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Joy is a muscle that needs to be exercised

By Staff | Dec 25, 2014

Maui’s newest Rotary club, the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset, celebrated its chartering at the Royal Lahaina Resort last month.

LAHAINA – Following up a previous column recounting our family’s challenges with our son, it is wonderful to remember that there are plenty of good things to write about here as well.

As David Allaire of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation is fond of saying: “Lucky to live in Lahaina.”

Mid-December, there was a joyous Christmas pageant on the birth of Christ at Holy Innocents Church featuring angels (carrying aluminum foil stars), trees (sprigs of green), the three wise men, the Christ child and mother. Father Bill Albinger led off the pageant with his usual eloquence, noting, “Joy is a muscle. It needs to be exercised.”

The sad part for Lahaina is that Father Bill is retiring at the end of the year and departing for the Mainland after nearly ten years at the church. The rector believes in celebrating Hawaiian culture at a church that is within eyesight of where King Kamehameha once lived and Queen Liliuokalani visited.

Father Bill struggled to learn Hawaiian and spoke the language at each service. A hui ho, Father Bill. Looking forward to your future visits.

HEARTWARMER: Joy reigned last month as Maui’s newest Rotary club celebrated it chartering on the Royal Lahaina Resort’s lovely lawn.

The story of the creation of this club is heartwarming.

When people trekked to Roy’s Restaurant last summer to consider starting a new club, the columnist observed that you rarely see such enthusiasm in one room.

Rotary in the past has had trouble attracting “younger” members, especially women. Three-fourths of the people who showed up were professional women, some new to Maui.

The new club that meets the first two Tuesdays of the month at the Royal Lahaina Resort has 23 charter members, including 15 women. My joke is that we need to challenge the other clubs to a beauty contest, since I know we would win hands down (just look at the photos on the new website, rotarycluboflahainasunsetblog.org).

At the Royal Lahaina lawn celebration, your columnist and Rotarian felt obligated to dance with most of the members, since there were few males around willing to dance. Someone had to do it. There was only one female holdout, and she is being worked on.

Among those bringing fresh ideas and energy to the club is Jackie Favors, who has spearheaded Rotary participation in the Women Helping Women high heels event, Relay for Life, Salvation Army Thanksgiving dinner, and Polio Plus and food drives.

District officials and other Maui clubs got Sunset off to a great start, with the Rotary Club of Maui donating a Four-Way Test banner, the Rotary Club of Kihei Sunset giving a meeting bell and Assistant District Gov. Mark Harbison giving the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset banner.

Laura Steelquist, head of Rotary District 5000 in Hawaii, said in an e-mail to Co-president Liz May after the event, “I’m excited about the quality of your members and know you will have a positive impact on your community for many, many years.”

May responded: “We intend to make you proud of our new club.”

The Rotary Club of Lahaina, the town’s original club, is also on a roll. The club is working on a variety of new projects and recently recruited every member to work hours and hours on its annual Christmas tree sale.

It took a long time before Rotary International admitted women. Today, more than half of Maui’s ten clubs have women presidents.

Over the last decade, Lahaina’s two original clubs have had their ups and downs, and at times were not very much fun.

The Rotary Club of Lahaina afternoon club had a golden period several years ago, when it completed the largest ever Maui Rotary project – the $300,000 modernization of Lahaina Public Library – and sponsored three well-remembered “Savor the Sunset” benefits to help the cause. The key members responsible now belong to the evening club.

Today, the new Sunset Club, as well as the morning club, are on the rise. The clubs offer the best of all worlds: the chance to network and make friends with smart people, the chance to work on meaningful community projects, and an unofficial version of test the Four-Way Test that adds a fifth: “Is it fun?”

COLUMNIST’S NOTEBOOK: Everyone has flaws; one of mine is generating typos in the rush to get on to the next project or omissions in written copy. My eagle-eyed son, Conor, pointed out that the name of his new blog mentioned in the last column is thebipolaraddict.com. Failure to put in the word “the” doesn’t yield much. Mahalo to all those who have commented on the last column.