Who We Are

We are neighbors, friends and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. Our differing occupations, cultures and countries give us a unique perspective. Our shared passion for service helps us accomplish the remarkable.

Welcome from The President

Carol Hand-Turley

The Magic of Rotary is in the Connections We Make

I love the Rotary Club of Watsonville.  In the 20 years that I have been a member I have grown in confidence and ability. I have been shepherded by incredible mentors. I have developed life-long friends both at home and abroad.  I have had opportunities to mentor others. My involvement locally has benefited my employer, my family, and myself.

Our club meets for an hour and fifteen minutes most Wednesdays where we share fellowship, network, hear interesting speakers, honor local students, and plan amazing activities that impact our community and the world.  Many guests have declared that our Club is friendly and welcoming.

We have a strong focus on service projects that support youth.  We sponsor the Watsonville High School Interact which is a youth centered Rotary-affiliated service and leadership development club.  We support the Rotaract Club of Santa Cruz County, a college and young adult service club that meets on the UCSC Campus.  We sponsor high school students on year-long and short term cultural and language programs.  We have adopted and support E.A. Hall Middle School, Renaissance High School and New School. We host a Job Shadow experience for about 70 high school students every year where the they are paired with community members who work in fields of interest to the students.  We raise funds through an annual Lobster Dinner which generates in excess of $30,000 every year that is given to local non-profits that benefit local at-risk youth and education.  We plant trees, donate books, package food, paint facilities, clean playgrounds, and have a lot of fun.

The moral code of Rotary demands ethical practices in all interactions.  Is it the Truth? Is it Fair to all concerned? Will it build Goodwill & Better Friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? You can deal with a Rotarian with confidence.  Our moto, “Service Above Self” drives us to make our communities and the world a better place.  The International President each year develops a theme for their year.  Mark Malone, our current International President, uses “Rotary Connects the World.” For our Club, I use “The Magic of Rotary is in the Connections We Make.”

I often wear a gold pendant that symbolizes Rotary.  I seize any opportunity to talk about it and my love for Rotary.  It includes two children holding hands which represents our dedication to youth, a globe signifying our world view and involvement, a dove of peace because of our strong desire to create a peaceful world (Rotarians were at the table when the United Nations was formed, we provide scholarships for students pursuing careers in peace building,) and finally, the Rotary Wheel which has five spokes, one for each of the founding members.

I love Rotary and my Rotary family.  Please visit one of our meetings as my guest so you too can grow in Rotary.

What Makes Us Different

Our distinct point of view and approach gives us unique advantages. Our multidisciplinary perspective helps us see challenges in unique ways. We apply leadership and expertise to social issues and find unique solutions. Our passion and perseverance create lasting change. We make a difference at home and around the world.

How Do We Work

Our impact starts with our members, people who work tirelessly with their clubs to solve some of our community’s toughest challenges. Their efforts are supported by Rotary International, our member association and the Rotary Foundation, which turns generous donations into grants that fund the work of our members and partners around the world. Watsonville Rotary is led by our members, responsible leaders who help to carry forward our generation’s mission and values in their elected roles.


Our History

The Watsonville Rotary Club was founded on May 21, 1927, the same day that Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris. A small article on the front page of the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian newspaper covered the first meeting with huge headlines above the article about Lindbergh’s feat. The club has an average of 70-80 members with our most veteran member having joined the club in 1947. We have always been an active club in the community and around the world.  Our Rotarians have provided funding and sent members to Peru and Guatemala over the last 20 years to work on a variety of projects including literacy, health education, medical support and water sanitation. We provide support for local schools including financial support, student college scholarships, equipment and enrichment activities.  We have an annual grant program for local non-profits that serve Watsonville youth through an annual grant program We host a Job Shadowing Day for 80 students from Watsonville High where our members and other professionals  provide quality career “hosting” for the students.  We sponsor foreign exchange students through the Rotary Exchange program. We sponsor an annual speech contest and recognize student achievement at local partner schools at our weekly meetings. Our weekly Speakers engage the membership and guests with information about local, national and international issues.

Youth Involvement In Rotary

watsonville interact clubINTERACT meets at Watsonville High School during lunch every Wednesday in room 403 (Ms Shellman’s class.) Interact is an international organization of service that fosters leadership and responsible citizenship, and promotes international understanding and peace. Interact is a club for youth ages 12-18 who want to connect with others in their community or school. Interact club members have fun while carrying out service projects and learning about the world. The name “Interact” was created by combining the words “international” and “action.” Interact clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs and Interact clubs organize at least two service projects a year: one that benefits their community and one that encourages international understanding. While Interact clubs receive guidance from individual Rotary clubs, they govern and support themselves and are included in Rotary International’s “Youth Services” Avenue of Service.


 atsonville rotaract clubROTARACT meets most Wednesday evenings 8:00 pm in the Amah Matsun Conference Room above the Baytree Bookstore on the UCSC campus. UCSC Rotaract annually invites 20 high school Interactors to the UCSC campus to tour the university and to attend workshops about applying for college and campus life.