Rotary at Camp Colman
The Rotary Club of West Seattle has had a long involvement with the YMCA Camp Coleman. Rotarians have labored to provide summer camping experiences for young people at the Camp. There are a number of cabins bearing the Rotary name. Most of the cabins are linked in one way or another to Rotary. There are cabins given to the camp in the name of a deceased loved one, and the donor is a Rotarian. Hands-on work projects were associated with the building of these cabins and for the periodic maintenance and paint when required.
The very first cabin was built in the 1967 – 1968 time period. Rotarians developed the concept, helped to raise funds for the project, and contributed a considerable amount of expertise to help design and erect the cabin. This project, like most good Rotary projects, involved a number of volunteers contributing their time, talent, and treasure. Club records note that the first cabin project was an outstanding success and a wonderful addition to the camping program. By the way, these volunteers also enjoyed themselves. The cabin was ready for the 1969 camping season. The cabin was winterized in the mid-1970s for winter camping experiences for youth.
The project received recognition from the district and was written up in the Rotarian magazine. A second Rotary cabin, named for a West Seattle Rotarian Normie Beers, was completed in 1979.
This project developed from a dream to restore a section of the shoreline to its natural state as an inter-tidal habitat for wildlife. The restoration of the shore and the provision of safe public access to a Puget Sound beach were the cornerstones of this dream. This effort took a number of years and involved various groups, businesses, and governmental entities to come to fruition. An unsafe seawall and a beach that had deteriorated required five years of planning and support to correct the situation. Our club donated $10,000 and many man-hours to the effort.
Today, the Cove has been restored. The seawall is safe. Native plants adorn the grounds. There are benches and walkways to the beach. Interpretative information plaques inform visitors of the natural treasures at the Cove. A telescope offers visitors an opportunity to view the changing environment, wildlife, birds, and natural habitat on a close-up basis. The Rotary Club’s financial contributions, work parties, and efforts to build community support were combined with grants and the contributions of school children, neighbors, and the City to make this five-year dream become a reality. Cormorant Cove is a place that will be enjoyed by many for years to come. Rotary’s vision and leadership helped to make this possible.
Plaque on bulkhead @ 63rd and Alki: This plaque commemorates the arrival of the Denny Party. Rotarian Ken Wise’s family owns the property and installed the plaque. The City will not all such plaques to be placed on City property.
Pocket Park @ 42nd/Alaska Way. WS Rotary donated $10,000 toward the construction of this recently completed park across the street from the QFC.
Pier T-105/107 improvements, including park bench, etc. These improvements were done during Any Horner’s year as club president. West Seattle Rotarians provided much of the heavy labor needed to clean up the locations.
Public access to beach project: There is a narrow public access point to the beach on Beach Drive, between Cormorant Cove Park and La Rustica. West Seattle Rotary installed the plantings in that area.
- Trees lining Alaska Way between 35th and Fauntleroy. Some of the trees have been removed over the years.
- Trees lining Fauntleroy Way from just a block or two south of the Fauntleroy/Alaska Junction all the way to a couple of blocks past the California/Fauntleroy junction. We organized the planting of 127 trees in one morning during Amy Lee Derenthal’s year as President. I dubbed it “AmyLee’s Rotary Grove.”
- South Seattle Community College Culinary Arts program: WS Rotary donated $10,000 toward the construction of the new culinary arts center.
- WSHS choir robes. About 15 years ago, the club raised the funds (about $8,000) to purchase new choir robes for West Seattle High School. This was in conjunction with the opening of the renovated high school. They had not had new robes for more than 30 years.
- Tree planting project near Longfellow Creek. Accomplished in about 1997 with the cooperation of Seattle City Light (Mike Little).
- The Chinese Garden project at SSCC. Rotarians donated money and man-hours in Ken Eastlack’s year as club president.
- Duwamish Tribe Longhouse: West Seattle Rotary helped the Duwamish Tribe with getting their property ready to construct their Longhouse. The Tribe of Chief Seattle has gone through a decades-long effort to gain federal recognition. Part of their effort involved securing the land for a Longhouse and then getting it built. During Tom Wise’s year as club president, Rotarians helped clean up the site prior to construction of the Longhouse.
Constellation Park On Beach Drive