Rotary of Cayucos helps at El Chorro

Rotary members built yurts at Rancho El Chorro. (Photo contributed)

MORRO BAY — People join service clubs for a variety of reasons and not the least is to make the world a better place. Most of the time that means accomplishing projects to help the local community, but it can often take on a much more-worldly aspect.

Such was the case for the Rotary Club of Cayucos Seaside. Members there saw a need for some loving care at Rancho El Chorro and the probability of offering some of the ethical standards of Rotary to the youth who attend the school.

“Our goal became to create a state-of-the-art outdoor educational campus,” commented Steve Geil, project coordinator, “and we wanted to emphasize taking care of the environment while also learning about the Rotary Four-Way Test of ethical standards of behavior.”

The Four Way Test says:

Is it the truth?

Is it Fair to all concerned?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all?

Following the Four Way test is a tried and true method of conflict resolution which is sorely needed in our world today.

The Cayucos club realized that they couldn’t accomplish everything they would like to do without collaboration from other clubs, so they put the word out and asked for Rotary clubs worldwide to adopt a part of the project.

The project itself, which was seen as a three to five-year project, involved building cabin facilities, private toilet, and shower facilities in the cabins, building yurts for classrooms. At the time 21 old cabins needed replacement and an amphitheater needed upgrading. Outdoor educational areas and modules needed both upgrading the creation of new ones. The infrastructure upgrades included trenching, drain lines, electrical, parking and road improvement.

Local Rotary clubs came forward with monetary and physical help as well as clubs from other parts of the state and the world. Funding for each project section is allocated to the club that signs on to that particular project and is broken down into manageable parts. Clubs can donate materials, labor, or financing or a combination of all three.

To date, two new yurt villages have been constructed and the amphitheater upgraded. Signs are in place that lists each one of the Four-Way Test questions and sits alongside a hiking trail.

Rancho El Chorro sees children from kindergarten through 12th grade. Rotary recognizes that children are quite literal when they are young. They may start out in life learning right from wrong but are challenged daily from different mediums such as musical lyrics, action movies, video games, television shows, and peer pressure. Learning the Four Way test is one way of setting standards of conduct and conflict resolution early on.

But Rotary Club of Cayucos Seaside and Rotary Club of Morro Bay Sunset as well as Rotary Club of Los Osos also see a great potential to set up a peace education facility at the Rancho El Chorro site. The discussion is underway with club members and members of the new Peace Academy of Science and Arts for a collaboration offering specific peace education such as a curriculum offering the United Nations 30-Basic Human Rights. “It is time for us to stop teaching war to young people and concentrate on peace and nonviolence,” offered Ruth Ann Angus, President of Rotary Club of Morro Bay Sunset, “We all look forward to the completion and culmination of these projects.”

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