As the old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young man ahead of him, picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally, catching up with the youth, he asked him why he was doing this. The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun. "But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish," countered the old man. "How can your effort make any difference?" The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and threw it to safety in the waves. "It makes a difference to this one," he said.
In the summer of 1950 a dozen men in Madison, Connecticut became interested in the Exchange Club.
The twelve men met November 29, 1950 at the Park Casino Restaurant to hold the first meeting of the Exchange Club of Madison under the sponsorship of the Exchange Club of Branford. This was the first of six "Before Charter" meetings.
The Charter Meeting of the Exchange Club of Madison was held January 17, 1951 at the Park Casino and was attended by forty charter members and guests together with honored guests and delegations from other Exchange Clubs for a total attendance of one hundred thirty eight.
The bell that is used at our meetings today was presented by George Thomas, President of the Connecticut Exchange Club to President Sam Anderson.
The first major project approved was the creation of a Youth Fund. To raise money for this fund, a scrap metal drive was organized with a profit of $186.85. A second drive in the fall added another $135.00.
Over the years, the club has sponsored many projects, some of which include the installation of the Freedom Shrine at many town locations, Youth fo the Month and Youth of the Year scholarships, the courtyard at the Arts Barn, Eagle Scout projects, the patio and landscaping at Scranton Memorial Library, the original and the new scoreboard at Strong Field, Exchange Field at the Surf Club, irrigation and hiking trails at Bauer Farm, Easter Egg Hunts, the 4th of July Parade, flags for all kids to wave at the parade, the Prevention of Child Abuse, Madison Youth Services and many more.
Fund raising for these projects came in many forms from the original scrap metal drive to charcoal sales, Antique Shows on the Green with barbecue chicken dinners, lobster dinners at the Surf Club on the 4th of July, Dream Auctions, golf tournaments Madison Arts Night and more. In the mid to late 50's, the club put on talent shows with members performing on stage at Hand Academy (aka Academy Street School), including an all male dance revue dancing a chorus line in tutus to a sold out crowd.
In 1966, a change of location for the regular meetings was made from Park Casino to the Woodlawn Restaurant where the club met until 1990. Through the 90's, several locations were tried before finding a permanent location at the Wharf Restaurant for many years until its closing in 2009. The club now meets at the Cafe Allegre on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
All this history and other information can be found in the Charlotte L. Evarts Memorial Archives.