Payson Rotarians Host District Conference

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If there's a local business that doesn't stand to benefit from the first Rotary Club district conference to be held this weekend in Payson, Bob Ware can't think of it.

"There will be about 200 people coming to town, and each one will spend, on average, $200," Ware, executive director of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, said. "Up and down Highway 87, everyone will get a little more business: Texaco, the Beeline Cafe, you name it. It won't come back for quite a while, but we have it now and we want to make the most of it. It's a very nice thing for this community."

It's also a nice thing for District 5510 Rotarians who, until now, had to travel to the Valley to attend their organization's annual event or who would have to fly to Barcelona, Spain, to attend this year's international Rotary gathering.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs.

Payson is unusual for a town it's size, Ware said, because it boasts two clubs: the Noonday Rotary Club, of which he is president, and the Rim Country Rotary Club, headed by Paul Bates.

Their district's annual conference, titled "On the Rotary Road," will move participants all over Payson from Thursday's registration at the Inn of Payson to Sunday's farewell breakfast. In between, Ware promised, will be "a terrific conference filled with fun, activities, education and Rotary fellowship."

Thursday afternoon, attendees can enjoy golfing in a "modified scramble" that will tee off at the Chaparral Pines Championship Golf Course; partake in an afternoon of jeep tours of the Rim Country; or antiquing in Strawberry.

Friday morning's opening session at the Tonto Recreation Center will start out with a Color Guard from Payson High School and greetings from Payson Mayor Ray Schum, followed by Rotary business and awards, with Club and Vocational Service reports and recognitions.

After the Council of Legislation will come lunch, with guest speaker Gil Gillenwater from the Rancho Feliz Foundation.

After lunch will come the "Many Hands of Rotary" Work Project, providing an opportunity for resident and visiting Rotarians to leave Payson a little better for the conference having been here and raising Rotary's public awareness.

Friday evening, various district Rotary clubs will serve up fun games, food and gift items for sale at the hospitality carnival, with booth proceeds to be kept by the clubs for use on their own favorite projects. Payson Cowboy poet and entertainer Dee Strickland Johnson, aka Buckshot Dot, will be on hand in the lounge with songs and stories of the West.

Saturday morning will begin with a Boy Scout pancake breakfast at Rumsey Park with motivational speaker Jerry Traylor an event held in honor of new Rotarians.

Then it's back to the Recreation Center for plenaries on Community and International Service, with more presentations and recognitions.

Saturday's lunch will feature keynote speaker and author Christine Harvey, whose motivational and inspiring books will be available for purchase and signings.

Saturday afternoon, the Rotary Foundation Program will be followed by a perennial conference favorite, the Group Study Exchange and Youth Exchange. This year, in coordination with District 3300 in Malaysia, arrangements have been made for the return of Team USA and Team Malaysia.

After the plenary and an ice cream social will come the Special Topic Break-Out Sessions, which will precede a conference highlight: the "Mankind Is Our Business Awards Dinner."

There will be special and significant Rotary International Awards presented including the District 5510 Rotarian of the Year Award. Singer and ventriloquist, Melynda Brimhall will provide the evening's entertainment.

Sunday morning will begin with a Conference Inter-Faith Service and Memorial Service, and end with the Conference Farewell Breakfast.

For more information on the Rotary International District 5510 Conference, call Bob Ware at 474-4515.

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