Rotary Club of Classic City of Athens - Some History

Welcome from the Classic City Rotary Club!

Here's more about the history of the Rotary Club of the Classic City of Athens: (Formerly the Rotary Club of Athens West) In the early 1970s the Rotary Club of Athens, then part of District 692, began the process of extending a new club in the Athens area. The Rotary Club of Athens West was officially organized April 8, and admitted to RI April 24, 1975. Past district governors H. Randolph Holder, Billy Hudson, and Ed Benson assisted in the chartering process, and the club's early meetings were held at the home of Randolph and Clementi Holder. In 2000, Athens West held a celebration to commemorate its first 25 years, with a party attended by many former members as well as current ones.


Our membership is a good blend of male and female and includes many early-career professionals as well as long-time members, including several founding members of the club. Current members Bob Gomez and Lewis Shropshire were founding members of the club, while Chuck Vickery joined during the 1975-76 year. Every week, our speakers, presenters, and activities help build awareness of our local and international communities, strengthen our club fellowship, and help us learn more about Rotary!

Origami hats for all!

Name Change

On February 9, 2006, pursuant to months of discussion and a majority vote by the club membership, the Board of Directors of Rotary International officially approved our club's request to be renamed "The Rotary Club of the Classic City of Athens, Georgia USA," or more informally the "Classic City Rotary Club." This change helps those inside and outside of Rotary distinguish our club from the Rotary Club of Athens, and clarifies that, while at its founding the club was granted the western part of Athens, our membership is drawn from across Athens-Clarke County, Oconee County, and other local areas.

Fund Raisers

Our club has had a number of interesting and successful fund-raisers throughout its years. For many years the club sold Vidalia onions (1977-83), a tradition that still continues in other Rotary clubs in our district today. The club also sponsored a chili cook-off during the Golden Gingko festival (1989-1996), and auctions (1983-88) were also a long tradition. From 1999 to 2009, the club held an annual Celebrity Roast and Silent Auction, raising substantial funding to support local non-profits as well as community and international service projects. Since then, a wine tasting fundraiser and other smaller in-club and community events have provided fund- and "fun" raising.

2013 Wine Event at The Hill

International Service and Involvement

Our club is also known throughout the district and world for its strong International Service component. Our members have participated as Group Study Exchange team leaders or team members to Brazil, Argentina, Norway, and Indonesia, and we have sponsored local non-Rotarian team members for a number of GSEs as well. Our club members have also provided district and state-level leadership for the Georgia Rotary Student Program, the Group Study Exchange program, the Ambassadorial Scholarships, the World Peace scholarships, district World Community Service projects, and others.

Zimbabwe & Costa Rica

Our club was recognized by the district ast the International Service Large Club of the Year in 2004 and in 2005.

Some past club international service projects have included providing a Jaws of Life for the state of Veracruz, Mexico; the District 6910 Zimbabwe agricultural support project; the Eyes for Africa cataract surgery support project; water projects in India; collaboration with Athens Academy Interact on their "Project Pallam"; construction of a bridge and latrine in the San Luis community of Costa Rica; and books and school supplies for children in Afghanistan. See more about our International Service work.

Community Service and Involvement

Classic City Rotary is also very involved with local service. Each year, our Rotary Club provides "sweat equity" in projects including Christmas tree recycling with Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Clean and Beautiful; MLK Day of Service; United Way Day of Caring; Salvation Army Bell Ringing; and regular service days at the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.

Our "Centennial Service Project," intended to help commemorate Rotary's hundred-year anniversary, entailed developing and improving a public-access plaza to the Greenway along the north Oconee River; the club has continued to hold regular work-days to maintain and improve this area since then.

Aguar Plaza dedication in 2005 2013 workday on the Greenway

Classic City Rotary also is involved with JJ Harris Elementary School, in projects ranging from literacy events to essay contests to installation of walking trails and landscaping. In 2015, we built two shelters on site as well.

 

The club also provides financial support to a wide range of local organizations and agencies, varying year to year but including notable involvement with the Athens Youth Symphony; Athens Community Council on Aging; Red Cross; and more.

In 2015-16, we partnered with the Athens Area Homeless Shelter; with the help of a District 6910 grant, we provided over $5000 in new furniture for staff offices and meeting rooms (desks, office chairs, client chairs, tables, cabinets...) at their new ARCH location, as well as all-new, energy saving lighting at their Barber St. location.

In 2016-17, the club is partnering with Books for Keeps to help promote literacy and reduce the "summer slide".

To see more about recent speakers, projects, and activities, visit us on Facebook or come to one of our meetings!