Service clubs expand as community grows |

Service clubs expand as community grows

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

South Shore is home to many service clubs that don’t depend on veterans to fill their membership roles.

Soroptimist, Optimist and Rotary leaders says their ranks are staying constant through their quest to enhance the community.

Dave Seifert, president of the Rotary Club of South Lake Tahoe, said his 65-member organization strives to enlist new members to ensure Rotary’s future.

“That’s been the challenge for us,” Seifert said. “Trying to bring in the new blood to carry on the challenge with Rotary.”

Seifert said Rotary members’ main goal is to provide resources for entities within the community. He said the Rotary awarded more than $16,000 in scholarships to students last year, funded the Boys & Girls Club and financially helped many other groups.

Bart Owen, president of the South Lake Tahoe Optimist Club, said his organization’s numbers have increased slightly to 50 members during the past five years because the club is so active in the community.

“There are a few members in the club who grew up around here and now joined,” Owen said. “And they’ve said we’ve impacted them in some way growing up.”

Owen said Optimist members enjoy helping kids. He said the Optimists sponsor a student of the month at South Tahoe Middle School, helped purchase the high school scoreboard, helped financed the park at Tahoe Valley Elementary School and installed bike racks at Bijou Community Park.

Doris Groelz, president of Soroptimist International of Tahoe Sierra, said her organization is always looking to recruit new professional women.

“We would welcome young people,” Groelz said. “We’re really young in spirit.”

One of 42 women, Groelz said the Soroptimists support youth literacy programs, the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center and responsibility-teaching programs for high school teens.

“People see (these programs) as such essential assets to the community,” Groelz said. “(Soroptimist) is a really wonderful service organization to start with. You develop a lot of friendships.”

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