Provide service to others, promoting integrity and advancing world understanding, goodwill and peace through our fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.


Service Above Self, Fellowship, Diversity, Integrity, and Leadership


To be the service organization of choice with dynamic action-oriented members whose leadership and contribution improve lives in our community.


  • Lead impactful projects in the Five Avenues of Service
  • Foster rewarding and engaging membership experiences
  • Consistently communicate our club's vision, mission, values, and good works
  • Support and strengthen our structure to meet our Rotary mission


A Brief History of the Rotary Club of Traverse City

The permanent charter for the Rotary Club of Traverse City was issued on May 1, 1920. This was just 15 years after the initial Rotary Club formed in Chicago as one of the world’s first service organizations and as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. The first Traverse City club president was State Senator James Milliken, whose son William (also a Traverse City Rotarian) would later serve as the governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983.
One of the Rotary Club’s first service projects was the establishment of the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce in 1921. In 1923 club president Clarence Greilick led in the acquisition of 450 acres of land in the Spider Lake and Rennie Lake areas. The club raised $1,100 for this purchase and an additional $7,500 for 27 acres with Rennie Lake frontage, the purpose of which was to create a campground for 4-H, the Boy Scouts, and the Girl Scouts.

In 1955, all of the lands acquired was turned over to a new nonprofit corporation called Rotary Camps & Services, Inc., which then leased the Camp Greilick property to the Scenic Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America for 99 years for the sum of $1 (one dollar) and reserved the mineral rights. In 1956, the Rotary Club bought and additional 393.5 acres on Bass Lake which later became known as Camp Sakakawea, and was leased to the Girl Scouts. Hundreds of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have enjoyed the pleasure and challenges of outdoor recreation and exploration at Camp Sakakawea and Camp Greilick over the years.


In 1975, Rotary Camps & Services and Total Petroleum Company agreed to a lease for potential mineral exploration. An outstanding contract negotiated by some very astute Rotarians (Al Arnold, Frank Power, Jerry McCarthy and Bob Hilty) provided the club with 25% royalties until all production costs were met, and 40% thereafter. Once the oil and gas revenues started coming in, a separate charitable organization was formed to manage the windfall called Rotary Charities.

In the mid-1960s, an attempt to record the history of the Traverse City Rotary Club was made by Lars Hockstad, a Traverse City School Administrator and member of the Club.  
He begins with the preface that "early records, including the original club charter, were lost or destroyed." In his history, he admits to make only a small attempt to put events in precise chronological order. "It seems appropriate," he says, "to record only outstanding activities and achievements which best exemplify the fact that Rotary is above all a service club. To write the facts of each weekly meeting would be an endless task and would be tiresom repetitous detail which no one would read."
(Well, Lars, our Bulletin Committee would beg to differ!)