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Windermere Observer Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2019 1 month ago

Rotary to launch new club in Horizon West

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Horizon West resident Bryan Fifer is leading the way toward launching the club this July.
by: Danielle Hendrix Black Tie Editor

As Horizon West continues to grow and establish its brand, the opportunities for community involvement are increasing, too.

For Horizon West resident Bryan Fifer, giving back to and making a difference in the community is something he enjoys doing, and he wanted to share that with others who are likeminded.

“I was at a networking event one night, and we started talking and asking each other, ‘Are you a part of Rotary?’ and nobody really was,” Fifer said. “There were a couple of really good Rotary groups around here, but we said we wanted to start our own in Horizon West. There’s one in Lake Buena Vista, Dr. Phillips, Winter Garden … they’re all over. We just decided, let’s just see what it takes to do our own for Horizon West as we try to brand that area.”

Throughout Rotary International, there are more than 35,000 Rotary clubs, and the goal of all of them is to serve others and promote integrity while advancing goodwill and peace through fellowship.

Fifer and his group approached Rotary about starting their own Horizon West chapter and received approval. To start a new Rotary chapter, the group must have at least 25 people. Another option was becoming a satellite location to an existing chapter. 

“We didn’t really know if we’d have 25 right away, so they have another program where you can be a satellite,” Fifer said. “We partner with Winter Garden (currently), and we were just going to have a satellite location of their club, so we would basically just meet separately. But we got enough support right away that we don’t really need to do that.”

During an initial information session about a month ago, Fifer and his team brought some people to Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge — where the chapter’s meetings will be held — to talk about the history and mission of Rotary, as well as some of its service projects. About 30 people showed up, but there are currently around 75 on the chapter’s interest list.

Starting May 15, the group will meet as a satellite to the Rotary Club of Winter Garden for about two months. Then, it will officially launch independently as Rotary Club of Horizon West July 1. Meetings will be held on the first and third Wednesday of the month at Orange County National.

Several people on RCHW’s civic committee are working to find different service projects, Fifer said, but he hopes to be able to gather ideas from members once the chapter officially launches.

“We’re trying to really get out there and get with our members, once we launch our program, to talk about things that they’re interested in,” said Fifer, who will serve as RCHW’s first president. “We partner with Orlando Health, because they know of different projects in the community that they support, like Healthy West Orange, that we can maybe tag onto. We don’t really have a set plan yet…it’s really finding those little charities around town that we can help. We want to try to stay as close to the Horizon West area as we can.”

For those who aren’t sure of what being a Rotary member entails or those who are interested in joining, the RCHW group is hosting a social hour and information session Tuesday, April 23, at Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine in Hamlin.

The first 50 members to join RCHW will be considered charter members. It costs $50 to join as a new member, and there is a $20 monthly membership fee thereafter to cover the group’s costs.

“It’s a lot of energy to get it launched, but once we do and we can actually have 25 to 30 members showing up for meetings and we’re out in the community doing things, that’s probably ultimately where the satisfaction will come from,” Fifer said. “We’re excited about the community support already.”

Danielle Hendrix is the Black Tie Editor for all three of Observer Media Group's print publications in Orange County. She is a 2015 graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in world comparative studies. ...

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