President Chris Krueger opened the meeting after John Pennypacker had served as greeter.  Ed Koeneman offered the invocation with the Boy Scout blessing, and Jack Rosenberg led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Ray Smith led almost everyone in singing "Red River Valley."  Lucinda had never heard the song before.
Introduction of Guests
Guests were introduced.  Colleen Coons introduced her son, Ryan Dellolio, and Christian Nessum, who is a student at Cal State Northridge and a lifetime friend of her son, Nick Dellolio, our speaker.  Frank Rosenberg introduced his wife, Amanda; daughter, Danielle, and Mesa West Rotary's inbound exchange student, Caio.  Penny Bolinger, a visiting Rotarian, was introduced.  Aubrey Luma was accompanied by two handsome sons.  Maya Gurrola, a Westwood High School Graduate, was introduced as an ASU scholarship winner.  YMCA Executive Director, Brian Ellis was introduced by Pam Cohen as a possible prospective member.  
Attendance Drawing
Badge numbers 57 and 39 were drawn but their owners were both absent.  On the third try, Dick Myren's badge number was drawn, making him the lucky $5 winner.
Weekly Drawing Saga Finale
Since there was only one card left in the deck, and it was the Ace of Clubs, the ticket drawn would win the pot of $2,960, which had accumulated for more than a year.  Dan Coons was the lucky ticket holder.
Happy Bucks
Dr. Ron Thompson collected Happy Bucks.  Lucinda General paid for being rather astonished that everyone else seemed to know a song she did not remember ever hearing before.  Colleen Coons was happy to have her boys back.  Dan Coons' stepson (in light of his father being the lucky raffle winner) wanted his dad to know how much he likes him.  Immanuel Beeson was happy to be back from a summer break from Rotary.  Salvation Army officers get stretched thin over the summer.  One thing that kept him busy was a summer program for 30-40 kids.  He did take a vacation and brought back a T-shirt which he gave to President Chris.  Jim Crutcher was happy that he was going to take his bike and go camping by himself.  Dick Myren paid a happy dollar honoring Honorary Member Rod Daniels' "happy to be a member of Mesa West" tradition.  He was also happy to report that following six weeks of radiation, his wife, Sandy, was pronounced cancer free.  Don LaBarge was happy to have celebrated their 41st Anniversary on August 1.  He was also happy to have a new Ford truck from Berge.  John Pennypacker was happy to have played his best golf game in a long time recently.  He already had an admirable score and topped it off with a birdie on the 18th hole.  He also shared an adventure where he was stranded with two ladies at Rustler's Roost as they watched and waited for a haboob to pass.  Pam Cohen was happy Dan Coons won the drawing.  After all he does for our club, she thought it was about time he got a Rotary pay check. She was also very happy to have so many young people in the room.
Melody Jackson had a bag of surprises from her recent coastal vacation to be auctioned.  Colleen Coons' bid of $50 won her some fun coastal themed culinary items.  She said the next party would be at their house!
Scholarship Awarded
Maya Gurrola was called to the podium.  Chuck Flint presented her with a check representing her $1,000 scholarship awarded last spring by our club.  She will be enrolled in the Barrett Honors College at ASU, and will be studying Pre-med with a goal of becoming either an obstetrician or a psychologist.
Dan Coons proudly introduced his stepson, Nick Dellolio who spent ten months in Taiwan as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.
When Nick arrived in Taiwan, he knew no Chinese.  He was met at the airport by his first host family.  He was hungry when he arrived.  His first meal was a very nice array of seafood, which was not his favorite, but began his adventure of trying foods that were unusual when offered to him.  His room in his host family's home was not only large compared to what he anticipated, he felt lucky to have his own bathroom.  His host father took him on a day trip where he began to learn about his new home city, Taichung, the second largest city in Taiwan.  
Nick spent three hours each day studying Mandarin at a language school where he was in a mixed crowd who were all new to the language.   He then went to high school where he studied chemistry which was taught in Mandarin.  There were many Rotary adventures with other exchange students.  Most of the trips exposed the youth to local culture.  They had tea.  They learned a little about martial arts.  They learned how to manipulate puppets and saw puppet shows on one such trip. 
Nick's host father was a dean at an elementary school.  Nick taught English to students at the school.  He had fun teaching about American customs associated with Christmas.
A group of 200 youth exchange students went to Tapei and watched fireworks.  Part of the event involved them being outfitted with helmets and face shields and they participated in an activity where they fired fireworks at each other.  Nick had to request some unanticipated extra money from home to replace his winter coat and other clothes he was wearing that were ruined during that adventure.
Once a month, Nick would attend his host Rotary Club and would receive his monthly allowance.  One unique characteristic of that club was that the members were called by their Rotary name which was related to their profession.  Their President was called "Tire" as he operated a car company.  Another was called E-Printer.  
Nick did have some Taiwanese friends, but was closest to other youth exchange students, as they had more time to develop relationships.  The students in the high school he attended were very committed to study.  They arrived at school at 6:00 AM and stayed at school until 5:00 PM.  Sports was not the big extra curricular draw that it is in the US, since any such activity happened after 5:00 PM, and most local students did additional study after they arrived home.  English was the common language for the other exchange students even though most came from various countries all over the world.
Rotary, in Taiwan, treated their youth exchange students very well.  When they went on trips, they stayed in 5-star hotels.  Nick was surprised they trusted that many teens in high quality establishments, but it worked out.  The public transportation there was excellent and inexpensive.  He downloaded an app for his phone that had very good information about available routes.  He said you could go anywhere for the equivalent of twenty cents, and the first ten kilometers were free.  They had bikes for rent, and the first half hour on the bikes was free.
Nick told about the night market where street venders would sell traditional food.  One such dish that was common was "Stinky Tofu."  Nick shared lots of pictures during his presentation.  Many were of him with other youth exchange students and several were on beaches.  Since Taiwan is an island nation, and there are many small islands, beaches are plentiful and seafood was abundant.   Many of his photos were of seafood as it was presented, occasionally looking up at the potential consumer.
When asked if he became fluent in Mandarin, Nick replied that he never became fluent, but he did get to where he was conversational.  He said learning Mandarin is very difficult as you have to memorize and recognize the strokes in the character, the sound, and the meaning for each word.  There are four distinct tones.  Words can sound alike to someone new to the language, but if the tone is different, the word will have an entirely different meaning and different strokes in the character. 
After Nick's presentation, Dan told a bit about their family trip to visit Nick in Taiwan and travel home with him.  He spoke at length about the Rotary meeting he and Colleen attended.  It was their installation event attended by about 150 people.  It was very formal with a stage and a lectern.  They received a play-by-play commentary in English .  It was a well coordinated and choreographed Broadway-style production produced by Rotarians and Rotarian spouses, followed by Karaoke, The plaques that people received had to be carried by two people. They were huge and heavy - he estimated 2' x 6' in size.  Following the presentations, club leaders went from table to table pouring alcohol in the shot glasses that were provided on all the tables for each guest.