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.
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.email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.”
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.