Batting Cage for Girls’ Softball
When the Lady Pirates softball team won the state 7A tournament in 2018, the state of that team’s facilities compared very unfavorably to what was provided for the boys’ baseball teams. Accordingly, the Rotary Club of Fairhope committed $23,000 for the purpose of building a batting cage for girls’ softball at Founders Park. Eventually the facility will have Rotary signage; for now, there is a thank-you banner in the outfield right next to the scoreboard.
In late 2018, the club sponsored equipment for a small playground at the Manley Road Soccer Complex at a cost of $11,816.
Playground for Fairhope Intermediate School
When the Rotary Club of Fairhope learned that Special Education students at Fairhope Intermediate School were spending their recess in front of the school playing with leaves and acorns because they did not have a handicap-accessible playground, the club donated $30,500 toward playground equipment, becoming the principal sponsor of the playground. This amount included proceeds from the club’s annual fundraiser, supplemented by a $9,500 grant from Rotary District 6880.
Handheld Radios for Fairhope Middle School
Staff and teachers at Fairhope Middle School were experiencing communication difficulties because the handheld radios (walkie-talkies) they were using were not powerful enough to reach from one end of the building to the other or even between floors. Cell phones were not the answer because cell signal was usually not available inside the building. Summoning assistance or coordinating fire drills was a nightmare. The Rotary Club of Fairhope, partnering with Point Clear Rotary Club and Fairhope Sunset Rotary, donated $1,500 for purchase of new, more powerful radios.
Vehicles for myTeam Triumph
By combining a $4,700 grant from District 6880 with $5,300 in club funds, we were able to make a $10,000 donation to myTeam Triumph / Southern Alabama for the purchase of two triathlon conversion racing chairs and one racing hand cycle. MyTeam Triumph is an athletic ride-along program for individuals with disabilities or special needs who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as road races or triathlons. Individuals with muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and other conditions are side by side with other athletes competing. The MyTeam Triumph / Southern Alabama Chapter includes the counties from Montgomery south to Mobile. Among others, the Southern Alabama Chapter of MyTeam Triumph participates in the Grandman Triathlon, Run Forrest Run 5K, Senior Bowl 10K, First Light Marathon, Joe Cain 5K, and the Spring Fever Chase.
A check presentation was held November 12, 2016, at the conclusion of the Pirate Dash 5K race. As shown, the Rotary logo is displayed on the team’s trailer and the wheels of the vehicles. This branding is effective for three years and will be seen by 100,000 people at race events each year.
For this project the club received a Rotary Foundation Centennial Certificate of Recognition for “sponsoring outstanding district grant–funded activities completed in 2015–16.”
Furnishings for Fairhope Middle School “Outdoor Classroom”
Because the cost of the playground equipment described below came in at just over $21,000 (not counting the cost of the sign), the club was able to respond to a request from Fairhope Middle School for help in furnishing its “outdoor classroom” (the Discovery Exploration Center). The project had been funded jointly by the City of Fairhope, FEEF (Fairhope Educational Enrichment Foundation), Fairhope Sunset Rotary Club, and the Fairhope Middle School PTC. To complete it, FMS needed to purchase commercial-grade, maintenance-free, ADA-approved tables with benches and freestanding benches. Our club donated $2,700 to this effort, covering the purchase of three picnic tables with benches.
President Tom Gulledge and other Fairhope Rotarians were present for the ribbon cutting.
Volanta Park Playground Equipment
As noted below, the proceeds from our annual steak cookoff fundraiser fund our service projects for the next year. The more money we make, the more we have to spend. But one expenditure is not discretionary: our Thomas S. Scoggins Memorial Scholarships are a $10,000 annual commitment no matter how the cookoff fares. So, in 2011, we added $25 a year to member dues to create a “club reserve” that would fund the scholarships if the cookoff was entirely rained out.
In 2015, after eleven years without a cancellation and five years of increased dues, the “rainy-day fund” had reached a point where it seemed prudent to use some of it for a service project. The project we identified was new playground equipment for a small playground at the entrance to three of the ball fields at Volanta Park. We committed $25,000 to this project and on April 5, 2016, were able to officially open the playground.
“Pirate Galley” Concession Stand
In our club, the president elect is the chairman of our annual steak cookoff fundraiser. The following club year, as president, he guides the board in deciding how to allocate the proceeds of the cookoff. In 2013–2014, President Howard Eddy recommended that we take on the project of working together with the Fairhope Pirate Booster Club and the City of Fairhope to build a new concession stand for W. C. Majors Field, where the Fairhope High School football team plays its games.
The board agreed and ultimately donated $41,000 to this project. The City and other contractors provided labor, vendors provided materials, and the Booster Club raised additional funds for a new concession stand that is about triple the size of the old one.
The original concession stand had three sales windows; the new one has four. In addition, “spirit” merchandise (caps, T-shirts, and the like), once relegated to a tent outside, now has its own storage room (the Pirate Closet) with a sales window. There is also an express window for sales to band members, cheerleaders, and police, fire, and ambulance personnel.
Among the enhancements of the new concession stand, called “Pirate Galley,” are a walk-in freezer and a cold room. And in general there is just a lot more storage space and more room for volunteers to operate.
At the last home game of the 2015 football season, the Booster Club held a Sponsor Appreciation Night, and members of the Rotary Club of Fairhope and Rotaract Club of the Eastern Shore were invited to attend and be recognized. We presented our “big check” and saw the plaque that will be mounted on the concession stand building.
Rotarians and Rotaractors surround those holding the check: PP (2014–2015) Geoff Kennedy, PP Howard Eddy, also president elect of the Fairhope Pirate Booster Club, and Erik Cortinas, City of Fairhope Building Official and president of the Fairhope Pirate Booster Club.
Stimpson Field Fitness Trail
With a great deal of help from the City of Fairhope (which installed the equipment) and a grant from District 6880, the Rotary Club of Fairhope and the Fairhope Sunset Rotary Club have provided a 10-station Fit-Trail parcourse fitness trail at Stimpson Field in Fairhope. Pictured below are the overall trail inside the walking/running track and the text of the informational signs at the beginning of the trail. A description of each fitness station and instructions for its use can be seen at the Fit-Trail website.