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OysterFest has been a calendar highlight of the Pacific Northwest’s fishing industry for more ​than four decades.

The two-day festival is hosted by the Rotary Club of Shelton Skookum, Washington. Last ​year’s event, held in October, attracted 13,000 seafood enthusiasts and raised $170,000 for ​community organizations.

Seasoned seafarers and landlubbers alike got in some serious shelling, as the victor in a ​speed-shucking competition opened 24 oysters in 73 seconds. The champion in the half-​shell — a separate challenge that also accounts for presentation, with penalties for errant ​cuts — clocked in at an adjusted time of 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

“It is quite an event with the crowd cheering on their favorite to win,” says Laurie Brown, the ​club’s president-nominee. “Anyone can sign up, but most of the shuckers come from the ​various shellfish farms or restaurants.”

Rotary Club of Shelton Skookum, Washington

a group of people cooking oysters on a grill
a person in a blue shirt holding a clipboard in front of a crowd


The Rotary Club of Macau’s meeting place — one of the world’s most profitable casinos — ​has turned out to be an ace in the hole for the club.

Sands China, the operator of The Venetian Macao, sponsors the club’s signature project, a ​Christmas party for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It supports the ​gala that acts as the club’s primary fundraiser. And in December, Sands employees were ​among about 200 volunteers involved in a club effort to assemble 27,000 hygiene kits ​destined for the Philippines.

The packages were provided to an organization that collects bath items from hospitality ​companies to be recycled and redistributed. Club President João Francisco Pinto says the ​club’s projects align with Sands’ philanthropic endeavors.

The Rotary Club of Macau

a large group of people posing for a photo at The Venetian Macao


Passing rates on secondary school entrance exams that have dipped as low as 50 percent ​have vexed officials in Suriname. The Rotary Club of Paramaribo Residence, whose members ​include several teachers or retired educators, is aiming to improve those results and reduce ​dropout rates.

In October, the club instituted a mathematics training project for around two dozen teachers ​at schools serving older children. The program includes courses on topics such as set theory, ​equations, functions, plane geometry, and trigonometry.

“You have to use mathematics at every level of your life, and statistics show that in Suriname ​kids have low grades” in the subject, says club member Yvonne Mohabir. A retired school ​dean and Rotarian, Ewald Levens, leads the sessions, which are funded with the support of ​the Dutch Association of Mathematics Teachers.

The Rotary Club of Paramaribo Residence, Suriname

a person holding chalk in front of a blackboard whilst talking to a classroom full of people
a group of people sitting at tables in a classroom writing
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Nigeria has one of the world’s highest breast cancer mortality rates, a statistic that has not ​gone unnoticed by the Rotary Club of Ikoyi.

“With an incredibly scary rise of the incidence of breast cancer in Nigeria, the club became ​saddled with the huge responsibility of combating this scourge with every resource ​available,” says club member Winifred Ebiye Imbasi.

The club partnered with the Sarah Ayoka Oduwaiye Foundation to conduct free breast ​cancer screenings for more than 500 women at Lagos Island General Hospital in July 2023 ​and for 400 women in the neighborhood of Obalende in December.

In January, the club held a Jazz Nite concert and awards ceremony at the Alliance Française ​theater to raise awareness.

Rotary Club of Ikoyi, Nigeria

a group of people at a Rotary stall conducting free breast cancer screenings
four people posing for a photo with an award plaque at the Alliance Française theater
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A stroll inspired Rod Morrison to suggest that his Rotary club in southeast Australia offer ​public tours of a structure that has long loomed beside the Barwon River: the 1878 ​Fyansford Paper Mill.

Though listed by Australia as a heritage site, the mill and its legacy hadn’t received their due, ​says Morrison, a member of the Rotary Club of Highton. Rotary members pored over old ​photos and drawings to assemble displays for the 75-minute guided tours, which began in ​2022.

The mill made paper out of rags, ship sails, frayed rope, military uniforms, reeds, and other ​old fabrics until it closed in 1923. “It was one of Australia’s first recyclers,” Morrison says.

During World War II the plant served as a secret sea mine facility for the Royal Australian ​Navy. The heritage tours have already generated more than US$12,000 for community ​projects, along with enthusiasm for history.

Rotary Club of Highton, Australia

the 1878 Fyansford Paper Mill viewed from above
Rotarians giving a tour of the 1878 Fyansford Paper Mill
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