District Conference 2018 promises more than inspiring speakers

District conference Main

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.

Curlers from Alberta, British Columbia and NWT drawn to the “best Rotary bonspiel in years.”

Curling rocks on ice

Brian Thompson (RC of Edmonton West) assessed the 57th Annual District 5360/5370 Bonspiel simply and unambiguously: “It was the best bonspiel in years!”

Brian may be a little biased. After all, he did chair the committee, made up of members from Rotary Clubs of Edmonton West and Edmonton Gateway, which hosted the three-day event that was held at Edmonton’s Thistle Curling Club February 22 to 24.

“Everyone seemed happy with the bonspiel,” Brian says. “We received lots of emails saying good things about the event.”

The organizers were pleased with the number of participants. This year, 31 rinks took part.

“This was pretty good,” Brian says. “Attendance has been falling off over the last few years. There were only 28 teams last year.”

The event drew curlers from across both districts, from Lethbridge in the south to Fort St. John and Grande Prairie in the north. There was even one curler from Yellowknife.

The makeup of the rinks varied. Some were mixed teams, but most were all-men or all- women. While most rinks were made up of four curlers from a single Rotary club, a few had curlers from two or more clubs.

The team which won the B Event included curlers from four Rotary clubs and from both districts.

Preparations for the bonspiel began a year ago, as soon as the event was awarded to Edmonton at the 2017 bonspiel in Lethbridge.

Brian says that there is “a bit of a ceremony” required to having a club’s bid to host accepted. All members of the committee must pass through a very small door. No sooner had Brian and his committee passed through the door, it disappeared.

“There is a long tradition of other clubs stealing the door,” he says. “We only had it for two minutes before the door was gone.”

The next time he saw the door was during this year’s bonspiel. By that time, a plaque commemorating the 2018 event had been added to the other plaques on the door, one for each year in which the bonspiel has been held.

After being awarded the event, the committee’s first task was to secure a venue. “The Thistle club had the right dates for us,” Brian says. “It was a great facility.”

Next, the committee looked for a hotel near the rink which could accommodate out-of-town curlers and serve as a venue for the bonspiel’s social activities. As soon as the date and venues were set, it was time to publicize the event.

“By early April, we were able to provide information to participants in previous bonspiels,” Brian says. Later, committee members visited all Edmonton-area clubs to encourage Rotarians to enter the bonspiel.

Once the bonspiel was over and all the bills had been paid, Brian and his committee were left with a surplus of $2,800, which was donated to two not-for-profit organizations.

“Three hundred and sixty dollars of that profit was due to donations from the Athabasca team, who gave back their D Event winnings, and from Eugene Wasylik of Vermilion (the 50/50 winner),” Brian says. This helped the committee decide to which organizations donations would be made.

“Since Athabasca and Vermilion are two communities who will benefit from the Stroke Ambulance—it’s not for us city folks—it has been decided to donate $1,500 to the University of Alberta Hospital Stroke Ambulance,” Brian says.

The remaining $1,300 was donated to Wellspring Edmonton.

The location for the bonspiel alternates between the two Rotary districts, so the 2019 bonspiel will be in District 5360, with RC of Lethbridge as the host club.

2018 District 5360/5370 Bonspiel Results

A EVENT:

Winners – Grande Prairie Sunrise – Duncan Fraser, Serge Martin, Vernon Boyd, Jeff Keddie

Runner-Up – Edmonton Gateway – Dave Douglas, Jamie Pallett, Lorne Parker, Lionel Usunier, Dave Dorcas

B EVENT:

Winners – Spruce Grove/Stony Plain/Yellowknife/Stettler – Tammy Svenningson, Michele Aasgard, Norma Jarvis, Nancy Georget

Runner-Up – Calgary South – Larry Kennedy, Mark Ambrose, Lynn Topp, Roselyn Jack

C EVENT:

Winners – Calgary Heritage Park – Doug Hood, Roger Sontag, Jim Fitzowich, Greg Smyth

Runner-Up – Fort St. John Sunrise – Chuck McDowell, Dean Thom, Gord Sandhu, Gus McLeod

D EVENT:

Winners – Calgary West – Dan Doherty, Darren Grierson, Bill Fitzsimmons, Marvin Pawlivsky

Runner-Up – Athabasca/Edmonton West – Ross Hunter, Greg Roszmann, Dave Liddell, Darryll White

GOOD TIME CHARLIE AWARD – Gus McLeod – Fort St. John Sunrise

HARRY JEWELL AWARDTeam Mueller – Edmonton West – Annie Mueller, Karen Gibbens, Sharon Reedyk, Sabine MacLeod

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