Kingman's new Rotaract Club makes it official with charter

KINGMAN - When the Route 66 Trailblazers Rotaract Club receives its charter Saturday night, the proudest person in the audience won't be one of the new organization's members.

Becky Fawson, a mother who came up with the idea of a club to help young professionals make new friends, will be beaming in her seat as the first rural Rotaract Club in Arizona officially becomes a nonprofit organization.

Rotaract is a Rotary-sponsored club for men and women 18 to 30 years old who want to serve their communities and the world through various service projects.

"I had seen over the years that helping young people meet others was a real need, especially when I hired young attorneys," said Fawson, office supervisor for the Mohave County Legal Defense Office. "And when my son came back here from college and complained that he couldn't find anyone to do things with, I knew I had to find a solution.

"I think it's really important for young people to want to stay in Kingman, and having something like this for them helps grow the community."

The gathering will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Central Commercial building, located at Fourth and Beale streets, with chartering at 7:30 p.m. by the Route 66 Rotary Club. Several Rotary governing district presidents will attend, as will local politicians and officials.

The public is invited, and tickets are $30 for the event and meal. An auction and 50/50 raffle are scheduled during the evening.

Fawson's former involvement in Ski Hawks, a local service club she joined in 1983 that later disbanded, led her to look into possibilities for her son and others.

After learning about Rotaract from Charlie Tegarden, past district governor for District 5490, which includes Kingman, Fawson talked the idea over with long-time friend Missy Grasser. Their adult children, Zane Fawson, 27, and Kristi Grasser, 28, have been friends since they attended day care together here.

Zane Fawson, who graduated from Embry Riddle University in Prescott with a degree in aerospace engineering, returned home about the same time that Kristi Grasser graduated from Northern Arizona University in

Flagstaff with a degree in special education teaching. With their mothers' support, they teamed up to form Kingman's Rotaract Club, which had its first meeting in September. The club will charter with 27 members this weekend.

"We were craving something for professional people to do," said Grasser, who is the club's first president. "At that time, I had no idea what Rotaract Club was, but now I know it's a way to give back internationally and locally in our community. We help build up Kingman in a positive way. Both Zane and I were raised here and have seen the city's ups and downs. We want to make Kingman better."

Since it started, Rotaract Club members have assisted with a sock hop at the Kingman Fun Run, given out candy at Trunk or Treat in the downtown area, administered polio vaccines in Caborca, Mexico, and managed the Kids Korner at the Kingman Festival of the Arts.

Future plans include a pub crawl at six area businesses in September, a camping trip to Kiabab Lake near Williams, a 44-mile hike at the Grand Canyon with members of the Rotary, a Kids Korner at the Kingman Rodeo and Octoberfest, and building a tortoise habitat for Arizona Game and Fish. Also, the club is trying to raise money for a water project in El Desemboque, Mexico.

Chartering the Rotaract Club is a big deal, said Kristi Grasser, because it brings the club under the leadership of the Rotary Club. Also, it allows club members to properly raise funds and it officially marks it as the first in Kingman and the largest community-based club in Arizona. Most clubs are located in university towns, although about 10 in the state are situated in small communities.

"I am ecstatic about the club being chartered and I just can't believe it," said Becky Fawson. "There was a real need for the club and now it's here and is very active. I couldn't be happier that the young people of Kingman finally have this opportunity."

Rotaract Club meets at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Calico's Restaurant, 418 W. Beale St. Potential members are invited. For more information, call (928) 303-9646.