Elsass Shares His Vision

St. Marys Rotary Club President Travis Elsass tells his fellow Rotarians about his goals he has set out for his presidency during Wednesday's weekly meeting at the Eagles.
Managing Editor

With a new president comes new goals and ideas to help move along an organization. 

New St. Marys Rotary President Travis Elsass shared those new goals and ideas to his fellow Rotarians on Wednesday, and while he plans to continue supporting the staple projects that people have been accustomed to seeing Rotary partake in, he is also touting out new projects in an attempt to reach everybody in the community.

The new president eased into his speech by assuring that he wanted to be as transparent as possible with all Rotarians so they know where any money is going in the club’s projects. Elsass said although the budget has been simplified, Rotary is still going to fund the same events it always has — such as the Carp Derby, the parades or sponsoring the air camp — and there are other less formable projects that Elsass wants to continue to be supportive of such as the We’ve Got Talent Show that happened in February.

“These are community projects that I think are important and with that, I would love to see them thrive,” he added.

For his new goals, Elsass wants to replenish the onesies Rotary funds for Joint Township District Memorial Hospital to as many as 1,500.

Elsass’ other goal was to connect more with Rotary’s district and he plans to start a golf outing to bring that connection back. 

“I think there is a good opportunity to start getting clubs involved with each other,” Elsass said. “This club participates within the district and that is special, but we need to be a shining leader in this area to help other clubs to not only participate at the district level, but to communicate together.

“The more that we share and connect with other clubs, the stronger we will be.”

While communicating and inclusion is top on Elsass’s list, funding is also important for the Edward Jones adviser.

An idea Elsass had was holding a food truck rally as he believes it would be a good fundraising opportunity.

Tying funding into his goals led to his final and greatest idea for his tenure as president; creating an adaptive kayak dock for Grand Lake St. Marys.

Elsass is a part of the Journeymen’s Club in Minster, which funded an adaptive kayak dock, an ADA-approved project last year at Lake Loramie. It allows anybody who is a veteran, disabled or anyone who has rehabilitation problems to be able to utilize a kayak and make it easier to get in and out of one. A person using this would not need any assistance to get in or out of the kayak, giving them more profound freedom.

“Why doesn’t St. Marys have something like this?” Elsass asked rhetorically. “We should. The lake should be accessible for anybody and everybody involved and if you look, we don’t really have anything like this out there.”

Elsass said members of the Lake Improvement Association have been on board with the idea and he has been in contact with Leon Mertz, who along with his wife Susan, spearheaded the project last September at Lake Loramie.

The adaptive kayak launch is located between the campgrounds and the beach area accessible to adaptive restroom facilities and paved parking, walkways, near the camp store and Lake Loramie Nature Center and Museum.

Elsass warned, however, that the project will need a lot of commitment and the cost is near $85,000. Rotary is working on grants with the district, but the club will also be looking for donations for a project that could end up being a multi-year task.

Elsass added that the project can be scary and that the worst-case scenario is that the project does not happen, but the best-case scenario being that the project gets accomplished.

“Like I have always stated since the beginning of this presidency, we have a great club and we just need to move the needle a little  bit further and we can be a little bit better,” he added. “We can shine the light in the community, this district and our area as a whole for the Rotary name. We just got to continue the excellence that we do have.”

For the full story, see Thursday's print edition of The Evening Leader.