Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Rotary International outgoing president, Ron Burton read to McGaw Y kids.Photo by Mary Mumbrue

A field trip to the headquarters of Rotary International offered the students in the YMCA Summer camp a broader view of Evanston and the world. From the 18th floor, they looked down on their City, finding the McGaw Y Child Care Center and looking for the Family Focus building.

Ron Burton, outgoing president of Rotary International, told the children about the history of Rotary and its commitment to community service. He said the theme for his term as president was “Engage Rotary, change lives.”  He encouraged the children to become involved in their community and suggested that they consider joining Rotary as adults. “The life that you’re going to change the most when you help someone else is your own,” Mr. Burton said.

Mr. Burton and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl answered questions from the students, who learned that Mr. Burton always loved to read and “sat in the front row of class and always participated.” They also learned the Mayor’s favorite color (purple), favorite food (chocolate) and her favorite author (Alex Kotlowitz).

By turns, Mayor Tisdahl and Mr. Burton read aloud the book “A Bus Called Heaven” by author/illustrator Bob Graham. The story, about a neighborhood that comes together to make an abandoned bus into a place for everyone, emphasizes community, creativity and appreciation of others.

Afterward Mayor Tisdahl presented Mr. Burton and his wife, Jenna, with the keys to the City. “This is the greatest honor a City can give,” she told the children, “because it means that we want [Mr. and Mrs. Burton] to come back.”

Mr. Burton said he and his wife loved Evanston and would love to return often but, having made it through last year’s polar vortexes, they would first check the weather forecast.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...