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Outgoing leader sent off in style

I’ve heard of deciding, deleting, debriefing, defrosting, detaching, deactivating, defrocking and even deplaning. But debunking? Never.

At least not in terms of saluting a respected friend or leader, who I’m sure doesn’t need to be exposed as one who tells falsehoods.

That, however, has changed.

Saturday evening I attended the Rotary Club of Boulder City’s debunking of outgoing president Christy Springgate-Hill.

The debunking was a fun way to celebrate her accomplishments, provide an opportunity for Christy to thank those who made her term as president successful and mark the end of her service as the group’s leader.

I’m not sure if this is a Rotary tradition or just from the Rotary Club of Boulder City. It even could have been a first-time event. Either way, it’s something I think other groups should adopt.

I’ve been to plenty of installation ceremonies in my lifetime — and even participated in a few — but this was by far the best way to send off the outgoing president I have ever witnessed.

Though installation ceremonies can, and often do, have unique or interesting themes, most of the time they are mere formalities. The incoming officers already know their duties. More often than not, the new officers have already been performing some of those duties long before they officially take their positions.

This debunking was definitely out of the ordinary.

After a social hour and buffet dinner, it was time to send Christy off to her next adventure. Because she’s an ardent “Survivor” fan, her friends in the club divided the group into two tribes, while giving their outgoing leader a special immunity necklace. They also lit her torch (but quickly extinguished it to avoid any potential fire hazards) and let Christy reign over the competition between the tribes.

First the teams had to unfold and display a T-shirt. Sounds easy, right? It might have been if the T-shirts hadn’t been drenched in water and then frozen. It took all the teammates’ strength to pull the shirts apart, with brief breaks to warm their hands in between tugs.

The second contest was to untie a drawstring bag and then complete a puzzle. It, too, had its challenges. The string had been knotted about 10 times and participants had no idea what the completed puzzle looked like before they began assembling the irregularly shaped pieces.

After the two games, there was a tie, so the organizers devised an impromptu tiebreaker: eat a handful of chips and then whistle.

In the end, it didn’t really matter which team won (the one I was on) because everyone who was there and had the opportunity to work with Christy to better the community this past year were the true winners.

The competition melded perfectly with Christy’s good nature and aligned with her penchant for games, which she brought to the club throughout the year. They even paid homage to her word game goof by misspelling her name on the congratulatory cake.

When the fun and games ended, there were some serious elements to the evening. Christy was give a certificate of appreciation by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Boulder City, presented by its president Harold Begley, and June 13 was proclaimed Christy Springgate-Hill Day by the city, with the official proclamation delivered by Councilman Duncan McCoy, who happens to be a member of the club.

Then, often with tears in her eyes, Christy thanked those who made her year special, giving out small gifts, before she was given her past president’s pin and gavel, along with two hours of massage so she could relax for a few minutes.

Saturday’s festivities also included a very informal welcome for incoming president John Chase and a chance for him to introduce his goals for the coming year.

John, who previously served as president in 2004-05, has a few great ideas, which I won’t spoil here. But, one thing he wants to do is welcome more into the Rotary family.

I have no doubt that despite her official debunking, Christy will be there, allowing the club to reap the benefits of her experience and dedication to the community.

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