several clubs in Arizona have recently celebrated their 100th anniversary.
Many clubs have a community service project planned during Rotary Week of Service. A complete list of community service projects can be found at azrotary.org. Visitors to the site can find information on projects in their community and sign up to volunteer or participate in the project.
District 5495 will kick off Rotary Week of Service with The Prom Closet, conducted by the Rotary Club of Peoria North. The annual event will this year be held 9 a.m.-2 p.m., April 6-7 and 13-14 at the GESD System of Care Center, 7677 W. Bethany Home Road, Glendale. Rotarians from throughout the state volunteer at The Prom Closet, which provides formal prom attire free of charge to all high school students.
Volunteers are invited to join Rotarians throughout the week to assist with a local service project.
Visit azrotary.org to post your club's project.
Contact Shawn Wehan for assistance in posting your club project.
“We know there are a lot of people who want to help others and give back – but just can’t seem to find the perfect opportunity. Rotarians are not only committed to service, but they’re closely connected to their communities, and in the best position to identify and coordinate local projects that address urgent needs,” added Mr. Pitts.
“We want this to be a true community-wide effort, and encourage non-Rotarians to join us,” he added.
Rotary is a worldwide organization with over 1.4 million members and more than 35,000 clubs. Rotary members throughout the world take action to make communities better. They contribute their time, energy, and passion to carry out meaningful and sustainable projects that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, help mothers and children, support education, and grow local economies.
The district is holding a one-hour Club Executive Training session for those clubs who use the Clubrunner platform at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 15.
Registration is not required, and executives only need to click the following link(s), or scan the QR image to join our training on May 15th:
Topic: District 5495 | ClubRunner Club Executive District & Club Version Training
Time: May 15, 2024 06:00 PM Arizona
Meeting ID: 993 4533 6199
The class will be especially helpful for incoming club secretaries and presidents who may have questions regarding the process to update club and member information. The virtual meeting will be recorded and available to Rotarians after the meeting as well.
The meeting will be conducted by PDG Bret McKeand, D5495 Public Image Chair, and Omar Solomah, product specialist with Clubrunner.
"Two Nations, Two District: One Rotary," the joint district conference for District 5495 and District 4100 opens 5 p.m. Thursday, May 2, 2024, and ends at noon Sunday, May 5.  The conference will be held at the spacious Centro de Convenciones in Puerto Penasco, Sonora.
Hi all –
With our Rocky Point District Conference quickly approaching, I wanted to give you some additional information. Time to register!
We have a top-notch lineup of speakers that includes the Vice President of Rotary International, Pat Merryweather-Arges, who is RI Director from Zones 25b-29 and has served as the board chair of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Action Group and the International Services Chair for RI. Learn more here: https://zones25b-29.org/ stories/get-to-know-ri- director-pat-merryweather- arges
But we won’t spend all our time in the convention center, we’ll have plenty of time for beach action, an optional golf tournament and much more. Get registered today! See links below for all the options.
**Start with a Swing - Golf Tournament Registration**
Join us for an engaging Golf Tournament on the morning of Thursday, May 2nd. This event is a fantastic way to network, enjoy some friendly competition, and immerse yourself in the spirit of the conference right from the start. Golfers of all levels are welcome!
To register, please scan the QR code below or click on this link: https://portal. clubrunner.ca/50335/Events/ 2024-rotary-district- conference-golf
**Seamless Journey - Group Transportation Options**
To enhance your experience, we're offering group transportation options. Designed for convenience and camaraderie, these options ensure you can travel to and from the conference with ease and in good company.
For details and to book your spot, scan the QR code or follow this link: https://portal. clubrunner.ca/50335/Events/ district-conference-extra- options
**Your Questions Answered - Conference FAQ Attachment**
We understand you might have questions about the conference, transportation, the golf tournament, and more. To assist you, we've compiled a comprehensive FAQ document. Please find it attached to this email. It covers a wide range of topics to help you prepare for the conference and make the most of your experience.
We are looking forward to hosting you and are here to help make your conference experience as enjoyable and enriching as possible. Should you need further information or have additional questions, please see attached document and do not hesitate to contact us.
Warmest regards,
Kevin Pitts, District Governor (2023-2024)
Rotary International District 5495
For questions, please email: elizabethmahoneyaz@ gmail.com 

To register or modify your registration, please click on this link: Register/Modify Registration
Water Connections
When I was in the 4th grade I won an essay contest for a piece I wrote about the water cycle. The Central Arizona Project had just begun construction and there was a lot of education about it at the time. But today, that project provides 80% of Arizona residents’ freshwater needs. I have been a water nerd ever since.
When you study the water cycle, you realize it is all connected; clouds, rain, springs, streams, rivers small and big, and the seas and oceans that cover the majority of our planet. And I have always been drawn to bodies of water. The weird kid from Arizona that moved to Santa Monica and learned to surf actually spent his childhood water skiing on the Colorado River and fishing the mountain lakes and streams of Northern Arizona.
And as I reflect on this, I realize that in Rotary International District 5495, water projects have run through our district creating unexpected connections that cross clubs, districts, communities, and our years of service. Our Navajo Water project has put D5495 on the map with districts and clubs from all over the United States learning about the scarcity of water in communities here at home and we have had many, many international clubs and districts participate as well.
Josh the Otter, the pool safety project that has been shared over the years by clubs as a recommendable district grant project has created connections between clubs, communities, schools, and the parents of children who benefit from learning about safety around the swimming pool.
The extensive work we are doing in Kenya started with an ask from our Maasai friends to support communities in Maasailand with clean water. The difference clean water makes in a community, particularly for women and children, is undeniable. But as a result of carrying out several water projects over the last two decades, we have built multiple partnerships and now also focus on mobility, youth empowerment and economic development and our connections run deep.
And today we are celebrating the sinking of a war ship to support the ultimate water resource, our oceans, to create an artificial reef system that will enhance the sustainability of our overall environment. The connection to our many partners in Mexico where this project is being carried out has been strengthened as well.
As I have argued since the 4th grade, water is essential. Maybe more essential than meets the eye.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
One of the reasons I think many of us love living in Prescott is the fact that we have four seasons and last week, winter finally hit us in full force. We got about 2 feet of snow at our house.
That’s not unusual. We typically get one of these types of storms each year. The unusual thing was I didn’t get to experience it at the time. I was on the road as I have been most of this year. Last week was the President Elect Training Seminar in Los Angeles. This is a milestone marker in the Rotary calendar, not just for presidents but for governors too, where the incoming leaders begin to shape up plans and put together new teams for the coming year.
And transitions in leadership can be a time when conflicts arise. Disagreements about direction, speed of change, key roles, etc. can sometimes lead to tempers flaring and harsh words. But the only way to make progress is to go through these transitions and improve. It is one of the big positives that comes with one-year terms of office. Just like the changes in seasons, it forces us to take steps we might not normally take if we were continuously relaxing in the warmth of a summer afternoon.
As one of our areas of focus is peace and conflict resolution, we should begin with ourselves and our families, and then extend to our clubs. A good place to start is with some personal meditation and self-care.
Then clubs can be sure they are fun and welcoming, and the leaders should be on the lookout for trouble spots where a conflict could arise. These will inevitably be made worse if ignored, or they can be shut down before they flare up by simply giving members the ability to be seen and heard. Usually, the club bylaws hold the key to resolution if there is a serious disagreement.
Then we can be intentional about our efforts to promote peace with projects in our communities and in the world. Those efforts could take the form of a district or global grant or any type of club project. Remember, every act of service is an act of peace.
Most of you have heard me speak about the Peacebuilder Network of clubs in the district. Currently, the network is leading an effort to lobby the Arizona state government to pass a bill to erect a Rotary Peace Pole at the state capitol (SB 1513), which has bipartisan support. If you are of a mind, please help us by contacting your state representatives and asking them to support this effort.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
District 5495 Presidents-Elect joined District Governor-Elect Michelle Holcomb at this year's Southwest PETS, Feb. 1-3 at the LAX Marriott in Lost Angeles. The annual presidents-elect training included over 500 presidents from nine districts from throughout the Western United States. Our 2024-25 presidents attended educational programs and heard great talks from inspiring and motivational speakers. For more photos, visit the photo albums page. Click HERE.