Edmonton Rotarian marches in the Rose Parade

on the parade routeFor some, watching the Rose Parade, hosted by Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses, is a New Year’s Day tradition. Carol Devereux, the president of the Rotary Club of Edmonton South, is one of those people.

“I love that parade,” she says. “I have watched it for years and years. It’s a New Year’s Day thing to do.”

But this year, Carol was unable to watch the parade because she was part of Rotary International’s entry in it.

While for most of us, Tuesday morning, January 1 was an opportunity to sleep in, Carol was meeting other Rotarians at 4:45 a.m., in the parking lot of a Pasadena, Calif., grocery store. From there, they were transported to the staging area for the 130th Rose Parade, which was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.

“We had to get to the staging area before the streets were closed to traffic,” Carol says. 

Carol’s journey to Pasadena began at the 2017 Rotary International convention in Atlanta, where she met two Rotarians who were members of the RI float committee.

“I met with one of them again in Toronto (during the 2018 RI convention) and we talked about how I could get involved. I wanted to learn about what happens behind the scenes and get involved in decorating the float,” she says.

Not only was she able to help decorate the float, she was also invited to be an “out walker.” Those are the people who walk beside the float.

“Walking beside the float was so much fun, because people watching the parade were so engaged,” Carol says.

An estimated 750,000 watched the parade as it passed by the bleachers set up along the parade route.

Click here for a short video of the float in the parade.

There has been a RI float in the parade for nearly 40 years.

The float committee begins to prepare for the parade almost as soon as the previous year’s parade ends. Once the parade theme is established, the Rotarians look at how to combine that theme with the RI annual theme.

As Rotary International provides no financial support, the float committee must find donations to cover the cost, which for 2019 was approximately $150,000.

The theme for this year’s float was “Service Rocks.” Its design was based on Crocodile Rocks, a song by Elton John, which was reflected in the float and the costumes worn by the out walkers and people riding on the float.

waiting to roll with barry and esther

Carol Devereux (right) waits with RI president Barry Raasin and his wife Esther for the parade to begin

As had his predecessors in previous years, RI President Barry Rassin (RC of East Nassau, Bahamas) and his wife, Esther, rode on the float. 

Others invited to ride on the float included the president of the Rotary Club of Paradise, Calif., who lost both his home and business in the Camp Wildfire, and the Rotarian who owns the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, Calf., which was the scene of a mass shooting in November 2018.

Because they are considered an extension to the float, parade participants were required to be there in costume when the floats were judged on Monday, December 31.

The judging occurred in the large warehouse where several floats were being assembled, a process which began on Boxing Day. Interactors, Rotaractors and Rotarians worked in shifts to complete the float. 

Once the judging was complete, a driver and a spotter spent eight hours moving the float to the staging area.

When Carol and other Rotarians arrived at the staging area, the floats were lined up in the order in which they would travel over the five-mile parade route, which took about two hours to complete. 

The marching bands and equestrian groups gathered on side streets, prepared to take their place as the floats passed by. 

Back in Edmonton a few days later, Carol remained enthused about the experience.

“It was so much fun. It was just amazing to see behind the scenes of the construction of the floats and decorating them,” she says.

“It was great meeting a whole bunch of new people. Whenever you are around a group of Rotarians, there’s sure to be lots of laughter and fun.” 

Leadership Assembly will prepare leaders to “Be the Inspiration” for their clubs

Spring-Leadership-Learning-Development-2018

In planning the District 5370 Leadership Assembly, Donna Barrett (RC of Edmonton Sunrise) and her learning and development team have woven the 2019-2019 Rotary International theme and priorities into all aspects of the event.

“The 2018-2019 theme will be central to the keynotes and to how the breakout sessions are organized,” Donna says.

“[District Governor-elect Ingrid Neitsch] will be sharing the theme and the keynote speakers will help convey this message.”

Rotary International President-elect Barry Rassin (RC of East Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas) revealed the theme, “Be the Inspiration,” to incoming district governors during RI’s Assembly in San Diego, in January.

“I want you to inspire in your clubs, your Rotarians, that desire for something greater. The drive to do more, to be more, to create something that will live beyond each of us,” he told the district governors-elect.

“Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.”

He asked the incoming district governors to “inspire the club presidents and the Rotarians in your districts to want to change, to want to do more, to want to reach their own potential.”

Click here to watch the RI President-elect’s presentations at the Assembly in January.

T1819EN_RGBDonna says the assembly will provide “incoming leaders with the tools they need to ‘Be the Inspiration’ for their clubs.”

The assembly will be held April 6 and 7 at the Chateau Louis Hotel and Conference Centre, 11727 Kingsway in Edmonton, and will offer something for every Rotarian.

“There is something in the assembly for current leaders, incoming leaders and other Rotarians who want to learn more about Rotary,” Donna says.

“The leadership assemblies are planned to provide motivation, current information, support, opportunities to learn, and to share ideas and strategies to prepare presidents-elect, other club officers and members to have a successful year,” DGE Ingrid says.

“The leadership assembly is also an opportunity to form friendships and networks that support and enhance our relationships. There exists a splendid synergy when like-minded leaders collaborate on making a difference in our communities.”

To encourage participation, the District is offering several attractive registration packages, which provide reduced fees when several Rotarians from a club register as a group. When five Rotarians from one club, including the president-elect, register together their cost will only be $450. If five Rotarians, not including the president-elect, register as a group, the fee is $600.

Individual registrations are $150.

There is a separate fee of $35 per person for Friday evening’s Mix and Mingle.

Click here for additional information and to register.

This spring’s program builds on the Leadership Assembly held in the fall, which received praise from participants.

“The feedback from participants at the fall learning assembly is that it was one of the best learning and development assemblies they had ever attended,” Donna says.

Rotary Peace Fellow will speak about the “Magic of our Foundation” Friday evening

The assembly will kick off at 6 p.m., Friday evening, with what Donna promises will be a mix of fun and information. Following a mix-and-mingle networking reception, which offers a light buffet supper, a no-host bar and entertainment, Rotarians will have the opportunity to hear from the first of two Rotary Peace Fellowship alumni scheduled to speak during the assembly.

Summer Lewis, who also spoke at the RI assembly in January, is currently the Rotary Institute for Peace Partnership Co-ordinator. The topic of her presentation is the Magic of our Foundation.

The Rotary Foundation supports Peace Fellows, paying all the participants’ expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation and internship/field study expenses.

Saturday morning, DGE Ingrid will share the RI theme and three priorities for 2018-2019:

  • Support and strengthen clubs
  • Focus and increase humanitarian service
  • Enhance public image and awareness

Ingrid will be followed by keynote presentations from two co-ordinators for RI Zone 24.

Zone Co-ordiantors will focus on Membership and Public Image during Saturday morning keynotes

Assistant Co-ordinator (Membership) Denis Boyd will build on what happened at the fall assembly. He will share strategies to strengthen membership and look at the club culture. Public Image Co-ordinator Sean Hogan will focus on ways to enhance Rotary’s public image. He will suggest techniques that can be used to share what Rotary is doing.

Following the keynote sessions, there will be more breakout sessions than have ever been offered at a District 5370 assembly. Some will be specifically for presidents-elect, treasurers and secretaries.

In their session, Ingrid will ask presidents-elect to set one goal for each of RI’s three 2018-2019 priorities.

All the other sessions are open to all Rotarians. Topics include membership, the Rotary Foundation, youth, club culture/public image, liability, the Rotary Employment Partnership, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and the Emmanuel Foundation, which partners with Rotary to arrange humanitarian shipments to other countries.

The day will conclude with a second Rotary Peace Fellowship presenter. John Lamming, who was working with the RCMP in Grande Prairie when he was selected as Peace Fellow, has entitled his presentation, Adventures in Peace.