Three Ventura Rotary Clubs invest in the Ventura Botanical Gardens for today and tomorrow

It was the first visit to the site for many Rotarians

by Mary Kay Doubek

Saturday, April 29 was Rotarians at Work Day for 1.2 million members globally.  In Ventura, the Downtown, East, and South clubs joined forces on a single project so they could make a bigger impact in the community they love.

“Ventura Botanical Gardens is an ideal place to show the power of Rotary,” stated Downtown Ventura Rotary President Betsy Chess.  “60 local Rotary, Rotaract (18-30 ages), and Interact (high school ages) members set aside their Saturday morning and were able to clear invasive plants and brush from a quarter mile stretch of trail above Summit Drive.  There certainly was an impressive stack of weeds when we were done.”

Joe Cahill, VBG Executive Director, added, “The trails are in use more than ever this spring.  Along with the 60 Rotarians on site that day, there were thousands of trail walkers and 500 or more participants and spectators in the Ventura Police Department-sponsored Mud Run.  Later that afternoon, the Ventura Climate March came through the gardens too.”

After working up their appetites, Rotarians were treated to Domino’s Pizza from East Ventura Rotarian Husam Hishmeh at the future site of Rotary Plaza at VBG.  It was the first visit to the site for many Rotarians, who were enthusiastic about putting the Rotary name up at Ventura Botanical Gardens.  Project organizers Bruce and Kathy McGee of Rotary East described the features to be developed for Rotary Plaza.  It will include a gathering place for 50 or more people, as well as the Rotary Wheel and Four Way Test, symbols of the “service above self” motto that Rotarians live by.  They will be placed in a setting which offers unobstructed panoramic views of the gardens below, as well as city hall, and the ocean and islands beyond.

“We are confident we can build the financial support within Rotary to make this investment in Ventura Botanical Gardens,” said Bruce McGee.  “Any way you look at it, Rotary Plaza is a fantastic project.  Foremost, we want to endorse Ventura Botanical Gardens, the best and biggest new public asset in Ventura in our lifetime.  VBG is already a gift to every member of the community we love, and it will be enhanced dramatically over the next 30 years to be enjoyed for many generations to come.  Secondly, the superior location of the plaza at a crossroads by the top of the first trail, will naturally attract people.  Many will stop to look and learn about the values of Rotary via an online app they can access on their mobile phones.  Founded 110 years ago and now counting over 35,000 clubs globally, Rotary is committed to serve others near and far.  Now, more than ever, the world needs more people who live by our club’s guiding principles of truth, fairness, goodwill, and friendship.  Who knows, some visitors to Rotary Plaza at VBG may even decide to become Rotarians themselves in their own communities.”

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