About Santa Paula Rotary

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The Santa Paula Rotary Club was founded in 1923 and numbers some 70 in membership.  It is the first and only club in Santa Paula, a town of 30,000 in the coastal region north of Los Angeles, California and known for its large agriculture-based economy.  Principal crops are lemons and avocados.  Santa Paula was one of the earliest areas in California for oil exploration activity, and at one time was the home base of the Union Oil Company.


Major club activities include:  

  • Christmas Baskets : Approximately 500 are put together and delivered each year to needy families in the community.  These baskets include canned goods, rice, beans, fresh fruit, toys for the children and a frozen chicken.  Funds are collected from the community to purchase some items, but most are donated.  A fleet of trucks with teams of Rotarians and other community members deliver the baskets on Christmas Eve directly to each family's home.
  • The New Teacher Welcome is a barbecue hosted by Rotary to welcome all the teachers who are new to Santa Paula schools beginning in September of each school year.
  • The Scholarship Fund, started by the club 25 years ago, is used to award over $20,000 in scholarships each year to graduates of Santa Paula High School.
  • Our Christmas Stocking Program collects items for residents of our local nursing homes, which are personally delivered to each individual at Christmas time.
  • Junior Achievement Awards annually recognize outstanding high school juniors.
  • The Barbecue Team cooks top sirloin steak dinners with beans, salad and bread for Rotary events as well as for community and private events.
  • The newest project will be operating the Pumpkin Patch at Limoneira Ranch during the month of October  before Halloween.  Rotary has created a county-wide event, which has drawn thousands of children and adults each year in the past.  The setting is an historic and picturesque local farm where pumpkins and other items are sold for Halloween.  Hayrides, musical entertainment, crafts, farm animal exhibits, pies and beverages are also offered.  We offer a 5 acre Corn MAiZE which is the only one in the county and includes about 2.5 miles of walking.This will markedly enhance Rotary's visibility in the community and the club's fund raising potential.


The club also has special in-house events to further the concept of the Family of Rotary.

  • The Children's Christmas Party brings in the children and grandchildren of club members for lunch each December and a visit with Santa Claus, who gives each child a gift.
  • There are special Family of Rotary Luncheons near holidays such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Christmas to which spouses and others are invited as guests.
  • At the end of each Rotary year in June a special event is held to "roast" the outgoing president and to present year-end awards.  These include Rotarian-of-the-Year and the Gale Mason Award, named in honor of a past longtime "Mr. Santa Paula Rotary" member.  Paul Harris Fellow presentations are also part of the festivities.


Family Ties

Over the history of the club, there have been strong family ties, with a number of fathers and sons having been members and even presidents.  Two families have had three generations of Santa Paula Rotarians.  The club has a diverse membership, including ten women, three of whom have been president.  The longest serving member joined the club back in 1952.  There are four members who have been in the club over 50 years.



International Projects

Club members have traveled to Obregon and Poza Rica in Mexico, to Nicaragua and Honduras and as far away as the Philippines, South Korea and India to participate in Rotary international projects.


Ambassadorial Scholarships

Four students nominated by the club over the years have been selected for the prestigious Ambassadorial Scholarship awarded by the Rotary District.  These scholarships, valued today at over $23,000, fund a full year of study abroad.


Centennial Project

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rotary International in 2005, the club adopted as a centennial project the restoration of Ebell Park in downtown Santa Paula, by planting new trees, reconstructing a pergola, or arbor, and other enhancements.  



Smile Song

Many people who have visited the club say what fun they had at Santa Paula Rotary meetings.  Nothing gets the members off to a better start each week and in a greater mood than an enthusiastic singing session, two or three songs, some to homespun lyrics, and always ending with the traditional "Smile" song.


The club meets each Monday at noon at Flight 126 Restaurant at Santa Paula's airport.  The club started out at a local Inn in 1923, followed by almost 70 years at the Masonic Temple building..


We are grateful for the heritage passed on to us over our 94 years.  We have good fun and fellowship while doing the great humanitarian work of Rotary.  The club is part of the four-county Rotary District 5240 , which includes Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties.