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50 years: ‘service above self’


ervice above self is the concept of being a part of something bigger than who you are,” said Dyno Wahl, president-elect of the Rotary Club of

Sandpoint, now celebrating its 50th anniversary. Pierce Smith, outgoing president, passes a baton of leadership to Wahl as they reflect on the good their group continues to do after a half century. Rotary was originally a male-only club, but women now make up 35 percent of the membership. It’s a diverse group today with members ranging in ages from 32 to 95, including two original charter members, Dar Cogswell and Jack Parker. You can see the club’s brick-and-mortar efforts in the likes of Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail’s trailhead and benches – built and installed by members - plus the Farmin Park bandshell and clock tower. A group of

Rotarians, from left, President Pierce Smith, past President Steve Verby and President-elect Dyno Wahl at a Rotary project, the Farmin Park clock tower

Rotarians have collaborated with the local Habitat for Humanity, too. Other projects include programs that support education. The Rotary Club of Sandpoint provides books to first- and second-graders at Hope

express the concept of service beyond self. The club supports the

Elementary in partnership with the Village Green Project and Book Trust.

Sandpoint Interact Club, a group of high school students that raised

Smith and Wahl are motivated by the realization that many students don’t

$800 through a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts fundraiser and contributed

have books at home and that 50 percent of local students qualify for free

it to a Spokane ophthalmologist who performed cataract surgery in

or reduced-price lunches.

Ethiopia, for example.

“It’s hard to conceive that these kids go home to no books,” said Wahl.

Most notable about the success of Rotary International is how its

Through Book Trust, the club provides each qualifying student with a

clubs give back to their own communities and then expand that effort

monthly $7 voucher. The students pick their own books and budget to

globally. It’s a manifestation of changing the world by first changing

start a home library.

your own backyard. Friendships through high school exchanges and

In the summer, the club presents the Chafe 150 bike ride through Idaho and Montana. The gran fondo staged every June raises money to support

member exchanges also connect the Sandpoint Rotary Club to the world. It’s a 50-year legacy worth celebrating.

early intervention and education of students on the autism spectrum in the Lake Pend Oreille School District. The 2015 ride raised $100,000. The club also contributes to education by inspiring students to

–Charli Mills More information:

Author on a mission to change white men’s culture


very other week or so, Michael Welp, 54, leaves his Sandpoint home to sequester himself with a group of corporate, white male executives – not to conduct business but rather to change their lives. In April, the organizational consultant published a book about the process, “Four Days to Change.” Welp also shares his psychological insight locally as a charter member, along with founder Owen Marcus, of the Sandpoint Men’s Group, and he regularly hosts “authentic-relating” events to teach people how to build trust and nurture relationships. All the while, he raises daughters Lydia and Nina, a junior and freshman at Sandpoint High School, respectively. Welp moved here in 2003 from Minneapolis,

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Minn., with his former wife, to take advantage of the education provided by the Sandpoint Waldorf School and the area’s abundant outdoor recreation. “It’s amazing to live in this place,” he said, where he can mountain bike, paddle and hike from his doorstep with his daughters. “I grew up in Iowa with cornfields and hog farms. I didn’t learn much about diversity in Iowa,” he said. Now, he trains leaders of companies such as NASA, Rockwell Automation and Lockheed Martin how to thrive in a diverse world. Welp says despite efforts to create diversity in workplaces, corporate leadership is still 80 percent white men. He cofounded White Men as Full Diversity Partners 20 years

ago to help those men broaden their world view while creating more inclusive, authentic partnerships in the workplace and at home. Participants come to workshops thinking this is about helping other people with their issues, and then they realize it has to do with them, Welp said. “Ultimately they realize this is about ‘me’ as a leader.” It’s his mission to help change that culture and get diversity right – and share that message here in Sandpoint. Learn more at www.


5/10/16 2:10 PM

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2016  

In this Issue: Dog Town, Idaho How people and their dogs have created Sandpoint’s copious canine culture Plus ‘Peaking’ Our Interest - Peak...

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2016  

In this Issue: Dog Town, Idaho How people and their dogs have created Sandpoint’s copious canine culture Plus ‘Peaking’ Our Interest - Peak...