SYKESVILLE — The Rotary Club of Sykesville-South Carroll will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a dinner and dance at 6:30 p.m. April 16 at the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department.
About 230 members from Sykesville and nearby clubs, as well as district leaders, are expected to attend the affair, said Willam F. Church, a member of the Golden Anniversary Committee.
Included in the program will be music and group singing, then dancing to the George Hipp Ensemble.
The governor of Rotary District 762, Elverson Baker, also will speak to the group. As club historian,Church, who attended the club's first meeting 50 years ago as a reporter for the Sykesville Herald, will review the club's history.
Pictures, newspaper clippings and other historical items will be on display detailing the club's activities over the years.
The Sykesville Rotary was chartered April 25, 1941, with 30 charter members. Only a few of these members survive.
"At least four of the original members have indicated they plan to attend," Church said. "One is way down in Florida, but he's coming back up for this."
The club is partof Rotary International, the first service club to be organized in the world. Begun in Chicago in 1905 by a small group of businessmen, the club and its philosophy spread throughout the United States to other countries.
"We're all business and professional individuals," Church explained. "Our membership is based on classifications to provide a cross-section of the community."
The Rotary concentrates on four areas of service: vocational, club, community and international. The Sykesville club has supported Rotary's international scholarship program and its efforts to rid the world of polio by providing vaccine to poor countries.
On a local level, Rotarians have donated to the Baltimore Area Blood Bank, offered financial assistance to Gallaudet College in Washington and supported area fire departments.
"Ourbiggest contribution right now is with the Sykesville fire department," Church said. "During the carnival, we supply all the workers for bingo for the entire week, and all the profits, about $3,000 just from bingo, go to the fire department."
The club also manages the fire department's weekly bingo sessions once a month, for which the clubkeeps all the receipts, its major fund-raiser.
In the course of its first 50 years, the Sykesville club, whose name was changed to theSykesville-South Carroll Rotary Club in 1982, also provided two district governors and sponsored the Damascus Rotary Club back in 1956.
Previously an all-men's organization, Rotary was forced to open itsmembership to women in the 1980s, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that women could not be barred from activities.
"We have a very good woman in our club, Sandy Mosberg, who joined in 1989," Church said, noting that Mosberg is the club's 1991 vice president.
The Sykesville-South Carroll Rotary Club meets at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the Sykesville Fire Hall. The club currently has 25 members .
Membership is open and requires a proposal by a member and approval of qualifications by the board of directors.