The Milestones of Greeley Rotary - A look at 100 Years from George Sickler on Vimeo.

Wow! 100 years of Rotary in Greeley, Colorado! If you asked me just 2 months ago what Rotary is and where it came from, I’d have no clue.
I’ve vaguely heard of Rotary Club a sparse few times in my life. I really had no idea what it was or what it was for, though….that is until we were hired for this project!

As you watch the video above, you’ll notice that Rotary has a rich history of service above self. Rotary actually started in Chicago in 1905 with a man who invited some of his friends to join a gathering of businessmen for the sole purpose of fellowship. It wasn’t until they met a few times that they decided it could be more than just fellowship…it could also be helping their fellow man! That idea spread to several places in the US and then around the world! One of the early locations was right here in our hometown of Greeley, CO - in 1917!

Upon the planning of this 100 year celebration, the Greeley Rotary Club decided that their planned gala – which the Rotary International President would be attending - needed a video to show the Rotarians just what they’d accomplished in their Greeley Club. It’s much more extensive than I originally thought! These members are not big on “tooting their own horn” as the saying goes. They really don’t like to brag on themselves, so – as you can imagine – getting them to talk about their accomplishments thru Rotary was quite the task!

We were given a few old newspaper clippings and books to use for historic reference. We were also given a list of milestones to ask questions about during interviews. We were told we could conduct interviews at the Poudre Learning Center in Northern Colorado. We were given a list of people to interview. That’s what we were given. The rest was up to us.

We set to work conducting the interviews first with full crew (4 people) and full lighting set: 2 full days of interviews plus one in a man’s home (he couldn’t make it on our planned days). Normally we’d draw up a script first, but that’s difficult when you don’t even know the full story! So we relied on these experienced veteran Rotarians to fill in the gaps for us. And fill, they did! We asked a lot of questions during interviews which helped shape the whole story for us!

Next we wrote the script. When I say “we”, I mean Angie wrote it...but I did help write a few segments. Afterwards we went to a radio personality to record the voice-over.

We needed music – guess what? Our 17 year old son is an EXCELLENT music composer/producer. He made each of the songs you hear quietly throughout this entire video.

There was a lot – and I mean A LOT of research to do. We pulled old videos and photos from numerous sources online and at the Greeley archives center. Our digging proved to be extremely helpful in telling the story – especially for segments of history that are so long ago, no one living today could tell it! Of course, in editing, we used some great tools (like Adobe After Effects) to give life to these old photos.

We ran into a challenge, though…we needed a “heart” of our story. Whenever you are doing a promo piece or inspirational piece, it’s important to highlight just one person’s story so that people can be pulled into the emotion of what it really means to be affected by the business, club, or other entity. And in capturing all of the 10 Rotarian interviews we had, none seemed to tug on the heartstrings like we had hoped.

So…what do you do when your pool of interviews is lacking in one element or another? A good storyteller, will dig deeper. So, that’s what we did. At the end of each interview we asked each person to tell us one story of someone they had positively affected thru Rotary or someone who affected them in a positive way. Some could not pinpoint one story, but others gave us some great stories! One of them pointed us to Nina Lewis…and she became the heart of our story.

That’s not to say she is the star….no, no, no - we needed to pinpoint ALL of the milestones and all of the great Rotarians who made great strides in their communities and around the world. But numbers and names aren’t enough for a great story. Every story needs a personal touch. So, when I say “the heart”, that’s what I mean…someone who has a story that the audience can connect to on a personal level. Nina’s story was just that personal touch we were looking for to connect the audience on a deeper level. She was positively affected by a Rotarian, and in turn she gave a story of someone that she had positively affected. It’s a beautiful ripple effect!

We also asked our contact at Rotary for information about people they’d helped and were made aware of a precious older lady who had needed hearing aids, so Rotary stepped in to help. Another story of a personal nature to connect the audience.

Our hope, with this video – and our hope for you, the viewer – is that it will inspire Rotarians (and those of you who may not know much about Rotary) to get involved and continue to be involved knowing that your financial contributions make a huge difference – not only on paper, but in one person’s life…and not only for this generation, but for generations to come. 

Happy 100th birthday, Greeley Rotary!