District Governor's Update - October 2021
Nov 9, 2021
After the relative calm of September, October brought extraordinary levels of Rotary activities to our Governor’s experience. On Friday, October 1, Robin received her Birthday present – an evening in a luxury box watching the Seattle Kracken play the Edmonton Oilers in the Angel of the Winds arena. For my hockey loving partner, it was a wonderful start to a great month. After returning to Wenatchee on Saturday, we left for a week in Salmon Arm. Our border crossing was easy and we had the opportunity to stop at Tickleberry’s in Okangagan Falls for Robin’s favorite ice cream. While waiting in line, we met four Rotarians from Port Ludlow. We had a great discussion about Covid era fund raisers, the challenge of zoom meetings and the joy of meeting Rotarians in person.
We arrived in Salmon Arm around 6:00 pm and checked in to our hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel’s elevator was broken. Four days of climbing 3 floors of stairs provided a needed impromptu work-out several times a day. On Monday morning, Assistant Governor Penny Brown joined us as we met with the Salmon Arm Daybreak board of directors. This is Assistant Governor Penny and Governor’s Aide Ron Hooper’s home club and both of them serve on the board of the club. It was interesting to watch them in this club role after spending so much time on Zoom with them on District business. President Jackie Goodwin filled us in on the clubs many activities including its successful Lobsterfest and joint legacy project at Canoe Beach. This club clearly demonstrated the health of Rotary in Salmon Arm. At 11:00 we met with the Salmon Arm club’s board. This club talked about its school lunch program, its project Amigo in Mexico and its 20 year commitment to providing wheelchairs and accessibility in Guatemala. The club was very proud of its picnic shelter project at Blackbird park. We left the board convinced of the clubs extraordinary commitment to Rotary. At noon, we joined the full Salmon Arm club for its regular meeting. It was wonderful to reconnect with past Governor Jeff den Biesen and to see past Assistant Governors, Norm Brown and Sterling Land. I had the pleasure of recognizing departing President Patrick Webb as he relocated to Alberta and President Elect Garry Hoffart as he assumed the leadership of the club.
On Monday evening joined the Shuswap club for its board meeting where we learned about its deep commitment to the local schools with its Brain bikes program, lunch program, the Children’s Discovery Center, the Community Gardens and its contributions to Senior bus passes as well as the joint projects that the area clubs are pursuing. Again, it was wonderful to see the commitment this club has to its community.
On Tuesday at noon, we joined the Salmon Arm Interact club for its second meeting ever. This group of 17 young people shared their plans for the coming year and demonstrated that young people are truly committed to service. Tuesday evening, we joined the Shuswap club for its regular evening meeting. We had a very nice evening interacting with the club members and saw that they epitomized the phrase, small but mighty.
On Wednesday, we joined Shuswap President Kathy Dunfield for a tour of Community projects in the Salmon Arm area. We toured the Salmon Arm food bank, several park and civic improvement projects and a truly engaging meeting with the curator of the RJ Haney Heritage Village and Museum where the Shuswap club is sponsoring a youth Discovery center. The Haney historical village is a re-creation of 1920 Salmon Arm. The street scape and re-created store fronts were amazing and touched my deep love of history.
Wednesday evening we had a wonderful time as we joined several Salmon Arm Rotarians for conversation and dinner at a local pub.
Thursday, we joined the Salmon Arm Daybreak club for breakfast and its regular meeting and met another committed group of Rotarians that are making a significant contribution to the future of Salmon Arm. After this meeting, we joined Assistant Governor Penny Brown for a trip up to Revelstoke where we joined co-Presidents Clark Traverse and Chris Bostock for a tour of recent Revelstoke projects. We then joined the club for a combined club meeting and board meeting. It was very interesting to join Revelstoke as the meeting on Thursday the 7th was the first in-person meeting the club has held in over a year. Lunching with the Revelstoke club was wonderful as it felt like a Youth Exchange home-coming as we reconnected with our long term Weekend in the Mountains hosts Wally Mohn and Graham Harper.
After our meeting in Revelstoke, we toured a couple more projects of the Salmon Arm clubs’ prior to travelling to Chase. In Chase, we met up with Past District Governor Doug Everett and Jackie and took a tour of Chase community projects. PDG Doug filled in for President Patrick Herba who was out of town. Doug went above and beyond in his attention to us as he was in pain from a recent fall that resulted in 6 broken ribs. Our evening with the Chase club was very enjoyable as I shared our District’s strategies and projects and the club members spoke of their pride in their projects and the difference that they are making in this small and changing community.
On Friday, I attended a District meeting on Zoom and then packed up and headed back towards Wenatchee.
The following week was constant meetings related to my work and I served as a presenter for two sessions at the Washington State Transit Conference. On Saturday, October 16th, we hosted the first quarterly business meeting for the District this year. In two hours, we heard from the chairs of our various committees as to the progress of their efforts and took action to work with the Chelan Club’s foundation to assist in providing scholarships for deserving youth exchange students. In the afternoon, we hosted a meeting of our Assistant Governor’s where we discussed the responsibilities of the AG’s and shared strategies to make the function more helpful to our clubs.
The following week, I had my agency board meeting and met with all 170 of my staff to share our progress and update everyone on efforts to make our local transit service better. It was an exciting week at home as we had two visits from our emergency response due to Robin’s mother setting off her personal fall alarm. Unfortunately, this occurred during Robin’s Covid test (to get back into Canada) and my meetings with my staff. We survived the excitement and on Sunday started our way north again to meet with our Kelowna area clubs.
When we crossed the border, we were surprised to both be “randomly” selected for follow-up Covid-19 testing. We were told that we under quarantine until the testing was completed and that we had to “get it done” as soon as we reached our hotel. Once we reached Kelowna, we checked in to our very nice, brand new hotel and attempted to complete the required testing. We were required to schedule an on-line call with medical professional who would monitor our completion of our second Covid test in 4 days. Our appointments were scheduled for the following morning and we were able to complete the testing prior to our first scheduled Rotary event, the evening meeting with President Irma Lux, Assistant District Governor Kathy Butler and the Okanagan Mission club. We joined this club for its first in-person meeting since Covid lock-downs began and had an enjoyable evening meeting with the club and learning how this small club has been achieving amazing things for the Kelowna community. I was pleased to present the Rotary International Presidential Citation to past President Ross Grimmer for the achievements of the club during his year as President.
On Tuesday, I led an on-line staff meeting for my agency and then proceeded to meet with the Board of the Rotary Club of Kelowna. We met with President Steve Thomas and the club’s Board prior to its regular meeting and learned about its work funding youth recovery beds, local garden clean-ups, apple gleaning and its support of the local food bank as well as its participation in joint tree planting project at the nature preserve. This is Assistant Governor Kathy’s home club and she ably introduced us and reported on her role on the Board. Following the board meeting, we joined the club for its regular club meeting. As the club has only recently returned to meeting in person, President Steve was quite engaged to make its hybrid link work. A few microphone conflicts challenged the meeting, but we all persevered. I presented the club the Rotary International Presidential Citation and congratulated past President Lennetta Parry for her year.
That evening, we joined the Kelowna Sunrise club board of directors and President and District Governor Nominee Marjolein Lloyd via Zoom. The club filled us in on its Rib Fest and the process of determining if it will go forward this year, their new Seasons of Giving Calendar and its Sav On Foods raffle. The club spoke of its deep commitment to Youth Exchange and several international projects in Nepal, Honduras and Mexico.
After our zoom meeting, Robin and I joined past District Governor Bruce Falkins and his wife Donna for a fabulous dinner and fellowship. It was great to reconnect with Bruce and Donna.
On Wednesday morning we joined the Kelowna Ogopogo club for its regular club meeting. Past President Lisa Wakefield filled in President Walt Murphy who was out of town. Due to the very full meeting room, Assistant Governor Kathy was forced to sit far away from us and due to the very engaged club members, I think we only shared a wave. I was very pleased to present the Rotary International Presidential Citation to Lisa for the achievements of the Ogopogo club during her year as President. During the meeting we learned about an amazing number of projects the club has taken on and were made to feel right at home as received amazing bear hugs from former Youth Exchange Officer Olivia Johnson.
Wednesday afternoon, I joined past District Governor Peter Shultz and District Governor Nominee Marjolein Lloyd at a Scotia Bank branch where we signed what felt like thousands of documents in an effort to open District Bank accounts that will allow us to do electronic banking and to speed up our grants and reimbursements. On Wednesday evening, Past Governor Peter and his wife Susan hosted us for a very pleasant evening.
On Thursday morning, we joined Assistant Governor Bill Hawkins at the West Kelowna Daybreak club. President David Cochrane filled us in on the many projects of the club. I was thrilled to present the RI Presidential Citation to the club and President Dave. The club is providing a hybrid option for its members and the facilities equipment seemed to deliver a quality experience (as long as I held the mic close) to its virtual members. At noon, Assistant Governor Bill joined us at the Peachland Rotary club meeting. Robin and I were late arriving in Peachland due to extreme traffic and a semi in a ditch. President Steve Gardner handled our tardiness very well and had completed the club business, leaving us with plenty of time to share my presentation and discuss the success of the club. I was able to present the RI Presidential Citation to past President Wendy Howard and congratulate her and the club for the amazing local and international work this small but powerful club is able to achieve.
On Thursday evening we joined the Kelowna Capri club and Assistant Governor Bill Hawkins for their first meeting at their new location, the Harvest Golf Club. President Carola Spek led us through a discussion of the projects of the club. The club was able to provide a quality hybrid structure and it was really nice to reconnect with past Youth Exchange officer John Mullock. I was very pleased to present past President Ron Becker with the RI Presidential Citation and to congratulate the club for their many achievements and contributions.
On Friday morning we joined the Kelowna Sunrise club for its regular club meeting. The club was meeting for the second time in its new venue, and President Marjolein tried her best to keep the engaged and active club members focused. I was happily able to present the RI Presidential Citation to the club and to recognize past President Norm LeCavalier for their achievements in the past year.
After the morning meeting, we loaded a pick-up bed full of Rotary banners and conference materials to help us get our District Conference off the ground. We headed for the border and had to spend 45 minutes explaining what was in the various boxes, and getting clearance to return these items to the USA. After a surprisingly pleasant interaction with Customs and Border Protection, we got back on the road and headed home. It was good ending to month full of wonderful Rotary activities that set us up well for the months to come.