Are you curious about how the Imagine Rotary Tour went for our District?
Here is a summary of the tour described by our District Governor, Barbara Bartle
Imagine Rotary: A Tale of Two Districts
Inform.  Inspire.  Imagine.  This was the purpose for a two-week tour to elevate Rotary in Districts 5630 and 5650.  Rotary International President Jennifer Jones modelled the tour with her Imagine Rotary Global Tour and encouraged Districts to plan one too.  From the Sandhills in Nebraska to the Bluffs of Western Iowa, nine Rotary Clubs applied and were named Hubs for the tour.  The magnitude of service, both locally and internationally, of these nine hubs far exceeds this summary.  That is a tale for another day.   
This is a snapshot of each Hub.  Rotarians planned a day highlighting their impactful projects in the community, providing time for a needed service project and socializing with the opportunity to raise funds to end polio, a major focus of International Rotary.  The 1.4 million Rotary members around the globe have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease.  This is one impressive Rotary fact shared along the way with audiences on television, radio, print and social media with the overall message to be informed and get involved with a Rotary club near you.
Service Above Self is the Rotary motto.  Participating in a service project is a great way to get involved.  One highlight, out of scores, was a community supper in McCook.  The Rotary Club takes their turn in the community to feed a hot meal to the underserved.  The York Rotary Club includes completing a micro-project at a club meeting several times a year.  Nonprofits are selected to receive bags full of necessities or fun birthday surprises prepared by the Rotarians.  Twenty years ago, a cyclist died when he could not be reached in time after suffering a heart attack on a bike trail.  This was the inspiration for a service project implemented by the Omaha clubs.  Working with the city, Rotary clubs funded markers every half mile and built information kiosks.  Now two decades later, updating is needed, and members from Omaha Night encourage clubs to adopt a kiosk to restore.
In Arnold, a small town of 800, the tour included a sampling of over 20 projects completed.  From a park bathroom/shower facility, shelter and playground to the formation of a new high school Rotary Interact e-club, the Rotary Club members are people of action.  The same is true for the Rotarians in Kearney.  A community scavenger hunt would lead you to nearly two dozen Rotary projects.  Two most recently completed are the new shelter at Yanney Park and the flag adorned Central Nebraska Veterans Memorial, a collaboration of many partners in the community.
In Lincoln, the tour stopped at the International Quilt Museum to learn more about Rotary international projects between Rotary clubs locally and from around the world.  One program featured was a Mini-Quilt Challenge that raised over $25,000 for medical supplies in Ukraine. This was a remarkable example of support for the international crisis.  Last spring The Rotary Foundation raised over $15 million toward the Ukrainian Disaster Fund from Rotarians all over the world.
A critical component and namesake of the tour was to imagine.  The October theme in Rotary focused on community and economic development.  Shenandoah Rotary Club did just that on the tour stop.  The city’s planning theme is “Imagine the Future.”  The community is on a tremendous growth pattern in the coming decade.  There was an opportunity to imagine how Rotary fits into that growth.  The greatest impact happens when organizations plan and work together to reach community goals. 
Rotary clubs in Broken Bow and Ogallala convened similar community meetings.  Dozens of Rotary accomplishments locally and internationally were shared with the community members and leaders.  Broken Bow included the mayor, director of economic development, the hospital administrator, business leaders and the state senator.  There was great pride in the partnerships built to bring the human trafficking education trailer to the community.  Over 1000 people participated including police, educators, community members, businesses and over 700 junior and senior high school students.  Ogallala Rotary hosted similar leaders and highlighted the recent partnerships needed to complete a new splash pad in Collister Park.  What need or opportunity is next for the community?  Imagine the future impact when the city, schools, businesses, nonprofits, faith groups and citizens work together.
The legacy of the Imagine Rotary Tour is the treasure trove of Rotarian testimonials captured in almost every community.  In Grand Island, nearly a dozen Rotarians gathered at the Grand Island Tourism Office to tell their Rotary story.  This happened over and over along the way.  One common thread was shared in the interviews.  Joining Rotary is not the same as becoming a Rotarian.  The difference maker is building friendships, participating in a service project or assisting with a fundraiser to support others.  
During the tour, a disastrous fire destroyed a great deal of Halsey National Forest in District 5630.  Overnight, HotMeals USA, a food truck funded by many Rotary districts in the world, including District 5630 and 5650, was on the scene serving over 200 firefighters battling the fire.  Rotarians from all over the area answered the call and arrived to help prepare and serve meals.  After the crisis ended, the founder of Hot Meals USA said, “We are just a bunch of equipment, hauled around in trailers. The magic comes from the volunteers who step in and bring an ear to listen or hand to hold and comfort.  Rotary has shown through their actions they don’t just talk the talk.  They really do walk the walk.”
The intent of the tour was a simple formula:  More Rotarians=More Good Works.
As shown in Halsey, Rotarians are people of action putting love into action all over the world.  What’s next?  Join in as we Imagine Rotary!