Posted on Jul 31, 2018
With the start of a new Rotary/Rotaract year, the new executives of Rotaract District 5040 stepped into their new positions. The District BBQ, held on July 14th, gave Rotarians and Rotaractors a great opportunity to mingle and connect.
At the upcoming first Rotaract District Committee Meeting a strategic planning session will be held to select this year’s District Project, as well as dates for socials and opportunities for collaborations between the individual Clubs.
Currently most Rotaractors in District 5040 are focusing on the preparations for this year’s PACE trip, which is only a couple of weeks away. Starting on August 24th, 6 Rotaractors from around the world will have the chance to experience the Canadian Pacific Coast, hosted by our District and Rotaractors in District 5020 for the Victoria portion of the trip. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all Rotarians for their support of PACE through hosting our guests, as well as financial funding. We are looking forward to see you at the PACE Welcome and/or Goodbye BBQ! Further information regarding the events and how to RSVP will be sent out to you soon.
As promised this month we have testimonials from some of the Rotaractors who attended the RI Convention in Toronto and RYLA North America in Washington DC at the end of June and beginning of July. Friendly reminder if you want to have one of the Rotaractors who attended these conferences as a speaker at your Rotary meeting you will find their contact information below:
RI Convention
- Marianna Hammerstrom from the North Shore Rotaract Club:
- Maryam Bee from the Richmond Rotaract Club:
RYLA North America
- Levi Greene from the Prince George Rotaract Club:
RI Convention & RYLA North America
- Johanna Johnson from the Vancouver Young Professionals Rotaract Club:
- Thomas Miller from the Vancouver Young Professionals Rotaract Club:
Small Acts Can Be the Inspiration by Johanna Johnson
The theme for this Rotary year is “Be the Inspiration.” Past-DRR Johanna felt that her experiences in Toronto and in Washington DC both inspired her and gave her the tools and opportunities to inspire other. She would like to share a brief story of an interaction that inspired her while at RYLA North America.
“On the first full day of the RYLA North America I experienced both my high and my low of the conference. To keep a long story short I was not provided food that fit my dietary requirements that day and one of the RYLA Committee, Joel, saw that I was upset (despite my best efforts to hide it) and jumped into action. He told me not to worry and that he would take me to get food I could eat.
While we were sitting down at Chipotle to eat lunch a homeless man approached us to ask for money for food. As many people do in these situations I responded ‘Sorry, but I have no cash.’ Joel, on the other hand, began to ask the man some questions, in a friendly, inquisitive manner, such as ‘Why do you need money?’ and ‘Why are you homeless?’ He got the man to sit down and tell us his whole life story, which was rather unbelievable but delivered in such a way that you really felt it must be genuinely true. When the man concluded his story Joel gave him $10 to buy himself a burrito but told the man to come eat with us. We shared a meal and good conversation, which I feel has a much higher impact that just giving money.
Looking back I feel like my RYLA experience would have been completely different if not for that lunch and interaction. It had a profound impact on me by inspiring me in two ways. First, to be the type of person who sees someone upset and takes action to help. Second, to moving forward to be the kind of person who asks the questions or does the things that nobody else does. Doing as Joel did seems like such an easy thing to do in order to have a positive impact and do good in the world but also something most people would not have done. I want you to ask yourself, ‘Would I have gone the extra mile and asked the questions Joel asked?’”
Service Above Sleep by Thomas Miller
That’s how Rotaractors live and that’s exactly the experience Rotaractors had at the Rotary International Convention in Toronto.
The Rotaract Preconvention brought together hundreds of Rotaractors from all over the world. For two days it was our show.
Perhaps the most interesting Rotaract Club that presented during the convention was the club from Birmingham, Alabama. Their club includes approximately 300 people and has a budget that would make most Rotary Clubs blush. While difficult for most Rotaractors to compare their clubs to Birmingham, it was amazing to learn about their growth strategies and how to keep a club of that size effectively managed. It showed that in the right situation, there’s no limit to what Rotaract can be. They have proven to businesses in their community that the professional and leadership development programs they have implemented are worth investing in. Those businesses, in turn, pay for their younger employees (ages 25-35) to join Rotaract, in addition to supporting Rotaract causes.
The convention itself was inspiring. And thanks to new RI President Barry Rassin, Rotaractors weren’t just hanging out in the background. Rotaractors were front and centre – running sessions, panels and a Rotaractor was even the event’s emcee.
The speakers who had the greatest impact on me were Marie-Paule Attema, a Rotary Peace Fellow who emigrated from Rwanda to Canada, and Xavier Ramey, an American Rotarian who works as a social impact consultant.
Marie’s story of emigrating from Rwanda had the audience in tears. She has overcome so much in her life and inspired the audience to strive for peace in our time. The impact of Canadians on her life made me proud of my country.
Xavier’s thought-provoking presentation challenged the audience to understand how privileged we all are. We have been provided with so many advantages in life and as Rotarians/Rotaractors we have the opportunity to have an impact on those who haven’t received those same advantages. We can level the playing field.
Thank you for providing Rotaractors with the opportunity to attend this event. It sparked many ideas and brought people from different clubs in our district closer together. We’ll be meeting each other in the middle for many years to come.
Love Who You Lead by Thomas Miller
The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Program is held worldwide to inspire young people to lead, and provide them with the confidence to do so. RYLA North America in Washington, DC from July 1-6 brought together people from all over the continent, as well as South America and even as far away as Europe. As a result, the cultural exchange at this event was on par with a Rotary International Convention. And that’s just from interacting with the other delegates. We also attended events at three Embassies (Congo, Haiti and Saudi Arabia), visited the Delegation of the EU and had the opportunity to participate in Fourth of July festivities on Capitol Hill.
For me, though, the most important element of this experience is how it brings incredible people together to learn from one another and develop meaningful friendships.
At the time, I was reading a book by Simon Sinek entitled Leaders Eat Last. One line stuck with me as a great description of this program: "My favourite definition of love is giving someone the power to destroy us and trusting they won't use it."
I could think of no greater description for RYLA.
Because I had never been to a RYLA of any type prior to this, it was an eye-opening experience to see the impact it can have on young people who haven’t had the opportunity to work on their leadership skills, and especially those without the confidence to use them. I was so impressed watching these young people grow as they let themselves be vulnerable around their new friends.
It has inspired me to get involved in local RYLAs and go back next year to RYLA North America in more of a leadership role. I remember when I didn’t have the confidence to speak in front of a group of this size (or any size). It was scary for me, but Rotary and Rotaract have given me the confidence to overcome that fear. My goal is now to have that impact on more young people through RYLA. I am also coordinating with a large contingent of Canadians who attended RYLA North America in order to facilitate the creation of a National RYLA for Canada.
Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to attend this program. Those who attended will pay it forward.