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

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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.”

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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”

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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.