Our presenter today was Fridley Fire Chief and former NBMV Rotarian Maddison Zikmund.  Maddison spoke about hands on educational opportunities provided by Exploring.org, an offshoot of Scouting.  Exploring provides exciting activities and mentorship for youth looking to discover their future.  Youth from age 10-21 can gain knowledge and experience in a wide range of potential careers with little or no cost.  The Exploring website lists several career fields, including Arts & Humanities, Aviation, Business, Communications, Engineering & Technology, Firefighting & EMS, Health Care, Law & Government, Law Enforcement, Science, Skilled Trades and Social Services.
Maddison has personal experience with Fire Safety Exploring, having led an Explorer post for several years.  He said that Fire Explorer Posts are a significant feeder system for Fire safety professionals.  He also has experience with the Opportunities in Emergency Care (OEC) program in the Spring Lake Park School District which prepares student for careers in Emergency Health Services.  Many OEC students find careers in or related to firefighting.
Before the Pandemic, there were 60 Fire Exploring posts in Minnesota and that number dropped as low as 23 when COVID struck but posts are reforming as we adjust to the new realities of living with the virus.  In addition to the “posts” that serve 14-20 year olds, 10-14 year olds can participate in “clubs” which should help to feed participants into the corresponding posts.  The Governor’s Fire Prevention Day at The MN Sate Fair also helps create interest in Fire Exploring and firefighting careers.
Cindy Carlson updated us on our 2022 Gold Plate Dinner.  The event will be held at the Mermaid on April 22nd and this year we are reducing the number of tickets from 100 to 75.  The ticket price will increase to $170/couple.  Start thinking now about auction items you could donate and people you could invite to join you at the event.  This year we will offer an additional raffle option ($50/ticket) for those who want to support our cause but can’t attend the event. 
Ed James said that we should watch the District 5960 newsletter for mention of Mike Neeley’s 50 years of perfect attendance milestone.
President Charlie Longbella reminded us of the upcoming District 5960 “Taste of Rotary” event being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Roseville from 8:15-11:30AM on Saturday January 8, 2022.  Think of it as a Rotary enthusiasm booster shot, featuring Idea Sharing, Breakout Sessions, Foundation Information, Club Visioning Information and more.
Dave Hoel reported that he had received a phone call from Irondale Choir Director Jason Etten thanking us for the $500 donation and the opportunity to perform for us. 
Happy Bucks Highlights:
Cindy and Kevin Carlson celebrated their 35th anniversary in Palm Desert.
Dana Rebelein celebrated great-grand motherhood with the birth of Daphne May.
Remember that there is no meeting on December 28th.
The January 4th meeting will be a tour of the Mounds View Public Works Facility.