The Beaches Rotaract Club installed its new officers for 2017-2018 last week at a celebratory dinner held in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach.
Held June 22 at Marsh Landing Country Club, the dinner included the presentation of plaques and awards to those who served during the past year as officers and board members of Rotaract, the Rotary Club for young people ages 18 to 30. New officers installed by Rotary District Governor Marshall Butler included Charlie Flynn, president; Magda Cichon, president-elect; Rachael Daven, vice president; Catalina McEachern, secretary; Rachel Hiar, director of finance/treasurer; Hunter Bradshaw, sergeant at arms; Sarah Rose Stewart, director of community service; Jonathan Daguilh, director of club service; D’Arcy Hubbard, director of international service; and Jenni Williams, director of professional development.
Also honored at the ceremony was outgoing club President Matt Montoya, who received his Immediate Past President pin from his father, Will Montoya, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach.
“To watch your son grow up and have the opportunity to become a leader of a very special organization is really special,” Will Montoya said. “People can say what they want about young people today, but when you see the caliber of people in this Beaches Rotaract club, it gives you a lot of faith in our young professionals.”
As part of the ceremonies, Rotaract members thanked those members of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach who served as their mentors during the previous year. Through the mentorship program, Rotarians are paired with a Rotaract member with whom they meet throughout the year, offering guidance, advice and support.
It’s a relationship, club members said, that can open their eyes to new possibilities. Rotaract member AJ Hall, for example, admitted that when he was first paired with mentor Chuck Day, he wasn’t sure how the acclaimed local author could assist him in his sales career. After meeting several times with Day, however, Hall rekindled his own interest in writing.
“It was such an amazing thing to sit down with Chuck,” Hall said. “You never know how much that relationship is going to do or where it’s going to go.”
District Governor Butler credited Rotarian Kelly Sastre, who serves as district Rotaract chair, for spearheading the efforts that have grown the Beaches Rotaract Club from seven members to 54 members in just three years. He also praised Rotarian Joni Zwick for her role as advisor to the Beaches club – a commitment, he noted, that required countless hours of volunteer service and support.
“Joni had the vision to integrate Rotaract into your (Rotary) club,” said Butler. “Thank you for pouring your lives into these young people as mentors.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Hall, who encouraged more Rotarians to serve as mentors to the next generation of community leaders.
Said Hall: “You really can make an impact in someone’s life.”