A passion for service and community
By Jillian Chandler
Photo Courtesy of Rotary Club of Gig Harbor
“I was drawn to join the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor because of their commitment to serve our local and global communities. And the enthusiasm with which they work to achieve their goals is infectious!” reflects Trish Yates, Rotary member and volunteer. “Any time I meet with them or serve on a project, I feel an immediate connection to the community where I live.”
For more than a century, Rotary International has "bridged cultures and connected continents." With more than 46,000 clubs worldwide, and a total membership of approximately 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders and problem-solvers, the Gig Harbor community is blessed to have such an active club based locally.
The mission and vision of Rotary International is to: “Provide service to others, promote integrity and advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through our fellowship of business, professional and community leaders. Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change—across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.”
Locally, the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor, which was founded in 1974, has a mission to fund and support charitable projects within their areas of services: Education, Community, Vocational, International and Youth. “We strive to strengthen our community by encouraging generosity and connecting people who care with causes that matter. Our motto is ‘Service Above Self,’” shares Trish.
The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor is a vital organization for the local community and its people. “The club is comprised of fabulous people who are passionate about the quality of life that we all enjoy here in Gig Harbor, and they truly love giving back to the community in which we live,” Trish says with a smile.
The club partners with, and supports, dozens of community-based and international projects every year. Sometimes members are behind the scenes volunteering their time, knowledge and skills, and sometimes they are right out front, organizing a project from start to finish. Frequently, they provide financial and logistical knowledge and support to other organizations.
Programs and projects the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor either originated and/or supports through partners include many familiar to all: the Skansie Brothers Park Pavilion and flag pole; renovating the historic Midway School at the Harbor History Museum; constructing the greenhouse and garden fence at Wilkerson farm park; rebuilding the Peninsula Guild #1 Thrift Shop after a fire; the popular Rotary Bark Park; the Rotary Aviation Zone airport viewing platform at the airport; and the Gateway Park pavilion. More recently, the club has been involved in beautifying the Wollochet interchange. The club also supports the community in many other ways, from the Annual Veterans Day Celebration, to the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance events, and the Women’s prison reentry program.
“Serving youth is an important part of the club’s work,” Trish adds. “This includes our Interact and Early Act service clubs, and the club annually awards over $50,000 in scholarships. Children receive free books through our affiliation with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. They learn important social skills through the club’s support of Dancing In Classrooms, and they learn leadership skills through our support of the NJROTC program.” The club is also proud to support programs such as Communities in Schools, Night to Shine, Build-a-Bike, and The Spargo House. Trish volunteers on the Youth Services Committee and is the counselor for outbound Rotary International exchange students. She is also the co-chair for the 2024 Taste of Gig Harbor fundraising event, which will be held on April 6.
The 33rd annual Taste of Gig Harbor, the club’s biggest annual fundraising event of the year, will be held 5 to 9:30pm at the Gig Harbor Vintage Aero Museum (1108 26th Avenue NW). Attendees will dine on delicious tastes from local area restaurants and food purveyors while enjoying a lively atmosphere of fun and games, and outbidding friends and neighbors in the silent and live auctions. Tickets are available online at TasteofGigHarbor.com. All funds raised directly benefit the Gig Harbor Rotary Charitable Fund and go back into the community through the club’s service projects.
The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor encourages anyone who is interested in what they do to attend one of their meetings. They welcome anyone who has a heart for service. “Community members are encouraged to work with us on some of our hands-on projects,” Trish says. “Additionally, we are happy to receive financial support for both the Gig Harbor Rotary Charitable Fund and the Gig Harbor Rotary Foundation, which transforms financial gifts and bequests into scholarships and service projects that change lives for the better—both here in Gig Harbor and abroad.”
The Club meets every Friday morning, 7am to 8:30am, at the Gig Harbor Yacht Club, located at 8209 Stinson Avenue in Gig Harbor. Trish concludes, “We hope to see you there!”
Rotary Club of Gig Harbor
Gig Harbor, Washington