BAR HARBOR — Former Bar Harbor/MDI Rotary Club President Lisa Horsch Clark has made way for new leadership.
The club is a local branch of Rotary International – a charitable organization that volunteers to serve the community and the world.
Horsch Clark started her term on July 1, 2021, but said she agreed to be the president long before that when she joined the organization several years ago.
“I’ve been in the club for several years and they’ve asked me for a long time to serve as president, but it was never the time for me, then I had some flexibility in my schedule,” she said.
People who join the club start off as volunteers, work their way up to being board members and eventually become president-elect before serving as president.
This year, for the first time ever, four different former rotary presidents will each serve a quarterly term as president. This year’s presidency will start with member Scott Hammond, follow with Susy Del Cid, then Annette Higgins and end with Ron Wrobel.
As the director of development and donor relations at Friends of Acadia, Horsch Clark of Tremont had experience working for a community organization that donates to good causes.
“It was an unusual time to serve as president during the pandemic because so much couldn’t be done that we normally do,” she said.
One thing Horsch Clark knew she wanted was to get back to holding meetings in person, which she was able to accomplish. The club used to meet regularly at Birch Bay Retirement Village before COVID-19 became a significant threat to adults over 65. Due to the pandemic, the club, at the time, had yet to transition back to meeting in person.
Shortly after Horsch Clark became president, she asked Cary Swan of Swan Agency Insurance if the club could use one of the unused rooms in his 43 Cottage St. building until the members could find a new meeting place. Swan, being the last remaining founder of the Bar Harbor/ MDI Rotary Club, agreed to allow the organization to host meetings there temporarily. After two months of meetings on Cottage Street, the club landed an opportunity to meet at The Atlantic Oceanside.
It was additionally important for Horsch Clark to bring back in-person service opportunities and to grow the membership, both of which she was able to achieve. In the fall of 2021, the club held its first in-person volunteer assignment since the pandemic: a roadside clean-up in downtown Bar Harbor.
“Since the roadside cleanup, we’ve really been making great strides,” she said, adding that after the cleanup, more volunteer opportunities have presented themselves.
With help from the community, the club raised over $1,000 during World Polio Day for Polio Plus, a polio eradication program, and $2,000 for the campaign to expand the Jesup Memorial Library. The club also supported a project called Shelter Box, which is a charity that helps provide shelter to communities stricken by natural disaster and conflict.
Besides existing board members, Horsch Clark is grateful for the six new members who joined during her term, one of them being Lynn Verrill, who recently received an award at the rotary club’s annual meeting for being an outstanding new member.
Though Horsch Clark’s term ended June 30, she will spend this next year serving as past president.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find a leader; it’s a huge commitment,” she said.
Horsch Clark sees the new quarterly presidency system as an opportunity for growth and says she is grateful for the people who helped her navigate bringing the club back from the pandemic’s difficult years.