Yakima Rotary Aquatic Center 


The Yakima Rotary Club was sponsored by The Rotary Club of Seattle #4 and chartered on December 1, 1919. Rotary clubs were required to have a minimum of 25 members each with separate distinct classifications or professions. Yakima Rotary was formed with exactly 25 members; some of those first classifications included, undertaking, ice manufacturing, shoes, and fruit processing. Meetings were held at the Commercial Hotel. In the early days, the programs were usually furnished by one of the members presenting a paper or talk followed by general discussion or criticism as the case might be.
The first service project was to have proper street signs put up so that people would not get lost in the city and so that deliveries could be made from the stores without wandering all over. Not long after that, a commitment was made to raise $4,000 over 2 years to fund Boy Scout work. The first major program was the Crippled Children Program in partnership with the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in Seattle to provide contributions to the hospital and to fund a local program of supplying shoes and appliances for children in our community and travel expenses to and from Seattle.
By the 1940s, Yakima Rotary had grown to over 100 members, funds raised were still going to the Crippled Children’s Fund, the first District Governor, Clarence Ernst, was chosen from Yakima and we hosted our first District Conference. The 1950s brought a broadening of community service within the club. Rotary spearheaded a community-wide drive for a $450,000 bond for pools and playgrounds. The 60s saw membership break the 200-member mark. Yakima Rotary sponsored a new club in 1969 called Yakima Southwest Rotary. Yakima Rotary sponsored another club in 1987 called Yakima Sunrise Rotary.
The first World Community Service project was undertaken in the 1970s as Yakima Rotary partnered with a club in Loja, Ecuador to collect, sort, pack and ship up to 10,000 pairs of eyeglasses to Ecuador.  In 2001, Rotary International awarded Yakima Rotary a three-year $405,000 grant to provide medical training and equipment for people to operate a hospital in Yetebon, Ethiopia. The most recent RI grant project was the construction of a therapeutic playground in Honduras completed in the fall of 2019.
The 1990s came with a tradition of club presidents choosing a signature community project that not only included financing but hands-on volunteer opportunities. Those projects have included Habitat Houses, a Welcome to Yakima sign, playgrounds at Franklin, Randall, Kiwanis and MLK Jr. parks, libraries at the Henry Beauchamp and Washington Fruit Community Centers, an Education Center at Rod’s House for Homeless Youth, and a new building for the Yakima Rotary Food Bank. 
Yakima Rotary celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2019 with the "Greatest Party Ever" and the dedication of a new Yakima Rotary Aquatic Center in partnership with the Yakima YMCA.