Rotary has opened a new opportunity for Tamara Larson (RC of Edmonton Whyte Avenue), our District’s former Youth Services chair (2016-2019) and 2017-2018 District Rotarian-of-the-Year.
On July 1, Tamara began a two-year term on Rotary International’s Leadership Development and Training Committee, which advises the RI board of directors on leadership training programs for Rotarians, clubs and Districts, with a special emphasis on training for District governors.
“I’m just really excited for this new opportunity. It’s a great privilege,” Tamara says. “I know that many people want to work on those committees and it really, truly is an honour and a really new opportunity for me. The theme this year is ‘Rotary Opens Opportunities,’ and truly, on my Rotary career path there have been many.”
Tamara applied to join the Leadership Development and Training Committee nearly a year ago, when RI issued a call for Rotarians to sit on several different advisory committees, and “didn’t think much about it. And then, lo and behold this spring I got this email that my application had been accepted.”
Then-RI President-Elect Holger Knaack wrote, “You have been selected for this appointment because we believe that you will add value to the committee given your experience and knowledge of Rotary and its programs.”
As the District Youth Services chair, Tamara was part of a succession of District leaders, including PDG Jackie Hobal and PDG Laura Morie, who made District 5370 a leader in Rotary youth programs.
In addition to leading the Youth Services Committee, Tamara has chaired the District Risk Management Committee, served on the Learning and Development Committee and currently is on the District Peace Building Committee.
She also served two years as president of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Whyte Avenue and as the club’s Foundation and Public Image Committees chair.
Beyond what she has done in our District, Tamara worked with Rotarians in District 5550 to organize the annual Rotary Adventures in Human Rights at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, and has contributed to the youth component of several Zones 28 and 32 institutes and conferences.
“Learning and development is something that is very close to my heart,” Tamara says. “It’s something I work on not only at Rotary but professionally. I have a master’s degree in curriculum design. So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to use those skills and work with the board and offer some guidance on youth programs?’”
As she waits for its first meeting, Tamara has been learning more about the committee and what it does.
“We’ve had several email conversations and some new materials are coming out,” she says. “So I’m very excited to be part of this role and hoping that my experience both personally and professionally will be able to offer some guidance and direction in moving Rotary forward and supporting youth programs globally.”
She has already had the opportunity to learn about others with whom she will be working.
“As far as I can tell right now, there are seven committee members,” she says. “They’re from all over the world—Italy and France and Pakistan, both male and female and from different walks of life.
“I’m sure there will be much learning about different cultures and what different areas of Rotary need to focus on, and what challenges each of us has faced, and what the district governors need to succeed, and what can we do in the learning center to provide support to Rotarians.
As she prepares to begin this next step in her Rotary journey, Tamara has appreciation for those from whom she has received support.
“I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank those who have offered me support, guidance, mentorship and most of all friendship, in my Rotary career path: Laura Morie, Frank and Barb Reitz, Ingrid Neitsch, Jackie Hobal, the many members of the past District Youth Council, the Rotaract and Interact leaders, our exchange students, the youth exchange team and so many others.
“It is because of the teamwork, trust, relationships and vision of so many that we were able to succeed as a District in creating leading-edge youth programs and truly impact the lives of so many.”