The August 2 meeting got off to a great start with Polly Schumacher serving as the greeter.  Dr. Ron Thompson offered the invocation and Ed Koeneman led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Donna Goetzenberger introduced a longtime family friend, Brinton Johnson, who is a member of Phoenix 100, and has been a Rotarian for 24 years.  Brinton has been a host mom for Rotary Youth Exchange students many times.  Brinton's son, Michael was also introduced as a guest at the meeting.  He has recently returned from a year as an exchange student in Spain.  Bryan Goetzenberger was proud to introduce their daughter, Emilee who has recently returned from her year as an exchange student in Belgium.
Daryl Bethea introduced Ryan Ellis, a prospective member, who is the Director of the YMCA in Mesa.  Geoff White introduced Chris Johnson, who has moved to the Phoenix area.  Chris Krueger introduced Keon, who was an intern with her bank, but is now full time.  He is originally from Belgium and Chris thought he would enjoy the program.  Lucinda General introduced her guest, Lola McClain, who has had a variety of careers, but at this time, her profession is court reporting.  Ed Koeneman introduced the guests at his table.  They were the 2018-19 leadership team from Westwood High School Interact Club.  See their photo in the bottom row of the collage (l-r) Valeria Gutierrez, Secretary Shakima Fagen, President; and Hannah Mason, Treasurer.  
Steve Ross was the winner of the $5.00 attendance drawing prize.  The accumulating raffle was held with some electric tension in the room, since the weekly winnings would be $187 and the grand prize (if the ace of clubs were drawn from the two available cards left in the deck) would be $2,500.  Jim Crutcher looked pretty serious when his raffle ticket was drawn.    With a 50/50 chance of winning, he almost looked happily relieved to have drawn the queen of diamonds.  He would not have to keep the promise he had made to himself to give at least half of the winnings to the Gift of Hearing Mission project.  Since there will only be one card left, the rules for August 9 drawing are:  There will be a $20 limit on the number of tickets any one person can purchase, and the owner of the ticket drawn will finally win the whole pot, which is now in its 14th month of accumulating.
Happy Dollars
Greg Okonowski collected happy dollars.  Donna Goetzenberger was happy that many members responded to her e-mail asking for beverages and other snack items for the orientation planned for inbound youth exchange students on Saturday, August 4.  Lucinda General paid happy dollars when she announced that with the help of Wendell Jones, Henry and Horne has agreed to help Rotary District 5495 with a review of the 2017-18 year of financial activity reporting.  Kristen Klein was shamed into paying $5 happy dollars as the proud owner of a new Honda that was NOT purchased from Berge Ford where Jim Crutcher proudly serves.  Jeanie Morgan paid happy dollars for a nice vacation visiting her daughter in Michigan and for the great job John Pennypacker did gathering photos and writing the highlights article for the Messenger about the July 26 meeting.
Jeanie had an auction item from her trip to Michigan - an item highly recommended by her son-in-law who grew up in Michigan.  Donna Goetzenberger was the high bidder at $35 and took home a new bag and a sampler box of fudge from the Mackinac Island Fudge Shop.
Pam Cohen announced a community fund raising event for Child Crisis Arizona, which will be a luncheon to be held Wednesday, September 26 at the Arizona Biltmore.  Pam hopes to fill a table of 10 with members of our club.  John Benedict as long been involved with this outstanding community resource and Pam suggested anyone who wanted more information about how the proceeds would be used talk to John.
Chris Krueger spoke briefly about the information behind the recent e-mails to members about changes in the amount charged, in order to be fiscally responsible, for membership dues going forward.  She also said we would be returning to the policy of members being charged for their meals at social events unless the club had gone dark to allow the cost of the meal to be transferred to the social.  Members will always be charged for the cost of their guests to attend social events.  She said it used to be that way.  She does not know when or why that policy was abandoned, but it really doesn't matter.  To be a responsible board, the policy needs to be reinstated.
Emilee Goetzenberger presented the program for the meeting, talking about her year in Belgium as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.  When she arrived August 2, 2017, Emilee was greeted by her first two host families and Clem, a Belgian youth-exchange sister, who had lived with Emilee's family in Phoenix.
Emilee pointed out that the entire populations of three cities the size of Saint Ghislain, where she stayed in Belgium, would fit in Cardinals Stadium.  She also showed a map of Belgium overlaid to scale on the southeast corner of Arizona.  Some counties in Arizona are larger than the country of Belgium, which is 9.7% of the size of Arizona.
Emilee said that her first two weeks were very difficult.  She quickly realized she couldn't understand the French she was hearing.   She found herself unable to form her thoughts and translate them into French quickly enough to engage in conversations.  She said it was a very lonely feeling.  She was encouraged because she could see that her host family had a very warm relationship with one another and were friendly and encouraging with her.
Emilee was very glad the Goetzenberger family had been involved with Rotary Youth Exchange and had enjoyed the opportunity to attend RYLA before going on her exchange.  She was able to see old friends while she was in Europe.  She went to Amsterdam with Clem and her family.  There were planned trips for the youth exchange students.  One such trip was to Berlin Germany where Emilee saw many historic sites.  She found the trips where all the exchange students were together very helpful.  With them, she found frustrations with adapting to language and cultural differences were a common bond between them.  They could encourage and support each other.  
After Christmas, Emilee spent time in France with another youth exchange sister who had stayed in her Phoenix home.  She had the opportunity to go on a ski trip to Italy.  She had a second opportunity to travel to Italy and saw Rome, Capri, Venice, and Sicily.  She was very impressed with the beauty she enjoyed on that trip.  In May, she travelled to Paris and saw Cabaret.  She travelled to Austria and saw an exchange student she knew from RYLA.  On a trip to Brussels Day, 200 exchange students were present.
Emilee spoke affectionately about many of her friends and host family members.  It was clear she was especially drawn to a younger girl who was her host cousin.  The small community where she was hosted was a cultural center, which she found fascinating, but she also enjoyed the larger city of Brussels and travelled there regularly. When Emilee discovered her host cousin had never been to Brussels, she was thrilled to take the young lady there one day and give her a tour of the city the cousin had never experienced in her own country. 
Emilee said she really enjoyed fries in Belgium.  She thinks she may have eaten her body weight in fries daily.  Among her many unique experiences was one that surprised her parents - she played tennis one season.  Two days each week, she had the opportunity to attend French classes with others for whom French was not their native language.  Some were refugees, others had simply relocated from other countries.  She enjoyed getting to know them and hear about each of their stories.  
Emilee obviously grew in her appreciation of culture, art, and beauty, but she also grew in ways that will make her an asset to herself and others for the rest of her life.  In answering a question, Emilee said that it was close to the holiday season when she realized she was thinking in French and even dreaming in French.  When asked about any difficulty she might have experienced, she very thoughtfully shared her feelings about how it felt when fellow students at her school were indifferent when she tried to reach out to them in friendship.  It was clear that she was in touch with her own feelings and able to articulate how she felt and how she learned to cope with the cultural differences. 
At one point, Emilee's microphone stopped working.  She showed poise and "stage presence" beyond her years when she went right on with her fun and animated presentation without much apparent hesitation.  When asked about her host Rotary Club, Emilee readily said that she loved the club, but that it was clear they did not share the same level of fun and community spirit enjoyed by Mesa West Rotarians.
Emilee still has two years of high school remaining before starting college.  The Rotary funds invested in this youth exchange experience were well spent and Emilee and her world will enjoy the dividends throughout her lifetime.