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Club History

The Ripon Rotary Club was officially admitted as a member of Rotary International April 1, 1922. At that time there were 1,145 Rotary Clubs in 26 countries.

An organizational meeting held at the Grand View Hotel had been preceded by four months of organizational work under the leadership of Albert C. Stearns, who became the first president of the Ripon Club. For Al, this included attending a meeting of Rotary Clubs in Duluth, Minnesota, on March 23. The Oshkosh Rotary Club was the sponsor for the new Ripon Club, first service club of its type to be organized in the city of Ripon.

The first public notice given to the new Club was a front page article in the June 1, 1922, issue of Ripon Weekly Press, the official city newspaper, reporting on the "affiliation banquet" held at the Sherwood Forest Hotel at Green Lake. The Ripon Weekly Press praised the new club with these words, "This city should indeed be very proud over the fact that it has a full-fledged Rotary Club in its midst to encourage and foster high ethical standards in business and professions with the idea of service as the basis of all worthy enterprises."

The new club placed heavy emphasis on the social side. It was decided at the outset to have ladies night once a month and monthly dinner dances. All of the meetings during the summer were held at Green Lake.

Over the years, Ripon Rotary has sponsored or given support to many activities and organizations for the welfare and betterment of the community. One-time financial support during 1967 through 1972 was given for the purchase of equipment for Ripon Hospital, equipment for the Ripon High School, projector and screen for the Ripon Police Department, and a $1,500 grant for the Ripon Memorial Hospital Building Fund. Other projects have included aid for a youth center, conduct of vocational guidance conferences, sponsorship of athletic banquets, and a 4-H Club beef-fattening project. Ripon Rotary contributed thousands of dollars in this manner over the years.

One of the most unique and well-received projects in the Club's history was the sponsorship, in cooperation with other Ripon service clubs, of a Youth Forum at the American Baptist Assembly in the early spring of 1971 - a time of deep unrest amount the youth throughout the nation. At the gathering, some 80 high school age youths took part in small-group discussions of current problems of youth in the Ripon community.

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