By:  Jim Hoover, Rotary Club of China Lake
You don’t inspire future Rotarians by telling them about Rotary as much as you do by giving them a Rotary experience – even if it’s gluing split peas on a sign, one seed at a time.

Decorating a Rose Parade float as a volunteer is no small act of service, and the experience for Interactors and Rotarian chaperones too ☺ can be inspiring in many ways. Opportunities abound to meet and work with other Rotarians and Interactors and even meet master float builders like the specialists who work for Disney.  A satisfying sense of accomplishment is felt, partly by seeing a huge work of art take on color and texture before your eyes, with your own hands; and partly through the teamwork spirit of eager, smiling volunteers.  Being the inspiration isn’t necessarily easy work, but it can result in being inspired too… a wonderfully positive, reinforcing cycle.
Our group of 10 volunteer decorators in the Interact Club of Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, CA journeyed to Irwindale, CA – the site where Phoenix Decorating Company is building the Rotary Rose Parade Float, a Princesses’ Trophy-winner in the 2017 and 2018 Rose Parades.  The group’s 1 December, all-day, hands-on lesson was how to decorate a Rose Parade float.  Chaperoned by their Math teacher, an Honorary Rotarian and the local, Rotary Club of China Lake president, the students prepared and applied dried flowers and seeds that make-up the natural, colorful, textured background for the fresh flowers that go on in the final hours.

So, when a giant, “duded-up” crocodile rolls-out and rocks-out on parade day, at least 10 Rotary inspirations from Burroughs High School will be able to watch with a very personal satisfaction knowing they had a part to play in that – and be inspired that much more. 

Please find more information about the Rotary Rose Parade Float at and enjoy seeing seeds of “service above self” being planted during the Rose Parade.