Rotary Club of Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco

Club Information

The Club Where the Bay Greets the Day!

Fisherman's Wharf

Join Us for Breakfast with a Spectacular View

Weekly on Thursday morning at 7:30 am, except the 3rd Thursday, which is an evening social, 5:30-7:30 pm, at rotating venues on Fisherman's Wharf.
The Franciscan Crab Restaurant
Pier 43 1/2 Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA  94133
United States
District Site
Venue Map

Cervante Burrell, a potential club member, was this week’s guest of Sue Rokaw, Past Club President and District Public Relations Chair. A graduate and former dean of students at Sacramento Charter High School, Cervante is the founder of The Unforeseen, a nonprofit that surprises deserving students with Christmas gifts and opportunities to meet sports celebrities.

Information about The Unforeseen and videos of recipients can be found at

This week’s guest speaker, Kris Calvin, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics, gave tips on how to achieve a balance between “doing for others and doing for yourself” through advocacy and creativity, which she describes as the “pillars of a meaningful life.” Kris, center, is pictured with Program Chair Kay Auciello and President of the Month Larry Hoogasian.

Kris also described her personal journey from an unsafe childhood through university, postgraduate degrees, a successful career and parenthood. Her first novel, One Murder More, earned critical acclaim and awards. Kris brought and sold copies of the hardback book for $10 each, which she then donated to the Rotary Foundation.


President of the Month Larry presented our club banner to Doug and Lynn Pfaffenberger from the Cypress Fairbanks Rotary Club of Houston, TX. The Rotary couple attended our Aug. 10 meeting while vacationing in San Francisco.

David Chan (left) and Herman Jones (3rd from left) represented our club in the annual Fisherman's Wharf Merchant Association Tournament played July 21st on The Presidio Golf Course Their foursome included Cris Conners (2nd from left) and Joe Fitting (far right), both with the San Francisco Zoo.
"Cris and Joe were exceptionally outstanding as partners," says Herman.

We had the pleasure to have DG Ron Gin present at the last meeting. Ron exchanged the President’s Banner with Bob Intner and the District Leadership Team Banner with Riki Intner.

Ron currently works at Morgan Stanley and was in the military prior to that. He served as President Elect in 2009-10 during the chartering of the Chinatown club.

The marketing campaign this Rotary year is “We are people of action.” The top priority continues to be ending polio now—“We are this close.”

Since the initiation of Polio Plus in 1985, 2.5 billion children have been inoculated. Bill and Melinda Gates will continue to match funds 2:1 for three more years. Each inoculation costs 60 to 80 cents, and $1.6 billion has been raised since 1985.

Ron reviewed how Rotary in general has made a difference through ShelterBox, Rotaplast, Alliance for Smiles, H2Open Doors and Roots of Peace.

Ron talked about how our club specifically makes a difference through its support of RYLA, Rotaplast, the Dictionary Project, scholarships for Galileo students, National Night Out and Project Amigo. Not only that, we fund at our weekly socials, since it’s also about having fun.

Our club was chartered in 1990 and it was the 27,131st club. Our total giving since charter is $234,331 and we have 15 Paul Harris fellows, three Major Donors, one Benefactor and five Rotary Direct participants.

The RI theme this year is “Rotary Making a Difference.” Ron challenged us to think about how each of us/our club is making a difference, or is “Rotary making a difference on you?”

He showed us a video at the end of his presentation that covered some of the history of Rotary and its various projects, along with photos from our club—very moving!

Much to their surprise (and dismay), Team Fisherman’s Wharf made it to the semi-finals of the Rotaplast International Bocce Ball Tournament on Sunday, July 16, on the Marin Bocce Federation courts in San Rafael. 

Players were, l-r, Sue Rokaw, Riki Intner, Nancy Slepicka and Herman Jones. Not present for the photo: Marcella and Sal Ramos.

It was the first time that our team has ever been in the running after lunch, and they played two more matches before being ousted. Sunday’s sun was scorching, and by 3 pm everyone was ready to head home.

Herman and his guest, Maria Ocampo, with the tournament's mascot.

Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrive´! 

President of the Month Bob Intner provided the lyrics and Aline Estournes (fluent in French) led us in singing “La Marseillaise” to open this week’s meeting and celebrate Bastille Day. 

Continuing the international theme, member Marcella Ramos showed slides and described her life changing experience as an interpreter with the recent Rotaplast International medical mission in Lima, Peru. Her participation was made possible by a donation from member Charles Field and matched by our club.

“Changing Lives Forever” was the message of this 10th anniversary Rotaplast mission. Marcella said the team’s medical professionals performed 59 reconstructive surgeries for cleft palates and related problems. Patients ranged in age from 10 months to adults and included three sets of identical twins with cleft palates. Marcella worked principally in the recovery room, helping parents of young patients communicate with nurses and doctors.

The 25th Anniversary Gala of Rotaplast International will be held Aug. 11 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. For tickets and to learn more about the good works of Rotaplast, visit

During this week’s club assembly, member Herman Jones, left, presented a banner and other memorabilia from the 2017 Rotary International Convention to President of the Month Bob Intner.

Herman described the convention as “a great experience and reminder of  how large Rotary is –– its arms stretch out in so many ways.”

The Rotakyries returned for a final encore during the Debunking Dinner for President Suzanne Varacalli, held June 27 at the Fisherman’s Wharf Marriott. “Rotarhala Awaits” was the theme acted out by, l-r, Riki Intner as Grimgerde, Suzanne as Rossweise, and Aline Estournes as Schwertlite.

The premiere performance by the Rotakyries was for the 2015 debunking of President Sue Rokaw and the costumed trio returned last year to debunk President Marcella Romanus.

Project Avary, a nonprofit based in San Rafael, serves children who have a parent in prison with the goal of  ending generational incarceration. Members learned about this worthwhile program from Zach Whelan, Executive Director, and Amy DeLeon, Director of Community Resources.

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and one in 28 children has a parent in prison, totaling 5 million children. 

“We commit to work with kids for ten years,” Zach said. In addition to a week-long summer camp, Project Avary sponsors weekend outings  –– hiking, camping, kayaking –– with activities that teach life skills, build character and, most important, “give kids a sense of belonging.”

Zach said Project Avary annually accepts 25 new kids, who are referred to the program by counselors, and currently serves 125 children and 90 caregivers. Its $850,000 budget is supported by donations, grants and fundraisers. The per-child cost is $2,500 a year.

We were joined this week by four international Rotarian guests: Sven Inabnit of Basel, Switzerland, Shaun Lennard of Hobart, Tasmania, and Andrea Siniscalco and wife, Svetlana Nikolic of Milan, Italy.

Three members of the Otsu Rotary Club in Japan attended our breakfast meeting on June 8th. They were enroute to the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, GA. Members Sue Rokaw and Erik Scheller will also be there.

In the absence of the scheduled speaker, President Suzanne Varacalli asked members to tell “what you love about Rotary.” Responses included RYLA, the dictionary project, international experiences and visitors, conventions and district events, guest speakers, and the opportunity to meet and get to know like-minded people.

Andrew Wong was welcomed and inducted into our club's membership during the June 1st meeting. Andrew, an acupuncturist with Kaiser Permanente, was sponsored by Past President/Past District Governor Bob Intner. Pictured l-r: President Suzanne Varacalli, Bob Intner, Andrew Wong and Past President/Past District Governor Riki Intner.

Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) headlined the May 25 meeting, when Youth Liaison Chair Sue Rokaw, left, described the recent weekend RYLA Camp and her role as director. A total of 130 high school students attended from 23 high schools in the three-county District 5150 (San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo).

Camp activities that promote team building, leadership and community service were shared by three of the Galileo High School students our club sponsored this year, (l-r) Yaxuan, Amanda and Jenny. All three agreed that participating in RYLA helped build their self confidence in meeting new friends and taught them how to reach and grab for opportunities.

Club banners were exchanged by visiting Rotarian, Suresh Balsubramani of Bangalore, India, and President Suzanne Varacalli.

Two charming Rotarians from Tasmania, Kath Downie and Elizabeth Anderson, joined our club's 27th birthday party potluck dinner on Saturday evening at 101 Lombard St. Kath and Elizabeth were enjoying a stopover in San Francisco enroute to a Rotary Friendship Tour in Montana.

On Saturday, May 13, an enthusiastic work crew installed protective concrete blocks that our club purchased around 30 sprinkler heads on the West Bluff berm near Crissy Field. 

This 4th quarter community service project was again with the Golden Gate Recreation Area, and the project leader was National Park Service Volunteer Coordinator Laura Elze. With perfect weather and a stunning view of the GG Bridge, Bay and the city, we completed the task in less than two hours.

Representing the club were Erik Scheller, Wendy Vived, Kay Auciello, Dan Morse, Nancy Slepicka, Sonny Nguyen, Bob and Riki Intner and grandsons, Aaron and Ethan Fagin.

Shelley Cummins Shehab (right), UCSF wellness specialist, meditation and yoga teacher, led us through the “8 Tools of Mindfulness” for our May 11 meeting program. The exercises, meant to calm the mind and body, proceed through the following steps.

1) Be aware of obstacles and challenges.

2) Create actual remedy to obstacles.

3) Be aware of life force and work within it.

4) Take a stance and be receptive.

5) Focus, heighten attention.

6) Let go of the outside world, find your center.

7) Meditate, observe, slow down, find your inner center.

8) Choose and cultivate bliss.

Shelley said that the medical community is beginning to adopt these tools to help patients with pain control and achieve greater success with surgery.

She’s pictured with Program Chair Kay Auciello, left, and President Suzanne Varacalli.

Nancy Slepicka was pinned and welcomed as the club’s newest Paul Harris Fellow during the May 4 Club Assembly. The Rotary Foundation certificate recognizes “appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.” She’s pictured with President Suzanne Varacalli, left, and Riki Intner, District 5150 Foundation Chair.

Riki noted that this year, District 5150 (1,700 Rotarians) is currently in first place in the United States in contributions to the Rotary Foundation. The Foundation has been recognized as the world’s top charitable foundation for its transparency and for spending 91% of funds directly on its international programs.

Everyone who attended the April 27 meeting went home with one of these SF Giants flags, symbolizing this season’s theme, "We Are SF!" Shana Daum, in her 18th year with the Giants and now Vice President of Affairs and Community Relations, gave us the scoop on what’s new in give-aways, food offerings, special events and other happenings at AT&T Park for the Giants’ 135th season (59th in San Francisco).

Shana said the Giants are supporting the Heading Home community campaign which seeks to raise $30 million to end family homelessness in San Francisco by 2020. To raise public awareness, the team will donate $1,000 to Heading Home for every Giants run scored in a home game this season.

She said the Giants Community Fund spends more than $2.5 million annually to support Junior Giants Baseball, a free 8-week summer program that combines baseball instruction with lessons in leadership and life skills for 25,000 kids in California and Oregon.

Pictured (l-r) are Tresa Eyres (a former club member who was president when Shana was a guest speaker about the Giants six years ago), Shana Daum, Manager of Premium Seating Amanda Nichols, and Program Chair Kay Auciello (and Giants season ticket holder).

On Thursday we also welcomed Joyce Li, a senior at Galileo Academy and winner of the club’s $2,000 college scholarship. Joyce plans to attend UC Berkeley and study child psychology. She’s pictured with Past President Marcella Ramos, who conducted Thursday’s meeting.

Guest Rotarian Shivanand Bellare and President Suzanne Varacalli exchanged club banners at this week’s Club Assembly meeting. He came to us from the Rotary Club of Bengaluru, Platinum City, India. Am

“Shiv” said his young club of 35 members is focusing on health, education and sanitation. Among its projects is construction of gender specific restrooms in rural schools. A longterm goal is to adopt a village and provide a doctor for its residents.


Under the leadership of President (Super Party Planner) Suzanne Varacalli, club members and lots of guests had a blast and raised important dollars at Festa Italiana, our 23rd annual international dinner, on April 7th at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in North Beach.

Pictured with Suzanne is District 5150 Governor Jeri Fujimoto. For more Festa photos, visit us on Facebook.

The San Francisco Zoo literally came alive at our March 30 morning meeting when Chris Connors, Vice President of Operations, described the zoo’s history, future plans and current programs — ZooMobile, Zoo Camps, Safe Haven, Wellness and Renew the Zoo, to name a few. 

Connors (at right in photo) was accompanied by Blair Bazdarich (center), who manages the ZooMobile’s educational outreach to more than 400 classrooms in the Bay area. With them is Past President Sue Rokaw, who conducted Thursday’s meeting.

Blair introduced club members to two zoo residents, Ralph, a rare Spider Tortoise from Madagascar, and Clementine, a Horned Frog.

Connors explained that the zoo is owned by the City but is operated by the San Francisco Zoological Society, a not-for-profit that will host its ZooFest 2017 fundraiser, Call of the Wild Gala, on Friday, April 28, at the zoo. 

The SF Zoo and Gardens is open 365 days a year and offers discounted tickets to San Francisco residents. Visit for special promotions, hours and updated daily events.

It most likely was the first time that club members heard the Berber language. This week’s speaker, Steve Carlson, president-elect of the San Carlos Rotary Club, said he became fluent in Berber and Arabic while living with an Amazigh family during his Peace Corps stint in Morocco 20 years ago. He's pictured with Program Chair Kay Auciello, left, and Past President Marcella Ramos.

Claiming that “you can take a kid out of the Peace Corps but you can’t take the Peace Corps out of a kid,” Steve initiated and is raising funds for a water project to build an aqueduct for Berber villages in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains.  The San Carlos club is working in tandem with the Rotary Club of Marrakesh to improve the agricultural irrigation system and drinking water in a series of villages in Morocco’s Ouarzazate province.

He thanked our club for supporting the project through District Designated Funds and invited everyone to his second annual Reubens for Rotary on Sunday, June 4, at his home in the San Carlos Hills. A self-described “foodie”, Steve said the event will feature home-cultured cheeses, home-cured pastrami, home-smoked salmon, home-baked breads and home-fermented kraut. For more information visit

“Rotary changed my life” was the theme of Steven Soloman’s dynamic talk and slide show for our March 2 meeting. As the Senior Annual Giving Officer for Zones 25 & 26, Steven works with Rotarians in 23 districts in the western region of North America to raise money for The Rotary Foundation. He's pictured with Riki Intner, District and Club Foundation Chair.

His incredible journey began as an Interact Club member and then as a Rotary Scholar in Durbin, South Africa. By taking advantage of opportunities and chance happenings, Steven met and became friends with both Dr. Jane Goodall and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was responsible for orchestrating Dr. Goodall’s participation at Rotary’s 100th International Convention and served as the primary contact for Archbishop Tutu at the Rotary World Peace Symposium in England.  

Donations to the Rotary Foundation change lives, said Steven. He reminded us that every dollar donated to the Rotary Foundation is matched by $2 from the Gates Foundation to eradicate polio.  

Steven uses his story to illustrate the power of Rotarians to better their own communities and effect positive change worldwide.

Success!  Our club’s annual distribution of dictionaries to 3rd graders in four local schools has been completed. 

A personalized Macmillan Dictionary for Children was presented to a total of 159 pupils at Garfield, New Traditions, Spring Valley and Jean Parker elementary schools.  Club representatives also conducted classroom lessons on ways to explore and use the dictionary.

We’ve received thank you letters from several of the 3rd graders. A sampling:

Roman: “Thank you so much for the dictionary. Also thank you for making the world a better place. I will definitely learn a lot of stuff in it. P.S. I found definitely in the dictionary.”

Grace: “Thank you so much for the dictionarys! Everyone in my family agrees with me that it was so cool of you to give us the dictionarys and when I told my grandma about the polio medications, she loved it!”

Lazlo: “Thank you so much for the dictionarys. They are really helpful and it also helps me write. P.S. Did you know that some saber toothed tigers died in tar pits?”

Annika: “I really enjoyed your visit stupendis. I just looked up philosophy and I read that it means the study of the nature of life concerned with such matters as knowledge truth existence and values, someone’s particular beliefs and values. My philosophy on war is that no one ever wins.”

Thanks to Bettie Grinnell for heading up this worthwhile project. She was joined in distributing dictionaries by members Riki and Bob Intner, Michael Reiner, Kay Auciello, Dan Morse and Nancy Slepicka.

Our Feb. 23 speaker, Lynn Cullivan, public information officer, described the history and the attractions of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, located on the waterfront between Hyde and South Van Ness streets. He's pictured with Kay Auciello, club program chair.

Free exhibits can be viewed at both the park's Visitor Center, located inside the Argonaut Hotel on Jefferson St., and at the Maritime Museum in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building. 

Hyde Street Pier, built in 1922 for automobile ferries between San Francisco and Sausalito, is home to several historic vessels, including five that are designated National Historic Landmarks: the C.A. Thayer and Alma (schooners), the Balclutha (square rigger), the Eureka (side wheel ferry) and the Hercules (steam-powered tug boat). Smaller craft are moored on the pier’s east side.

An extensive collection of artifacts, books, photographs, vessel plans and other documents is available to the public at the Maritime Library, located at the park headquarters in Building # at Fort Mason Center. For more, visit

Members who attended our Feb. 16 happy hour social at The Pub in Ghirardelli Square were treated to a fascinating conversation with Michael Paller, resident dramaturg and acting instructor for the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Michael spoke about the 50 years of A.C.T., from its inception and early days in Pittsburgh, PA, to mounting productions in various venues in SF, coping with major earthquake damage in the 1980s with support from other SF theater groups, rebuilding the Geary Theater, opening the Strand, and all the current exciting activities. 

He shared stories about colorful characters associated with A.C.T. and some past productions, and updated us about the Master of Fine Arts program. (A.C.T. has the only accredited program not affiliated with a university and is considered one of the very top programs in the country.)

Michael’s book, A Five-Act Play: Fifty Years of A.C.T. will be published later this year.

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