Posted by Fred Carvin on May 06, 2018
Who are We?
The Rotary Club of Glens Falls, NY came into existence in 1922 when Rotarians from the Troy area recruited 25 of the top community leaders to form our organization.  Men like Frank Smalley, C.V. Peters, Elmer West, Fred Chapman, and J. Thacher Sears were among the most prominent members of the local manufacturing, educational, theological and publishing industries. Other Charter Members were from the top of the legal and medical professions, public accountants, contractors, bankers and insurance representatives. Today, almost 100 years later, the Glens Falls Rotary still attracts the cream of the community. We are a diverse mixture of men and women from all walks of life. The only criteria that measures us is our desire toward service and the aspiration to make ourselves, our community and our world a better place for all.
What is Rotary?
Officially, the Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
In short, Rotarians stand for “Service Above Self.”
What Does Rotary Mean to Glens Falls?
When Rotary began in 1905, the above ideals were not so clearly defined. It took a number of years before the idea of service to business was transformed into service to others. When the Glens Falls Rotary was formed in 1922, almost immediately the Rotarians found ways to help their community. One of the first programs was called the “Buddy Club” where, in conjunction with the YMCA, efforts were made for underprivileged children to partner with a Rotarian adult for help and guidance. They would also enjoy the benefits of the YMCA for free. Other projects like “Boy’s Work” recruited hundreds of youth who helped in dozens of community endeavors from planting trees to cleaning and painting houses.
In the 1930’s, as the Great Depression took hold, the club started an educational fund which still exists today. Over the years uncounted students have benefited from Rotary assistance as they pursued their educational goals.
As the times changed, so did the club’s mission. During the war years, tons of scrap metal and papers were collected to aid the troops. Packages of supplies were sent to local soldiers serving around the world.
During the 1950’s and 60’s saw our club membership grow to one of the largest, most active Rotary clubs in the upstate area.  It remains so today. Because of our large membership, we have been successful in accomplishing countless acts of community service, both big and small. Things like landscaping the former landfill off exit 18 to building and maintaining pavilions in City Park and Big Boom Rd.
In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, saw the club become active with the Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival and LARAC Arts Festival which raised funds that supported dozens of other organizations in the Glens Falls-Queensbury area. We held an Air Show that raised substantial money for the Glens Falls Hospital. An endless list of recipients of Rotary generosity has benefitted the arts, emergency services, Youth programs, educational assistance.
Since 1965, the club has sent and received innumerable students from around the world through the Rotary Student Exchange program.  Local kids have spent a year studying in countries such as Germany, Japan, Italy, and South America to mention a few. In return, foreign students have studied in the Glens Falls and Queensbury school systems, living with local host families.
With the turn of the new millennium, the Glens Falls Rotary has changed once again. We’ve adapted to the information highway and the growth of social media. Yet our core values remain the same.
Our focus is still on the community but our reach now spans the world. The club has been instrumental in providing clean water to thousands of people in Guatemala, Haiti and other needy countries. We have brought children into both Glens Falls Hospital and Albany Medical Center for critically needed, life-saving operations through the Rotary District 7190 – Gift of Life program. We have sent medical supplies and equipment to several countries in locations such as India, Africa and South America.
Through our support of the Rotary International Foundation, allows Rotarians to conduct our mission whether it is here at home or across the seas.  Rotarians have pledged to end the scourge of Polio worldwide.  But our involvement doesn’t end there.  Literacy, women’s issues, health improvements, ending hunger, fostering peace, eliminating poverty, raising educational standards, clean water, disease control          are all part and parcel to what Glens Falls Rotarians are concerned about.
Every day there are thousands of acts of kindness by Rotarians worldwide, all designed to make a difference in someone’s life.
What Does This Mean To Me?
Certainly it’s impossible to list or describe all the wonderful things Rotary and the Glens Falls Club have done over the last 100 years or more.  While all these great undertakings go a long way to promote peace, tolerance and understanding, it’s not what the heart of Rotary really is.
That spirit lies in our members. The greatest thing about Rotary is fellowship. Our club has many members who have been Rotarians for 30 years or more. And we have many who are just beginning their life’s journey. Once a week we come together to share a meal, have some laughs, learn something new and enjoy each other’s company.  All that’s asked is to share a few moments with us so we can discover who you are and have you learn who we are. Can having and being a friend be bad?
It’s true, you may be asked to participate, but it’s guaranteed the more you get involved, the more you will be rewarded. There is something in Rotary for everyone.
The Glens Falls Rotary Club
The members of the Rotary Club of Glens Falls, New York welcome all visiting Rotarians, guests and friends to experience our many traditions, and to enjoy our hospitality by joining us at one of our weekly meetings.  We have a long history of being ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Rotary Facts (a/o December, 2017)
Rotary International President – Ian Riseley (Australia)
President of the Glens Falls Club – Harrison Freer
Members Worldwide- 1,220,185
Clubs Worldwide-            35,727
Service Projects Worldwide – 30,000+
Volunteer Hours Worldwide- 24.3 million
Children Vaccinated Against Polio - 400 million per year   (over 1 billion total)
Net Assets of RI Foundation- 1,058,676,000