President's Project - James Fowler 2023-2024

As we embark on another Rotary year, we have much to be thankful for, and many great opportunities to serve our community. To a member, we find great satisfaction and joy in service, especially in our school and youth programs. These youth programs include scholarships, working in classrooms, our annual speech contest, dictionary and pumpkin giveaway to elementary students, RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly) and much more. Each one of these brings great joy to each of us, and that drives us forward to do more.
In Walnut Grove, we have a unique community where the population is small, and we find it natural to support one another. We are a piece of Americana.
Even though we are small, we are not isolated. As a fairly newcomer to the area, I am impressed with the connection with the larger economy and governance of the county and state. Being one of the greatest resources of the state, the Delta is in our front yard, back yard, side yard, and right under us.  We share it with millions of others, and we strive to protect it.
For the 2023/24 year, Rotary International President, Gordon R McInally of Scotland has expressed a focus on Mental Health. He states: “members should offer hope to those affected by mental health challenges – a crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have lost family members, many more have found their social networks uprooted, and young people especially have had their educational and developmental paths interrupted. As a result, more people around the world are facing mental health issues. And yet, seeking assistance is often perceived as a sign of weakness.  Nothing could be farther from the truth. Reaching out for help is courageous – and continuing on a path toward wellness is even more so.”
I am grateful for this focus, as I, like many of us, have had challenges with mental health in our lives.  Whether within ourselves, with family, or with friends, it is all around us. Many of our experiences with mental health feel very personal, and yet I hope that we can open a door by feeling safe enough to be transparent with each other and provide a pathway for those who need hope.
This year my Presidential project will focus on continuing to serve our youth in the programs we value and add a mental health focus. The greatest focus will be on mental health for our youth, followed by our local community support organizations, (such as first responders), and maybe even more importantly, ourselves. When we find health, it enables us to help others find health.
We have so many opportunities, and I look forward to the great minds of our club giving hope and encouragement through service.