MC Brent Collingwood (RC of Edmonton Riverview) opened the 2017 District Conference held September 29 and 30 in Fort McMurray by asking the 250 Rotarians in attendance: “Why do we come to a District Conference?”
By the beginning of the second day, each of his four reasons had been achieved.
- We come to reconnect with fellow Rotarians we may not have seen for a while and to bond with new Rotarians, because Rotary is about forming friendships and professional connections.
- We come to learn from others, whether in the House of Friendship or from some of the Rotary projects you’ll hear about from the stage.
- We come to hear amazing speakers telling their personal stories of courage—because no challenge is too big for us.
- We come wanting to learn, and we leave wanting to do, because Rotary is about taking action to create lasting change.
Other attendees concurred with Brent’s assessment that the conference fulfilled its promise of an opportunity to reconnect, learn and listen to amazing speakers.
Mary Drader (RC of Drayton Valley) said she “enjoyed this conference immensely. I found the speakers to be very inspirational.”
Fran Milberg (RC of Thomasville, GA) also gave the conference and District high marks. “There’s nothing I haven’t liked, except maybe there was a little too much food. Otherwise, it has been a wonderful experience. I met friendly, wonderful people and I have been very comfortable with them.”
Fran, who is a past District Governor for District 6900, which includes about one-third of the state of Georgia, including the city of Atlanta, attended as a representative of Rotary International President Ian Riseley.
“I’m very impressed with the District and what they do—their service projects and their Foundation giving,” she said. “I’m just so impressed with this community and District for how they’ve come together after the crisis that occurred in this town.”
Fran was also impressed by the lineup of speakers, which included David Dotson, who spoke about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Chris and Kathryn Linford, who work with veterans suffering from PTSD and their families, former Fort McMurray fire chief Darby Allen, and 2010 Olympian and Amazing Race Canada host Jon Montgomery.
Fran was one of those who took Montgomery up on his invitation to hold the gold medal he won in skeleton. “I just loved touching that gold medal today and wearing it around my neck. I never realized that the gold medal was so heavy. I really enjoyed that and his presentation.”
Erwin Winwarkentin, a non-Rotarian from Vermilion, attending with his wife, felt that the order in which the speakers were scheduled was a factor in the success of the conference. “The idea of having the speakers in the sequence they were in was critical to the goal of communicating what they wanted to communicate. Having Jon at the end was critical to the whole thing. Having him in the beginning wouldn’t have made sense.”
Did you attend the Fort McMurray District Conference? What did you think? Add your impressions in the comment section below.
2018 District Conference: Save the date . . . and save money by registering early
With the Fort McMurray District Conference a success, Rotarians can begin to look forward to next year’s conference. District Governor Elect Ingrid Neitsch (RC of Edmonton West) and her team have already set the day, booked the venue and lined up several speakers.
The conference will be held at Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre, October 18 – 20, 2018.
To learn more about what’s in store next fall for you, visit the conference website, which went live as the Fort McMurray conference ended. Register by November 4 to save $75.