So much was accomplished by clubs in our District during 2018-2019 that the committee that reviewed submissions felt it had to increase the number of awards in most award categories.
“Because there was such a difference in certain categories, we decided to recognize more than one project in these categories,” says Donna Nichol (RC of Edmonton Northeast), who as the Administrative Services chair assembled a board committee to decide which clubs would receive awards.
“It wasn’t a case of picking a winner,” Donna says of the committee’s deliberations. “Rather it was a case of recognizing outstanding work in certain areas.”
During the Changeover event held on June 27, 2018-2019 DG Ingrid Neitsch (RC of Edmonton West) presented awards to 11 clubs and several individuals who demonstrated their commitment to “Be the Inspiration.”
She also announced that the District was the recipient of a North American award for its youth programs.
Community, international and youth service awards
Multiple Gilbert Patterson Awards were presented in three service categories—community, international and youth.
Gilbert Paterson was a Lethbridge educator who served as governor for District 536 in 1959-60, long before the District was divided and District 5370 was created.
The Rotary Clubs of Edmonton Southeast and Fort St. John received awards for their community service projects.
For several years, Edmonton Southeast has partnered with the Millbourne Laundromat to host a community Thanksgiving luncheon for disadvantaged persons from Edmonton’s Mill Woods area. This annual event now feeds more than 1,000 each year.
The Mother’s Day Run, which the Fort St. John club initiated in 2012, has raised more than $78,500 in donations for the Women’s Resource Society. The Society provides crisis planning, housing support, an outreach store, and healing and advocacy support to empower women and girls with tools to improve the quality of their lives.
Both international service awards went to projects that were described in Rotary District 5370 News articles during 2018-2019.
For more than 20 years, a team of Rotarians from Edmonton West and others have visited remote Guatemalan communities to conduct eye examinations, provide glasses and medication for eye infections.
The Rotary Club of Edmonton Riverview acquires and refurbishes ambulances retired from service by Alberta Health Services, which are destined for communities in Belize, Mexico, Uganda and Ghana. During 2018-2019, two of these vehicles were part of the Highway to Mexico convoy organized by Rotary clubs in Grande Prairie.
Youth services awards were presented to the Rotary Clubs of Edmonton South and Edmonton Northeast.
The flute making program at Abbott School, supported by Edmonton Northeast, is a way to help children improve their concentration, patience, self-confidence and co-ordination. The club pays for the materials and Rotarians assist the students as they decorate their instruments.
Rotarians from Edmonton South supported the Alberta Future Leaders program for Indigenous youth in Driftpile First Nation in Northwest Alberta. The AFL program engages youth through sports, art, recreation, leadership and cultural activities.
Peacebuilder award went to Dawson Creek Sunrise
Ingrid, who launched the successful initiative to have our District become a Rotary Peacebuilder District in 2018-2019, presented a Peacebuilder award to the Rotary Club of Dawson Creek Sunrise, which was “involved in the development and promotion of peace building activities with high school students in their community,” Ingrid said.
Club president Michelle Rolls and District Youth Chair Tamara Larson accompanied a group of 17 students to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to participate in a week-long national pilot program.
Three clubs were recognized for their efforts related to public relations and marketing.
The Rotary Club of St. Albert produced brochures, posters and videos to publicize, “what Rotary is all about and what we do in the community.” The club feels their public relations and marketing has had tangible results, including membership growth and increased community involvement in fundraising and other activities.
The Rotary Club of Edmonton Whyte Avenue produced a brochure and used social media to share success stories, promote events and increase the visibility of Rotary. The club also produced a number of videos to create awareness of activities and promote events.
During 2018-2019, the Rotary Club of Edmonton Glenora undertook a comprehensive strategic planning initiative to study how they were living out the club’s vision and the mission of their club. They asked themselves what was distinctive about the club and what could they do to remain relevant. This process led to refreshing the club’s vision, mission statement and value proposition.
Rotary Club of Edmonton received Governors Award
One submission stood out as being deserving of the Governor’s Award. In 2013, the Rotary Club of Edmonton embarked on a major multi-year Humanitarian International Project in partnership with Literacy Without Borders and the Rotary Club of Belize. The South Belize City Literacy Development Program focused on transforming the educational and school-community infrastructure in an impoverished area known as South Belize City.
Ingrid also announced that our District had received an award from the North American Youth Exchange Network. The NAYEN awards recognizes, “districts that participate enthusiastically, conduct activities that are best practices and strive to build strong programs in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.”
Youth Service Chair Tamara Larson (RC of Edmonton Whyte Avenue) accepted the award on the District’s behalf.
Awards recognizing individual service
A number of special awards were presented to individual Rotarians.
Two longtime Rotarians from District 5370 were among 16 recipients worldwide of the Polio Plus Pioneer Awards, which recognizes Rotarians who made a significant non-financial contribution to Polio Plus prior to 1992.
Albert Miller and Walter Sczebel, honorary members of the Rotary Clubs of Westlock and Morinville respectively, were recognized for having increased the awareness of Rotary’s commitment to eradicating polio by organizing a journey by wagon train from Westlock to the 1988 District 536 Conference in Calgary. Both were members of the Westlock club at the time.
The two covered wagons, which were accompanied by outriders, cooks, support personal, and an iron lung on a flatbed, stopped at community halls and schools to raise awareness of the polio eradication program.
Along the way, the convoy raised more than a million dollars for Polio Plus.
Four Rotarians, who Ingrid described as “working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the District runs smoothly,” each were presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship:
- For the last six years, Carl Clayton (RC of Edmonton Northeast) has served as District Board Secretary, which involves keeping accurate minutes and chairing business meeting at the District’s Special General Assemblies.
- For several years, Rob Dunseith (RC of Edmonton West) has “provided free service on legal matters, resulting in savings of thousands of dollars,” Ingrid said.
- John Nichol (RC of Edmonton Northeast) was instrumental in helping with the move of the District office from the Boys and Girls Club to The Orange Hub.
- Donna Nichol, as the District’s Administration Director, was responsible in planning the office move.
Award recognized success of club co-presidency
Woman of Inspiration awards were presented to two Rotarians who served as co-presidents of their clubs. While other clubs may have had co-presidents in the past, Jillene Lakevold and Alyssa Haunholter (RC of Edmonton Glenora) took “the co-presidency to a whole new level,” Ingrid said.
“They have led their club into Strategic Planning that has confirmed the mission of their club and provided a clear path moving forward, all while raising young children and pursuing their careers!”
Ingrid recognized two Past District Governors, “who have not gone into retirement from Rotary” with Outstanding Service to the District Awards.
Since being District Governors in 2010-2011 and 2014-2015 respectively, both Jackie Hobal (RC of Edmonton West) and Linda Robertson (RC of Edmonton Northeast) “have been mentors to many of our leaders and continued to be active supporters of our District programs and events, serving on the Board and on several committees,” Ingrid said.
“In addition to their exemplary service to our District, both have served as Zone Co-ordinators, working with Rotarians from 16 or 17 other Districts across our country.”
Wayne Kauffman (RC of Edmonton Riverview), who stepped down at the end of June after four years as chair of the District’s Rotary Foundation committee, was presented with a Rotary Foundation District Service Award.
“Most Foundation chairs serve a three-year term, but I persuaded Wayne to serve an extra year,” Ingrid said. “He has provided exemplary service and leadership as chair, ensuring that our District meets and exceeds RI requirements for Foundation work.”
The final award of year was presented to Spencer Mueller (RC of Edmonton West) as the 2018-2019 Rotarian-of-the-Year.
“The individual that I have chosen to receive this special award is someone who has committed the last three years to serving and working in important roles in our District, culminating in a special event this year,” Ingrid said. “He has served as Club President, Club Foundation Chair, Assistant Governor and District Conference Chair.”
The deadline for submissions for 2019-2020 club awards is May 15, 2020.