History of Rotary Club of Apple Valley
March 27, 1985 to June 30, 2016
A Rocky Start
      Prior to being chartered, the Apple Valley Club experienced a challenging organizational period; Roger Franzmeier, the club's first president, passed away only weeks before the charter night celebration. Roger and Joe Nordland actually flipped a coin early in the club organizational process to determine who would be the first president.  However, Joe said it was only appropriate that Roger be the first president because of his knowledge, enthusiasm and experience with the Rotary Club of West St Paul.   
      With the help of the Rotary Club of Burnsville and special efforts by Burnsville members Jack Kuehn and Ron Abicht, the Rotary Club of Apple Valley was chartered on March 27, 1985.  The Burnsville Club donated and inscribed the Club's Rotary bell that remains in use today. 
      Charter Night was held April 1985 at Brackett's Crossing Country Club, including 29 charter members. Nine charter members currently remain active in the club.
Meeting Places
      During its 20 years, the Club has met at 5 different locations and has consumed over 40,000 breakfasts! The Club originally met at Jimmy's Lemon Tree restaurant, which was located on the northeast quadrant of Cedar Avenue and County Road 42. This site is currently the home of the Huntington Learning Center which is next to MidCountry Bank.  
      The second meeting spot was Green Streets restaurant which was located west of Cedar Avenue on the north side of 147th street at the site of the present Famous Dave's restaurant. 
      The American Legion was a great host from June 1992 to June 1998.  During that time Vern and Bea Spindler were the kitchen manager / cooks for the Legion.  Vern always had a joke or a story to share with the Club (politically incorrect as they may have been!)   
      In June 1998 the Club moved to the then newly established banquet hall of Old Chicago restaurant.  The plan was to offer an easier to find meeting place at the corner of Cedar Avenue and County Road 42 for those looking for our morning meetings! 
            In July 2004,  the Club moved to the newly constructed Enjoy!, an upscale fine dining restaurant with great food and wonderful atmosphere in the central village area of Apple Valley.    When the restaurant changed hands and closed for remodeling in the fall of 2013, the Club moved to the newly constructed Valleywood Golf Course clubhouse, which has since become our permanent meeting location.
Fundraising Activities
      Through a wide variety of methods and reasons, our club's "Fine Masters" have picked club members' pockets for over $38,000 through the years!  Proceeds from these funds have been used primarily to support our Christmas Families project. 
      The Club's first organized fundraiser was a silent auction and formal dinner at the Holiday Inn of Burnsville in November 1985.  Since then, the club has had a variety of fundraising efforts including:   
  • Rose sales
  • Poinsettia sales
  • Christmas basket sales
  • Placemat advertising sales
  • Pull-tab sales
  • Champagne omelet breakfasts
  • Root Beer Float Sales
  • Garage sale
  • Golf tournament
  • Cash prize raffles / dinners
  • Live & silent auctions / dinners
  • Car raffles and dinner
  • Go-Kart races
Apple Valley Rotary Scholarship Foundation
      In 1997 the Club organized the Apple Valley Rotary Scholarship Foundation.  The initial funding for the Foundation came from the District 196 Foundation which after interviewing several service clubs in Apple Valley chose our Club to receive their beginning endowment.  The Foundation is focused on funding youth and educational activities.  Scholarships for high school youth has been the primary avenue for reaching out with the Foundation. 
      Over the years, the Apple Valley Rotary Scholarship Foundation has funded scholarships to students from Apple Valley High School, Eastview High School and Dakota County Technical College, including 1- and 4- year scholarships. In addition, club members mentor students in the Apple Valley High School Strive program, and the Scholarship foundation funds scholarships to student who successfully finish the strive program.  
The Apple Valley Rotary Scholarship Foundation also funds other youth and educational programs, including providing dictionaries to all third grade students in District 196, providing hats and mittens to youth in the community, and teacher of the year awards.
As fundraisers have become more successful, the Foundation has expanded to support more local and international programs, including….
Community Service
      Apple Valley Rotary's first community service project was a citywide cleanup of the commercial / retail area.  The club-sponsored Boy Scout pack 227 helped Rotarians, their spouses and others to pick up trash. 
      Since then the club has continued to keep things clean along a 2-mile stretch in front of the Minnesota Zoo through our Highway Cleanup project. The club also cleans up Redwood Park and Legacy Park. 
Christmas Families Project
      Each year the Club raises funds via donations by Club Members (in addition to proceeds from the weekly Fine Master efforts) to "adopt" 6 to 10 families at Christmas from local assistance organizations such as Community Action Council and CAP (now 360 Communities).  Club members shop at a local discount retailer for Christmas presents, food and all the trimmings. 
Head Start Program
      The club has been involved with the local Head Start preschool program in a variety of ways.  Members have volunteered many hours reading and playing with children in the program which assists the program in receiving Federal funding.  In addition, the Club purchased two computers with age appropriate software and computer tables employing the District Grant program.  With excess funds raised from the Christmas Families effort the Club was able to provide winter coats, snow pants, boots, mittens and hats for many Head Start children. 
Safe Water Plus Well Drilling
      Through the passion and involvement of two Club members, Steve Mattson and Dick Asleson, the Apple Valley Club has been challenged and contributed substantially to the Safe Water Plus water projects that have been undertaken in the Central Plateau region in Haiti. 
Teacher Recognition Award
      Each year, the club has awarded a Teacher of the Year Award to Apple Valley High School teacher in recognition of outstanding teaching and student involvement. 
International Projects
      The Club has partnered on several international service projects, including: 
  • Dominican Republic Clean Water
  • Ixtepec Clinic Project (Mexico) 
  • Group Study Exchange (Various)
  • Wheelchair Project
  • Masai Girls School
  • Bikes for Africa
  • Sierra Leone Project
  • Jamaican Dental Project (Great Shape, Inc/1000 Smiles)
  • International Village Clinic
Youth Exchange
     Apple Valley Rotary has hosted nine inbound exchange students from South Africa, Poland, Spain, Germany, Paraguay, Japan and Brazil. Several members of the club have remained particularly close to and have become family for Leslie McGill, our exchange student from South Africa. As a result of Leslie's exchange year and her close relationship to club members, she was able to return to the US after 2 years back in South Africa, attend the University of Minnesota, earn US citizenship and meet and marry her husband.  Talk about making a difference - Leslie's comment is "You changed my life."
Paul Harris Fellows
      The Club has had 88 Paul Harris Fellows who have contributed a total of more than $125,000 toward the Paul Harris Foundation.  These were accomplished through individual donations, Grand Groups and club donations for each President's year of service to the club.
In the 2015-2016 school year, one of our members, Robert Braun, worked with Apple Valley High School to start an Interact Club.
Social Activities
Annual Christmas Party
In conjunction with our Christmas Families program, club members get together to wrap all the gifts purchased which typically number between 200 and 250 gifts.  Once all the gifts are wrapped and stored, the members enjoyed good food, good fellowship and good spirits for the season! Longtime member Bill Tschohl regularly “invites” Santa Claus to join us.
President's Dinner
As each President's Rotary year comes to a close in June, the Club hosts a program to thank the outgoing President for their year of service and to welcome the incoming President.  At the event Club / Attendance Awards are presented to members, the outgoing and incoming Boards of Directors are recognized and outgoing and incoming Presidents give their thoughts on the Club.  
Other Social Activities
Throughout the years the Apple Valley Rotary Club has held a wide variety of social activities to gather the members and allow them to get to know one another outside of weekly meetings.  These have included: progressive dinners, theater outings, summer picnics, bowling nights, Great American Experience (lunch at White Castle), Minnesota Zephyr train ride, Vino in the Valley trips, St. Paul Saints games and many more!