De Rock

District Governor's Update - October 2021

Oct 18, 2021

September was an interesting month to serve as your Governor. After a productive August filled with Club and executive visits, work events and milestones, fires and evacuations across the district, smoke filled skies and disturbing Covid-19 spikes, September brought a significant pause, the cancelation of many events and the return for many of virtual meetings. I know that for Robin and I, it was an emotional roller-coaster as it appeared that we were returning to a locked down world, only to find a path to in-person visits and Rotary fellowships.

We started off the month at the Yakima Club. It was wonderful reconnecting with several of our exchange and Governor team friends and learning about the great things that this powerful club is pursuing. It was also interesting to see that our largest club identified finding creative means of enhanced member engagement as a key issue for this year. This issue seems to be consistent theme among our clubs.

On the Labor-day weekend Robin, Robin’s mother – Nita and myself were hosted in the President’s Box at the Ellensburg Rodeo via the gracious offer of our Assistant Governor, Bob Crowe. It was quite a show, with 45,000 persons attending and amazing Rodeo skills. Robin has made it clear to me that we will be in attendance at the Rodeo next year.

By the first week of September, the Delta variant began causing significant shut-downs of events and live club meetings, particularly in Canada. Based on a number of these impacts, Robin and I had to delay our planned visits to Salmon Arm and the Kelowna area. I also made the decision to cancel our planned in-person Past District Governor’s meeting and in-person Strategic Planning workshop. While our local heath orders would have permitted this meeting to take place as long as we stayed masked, with the US land border continuing to be closed, the in-person meeting would not have been possible. I am looking at the opportunity to reschedule this meeting for early Spring – possibly in Canada to remove the issue of the border. Additionally, we also made the decision to cancel the in-person Rotary Learning Institute sessions that were planned for Wenatchee and Vernon in October. Similarly, we will reschedule these when the health orders permit more group activities.

The first quarter district business meeting will still be held on October 16th. The meeting will be held virtually and all District Rotarians are welcome to attend.

Interestingly, while the opportunity to meet in person with our Rotary Clubs was limited, the second week of September, I was a keynote speaker at a public transit industry conference in Denver. This in-person meeting of 300 industry leaders was the first in-person conference I had attended since our PETS in February of 2020 and the first industry meeting since December 0f 2019.

The third week of September was the culmination of the Zone training for Governors, Governors Elect and Governors Nominee. This year, the Governor team training for all 42 of the District’s in Zones 28 and 32 was all virtual. All of the Governor’s council attended the graduation of our Governor’s Elect and got to wish Karl good luck on his term as our future District leader.

The third and fourth week of September I was able to attend my club meeting in-person as my club was able to return to its former venue. It was wonderful to see many of my club members in person. On Saturday September 25th, the Wenatchee Sunrise Rotary Club held its annual Century bike ride. The weather was perfect and the participants seemed to enjoy the event. I was able to join the club members as they celebrated a successful event at a thoroughly enjoyable evening club social. I was also able to join a short service project for my club on the during the fourth week. These local events bring a sense of normalcy and remind all of us why we enjoy our Rotary experience.

By the end of September, the Delta variant’s surge seems to have crested and we have been able to schedule a return to Canada. We obtained our necessary Covid tests and packed our bags for a week in Canada. I’ll report on our trips to Area 3 (Salmon Arm – Revelstoke – Chase) and the Kelowna area next month.

Yours in Rotary Service

Richard DeRock