About Us


What Zephyrhills Service organization has been active in the community for nearly 60 years? The answer is the Noon Hour Rotary Club that meets weekly at the “Scout Hut”. The Zephyrhills Noon Hour Rotary Club celebrated the 50 year anniversary of its charter installation several years ago. The Club received its charter from Rotary International on April 5, 1956. The officers present at the initial installation were Charles A. Henderson, President, William D. Skinner, Vice President, Robert C. Brown, Secretary and Jake J. Gall Treasurer.

The Zephyrhills Noon Hour Rotary club is involved in many youth and community projects throughout the year. One of the main projects is the maintenance of the Rotary Youth Building often referred to as the “Scout Hut” located at Shepard Park on A Avenue. Several hundred young people and adults use the building each month. The Interact Club at Zephyrhills High School serves as an introduction to Rotary and its values for high school students. A special project of the Club is the Veterans Walkway around Zephyr Lake and the placing of flags along the Walkway on national holidays. To prepare young people of the community to be the leaders of tomorrow several students are sponsored to a Rotary leadership conference yearly. Each year a school supply drive as well as Christmas food baskets are provided to 160 needy student families. Donations, both in-kind and monetary, are also made to many community organizations, including the Zephyrhills Football Program and Drive One for the School among others.

Since Rotary is an international organization contributions are made to international service projects including the shelter box project. A shelter box, designed for disaster relief, contains all that a family needs to live including a tent, cooking utensils, solar devices and other resources.  

One might ask “where does the funding come from to support these many worthy projects”? Major fundraisers include an annual Golf Tournament, A Founders Day BBQ in conjunction with Zephyrhills Founders Day Festivities and Bowl-a-Thon sponsored annually. Additional funds are raised through the generosity of the members of the Rotary Club and grants from the Rotary International Foundation.


Foundation of Rotary International


It seems there is a constant drum beat to contribute to one charity or another. Choosing which charity matches ones attitudes and values is sometimes not easy. Collecting information about a charity and how it manages its funds is often very difficult since each charity wants to put a positive spin on its objectives and behavior.

Charity monitoring gives the potential contributor a window into the actions of a charity. Since charities come in all sizes a resource that monitors charities gives the donor a picture of the charity and its activities. CHARITY WATCH has developed a quarterly rating guide that monitors charities large and small on a variety of variables. The most recent rating, in 2013, for The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is an A+, an excellent rating.  This rating is based on the percent the Rotary Foundation spends on program services and the costs to raise $100. The Rotary Foundation spends 87.5 % of its income on program services. Most highly efficient charities spend 75 % or more of their income on programs. The cost to The Rotary Foundation to raise $100.00 is Six Dollars, an extremely good donation to cost ratio. The most recent data indicate that the top salaries for executive employees range between $194,000 and $303,000. When you donate to the Rotary Foundation you can be rest assured that your donation is being used as you intended.

A little background on Charity Watch, “Charity Watch is fiercely independent. Charity Watch does not charge the charities that are reviewed and listed in the guide. Charity Watch does not accept any advertising on its web site or in its publication. The Board of Directors of Charity Watch does not include any heads of nonprofit associations who receive their pay from the groups they are watching. Ninety-five percent of the support for Charity Watch comes from small individual donations. Charity Watches’ standards for evaluating charities are considered the most stringent in the sector.”


Why Rotary?


Why Rotary?  Or maybe more importantly, What is Rotary?  This is what Rotary is or can be.  Admittedly, this story is only one part of what Rotary is but, ultimately it is what Rotary can be.  It is not a fancy, well conceived, edited version of some elevator speech to succinctly describe Rotary to potential new members.  At its core this is what Rotary can lead you into.  Uncomfortable.  Thought-provoking.  Make you lie in bed, get up and write an essay at 1:45 in the morning uneasy.  That’s what Rotary can be.  So here it goes.

          I am sitting in a small conference room inside the bowels of Zephyrhills High School.  Zephyrhills is ANY TOWN, USA.  It is a small town that could be replicated a 1000 times throughout the United States.  ZHills is one of the greatest communities in the States as it is so tightly knit that when a resident needs help people come together.  I believe there is more charity done here per capita than most cities and towns throughout the U.S. but I am jaded due to my relationships in town.  Who am I?  It doesn’t matter for the point of the story.  For the story’s sake I am a local business man who has a lot of friends and connections in town.  I am not from Zephyrhills but Zephyrhills is in my blood.  Anyways, back to the story.

          I am sitting with 4 other businessmen around a small, old conference table.  The table, the chairs and the room reek of 1980’s style.  Our job is simple today.  We have pre-selected 7 candidates for two to three $1000 Rotary scholarships to be given out by our club.  We are able to give this money due to numerous fundraisers that we do throughout the year.  These are funded by our generous Rotary members of our club and through many of the business and personal relationships that we all have.  We are blessed in our own personal lives.  Someone has helped us reach our lofty status, so that we may now decide the fate of these 2-3 $1000 scholarship recipients.  We may have had no help along the way.  We may have individually had to fight for everything we have today.  My feeling as I sit with my Rotary friends and wait for the first applicant is that we were all assisted by someone in the past.

          The 7 candidates are all young women.  As they enter the conference room there are stark similarities.  They are all personable.  They all exude confidence and nervousness, to some varying degrees of each.  You can smell the innocence and the desperation.  Their view of the world at this moment is one you wish you could return to.  They don’t know no.  They have all overcome some difficulty in their life so far.  They don’t know no, though.  That is what has led them here.  Now, they need help.  They need some assistance and we have convened to offer them a little bit of help.

          There are stark differences as well.  One candidate has overcome having 2 deaf parents and the challenges that come with that.  Think about how fast she had to grow up as she constantly interprets for her Mom and Dad in all facets of life.  Her goal is to be a speech pathologist working with children with an emphasis on sign language.  Another candidate, in passing, mentions she has a titanium rod in her back due to a surgery just 3 years prior.  No ill effects from it though, her words.  Think about that, not mad at the world because of her injury rather now her desire is to be a doctor to help others.  A third candidate breaks down in the 7-10 minute interview process as she explains that her Mom abandon her, her Dad and her 2 brothers within the past year and a half.  She recovers though.  Possibly, the pinnacle moment of the interview sessions as you can feel the tension in the room rising with each sentence that she can get out.  She recovers though and forges on.  She is not looking for sympathy.  This is real.  This is real life playing out right in front of our eyes.  Her life goal- to be a nurse; that is what her Mom is and our candidate does not know anything different other than helping others.  No self pity- no, you can feel her strength sitting 10 feet away from her.

          All the candidates are so polished and so grown up.  Some more polished than others but, our Rotary Club would be lucky to be represented by any one of the 7 young ladies as a Scholarship recipient.  They just exude positivity, excitement at what the future holds and a desire to help others in their career path.

          So, now comes the hard part.  As the last of the young ladies, departs the room we return to our callous, calculating business selves   that we pride ourselves on.  That is not meant to sound so ominous- to be sure emotions were high but, we have been put here to judge, discern and compartmentalize emotion from real life circumstances.  This is not Little League; everyone does not get a trophy.  We discuss debate and come to a conclusion.  3 scholarships- 3 winners; 4 not winners.  It takes less than 10 minutes.  Did we get it right? Who knows?

          I know I feel worse leaving the room than I did entering it.  I feel more helpless than I did entering the room.  I am emboldened by the spirit of each of the young ladies.  I am hopeful for the future as I know these ladies are indicative of a certain segment of the younger population.  They do care.  They do want to help.  They are not jaded even under some difficult personal trials in their lives.  I have been changed.

          I always have seen Rotary, since joining 3 years ago, as a vehicle to positively affect the community around you, both locally and globally.  I am not so sure I got it, until today.  We can do more.  We need to do more.  Whatever more is, we need to do more.



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