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Rotary Club of Bay City
Youth Programs

Vocational Days

The first reference we can find having to do with Career Days came from the October 1950 minutes of the Board of Directors. The club voted to participate in a "Career Day" program in conjunction with the Bay City Board of Education. Since then, many Rotarians have participated in this program each year.

Sometime in the late 70's or early 80's Rotary took over the program and renamed it Vocational Days. Dick VanAkker was chairman of the committee when Griff Acker joined Rotary in 1984 and volunteered for this committee. When Dick was elected President-Elect, Griff took over as chairman. At that time we hosted only students from the Bay City Public School District. Griff decided to expand the program and invited students from Garber, John Glenn, and All Saints High Schools, and they accepted the invitation.

By the middle of the 1990's our club was hosting between 100 and 140 students for a half-day job shadowing experience followed by lunch with the Rotarians and an appropriate speaker. The hosts received many thank-you letters from the students who felt they gained a lot from this experience. The program was so popular with the students and counselors that it had to be expanded to a two-day program. The large increase in numbers was mainly due to two of our members, Debra Lutz, Vice-President of Business and Finance at Delta College, and Keith Markstrom, Director of the Bay Medical Foundation.

In the late 1990's Ralph Knop joined Griff Acker as co-chair of the committee and they have made an excellent team. When All Saints decided to drop out of the program Ralph recruited Valley Lutheran High School to fill the void.

When Griff and Ralph decided to pass the torch to a new committee, Matt Felan, who had been part of the committee, took over the responsibilities. Trevor Keyes soon joined Matt. When Matt moved to the Morning Club, he and Trevor decided to make Vocational Days a joint venture between the two clubs. They also returned to the one-day format.

The many Rotarians who have taken the time to host students each year are what has made Rotary Vocational Days a success. Also, this program could not have succeeded without the assistance of the counselors at each of the schools.

Rotarians and Friends of Rotary who would like to host a student should print and submit a copy of the following application.

    Download Vocational Days Application as PDF.

    Download filled example Vocational Days Application as PDF.

    Download Vocational Days Application as DOC.

In 2013 the following schedule memo was sent to school counselors. The link is left here for reference:
    DOWNLOAD Counselor Memo as PDF.
    DOWNLOAD Counselor Memo as DOC.

Dictionary and Thesaurus Project

Each Fall the Bay City Rotary gives a new dictionary to every Third Grader in the Bay County school system. Each Spring the club follows up with a Thesaurus for every Fourth Grader. These books are approved by educators and received by students, teachers, and parents with great enthusiasm as shown by the many letters, cards, and hand written thank you's that come from the students.

The effort was started at the Bay City club in the early 2000's. A few years later the Bay City Morning Rotary joined the effort by sponsoring some schools. Later the Pinconning-Arenac club joined the effort to cover the schools in their area.
My granddaughter attends Bangor Lincoln School and is a 3rd grader. Recently she came home with a dictionary from the Rotary Club. I would like to thank you for that gift. And she is using it. In fact she picks out different words about every day to check out its meaning. Again Thank you.

Dear Rotary Club. Thank you for the cool dictionary. I like the whole book. It's super. I love it. I'll always keep it clean and I won't let it bend. Thank you for the present and I'll keep it forever. I love the book and I'll never let it go out of my sight.

Dear Rotary Club. Thank you for the amazing dictionary. My favorite part was about presidents. I will learn about everything in the book. And you are the best ever. I will use this book forever. And it is the best present ever.
In 2017 the Club debated dropping the program. The Morning Rotary wanted to continue and submitted a District Grant application to cover a large part of the cost. This club (Noon) felt that was a good approach and also submitted a District Grant application. BOTH grants were approved. The program continues another year.

Handicapped, Other Children Sent to Camps

Among the many causes the Rotary Club of Bay City has supported are efforts that work to the betterment of children. One of those programs was designed to assist special needs children.

Conditions impacting upon the welfare of children have been a major concern for Rotarians since the early twentieth century, with special emphasis placed on children with physical impairments. The Rotary Club of Bay City has taken part in these worthwhile projects from the beginning.

Children were assisted in engaging in various activities. Both physically impaired children, and those not so affected, were sent to camps throughout the years. The disabled children were guests of the Bay City club at a Christmas Party each year for well over 50 years. The children met Santa Claus, enjoyed a Christmas meal, took part in carol singing, and each received a present. Santa always had one of the handicapped children sit on his knee and ring the bells while everyone sang Jingle Bells.

Though these projects were supported annually by the Rotary club, there were also many activities by individual members. Included in these, and highlighting the list, was George M. [Max] Brown, M.D., who for 20 years was Chairman of the Bay County Society for Crippled Children and Adults and was the Chairman of Bay City Rotary's crippled children's committee. Dr. Brown was also a leader when the Bay Arenac Intermediate School District placed a millage proposal before the voters to fund a modern orthopedic wing to be added to an existing school. This would allow the handicapped children the opportunity to mix with the rest of the children in their age group. He performed a leadership role in the community, supporting the vote that passed in all but two precincts of the two-county district. The Rotary club was in support of the vote. The wing at Kolb School was named for Dr. Brown, attesting to his support for physically impaired children.

One of the charter members of the Rotary Club of Bay City, G.W. Ames, a realtor, left a bequest of five hundred dollars to the program. Rotarian Gerald Lewless worked for many years on the Shriners effort for crippled children. These are just a few of the Rotarians who have worked to assist children with impairments.