District Conference 2018 promises more than inspiring speakers

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UPDATE: SINCE THIS ARTICLE WAS POSTED, CHRIS OFFER HAS REPLACED STEPHANIE WOLLARD AS THE SPEAKER AT THE SUPPORTING PEACE THROUGH THE ROTARY FOUNDATION DINNER ON THURSDAY EVENING. STEPHANIE WILL STILL SPEAK AT THE CONFERENCE AS SCHEDULED.

The District 5370 Conference will be more than just an opportunity to hear great speakers during plenary and breakout sessions.

The conference is also an opportunity to learn and connect with Rotarians from other clubs, October 18 to 20.

House of Friendship

Annie Muller (RC of Edmonton West) says that the House of Friendship, which will be set up in the foyer of Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre, between the registration desk and Hall D where main stage sessions will occur, will be “a place for Rotarians to meet.”

.In the centre of the House of Friendship, the MacEwan Rotaract club will erect a Shelterbox tent, as part of its efforts to raise funds to provide temporary shelter for families displaced by natural disasters or war.

There will be 12 additional displays highlighting programs supported by Rotary clubs and individual members, including Project Amigo, Literacy Without Borders, the Emmanuel Foundation, Inclusion Alberta, Well Spring Edmonton and others.

There will also be information about the 2019 District Conference, which will be held in Grande Prairie next fall, and an opportunity to purchase Rotary merchandise, such as clothing, pins and other items.

Annie says space in the House of Friendships was snapped up soon after it became available, earlier this year.

“The majority of displayers signed up quickly,” she says. “Every space was booked and paid for within about a month.”

Annie promises that the House of Friendship will be more than just displays.

“It will be a place for Rotarians to have a conversation, charge their phones and recharge themselves,” she says. “It’s a place where people can meet before or after sessions.”

Peace Dinner

An event being introduced at the conference for the first time is the Supporting Peace Through The Rotary Foundation Dinner, beginning at 5:30 on Thursday evening, October 18.

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Rotary Peace Fellow Stephanie Wollard will be featured speaker during the Supporting Peace Through The Rotary Foundation dinner on Thursday, October 18

There is a separate charge for this dinner, which is open to all Rotarians and guests, whether they are attending the conference or not. Tickets for the dinner cost $85.00, plus GST. Click here to purchase your tickets.The peace dinner is being held conjunction with the Paul Harris Society Dinner, which is traditionally held on the Thursday evening before the conference begins.

The featured speaker will be Stephanie Wollard, a Rotary Peace Fellow and a Rotarian from Australia. She is also speaking at the Conference on Saturday afternoon.

PHS Coordinator Carol Devereux (Rotary Club of Edmonton South) explains that the dinner, “is a way for society members to get together for fellowship and to be recognized for their ongoing contributions to the Foundation.”

The District 5370 Paul Harris Society consists of about 100 members, each of whom has committed to an annual donation of $US1,000 to TRF.

The introduction of a peace dinner fits with the District’s 2018-19 goal to become a Rotary Peacebuilder District.

Carol points to peace and conflict prevention/resolution as one of TRF’s areas of focus.

During 2017-18, Rotary International hosted six Peace Building Summits around the world, each of which focused on how one of the other areas of focus contributed to building more peaceful societies.

“A characteristic of a peaceful society is how it aligns with all the areas of focus for TRF,” Carol says.

“When clubs have projects related to any of these areas of focus, they are contributing to peace building,” she says. “If people are not struggling, they are less likely to be convinced to pick up a gun.”

The other areas of focus for TRF are disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

Governor’s Ball

The conference will wrap up Saturday evening with the Governor’s Ball, a celebration of Rotary including a great meal, followed by dancing to the music of an 18-piece orchestra.

The evening will have a 1920’s theme, which District Governor Ingrid Neitsch describes as “a shout out to the early glory years of Rotary, because it was in the 1920’s when things really got going.”

Your conference registration includes a ticket to the Governor’s Ball. Additional tickets are available for purchase for people who will not be attending the rest of the conference.

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District Conference speakers who pursued their dreams will inspire Rotarians to follow their own

District conference MainEach of the speakers that Rotarians will hear from at the 2018 District 5370 Conference will underscore the event’s theme, Reach For Your Dream.

“All the speakers had dreams, which they pursued and which were fulfilled,” says District Governor Ingrid Neitsch.

“Listening to them will inspire us to follow our dreams.”

The conference takes place Thursday through Saturday, October 18 to 20, at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton. Click here to register.

Barb Stegemann, who will speak Saturday morning at 9:15, “had a dream to fulfil her friend’s dream and has done so,” Ingrid says.

Stegemann’s friend, Captain Trevor Greene, joined “the military to fight the oppression of women in Afghanistan,” according to a news release promoting the award-winning documentary Perfume Wars, which will be screened at 3:00 p.m. Saturday in Hall D.

The movie shows how, “Barb Stegemann is moved to take on her best friend’s mission after he is brutally axed in the head by the Taliban,” the news release says. “Stegemann works with Afghan famers who grow legal flower crops instead of the illegal heroin poppy—the Taliban’s chief income source—and creates an unlikely weapon for world peace. And it’s perfume.”

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Barb Stegemann will speak on Saturday morning at the District 5370 Conference

The opportunity to see this movie is included in your conference registration, which also includes all the keynote and breakout sessions, access to the House of Friendship, breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday, and the Governor’s Ball on Saturday evening.

A discounted first-time attendee rate of $375 is available for any Rotarian or non-Rotarian who has not attended a District Conference previously. Special rates are also available for Rotaractors, Interactors and exchange students.

Ingrid emphasizes that non-Rotarians are welcome to attend the conference. “It’s a great way to have non-Rotarians interact with Rotarians and learn about Rotary and the great work Rotarians do locally and around the world,” she says.

Tickets to attend the screening of Perfume Wars will be available at the door for $20 each to people who are not registered for the conference.

Current and former members of the military have been invited to attend at no charge, as guests of the District.

Captain Greene and his wife Debbie will be present for a question and answer session following the screening.

Another speaker, Stephanie Wollard, “fulfilled her dream to work with women of Nepal who were marginalized due to disabilities.”

This Rotary Peace Fellow and Rotarian from Australia  established a non-profit in 2008 to provide skills training and employment so these women can lead a life of independence.

The story of Seven Women is told in Wollard’s book, From Tin Shed to the United Nations.

Wollard, who spoke at the Rotary International Convention in Toronto in June, will also be the featured speaker at the Supporting Peace through The Rotary Foundation Dinner on Thursday evening.

The dream of Susan Morrice, who will speak at 11:15 on Friday, was to find oil in Belize, where no one had found oil previously.

“Oil executives told her not to waste her time,” Ingrid says, but she wasn’t deterred. “The first well they drilled struck oil.”

Other speakers include Marilyn Fitzgerald, Jeff Polovick, Mitty Chang, Douglas Jackson, Michael Angela Caruso, Jim Bell and Jennifer Jones.

Jones is a former vice-president of Rotary International, one of only three women ever to hold this position.

Information about all the speakers and the conference schedule is available on the conference website, where you can also go to register.

Ingrid believes that Rotarians who attend the conference will be inspired to follow their dreams.

“Through Rotary, we can all fulfil our hopes and dreams.”

How did they do it? Clubs that grew their membership in 2017-18

It’s a message that has been repeated year after year: Rotary clubs must grow their membership.

Across the globe, Rotary membership has plateaued at 1.2 million for several years. While membership has increased in Asia and Africa, the number of Rotarians has declined in North America, including in District 5370.

During 2017-18, the number of Rotarians in our District dropped by 110, according to data provided recently by Rotary International. It’s a trend that District Governor Ingrid Neitsch wants to see reversed.

“Membership is the heartbeat of our District. Everything revolves around membership,” Ingrid says.

The District strategic plan, which Ingrid unveiled during the changeover event in June and which she discusses during club visits, challenges Rotary clubs to grow their membership and increase diversity in terms of age, gender and ethnic background.

Ingrid is confident that our District will see an increase in membership and has set a goal of 2180 Rotarians by the end of her term as District Governor.

“We have neighbouring districts that have increased their membership by more than 100 over the past few years. If they can do it, we can definitely do it!” Ingrid says.

“By trying new strategies, launching new types of clubs, involving ourselves in hands-on projects, welcoming young entrepreneurs, sharing the amazing work of Rotary in our communities, and ensuring we keep our current members engaged, we can increase our membership.”

Of course, 2017-18 wasn’t all bad news in terms of membership. Sixteen of the 57 clubs in our District showed a net increase in membership last year. Membership numbers remained unchanged in four other clubs.

“Congratulations to the District clubs that have increased their membership over the last year,” Ingrid says. “They are leading the way! They are changemakers!”

How did they do it?

We approached four clubs, which were among the leaders in membership growth, to learn how they increased their membership.

All these clubs understood the importance of membership growth, but each took at different approach to tackling the issue.

Edmonton Sunrise: Piloting corporate membership

The Rotary Club of Edmonton Sunrise introduced corporate memberships, resulting in a net membership growth of four, from 38 to 42. 

The goal was to increase the number of business people in the club, says president Brad Lohner. “A lot of our members were retired teachers or ex-bankers, or whatever. There were not a lot of business people around the table,” Brad says.

 “We decided, let’s give [the corporate membership concept] a whirl and see how it works,” Brad says. “It has worked out very well.” 

He explains how corporate memberships work in his club: “Instead of having only one person be a member from a corporation, we allowed up to three people to get involved. Any one of the three could come to the meetings, or two of them, or all three if they wanted. 

There have been two benefits of corporate memberships. “We increased the membership a little bit, but also the corporate members significantly decreased the average age of our membership. More young people are members,” Brad says. “These guys are real go-getters. They really want to get involved in projects. So it’s a win-win both ways.”

St. Alberta Saint City: Being there when people needed Rotary

Despite recording the greatest net growth of any club in our District, the Rotary Club of St. Albert Saint City has not been “going out and beating the bushes,” say president Nonie Buski. “We make ourselves available and sooner or later, someone comes.”

During 2017-18, membership in this 20-year-old club increased by seven, from12 to 19.

“The last five people we have had join our club have found us,” Nonie says. 

“One fellow is from Ethiopia. About four years ago, he returned to Ethiopia and found a school in he wanted to help in his old home area. He first of all went to several churches in the Edmonton area for some assistance, and then he found our club and we’re helping him with this project. Since he became a member, his wife has also joined the club.”

Others were looking to become Rotarians. “We had a couple of people who came through the Rotary International website, where they expressed an interest in finding membership in a Rotary club and they have joined,” Nonie says. 

“Prior to that, we had a couple, who had retired and were looking for a meaningful way to serve the community and they found our club.” 

The Saint City club is currently planning to build a picnic shelter in Rotary Park in St. Albert and Nonie hopes this will help the club attract new members. 

“We are going to see if we can generate a few new members out of this projects. These projects can certainly generate excitement and we do need a few more hands to facilitate this.”

Fort St. John: Become a vibrant club

The key to growing membership by five (from 48 to 53) in the Rotary Club of Fort St. John was first becoming a more vibrant club to which people want to belong, says president Raven Pruden.

When Raven, who is also known as “Captain Awesome,” transferred his membership to the Fort St. John club, he decided “I was going to step into membership and I was going to change things.”

First, he targeted longtime members. “I said, ‘ I know you think you’re burned out, but you’re not done. We don’t need new people to come in here to revive our club. You need to revive your club,’ ” he says. 

He took this message to the club with a PowerPoint presentation that ended by identifying the secret ingredient of membership growth: “You!”

“This really resonated with some of the older members who had been sort of sitting back with their arms folded, saying, ‘We need new blood because we can’t keep doing this. I’m getting tired.’ They found new inspiration to do things. That changed our club,” Raven says.

“Our membership jumped 15 members over the past four years.”

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Slide used by Raven Pruden to remind Rotarians in Fort St. John who is responsible for recruiting new members

Mayfield Club: New approaches to attracting members

With the Rotary Club of Edmonton Mayfield, increasing membership “started with recognition that we had an issue,” says president Maureen Liviniuk. 

“We had a membership problem. Our membership had declined to 22 members, 19 of whom were over the age of 60. And we had only added one new member in the year prior.”

The club now has 28 members, all of whom helped lower the average age. “One is in his 50s, one is probably in his 30s and three are under 30,” Maureen says.

“We knew that we had a lot of really good, strong positives in the club. We have some excellent projects we are involved with, we have a good track record of fundraising, and we have a quite a number of committed members who were willing to step up,” Maureen says. 

“So that’s where we started. We gave ourselves a pat on the back for the things we had done well and we recognized we had to start to do things differently in terms of membership.”

First, the club developed new marketing materials, based on the new Rotary International branding—Together we connect. Together we inspire. Together we lead.

“We developed a new banner that we display outside our meeting in place of the small, traditional style of signage that has the wheel. (That) is very recognizable to Rotarians, but not so recognizable to potential new members.

The retractable banner features the image of a Rotoractor who the club supported with a bursary. “She traveled to Tanzania to do some marketing work with a Tanzanian dairy co-op. We focused on the fact that we had inspired leadership in this young individual,” Maureen says.

“The next thing we did was to organize a membership networking event, which we held in September on the ship at West Edmonton Mall.” The club invited owners of businesses to attend.

“We did get one new member out of that initiative, but I don’t think it was all that successful in terms of getting the response we hoped for. But it did get the mindset of the club focused on ‘who do I know that could be approached?’ ” Maureen says. 

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Banner used by Edmonton Mayfield to create awareness of Rotary

“One the biggest successes we had was recruiting joint Rotary/Rotoract members. We now have three members who were Rotoract members who have now joined our club.

“They were all individuals who were sort of transitioning from one stage in their lives to another. Two had finished off undergraduate degrees and are now going back to other programs and one of them completed her program and is now out in the workforce. It seemed like it was good time for them to make that transition.” 

Maureen says they got these younger members involved in club activities. “All three are on the board this year.”

For the Mayfield club, growing membership remains a work in progress. “We have committed to continuing on the process. We’re not done yet. We have a networking event planned for the beginning of October. We’re also trying to add in more social activities so we can attract people who may not be available at lunchtime.”

Other District 5370 clubs that increased their membership last year are Edson (+1), Fort Nelson (+2), Fort Saskatchewan (+3), Grande Prairie Sunrise (+1), Grande Prairie Swan City (+1), Hay River Sunrise (+4), Hinton (+4), Jasper (+2), Lac La Biche (+1), Nisku-Leduc (+2), Sherwood Park (+3), Vegreville (+1) and Vermilion (+1).

DG’s call to action

DG Ingrid hopes other clubs will be inspired by the commitment shown by these clubs to increase their own membership during 2018-19. 

“Be bold! Create a culture where members want to be. If every club attains 100 per cent retention and adds four new members, we will reach and surpass our membership goal.”

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Looking for ways to grow your membership? Check out this article from the August issue of the Rotarian, which includes 15 approaches to membership-building. In addition, Rotary International provides a wide range of resources, tips and tools to help clubs build and sustain their membership.

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Rotary clubs receive District awards for “Making a Difference” during 2017-18

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2017-18 District Governor presents the Governor’s Award to Dave Cook, president of the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie-Swan City

Last year, clubs across our Rotary District really took the 2017-18 Rotary International theme—Making a Difference—to heart. Some of those worthwhile projects were celebrated with District awards, which were presented during the Changeover event in June.

“We know that there are many clubs with outstanding projects and programs, but unfortunately they did not submit descriptions of what they are doing, so we didn’t know about them. They might have been eligible for these awards,” says District Administration Chair Donna Nicoll.

In her role, Donna (RC of Edmonton Northeast) is responsible for gathering submissions from the clubs and assembling a committee to choose the award winners. Last year’s committee included Donna, 2017-18 District Governor Frank Reitz (RC of Fort McMurray), a past District Governor, and two members of the District board.

The award winners included projects that provided needy children with warm clothes, encouraged tree planting in Grande Prairie, delivered fire trucks to Mexico, and promoted Rotary to the community.

In addition, then-District Governor Frank bestowed the title of Rotarian of the Year on Tamara Larson (RC of Edmonton Whyte Avenue), to recognize her contributions as the District’s Youth Services Chair.

“While all members of the District board showed commitment to Rotary, Tamara’s passion for youth services really stood out,” says Frank. “She built on the work of those who went before her to make our youth services programs even stronger than she found them. 

“Tamara’s ongoing relationship with students and their parents ensures their safety and best interests remain the prime focus in the delivery of Rotary’s youth programs,” Frank says. “She works with Rotary clubs to ensure support and safety is in place to make sure the experience of students, host families and clubs are positive for all concerned.”

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2017-18 DG Frank with Rotarian of the Year Tamara Larson

A big part of Tamara’s mandate was to bring youth services practices into compliance with Rotary International requirements.

“Over the last couple of years, these changes needed to be implemented. Tamara took this on and persisted, despite some resistance to the changes,” says Frank. “I don’t know if anyone else would have had the same determination.”

Tamara and Past District Governor Laura Morie (RC of Westlock) will be co-ordinating the Rotoract component of the Zones 24 and 32 Conference in Montreal September 20-22.

Best reflection of the annual RI theme

The Governor’s Award was presented to the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie-Swan City. This annual award is given to the club whose activities best reflect the RI yearly theme, which in 2017-18 was Making a Difference. 

Last year, the 119 Swan City Rotarians made a difference in all Rotary’s avenues of service, motivating more than 1,200 Rotarians and non-Rotarians to provide nearly 10,000 hours of volunteer service to continue their support of existing projects and programs.

The club also donated more than $CA 450,000 to programs, provided in-kind support worth nearly $900,000 and gave nearly $US 20,000 (more than $CA 25,000) to The Rotary Foundation.

Here are some of the ways these Rotarians made a difference in 2017-18:

  • Supported a facility to house young girls in Ethiopia so that they can continue their studies, graduate from high school and go on to post-secondary education.
  • Assisted several Cambodian villages with initiatives to provide clean water, sanitary latrines, medical supplies, teachers and educational materials.
  • Partnered with the Salvation Army for a food bank drive, which collected 41 tons of food in just one day
  • Served dinners once a week to 40-100 people (including both Indigenous and non-Indigenous families) at the Friendship Centre
  • Collected 2,000 toys (worth about $45,000) for the Big Toy Box program, which were distributed through 16 different organizations to children who might not have otherwise received Christmas gifts 
  • served tea and dessert to seniors during Seniors Week 

Gilbert Paterson Awards for three avenues of service

The Swan City club also received Gilbert Paterson Awards for two projects that were included in their Governors Award submission.

The Gilbert Paterson Awards are presented to clubs whose projects, activities or events best reflect one of three avenues of service: community, international and youth. 

The Youth Award, which was new for 2017-18, was presented to the Rotary Club of Edmonton West.

Gilbert Paterson, for whom the awards are named, was a Lethbridge educator, who served as governor for District 5360 in 1959-60, long before the District was divided and District 5370 was created. 

The Community Services Award recognized the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie-Swan City for its longtime partnership with the Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association, the province of Alberta, the city of Grande Prairie and local forestry product companies, to promote the importance of forests and the environment, and encourage celebration of Arbour Day.

Over the years, this program has resulted in the planting of 12 groves of trees, all of which are native to the Grande Prairie area. In addition, Rotarians and foresters visit Grade 1 classrooms to teach children about trees and the environment. During these visits, each student is given a tree and is shown how to plant it.

Beginning with just one used school bus in 2002, the Highway to Mexico program, for which the Swan City club received the International Service Award, has delivered more than $18 million worth of buses, fire trucks, ambulances, and medical and firefighting equipment to Mazatlan and the Mexican state of Sinalao. 

Over the years, the Swan City club has developed partnerships with other Rotary clubs, both in Canada and in Mexico. Several cities, towns and municipalities between Red Deer and Fort McMurray have donated surplus vehicles. After the donated vehicles are restored, Rotarians drive them the 5,000 kilometres to Mexico.

The Rotary Club of Edmonton West became the first winner of the Gilbert Paterson Youth Award for its Santa Clothes program. One hundred children identified as “in need” by Boys and Girls Clubs and Big Brothers Big Sisters were able to go on a shopping spree at the Old Navy store in West Edmonton Mall for warm winter coats and other clothing.

Each child received a $400 gift card, half of which was donated by Old Navy and the balance by the Edmonton West club and other sponsors. While at the mall, the children had lunch and visited some of the more popular attractions before being bused home.

Dawson Creek Sunrise wins PR and Marketing Award

Dawson CreekThe Rotary Club of Dawson Creek Sunrise received the District Public Relations and Marketing Award for its extensive marketing campaign. The award is given to the “club or group of clubs producing the best publicity brochure or marketing event/tool during the year.” 

The campaign was three-pronged, including weekly advertising in the local newspaper, developing a club brochure and a very active Facebook page, which averages about 1,000 views per week providing information about club activities and partner events.

The club brochure is shared at all public events and displayed by Rotarians in their businesses.

 Donna plans to distribute information about the 2018-19 awards to club presidents in November and request submissions by May. This year’s awards will be announced at the District changeover event at the end of June 2019.

“We know clubs are doing wonderful things,” Donna says. “We hope they will write these projects up and submit them for consideration.”

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South African, Canadian Rotary clubs partner to improve the future for students with disabilities

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Canadian visitors make a donation to New Hope School, Pretoria, South Africa

Through its fundraising efforts, including obtaining a Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation, the Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona raised more than $60,000 to support vocational training for students with disabilities in South Africa, whose future can be dire.

“Learning a vocational skill to be able to function in society becomes a case of life or death for these students, in many cases,” says Rotarian Carin Jansen van Vuuren. “There is a very limited social safety net for young adults with disabilities in South Africa.”

After raising more that $20,000, including donations from other Rotary clubs in Northern Alberta, the Edmonton Strathcona club partnered with the Rotary Club of Pretoria, South Africa, to obtain a grant of US$32,400 (C$42,000) from The Rotary Foundation.

Other clubs that supported this project include Drayton Valley, Edmonton South, Nisku Leduc, Sherwood Park, St. Albert and Stony Plain. Additional money came from a GoFundMe campaign and a contribution from the Rotary Club of Pretoria.

The money is going to New Hope School in Pretoria, one of the largest schools for students with special needs in South Africa. Its enrolment of 410 includes students from preschool to high school with cerebral palsy, permanent physical disabilities, metabolic disorders or syndromes, traumatic brain injuries and other conditions that cause learning difficulties.

Carin grew up in Pretoria, where her father was president of the Rotary Club of Pretoria and later, District Governor for Rotary District 9400. She moved to Canada 28 years ago, but makes regular visits back to South Africa.

For the past five years, Rotarians and others from the Edmonton area have accompanied Carin and her husband Stephan, a past president of the Edmonton Strathcona club, on these visits.

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A group of Rotarians and others from Edmonton area visit New Hope School

While in South Africa and Zambia, they have had opportunities to meet local Rotarians and to visit New Hope School. During previous school visits, donations from the Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona were presented.

“Last year, Patrick Gibson, who is the Foundation chair for our club, was with us. When he came back, he said we needed to apply for a Rotary grant,” Carin says. “That started the process to raise funds for New Hope School.”

Carin say that the main objective of the project is to ensure that the students, especially young women, have a way to support themselves as adults. “These programs will be implemented through a new sewing room and a hair salon room.”

Both programs will be self-sustaining. Students in the beauty salon will provide services such as manicures and pedicures. The sewing machines will be used to make tablecloths and placemats to sell.

Funds raised will also allow New Hope School to install a safe playground for children with disabilities, expand the physical education program and help accommodate students in the school’s hostel. 

“Some of these students come from other cities and even other countries in Africa, so they are away from their families,” Carin says.

“At this stage, they are only housed Monday to Friday and these kids need to be shipped out somewhere else on the weekend. This will allow the school to have these kids full time.”

To learn more, visit the Global Grants website or contact Wayne McCutcheon (RC of St. Albert), who is the chair of our District’s Grants Sub-Committee.

 

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Meet Rotarians from other clubs this fall, in Montreal or Edmonton

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If you missed the Rotary International Convention in Toronto in June but are looking to experience Rotary beyond the club level, here is some good news for you.

There will be two opportunities this fall to join gatherings of Rotarians from other clubs.

First, there is the Zones 24 and 32 Conference in Montreal, September 20 – 22. A month later, the District 5370 Conference will be held in Edmonton.

The zone conference is a first-time event. In the past, participation in zone institutes was pretty much limited to those in leadership roles at the district and zone level, but this year in Montreal will be different.

“This year’s committee decided they wanted to open it up to more people than just future, current and past District Governors and other district leaders,” says Laura Morie (RC of Westlock), who was District Governor in 2016-17.

There will still be a training component for District Governor nominees, District Governors-elect and current District Governors, which was an important reason for zone institutes in the past, but there will also be sessions that will appeal to all Rotarians.

“The conference will provide attendees with a macro view of Rotary, where they can see the global reach and positive potential of collaborating outside your own sphere,” Laura says.

“There will be breakout sessions related to membership, The Rotary Foundation and public image, and this year we have a focus on developing our youth and the programs we offer.”

Laura and District 5370 Youth Services Chair Tamara Larson (RC of Edmonton Whyte Avenue) have been invited to play a key role in the youth component of the conference.

“We are going to do the Rotaract portion. Our District has been fully involved in the youth programs for the last 10 years, since youth services became an avenue of service. We have had tremendous success. We actually have more Interact and Rotaract clubs in the District than we do Rotary clubs,” Laura says.

Scholarships available for youth participation in the Zone Conference

To encourage youth participant, District 5370 is offering 10 scholarships to support the attendance of young Rotary leaders, aged 18 to 25, to attend Rotary NOW. 

The scholarships include registration, accommodation and airfare.

Two additional scholarships are available for Rotarians aged 26 to 40 to attend the convention.

Ask your club president or youth services chair for additional information, which Tamara has sent to both. You can also contact Tamara directly (Larson.tamarac@gmail.com or 587-783-8880).

During two days of interactive sessions, youth participants will share thoughts on education and literacy, human rights, the environment, employment and social justice, through innovative working groups, inspirational speakers and service project opportunities.

On Friday, September 21, which is International Peace Day, the young Rotary leaders will have the opportunity to work with a Rotary Peace Fellow and to learn about Peace Fellowships, and Rotary Peace Centres.

The scholarship application process requires interested young people to write an essay, in which they describe their Rotary career path, including past and present roles and responsibilities along with future goals, and how attending the zone conference will support them in achieving their Rotary goals and objectives.

Applications for scholarships should be emailed to Tamara at youthawards5370@gmail.com by August 15.

In addition to encouraging young people to apply for District scholarships, Laura has another suggestion for clubs. “We would like different clubs to decide that, over and above the District initiative to get kids there, perhaps the club could see its way to sponsoring a dynamic young person who they feel has a Rotary career ahead of them,” she says. 

“The registration fee is $275. There are hostels, so accommodation is $120 and whatever the airfare is. Ballpark $1,000 per person. This might be a Rotaractor or a Rotarian in early career, who will be able to bring ideas back and take action.”

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District 5370 Conference October 18 – 21

The second opportunity to attend a multi-club event will be the District 5370 Conference, at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, October 18 – 21.

“Planning for the conference is actually coming along really well,” says conference chair Spencer Mueller (RC of Edmonton West). 

“Our committee has been working on putting the conference together for well over a year and a half. Now, we are at the stage of putting the final touches on things,” he says.

“We have an excellent venue in the Shaw Conference Centre. Our conference will be occurring at a wonderful time in the river valley and our speaker lineup is incredibly strong, featuring fantastic topics and speakers from all over the world.

The conference kicks off Thursday evening with a Peace Building dinner, which reflects the priority District Governor Ingrid Neitsch has placed on District 5370 becoming a Rotary Peacebuilding District. Additional details will be released shortly about the dinner, which is being held in conjunction with the annual Paul Harris Society dinner. There’s a separate registration fee for this event.

Both Friday and Saturday will include a full schedule of keynote speakers and breakout sessions.

“Now, the big focus is on getting people to continue to register,” says Spencer. “We realize that for many people things slow down and Rotary takes a bit of a lower priority during the summer months. We’re hoping for a strong response when people get back into routine after the September long weekend.”

The committee is offering a special reduced registration rate for those who have never attended a District conference. “We’re really trying to encourage both Rotarians and non-Rotarians to attend the conference. In our lineup there’s something for everybody. Our lineup of speakers is very strong, even in comparison to the Rotary International convention in Toronto,” Spencer says.

The registration fee includes access to the House of Friendship, breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday, and the Governor’s Ball on Saturday evening.

“The Governor’s Ball will have a 1920s theme. We have a wonderful live, large band, the Trocadero Orchestra, playing for the event. It’s going to be a great way to wrap up this Rotary Conference.”

Spencer encourages Rotarians to visit the conference website. “All the details and registration information are on that website and people can register right from there. 

Edmonton Rotarian creates a gift fit for a vice president

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Ed Korbyl of Columbia Awards examines a scotch glass similar to the ones he engraved for RI vice president Dean Rohrs.

How do you thank someone who has served on the Rotary International Board of Directors as the representative of more than 63,000 Rotarians?

It’s a question that the Zone 24 and 32 District Governors for 2015-16 and 2016-17 asked themselves. How to express appreciation to Dean Rohrs (RC of Langley, BC) for her support during their time as the leaders of their districts?

Dean was elected to represent Zones 24 and 32 on the RI Board of Directors from July 2016 to June 2018. During her second year on the board, RI President Ian Riseley (RC of Sandringham, Australia) appointed Dean to serve as the vice president of Rotary International, making her only the third woman to hold this position in the 107-year history of Rotary.

“They wanted a gift that she could use and a gift that we could engrave as an acknowledgement of her service on the board of Rotary International,” says Linda Robertson (RC of Edmonton Northeast), who served as District Governor in 2014-15 and is the current chair of the District Services Committee.

She had a suggestion.

“I knew that both (Dean and her husband Rhino) enjoy scotch,” she says. The decision was to present them with a set of scotch glasses.

But where to purchase them and who should engrave them?

Linda had another suggestion.

“Ed was the logical person to go to,” Linda says, referring to longtime Edmonton Rotarian Ed Korbyl (RC of Edmonton Gateway).

Ed and his son, Richard (RC of Edmonton Urban Spirits) own Columbia Awards, a company to which several Rotary clubs go in search of name badges, plaques and other gifts.

“I felt honoured to have been asked to supply the glasses. It was a chance to be creative,” Ed says. 

“Hopefully, the vice president enjoyed the ‘spirit’ of the occasion.”

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A presidential hug for Dean Rohrs from RI President Ian Riseley.

The gift was presented to Dean during the Beyond Borders evening for Rotarians from the two zones, held at the Hockey Hall of Fame during the Rotary International Convention in Toronto, in June. The presentation was made in the room where the Stanley Cup is displayed.

PDG Neil Berg  (RC of Red Deer East), who represented the 2016-17 DG class, and Wendy Walsh-DeMaria (RC of Rocky Point, New York), representing the 2017-18 class, made the presentation.

When other district governors were invited to the microphone to say “one word” about Dean, Laura Morie (RC of Westlock), who was District Governor in 2016-17, described her as a “superstar.”  2017-18 District Governor Frank Reitz (RC of Fort McMurray) said she was “purposeful.”

Zone 24, which consists of 16 districts—5370 is one—includes all of Canada, a small portion of the United States along the border, Alaska, and the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Twenty districts from nine northeast American states plus Bermuda make up Zone 32.

The position of RI Director for Zones 24 and 32 alternates every two years between the two zones. The current director, who assumed office on July 1, is Jeff Cadorette (RC of Media, Pennsylvania, in Zone 32). His term will end in June 2020, at which time a Rotarian from Zone 24 will join the board.

Dean and Jennifer Jones (RC of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario), who previously served as RI vice president will both attend the 2018 District Conference in Edmonton, October 18-20.

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