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Club History
About our contributor: Art Cort was a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Cameron Park, which was founded in June 1969, and served as its first Secretary. He served as President during the 1971-72 Rotary year. At the time he was Director of Public Works of El Dorado County, retiring from that position in January 1987. A native of Sacramento County he attended Grant Union High School and Sacramento Jr. College before enlisting in the Army Air Corps. After the service he attended the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, graduating with a Degree in Civil Engineering in May 1953. Art and his wife Helen have been married for 53 years and have 5 children and 7 grandchildren. Art is interested in photography and enjoys annual treks to Alaska or Yukon Territory to tour the large rivers in a folding kayak. We thank Art for the article below contributed on March 30, 2000 about our club history. Art Cort
It was in January 1969 that the seeds of the Rotary Club of Cameron Park were sown. In my appointment calendar of 1969 on January 16 I have listed "Rotary-Cameron. We were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Placerville and were meeting in the Arnold Palmer Room of this building then known as the El Dorado Royal Country Club. I should point out here that Norm Headley was the President of the Placerville Club at the time of conception. It has been debated as to whether he is the mother or father of this club. The Placerville Club submitted a document entitled "EXTENSION SURVEY" to District Governor Joe Svilich who then gave his approval by signing the document on March 14, 1969.

Weekly meetings were held in the Arnold Palmer Room and Rotarians from both the Placerville and Folsom clubs attended. With this support the Club gradually took shape and we were officially organized on June 12, 1969 . The APPLICATION for membership in Rotary International was signed on June 19 by our Charter President Robert W Barron attested by the Charter Secretary G. Arthur Cort. This application together with a list of Charter Members and a report by Special Representative Don Wangberg were forwarded to Rotary International. District Governor Joe Svilich was anxious to get approval of our club during his tenure which ended on June 30th. A telegram was received by District Governor Joe on June 30th reading:


There were 26 charter members in 1969 but our roster slipped under 20 before rebounding to a current strength of 72 members. Our budget was much slimmer in those days also. The 1969-70 budget, our first year, lists an income of $3,641.00 and expenditures of $1,773.96. The budget for our third year, when I was Club President, had revenues estimated at $2,296.00 and expenditures estimated at $1,615.00 leaving a reserve of $691.00. As a comparison The Rotary Club of Cameron Park is operating this fiscal year on a budget of $99,560 so you can see that we have expanded not only in membership but also financially. Bob Allen, Superintendent of the Buckeye School District, was our second secretary. His office was in a portable building located at the Buckeye School. One night it caught fire and all our records and supplies were burned including a small amount of cash . From this experience we learned that the fire insurance didn't cover the loss of cash so we joked that Vucovich Insurance Co. insured for everything but losses.

The first year of Rotary was educational. Our Charter President, "Bo" Barron, was manager of a riding stable located in South Cameron Park. The members of the Club always seemed to avoid sitting near the head table. It may have had something to do with the boots he wore around the stables and then to Rotary. We rarely had a program in our first year or two. This led our second Club President Del Bradford to remark "No program today so we'll get out of the canyon before dark". I remember the first time we had a visit from a District Governor. It had no significance to us and it was to occur on one of the few times that we had a program planned. It was probably due to incidents like this that caused the District Governors for our first two years to predict our demise. In our third year during my term as President, District Governor Keith Jacob wrote "You have a lot of fun fining and that is great but I would encourage you to try and get a pianist and sing the simple tunes like every other club does-it adds a lot." He also suggested that we try to get a bulletin going.

One highlight of our first year was the hosting of a Rotary Youth Exchange student. The Placerville Club had arranged to host two young ladies from Holland. Thinking it would be a good project for us they assigned a lovely young lady, Maria Catalina "Brim " Tolhuisen from Geldermalsen to our Club. She was to arrive in three or four weeks so there was a scramble to locate host families. We accomplished this and our family was fortunate to host her for her last three months here. We are still in contact with her and she with her husband and two children visited here in 1998.

We have since hosted students from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwa), South Africa, Sweden and are now hosting from Argentina, a lovely young lady, Melisa Alvarez. I may have left a country or two out for which I apologize. Another international project we were involved with was our "Sister" club in Uruapan, Mexico. Members from this club visited the Uruapan club on several occasions and we assisted in furnishing an orphanage with new beds and a kitchen.

A more recent International Service project that our Club has been involved with is helping to introduce Rotary to Eastern Russia. Our member Terry Wilson has been very active in this endeavor. Cameron Park Rotary Club, with the assistance of Clubs in Folsom, South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City is sponsoring a Rotary Club in Irkutsk located on Lake Baikal which is about 2000 miles North West of Tokyo.

We are also working on a 3-H (Health, Hunger & Humanity) project with the Rotary Club of Vladivostok, Russia. This program, being spearheaded by Tom Leavitt and Bob Dorr, is to provide Hepatitis A & B vaccine to all children (0-1yr) in Vladivostok. It is hoped that a long range comprehensive immunization program can be established throughout the Russian far east.

Our club has, over the years, participated in community projects that required muscle as well as financial contributions. Some of these projects are Rasmussen Park athletic fields, the soccer and Little League field at the Shingle Springs Community Center, the Gazebo at Cameron Park Lake, the highway 50 beautification at the Cameron Park Drive and Cambridge Road interchanges (sometimes referred to as Chardi's rock garden) and currently we are working on restrooms for the McAuliffe Park on Merrychase Drive. Regarding this project Bob Edward's has been heard to say "laying block by block we gradually get a head".

Mentioning Bob Edwards reminds me of one of our moneymaking projects. The annual Buckwheat Stew held at the Shingle Springs Community Center. We carried this project on for about six years with Bob's steer "Buckwheat" being sacrificed piece by piece for the feast. We have upgraded our major money raising project to "Wine at Town Center" which we hold annually in June assisted by the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills.

As I mentioned earlier District Governor Keith Jacob, in 1971, recommended that we try to get a bulletin going. It took the arrival of Mark Rife about 1989 before a regular bulletin entitled "The Spoke" was born. Mark, with the able assistance of Rotarian Don Burbank and his staff, was able to get a the bulletin out on a weekly basis. The last issue of "The Spoke" with Mark as editor was on July 8, 1993. With a change of name and editor Bob Nisson at the helm the "Gear Up" was launched on July 11, 1993. There have been others that have acted as editor for short periods but Mark Rife resurfaced as editor and is currently in that position.. He has now created an E-mail version of the GEAR UP which he calls the Cameron Park ROTOBYTES.

There it is. Thirty years covered in less than fifteen paragraphs. There are probably many other interesting anecdotes that members could recall but this will have to do. Perhaps a good project would be for each past president to write a chapter for a book entitled "My Year at the Helm of the Rotary Club of Cameron Park".

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