Rotarians Bernie Kreiner and Nicole Konkin serve as ShelterBox ambassadors in District 5370


ShelterBox tents were deployed following a typhoon which devastated parts of the Philippines in 2012

When disaster strikes anywhere in the world, Bernie Kreiner (RC of Hinton) is confident that help will soon be on its way from ShelterBox, a project partner in disaster relief with Rotary International.

Bernie and Nicole Konkin (RC of Edmonton) are ShelterBox Canada ambassadors in District 5370. In this role, they are responsible for “raising awareness and promoting ShelterBox Canada within the District,” Bernie says.

“We make presentations to Rotary clubs, at schools and to community groups,” Nicole says. “We take a kit with us and set it up so that people can see what’s in a ShelterBox.”

On its website, ShelterBox Canada states that ShelterBoxes “are filled with practical tools and utensils that help to create the framework for everyday life.” These include a family-sized tent to shelter people from the elements and provide “a safe space in which people can start to recover from the physical and emotional trauma.”

A typical ShelterBox includes what a family needs to survive the aftermath of a disaster, such as tarps, blankets, solar lights, a cooking stove, pots, dishes, a shovel, a water purification system, and mosquito netting.

Double-Walled tents for colder climates

There is some variation in the contents of ShelterBoxes, based on local circumstances. For example, double-walled tents are deployed in regions where colder temperatures are common.

When a disaster occurs, boxes are on their way to where they are needed within two or


Winterized ShelterBox tents sheltered Syrian families in a refugee camp in norther Iraq

three days, from seven warehouses located around the world. Distribution is co-ordinated from the headquarters in England, where ShelterBox was established in 2000 by a Rotary club as a Millennium project. Its purpose is to provide temporary shelter and supplies to families who have been displaced by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, drought and famine.

ShelterBox Canada, which is a registered Canadian charity, has been part of the ShelterBox network since 2010.

Supporting ShelterBox Canada is a way for Youth to Make a Difference

Nicole says she was “first drawn to ShelterBox because I do lots of work with youth. They always want to do something and this is a way in which they can become involved.”

She believes that ShelterBox is an ideal vehicle for this type of involvement, “because if we can get resources to families when they are most in need, we can get them back to normalcy more quickly. If they are dry and safe, they are ready to rebuild.”

Bernie explains his involvement by saying that he “was impressed by how the organization works in partnership with Rotary. I appreciate how they deal with people who are experiencing crisis in their lives, in the aftermath of war and natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods.”

Based on his own experience, he can relate to what it’s like to encounter a natural disaster. “I myself was displaced by a flood,” he says, recalling what happened in 1988 when he was living in Slave Lake.

In addition to its iconic boxes, the organization provides ShelterKits, which contain what people need to begin recovering and repairing their homes, including such items as tools, ropes, tarpaulins and “whatever it takes to help people recover from disaster.”

“We test and evaluate all the aid we provide by talking to, and learning from, the families who use it. This fuels us to be innovative and to continue evolving,” says ShelterBox Canada’s website.

In the past 12 months, ShelterBox has responded to 24 events in 21 countries, including the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh, the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the Caribbean, drought in Somaliland and conflict in Iraq.

To learn more about ShelterBox, visit the organization’s website or contact Bernie (780-865-9355 or or Nicole (780-756-0719 or They are available to speak to your club or arrange for a ShelterBox to be shipped to you to be displayed in your community.

You can make a donation in support of ShelterBox Canada online, or mail a cheque to: ShelterBox Canada, 159 Jane Street, Office 2, Toronto, ON M6S 3Y8. You can also make donations by phoning 1-855-875-4661.

Tax receipts will be issue for donations of $20 or more.


Global Grant Scholarships are another way that Rotary works to achieve peace and world understanding

Australia On Globe With Flag

In just a few days, Amy Smith will leave Edmonton’s winter behind for the near perfect climate of Australia’s Gold Coast, but it’s not the surfing that is drawing her to Brisbane.

She is going to Australia to begin a two-year program at the University of Queensland, which will lead to a masters of development practices. The opportunity to continue her studies was made possible by a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship.

These scholarships are an example of how contributions to The Rotary Foundation support Rotary’s efforts to achieve peace and world understanding.

“Without this support from Rotary, I would have been unable to continue my studies,” says Amy, who already has a bachelor of arts in political science and native studies and a certificate in Aboriginal governance and partnerships from the University of Alberta.

As a result of her studies, Amy expects to learn, “practical skills to do international development projects. The program will give me tools to work with communities and analyze their needs.”

Amy has a long history of service, beginning in 2009 when she was one of a group of Calmar (Alberta) high school students who went to Belize. When they returned, their principal—himself a Rotarian—encouraged the students to form an Interact club. Amy was the founding president.

Since then, “Rotary has just been such a big part of my life,” Amy says. “I wouldn’t be where I am without Rotary. They believed in me.”

While a university student, Amy joined the University of Alberta Rotaract club, serving as its president during her final year. After graduation, she joined the Rotaract club of Edmonton.

As an Interactor and Rotaractor, Amy attended several District conferences and the 2010 RI Convention in Montreal, participated in a Rotary fellowship exchange to India and Adventures in Citizenship in Ottawa, and participated in and helped organize service projects to India, Belize and Costa Rica.

Last month, Amy helped organize and co-facilitated an Indigenous Awareness Session for Rotarians.

Scholarships supported by donations to The Rotary Foundation 

Dean Wood (RC of Edmonton Riverview), who chairs the scholarship subcommittee of the District’s Foundation Committee, emphasizes that the Global Grant Scholarship is one way in which Rotary works towards achieving its fourth object: “The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace.”

Information about Global Grant and District Grant Scholarships is available on the District website.

“The fundamental goal of the Global Grant Scholarships is to develop a core of people who will have capacity to provide leadership in peace and understanding,” Dean says.

“Over the years, there have been a substantial number of people who have been able to continue their studies as a result of receiving Global Grant Scholarships,” Dean says. “Each has develop of people around the world who are committed to the values of Rotary.”

There are three sources of funds for Global Grant Scholarships, the largest of which is the Rotary Foundation.

“These scholarships demonstrate the value of the contributions of individual Rotarians to the Foundation,” Dean says. “The dollars they contribute lead to these young people having these great opportunities to further the goals of Rotary.”

Other money for Amy’s scholarship came from the Nisku-Leduc Rotary clubs (the sponsor Rotary clubs) and several partner clubs (Edmonton Riverview, Westlock, Edmonton Whyte Avenue, St. Albert Saint City, Jasper and Brisbane High-Rise in Australia). The money contributed by individual clubs was then matched by the District.

Previous Global Grant Scholar learned about plight of those escaping danger and trauma

While several clubs supported Amy’s scholarship, the Rotary Club of Whitecourt was the only club to help fund a previous Global Grant Scholarship, which enabled Meghan Casey to continue her studies after graduating from the University of Victoria.

Meghan, who grew up in Whitecourt, studied at the University of Kent’s Brussels School for International Studies from 2015 to 2017. The focus of her master’s program was human right’s laws and international migration.

In an article published in Beyond Borders, the newsletter for Zones 24 and 32, Meghan wrote that during her studies she became interested in the plight of “vulnerable people [who] are forced from their homes and subjected to extreme danger and trauma in hopes of finding security.”

Both in the article and in a presentation she made during the District Conference held in


Former Global Grant Scholar Meghan Casey speaks at the District 5370 Conference in Fort McMurray in September 2017

Fort McMurray in September, Meghan described spending several weeks in the fall of 2016 as a volunteer in the unofficial refugee camp in northern France known as “The Jungle,” that sprang up in 2015 during the European migrant crisis.

“At the time, it hosted some 10,000 people, many of whom were unaccompanied minors. Camp conditions were horrific. People lived in flimsy tents pitched in an old asbestos dumping site,” Meghan wrote.

“The French government refused to provide aid, and the organizations operating in the area struggled to provide for the growing population. In November, the French government executed an uncoordinated attempt to dismantle the camp. Some 1,000 children went missing, many of whom are suspected to have fallen in with human traffickers.”

Based on her volunteer experience in The Jungle, Meghan decided to approach her studies from a different angle when she returned to Brussels for the final year of her master’s program.

“I wanted to address the increasing gap between official policies on paper and what actually happens on the ground,” she wrote. “I researched the implications of a particular EU policy for migrants and asylum seekers transiting through Turkey to the Greek islands. I spoke with Greek lawyers and other volunteers operating in the camps to assess how the agreement with Turkey had been implemented.”

While writing her thesis, Meghan worked as a trainee at the European Parliament.

“Contributing to the legislative process was fulfilling, because it allowed me to put into practice the theoretical knowledge I had acquired during my studies. I was learning about the decision-making process from the top-down. I had seen how certain policies affected vulnerable populations, and now I was learning what factors influenced those decisions.”

Meghan appreciates the support she received from the Rotary Clubs of Whitecourt and Houthalen Midden-Limburg in Belgium, the District 5370 Foundation Committee and The Rotary Foundation, which allowed her to complete her studies.

“I have been able to challenge my own understanding of global human movement by attending various courses, training sessions and conferences. Learning from experts in the field, including NGO personnel and academics, was an incredible experience that allowed me to re-conceptualize how I view the topic of migration in Europe and North America. Rotary’s support has allowed me to advocate for a more positive portrayal of migrants in politics and the media, which ultimately affects how they are welcomed in their new communities.

“Without the support of my community, local and district Rotary clubs, I would not have had the opportunity to engage in so many diverse and challenging opportunities, which have ultimately shaped me into the person I am today and will be in the future. Thank you, Rotary Foundation!”

You can help provide opportunities for other young people to further their studies related to peace and understanding with the support of Global Grant Scholarships when you donate to The Rotary Foundation.

The Rotary Foundation: Rotarians advancing world understanding, goodwill, and peace

District 5370 Rotary Foundation chair Wayne Kauffman (RC of Edmonton Riverview) has experienced first-hand how donations from Rotarians to the Rotary Foundation can make a difference.

In 2007, he witnessed the installation of a water system that continues to deliver safe drinking water to 85 homes in a village in northern Ecuador.


Rotary Foundation chair Wayne Kauffman speaks to members of the Rotary Club of Edmonton South

With money from the Rotary clubs of Edmonton South, Grande Prairie and Edmonton Riverview, along with grants from the Alberta Wildrose Foundation and the Rotary Foundation (a total of $72,000), a 4.2-kilometre pipeline was laid to bring water from the source, 1,500 metres above a chlorination station in the village.

Every family in the village participated in the project by digging a section of the trench for the pipeline. They continue to contribute to the system’s upkeep, based on each family’s consumption.

“As a Rotarian, I take a lot of pride that clean water still flows in that community and kids are not getting sick from drinking the water,” Wayne said during a recent presentation, one of more than 30 that he and grant subcommittee chair Wayne McCutcheon (RC of St. Albert) have made to Rotary clubs since 2015.

Wayne Kauffman: “We can do more!”

For Kauffman, there’s a simple theme to these presentations: “We can do more!”

By more, he means that more Rotarians can donate to The Rotary Foundation and those who already support it can increase their contributions, which in turn will mean that more money will be available to support local and international projects.

TRFlogoDuring the 2016-17 Rotary year, Rotarians in District 5370 contributed $341,504 to the annual fund, which exceeded the District’s 2016-17 goal by 133 per cent. This translates to an average of $156.15 from each Rotarian in District 5370.

But only about half the Rotarians in District 5370 contributed to the foundation, a figure Kauffman would like to see increase. He wants to help Rotarians “understand why it’s so important that we all give to The Rotary Foundation.”

He points to the fourth object of Rotary International: “The advancement of world understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.”

“How do we do it?” he asks, before answering his own question. The Rotary Foundation, the purpose of which is to “enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.”

He is disappointed that there are clubs within the District from which no donations were received last year.

On the other hand, there are clubs where 100 per cent of the members donate to the foundation and where, on average, Rotarians are donating hundreds of dollars. The top clubs, based on per capita donations during 2016-17, were:

Edmonton South ($478.43)

Fairview ($365.57)

Whitecourt ($362.08)

Wayne McCutcheon’s role is to “help you spend money”

While Wayne Kauffman focuses on raising funds for the Rotary Foundation, Wayne McCutcheon looks at the foundation from a different perspective. “My role is to help you spend money,” he says. “I’m available to help clubs apply for grants.”

After three years, half the money donated to the annual fund is returned to the District to support local and small international projects. For 2017-18, $101,000 was available for District grants (half of the $202,000 donated to the foundation from District 5370 in 2014-15).

Grants of $3,500 each were awarded to 41 clubs this year, to help fund projects. These funds were combined with funds raised by the clubs themselves, and in some cases, grants from the federal and provincial governments to implement projects.

The window to apply for 2018-19 District grants opens following the Spring Leadership Training (April 6 and 7). The deadline for applying is May 31, 2018.

The application form is available on the District website.

PresCitation#1_ TRFYou can donate to The Rotary Foundation Canada by cheque or online. Click here to donate online or send your cheque to:

The Rotary Foundation Canada
c/o 911600,
PO Box 4090 Stn A
Toronto, Ontario M5W 0E9

Contact information:

Wayne Kauffman, Foundation Committee Chair (780) 464-6043

Wayne McCutcheon, Chair District/Global Grants

(780) 850-0698


Register today for the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto, June 24-27, 2018. Registration fee increases after December 15, 2017.



Half-day Indigenous awareness session will help you take a step toward reconciliation

Indigenous awareness training line (4)

Amy Smith (Rotaract Club of Edmonton) believes that the journey to reconciliation begins with understanding the culture and history of Canada’s Indigenous people.

With this in mind, Amy has arranged for a half-day Indigenous Awareness Session on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, which is being sponsored by the Rotaract Club of Edmonton and the District 5370 Rotary Aboriginal Program. Amy and spiritual guide Heather Poitras will facilitate the session, which is available to Rotarians at no cost.

This session be held at the District office, 16030 104 Ave., in Edmonton.

Click here to register.

“People want to learn more about Indigenous culture, but aren’t sure where to begin,” Amy says. “This will be a safe setting in which to learn.”

Participants will gain insight and understanding on how Indigenous people view Canada’s history, including colonization and its effects, treaties, and the sensitive topic of residential schools. This will also be an opportunity to learn a little about Indigenous culture and to enjoy some bannock and tea.

The Rotary Aboriginal Program is a District 5370 initiative that strives to build partnerships with Indigenous people, with the goal of Rotary clubs connecting with the Indigenous community.

On its website, the program states that its purpose “is to raise awareness about the realities of Aboriginal people in our Rotary district and to support Aboriginal groups, Rotary clubs and agencies to build capacity with respect to issues and Aboriginal communities.”

“Before Rotarians begin to do projects with Indigenous people, it’s important to understand their cultural and protocols,” Amy says.

Knowledgeable Facilitators

Heather and Amy hosted a similar session with Amy’s team at Health Canada, where she works in the human resources department, to eliminate employment barriers for members of the Indigenous community.

Amy is a Métis woman who has a degree in political science and native studies from the University of Alberta. In 2018, she will begin a master’s degree at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia on a Rotary scholarship.

Heather, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies from the University of Alberta, has worked for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada for over 23 years.  During this time she has accomplished many things in the efforts to enhance Indigenous awareness.  She has been involved with National Aboriginal Day since it was declared in 1996.

She was also instrumental in the establishment of an Indigenous Cultural Centre in Canada Place, serving as the spiritual lodge keeper for more than 15 years.  She has served as a executive member for Indigenous staff both for INAC and the entire federal public service.

Amy says that Heather’s work has impacted the lives of thousands of people and has had a “huge influence for Indigenous staff at Canada Place.”

Heather is proud of both her Metis and First Nation culture and is honoured to share it with others.  Her extensive cultural knowledge and experience is based on the medicine wheel teachings, which is a tool designed to benefit all nations.  She will take you on a spiritual journey, giving you gifts to help you on your own personal and professional paths.

“In a sharing circle, we are all equal,” Heather says. “Most importantly we all have a voice and the ability to share our knowledge and experience.”

Amy hopes participants will be open to seeing Canada from a new perspective, even if it may make them uncomfortable at times. But she emphasizes that this learning will occur within the safe environment of a sharing circle.

“People should feel they can share without fear and they will have the opportunity to ask questions. We really want people to ask questions.”

If you want to learn more about Indigenous history and culture, you should register soon, as several of the 40 places have already been spoken for.


Register today for the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto, June 24-27, 2018. Registration fee increases after December 15, 2017.


Leadership will be the theme of the District 5370’s Fall Assembly

climbing team silhouette

District 5370 Learning and Development chair Donna Barrett (RC of Edmonton Sunrise) promises that when you leave the Fall Leadership Assembly you will have tools you can begin to use immediately, both in your club leadership role and professionally.

The assembly will be held at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre, 11727 Kingsway, in Edmonton, beginning Friday evening, Nov. 3, and continuing Saturday, Nov. 4.

“Leadership is important in Rotary, but what participants will learn will also be beneficial beyond Rotary,” Donna says. “What they learn can be applied anywhere—in their club and in their professions.”

The target audience for the assembly is current club leaders and those aspiring to leadership roles in the future. There will be sessions specifically geared to presidents and presidents-elect, secretaries, treasurers, Foundation, youth and membership chairs, but most of these sessions are open to all Rotarians.

Click here to register for the assembly. Call the Chateau Louis (780-452-7770) to book your room. Let them know you are attending Rotary’s Fall Leadership Assembly to get the great Rotary rate.

Donna says that both current club leaders and future leaders should attend. “Presidents will learn skills to help them in their current roles,” she said.

Donna emphasizes that presidents-elect are expected to attend as part of their preparation for the 2018-19 Rotary year. “It’s critical for presidents-elect to begin the process of getting ready for their important role. This weekend’s program will provide detailed guidance, so they will ready to start in their new role on July 1.

“President and presidents-elect can work as a team to plan for 2018-19 so that they can build on what the club is already doing.”

Presidents-elect and other club leaders will be invited to another learning event in the spring, on April 6 and 7, when the emphasis will be on preparing for the next Rotary year.

“The fall session will focus generally on leadership and the timelines that presidents-elect need to know for their planning,” Donna says. “In the spring, we will go more in-depth, so planning can be complete by the beginning of July. There will be an opportunity to learn from people who have done the role and to network with other presidents-elect.”

Steve Lingenbrink_DSC0480_3x5

Steve Linkenbrink (RC of Bellevue Breakfast) is a co-presenter for the Priority #1 Plus workshop

A highlight of the fall assembly will be Saturday morning’s Priority #1 Plus workshop. “This informative workshop is focused on strengthening your club’s culture in a systematic way,” Donna says.

She knows of what she speaks. Donna and District Governor-Elect Ingrid Neitsch (RC of Edmonton West) both travelled to Winnipeg to experience this program first-hand before bringing it to District 5370.

“We wanted to experience it before bringing it here,” Donna says. “I thought it was outstanding. So practical.”

Steve Linkenbrink and Wendi Fischer will lead the workshop. Both are members of the Bellevue (WA) Breakfast Rotary Club. Steve is a Past District Governor for District 5030 (Seattle area) and currently serves as the Zone 25/26 membership chair. Wendi is membership chair for District 5030.

Donna says they will lead participants “through a dynamic process to assess club culture and learn practical ways to strengthen and enhance the club experience for all members.”

Wendi Fischer

Wendi Fischer (RC of Bellevue Breakfast) is a co-presenter for the Priority #1 Plus workshop

Rotary International is supporting their attendance at the assembly, reflecting the organization’s commitment to strengthen membership by strengthening the club experience. The Priority #1 Plus program is based on research by RI to discover why people join Rotary and why they continue to be Rotarians.

Donna says, “There is so much information that you could spend a year implementing these strategies. These are not ideas that will disappear as soon as you leave the workshop.”

During Priority #1 Plus, participants will be introduced to simple tools they can adopt to immediately improve the Rotary brand experience to attract and retain members. Much of this information will be included in the workbook participants will receive. Afterwards, it will become a reference they can consult when they use these techniques with members of their club.

The weekend will begin Friday evening with a mix-and-mingle networking reception, which replaces the dinner held in previous years.

“We felt that this format would provide better opportunities to network before the speaker takes the stage. There can be more free flow of conversation than over dinner,” Donna says, but she adds that there will be “sufficient food, so it will be like a dinner.”

Friday evening’s speaker is PDG Mark Starratt (District 5360), who will share his insights into the important role Rotarians play as community and global leaders.

Saturday afternoon will be dedicated to role-specific sessions for presidents and presidents-elect, The Rotary Foundation (open to all), secretaries, treasurers, Youth Services (open to all), membership (open to all) and technology (open to all).

During the closing plenary session, Lisa Grotkowski and PDG Chris Offer will share inspirational stories on Leadership for Peace.

Click here to register for the Fall Leadership Assembly. Then pick up the phone, dial 780-452-7770 and tell the nice people at the Chateau Louis you need a room because you are attending Rotary’s Fall Leadership Assembly. They have a great rate just for Rotarians.

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Register for the 2018 District Conference before November 4, 2017 to save $75.                   

More than 20 years of service to Ethiopia recognized with a major Rotary award


Leo Seguin, the 2017 recipient of the Donald MacRae Peace Award, stands between PDG Betty Screpnek and DG Frank Reitz

Leo Seguin (RC of Westlock) is the 2017 recipient of the Donald MacRae Peace Award (Zones 24 & 32), recognizing his commitment of more than 20 years to the people of Ethiopia.

Past District 5370 Governor Betty Screpnek, who currently serves as a director of The Rotary Foundation Canada, presented the award during the Fort McMurray District Conference. She noted that it was learning of a famine in that nation that led Leo to become involved in Ethiopia.

“When the famine attacked Ethiopia in the late 80s, this Rotarian could not stand by when he and his neighbors’ ‘bounty’ was abundant,” Betty said. “He went into action and grain drives with the Canadian Grain Banks filled some 20 grain cars to feed Ethiopia.”

The Donald MacRae Peace Award is an annual award presented by Rotary Zones 24 & 32 to recognize and honour an individual or organization for outstanding achievement consistent with the ideals of Rotary as expressed by the Fourth Object of Rotary:

“The advancement of International understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional people united in the ideal of service”

A former president of the Westlock Rotary Club, Leo has lead several international projects in Ethiopia. He travels to Africa frequently to listen to the people and gain firsthand knowledge of the projects, to be sure the funds we raise are well-spent.

His next visit is scheduled for January 2018.

IMG_4180In 2004, Leo was instrumental in establishing the Rainbow for the Future, a NGO headquartered in Westlock.

Information on the Rainbow for the Future website explains that it “is a Canadian development agency dedicated to the organization and integration of sustainable development efforts in Ethiopia. We are committed to helping the poor help themselves, and those we help in Ethiopia are truly the poorest of the poor.”

The agency supports “irrigation-based development projects as a means to improve food security, allowing communities to become autonomous and independent. When household income is stabilized and food security is established, the focus can then turn to education, healthcare, and long-term sustainability in a number of areas. These include education—particularly the education of girls and women— access to healthcare services and medical facilities, and income-generation programs, especially for women.”

Since its inception, Rainbow for the Future has raised $10 million, 95 per cent of which directly supports projects in Ethiopia, many of which have been accomplished in partnership with other Rotary clubs and agencies. Volunteers pay their own expenses related to participation in projects.

The award commemorates the contribution of Halifax Rotarian Donald MacRae, who in a speech to the International Convention in Kansas City in June 1918 proposed that Rotary become an agent for the promotion of goodwill and peace among nations—the first time that this vision of Rotary was expressed publicly.

In 1921, as chair of Rotary’s Constitution and By-laws Committee, MacRae had an opportunity to incorporate this vision into the constitution of Rotary. He presented a resolution to the International Convention in Edinburgh, Scotland that amended the constitution by adding the fourth Object of Rotary. This Fourth Object became the engine that drives Rotary’s International service: indeed, it has become the watchword of the Rotary Foundation.

“Reflecting the vision created by MacRae, the award focuses on advancing international goodwill, understanding and peace through peacemaking efforts or humanitarian activity of international significance. Peace can only happen by drilling those wells to provide potable water, education, disease prevention and feeding the hungry. That is the Rotary way of creating peace and I think we have it right,” Betty said.


Three awards presented to recognize club achievements

District Governor Frank Reitz presented three awards during the Fort McMurray District Conference to acknowledge outstanding achievements of Rotary clubs during 2016-2017:

Membership AwardRotary Club of Barrhead – This award is for the largest percentage increase in membership (31 per cent) from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

The Rotary Foundation AwardAnnual fund – Rotary Club of Edmonton South – This award is presented to the club that has the highest annual per capita contributions ($478.43) to The Rotary Foundation.

Polio Plus Award – Rotary Club of Dawson Creek Sunrise – This award is presented annually to the club that has the highest per capita contributions to Polio Plus. The 41 members raised a total of $49,956 towards the eradication of polio.

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RI president’s rep and others praise District Conference as “inspirational” and a “wonderful experience”

District Conference Banner

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. We come to hear amazing speakers telling their personal stories of courage—because no challenge is too big for us.
  4. 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.

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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.