Posted on Feb 15, 2023
RYLA is back!! After the restrictions and isolation we all experienced during the past two and more years of pandemic we can all celebrate that our District's Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, an exceptional development program for youth, has returned in person. RYLA South, for 15 to 18 year olds, is happening at Camp Elphinstone, near Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, March 25 to 28.  Spots are still available, clubs and the 5040 RYLA website have registration information with a February 23 closing date.  
Three hundred Rotarians and guests gathered for the Lower Mainland Rotary Foundation Dinner on February 4th, which the Rotary Club of Richmond hosted as it celebrated the Lunar New Year and the club’s 60th anniversary. Our guest speaker was Past District 5040 Governor, former Vice President of Rotary International and now Rotary Foundation Trustee Dean Rohrs who spoke so eloquently about giving to Rotary and the positive impact on community near and far. Gung hay fat choy to all of you in the Year of the Rabbit as well as thank you and congratulations to Richmond Rotary.
Thanks to a generous donation of Paul Harris points by the Rotary Club of Vancouver, we have again been able to offer the “Paul Harris points match” this month. That offer was open at the Foundation Dinner, and remains open until the end of February. Donate US$500 to The Rotary Foundation and the District will match 500 points to reach 1000 total points to earn a Paul Harris Fellow Award. To take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to our Foundation contact District Governor Nominee Drew Antrobus or District Executive Administrator Nancy Eidsvik.
An exciting highlight of our year together is the District 5040 Conference coming to Vancouver April 28 to 30. Check out the speakers and all the details on the conference site. Of special note is: Rotaractors and first-year Rotarians can attend for only $99, with the option of another $125 to attend the gala dinner. Thanks to some generous sponsors for making that possible.  We’d love to see more registrations, and of course more sponsors would also be most welcome!  
We’re saddened to learn, as some of you have, that one of our club presidents, Via Fearnley, of Vancouver Mountainview, recently suffered an unimaginable tragedy, losing her husband Bob, and daughter Gayle, in a house fire in North Vancouver. Via's and her son’s immediate needs are being handled, with tremendous support from family and friends, not least by Assistant Governor Mary Anne Velayo. Mary Anne will reach out if any of us can help, but for now we should limit direct outreach to Via by messages (not phone calls) of sympathy and support. Messages to Via should, for now, go to Mary Anne at Our entire Rotary family extends heartfelt condolences to Via and her son.
Our District and the rest of Rotary is well underway in preparing for the next Rotary year! District Governor Elect Shirley-Pat Chamberlain attended the International Assembly in Florida, where she heard from incoming RI President Gordon McInally about his theme and his priorities for next year. We just held our District's Assistant Governor training and strategic planning sessions this past weekend. Now, over three days this weekend in Seattle, Pacific North West PETS, our Presidents Elect Training Seminar -- shared with nine other Districts in Northern California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and BC -- will help our Presidents Elect prepare for the coming year in working with you and your club as you continue to enjoy your Rotary experience in 2023-24. Still ahead are in person opportunities for some of us at our Year Ahead sessions and Rotary Foundation Grant Management Seminars.
John Berry
District Governor 2022-23