By Bret McKeand
District 5495 Governor 2021-22
As we say farewell to 2021 and welcome in the new year, Rotarians throughout District 5495 can be proud of their incredible accomplishments over these past six months.
“Serve to Change Lives” is our theme for 2021-22 and clubs throughout our district have made service their top priority.
Our list of accomplishments is impressive: collecting food donations for local food banks, providing Christmas gifts to children in need, donating clothing to homeless citizens, supporting recently relocated Afghan refugees and much, much more!
Our efforts have impacted people more than any of us can ever imagine and we should be proud of all Rotary is doing here in Arizona – from Laughlin to Prescott, from Anthem to Buckeye, from Scottsdale to Apache Junction. All 64 of our clubs, our three satellite clubs and our Interact and Rotaract clubs are making positive contributions to making our world a better place.
But our work has just begun. The next six months offer numerous opportunities to do even more service, impact even more lives and get more engaged in Rotary activities.
  • Our Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camps return in person beginning in January. Our Pinerock camp kicks off Jan. 14, with Ponderosa scheduled for April. For more information, visit
  • All club President-Elects begin PETS training in January, starting with six weeks of virtual training capped off with a return to in-person PETS on March 4-5 at the Phoenix Doubletree Inn. For more, visit
  • Our next Mexican-American Friendship Conference takes place Feb. 3-6 in Tucson, Arizona. I encourage all Rotarians to attend the event to meet fellow Rotarians from Mexico and see first-hand how Rotary’s global grant process works and the impact these grants have on underserved communities.  For more information, visit
  • The district will conduct its second “Arizona Rotary Week of Service” April 16-24 and we’re hoping every one of our clubs participate. Begin planning a community service project now – and don’t forget to invite the public (a perfect opportunity to live up to our “Each One, Bring One” mantra). The district will once again provide promotional help by placing advertisements and public service announcements in local media and newspapers.
  • Our first in-person district conference in three years is scheduled to return May 12-14 at the Prescott Resort. In addition to recognizing six clubs celebrating their 100th anniversary, we’ll also be celebrating the accomplishments and impact made by our clubs during the 2021-22. For information, click here.
  • Finally, the international convention also returns after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. This year’s Rotary International Convention is planned for June 5-9 in Houston, Texas. The two districts in Arizona are expecting a large contingent of Rotarians traveling to Houston, and are planning a special District 5495/5500 night at a barbecue restaurant in Houston, so be sure to sign up and join the fun! Visit for information.
Again, thank you for all you’re doing to “Serve to Change Lives” in your clubs, your communities and in our world. On behalf of the entire district staff, all our committees and the district governor line, please accept our deepest gratitude and best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy new year!
DG Bret and several other district governors met with Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta during a lunch prior to this year’s Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif.