River Falls Rotary: People of Action.

Enhancing Opportunities for Youth; Creating a Better World for All.


From mentoring area youth to planting trees, highway cleanup and events, there's something for every volunteer spirit. Rotary People of Action make a difference in their communities and in the world.


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Rotary sponsors youth exchange programs as well as member on-site volunteer projects. Discover and celebrate diverse perspectives with a global organization.
River Falls Rotary Burger Battle
Tickets now on sale! 
Latest News
About the Presentation:  Tonya Schmitt and Violet Davila from Grow to Share will be speaking this week at our noon meeting to update our club on how the organization has been using and continues to use the grant that River Falls Rotary awarded Grow to Share earlier in 2024.
About the Speaker:   Tonya Schmitt is president of Grow to Share. She has been on the board for 4-1/2 years and has served in multiple officer roles during that time. She also serves on the Earth Fest Planning Team. As a yoga therapist and health and wellness coach, Tonya incorporates wellness in all of her work, paid or volunteer, in an effort to create healthier and happier humans and a healthier planet. 
About the Presentation: Mark Turbak told our club about the recovery hub in Hudson that represents Hazelden Betty Ford's expansion across the river from Minnesota into western Wisconsin.  During his presentation, Mark provided a lot of useful and thought-provoking information on addiction and its effects on individuals and their families.  His talk was very interactive, resulting in interesting comments from our members.
About the Speaker: Mark Turbak is a Development Officer with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Though Mark first joined the Hazelden Betty Ford Development team in 2019, his personal connection to the organization stretches back across multiple generations. Mark works to connect individuals touched by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation mission to the vehicles of change that most matter. Mark started his career in the nonprofit sector in 2002 and has since worked for a variety of organizations including the American Red Cross and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. Mark was raised in Woodbury, MN and now resides in Columbia Heights with his spouse, Corein, and five-year-old daughter, Lucy.
Olivia Girdeen, Retail Store Manager for the Ellsworth Creamery, gave our club an overview of the history, current status, products, and economic impact of the Creamery to the Ellsworth area.  Rather than trying to abbreviate such a comprehensive presentation, a pdf of the Powerpoint is available below as a Download.
In terms of economic impact, here is a summary of one slide:  the Ellsworth location employs 182 people, comprising 8% of total Village of Ellsworth employment.  The business impacts 1233 jobs within Pierce County indirectly or influenced (about 10% of total jobs).  Each added creamery job affects 3.75 other jobs.  About 45% of employees live in Ellsworth, and wages paid to those employees total just over $4 million.  The retail store gets 254,000 visits per year with over 120,000 retail transactions and an estimated economic retail impact in Pierce County of almost $12 million.  The business remains a cooperative, owned collectively by hundreds of farm families.  The raw material for the cheeses and, of course, cheese curds made in Ellsworth come from around 200 farms.
About the Speaker:  Olivia Girdeen was born and raised in Ellsworth.  She started working at the Ellsworth Creamery at 16, and she has worked her way up to her current position of Retail Store Manager.  In December 2023 Olivia graduated from the University of Wisconsin River Falls with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

River Falls Rotary club will host nine youth from eight countries from Friday, July 12 through Tuesday, July 16. The campers range in age from 15-17.

A way that our club can support and be involved with these campers is to help with meal prep. If any club members are able to organize lunches for Sunday and/or Monday, July 14 and 15 it would be very helpful. For details, contact Elaine  - elaine.baumann1@gmail or 715-307-2694.

We would also like to have some snacks like granola bars or fruit snacks, and beverages (water or soft drinks)  cookies or bars, chips – big bags or snack size, for the campers between meals. I have never met a 16 year old that was not hungry all the time.  If you wish to donate food or beverage items, please bring them to our July 2 Rotary meeting.

And of course, if you wish to do so, monetary contributions will be gladly accepted. Make checks out to North Star Youth Exchange so the contributions are tax deductible.

Host families and club members are invited to join our campers for these activities:

  • Saturday, July 13 from 10 am to noon – rock and wall climbing at the Falcon Center – enter through the east end of the building.  If you wish to climb, it is $10 per person , otherwise all are welcome to come and watch and meet our campers. 
  • Saturday, July 13 at 7:00 - Fighting Fish baseball game – 1st National Bank Stadium - admission is free and again, it is a good time to get to know the campers.  
  •  Sunday, July 14 – 4 pm – There will be a picnic and pool party hosted by George and Katherine Ball – hot dogs, burgers and buns are provided and we ask that you bring a dish to pass (salad, side dish, dessert or beverages) The Ball's address is W1079 875th Ave., on the road past Belle Ame.
  • Tuesday, July 16 - Campers will be at our Rotary meeting for everyone to meet.

If you will be contributing food or beverages or attending the pot luck, please use the link below to fill in a form to help us plan.  


Thank you in advance if you are able to help out. 

Elaine Baumann

Jim Harsdorf has been part of a church mission trip that has been going to Ecuador for 16 years.  He spoke to us about how the relationship with the Lote Tres community in rural Ecuador has evolved over that time, and how beneficial the consistent travel and contact have been.   Ecuador has 17 million people, and it's located on west side of South America.  Much of the country is mountainous, including the remote area where Lote Tres is located -- at an elevation of about 13,500 feet.  Long after lowland areas were visited by Catholic missionaries, Swedish missions started in the 50’s going to the mountainous areas of Ecuador.  The Swedes found that there was a great need for mission work in those areas.
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Our meetings are
Tuesdays at 7:00 a.m. 1st, 3rd, and 5th weeks of the month
2nd and 4th Tuesdays at noon
Ezekiel Lutheran Church
202 S. 2nd St.
River Falls, WI 54022
United States
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Service Above Self
Our mailing address:
PO Box 311, River Falls, WI 54022
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Upcoming Speakers
Tonya Schmitt
Jul 23, 2024 12:00 PM
How Grow to Share is Using the Rotary Grant
No Speaker - 5th Tuesday
Jul 30, 2024 7:00 AM
Dave Newman
Aug 06, 2024 7:00 AM
Update on D5960's LIFT Project
Club Calendar
July 2024
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Committee Chair
Rotary Foundation
Committee Chair
Public Relations
Executive Secretary
Youth Protection Officer
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