Posted on Dec 15, 2023
Happy Holidays to you ALL - the season of snow, roaring fires, and festive fun is upon us!
In the past month of whirlwind club visits I witnessed first hand even more amazing work of our Rotary District 5040 family as we make our communities and world a more joyous place for all. It was so lovely to have District Executive Administrator Nancy Eidsvik with me for many of these adventures.
On Bowen Island we saw the most beautiful outdoor learning space and gardens the club has helped the community build. Dragon Club produced a brilliant video as an inspirational way to remind our communities and potential members of "why Rotary!" You can view the video on the District's home page. 
It was so delightful to have more meaningful conversation about all the things clubs can brag about. But we also shared frank and meaningful dialogue on challenges faced: such inspiring commitment to think critically and face these challenges head on by building on the strengths in Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, and West Vancouver.
It was especially lovely to induct new members into our family in Cambie, New West, West Vancouver and the five newest members of Rotaract 604 Hope. Shout out to these amazing emerging leaders. The Rotaractors know how to throw a festive creative party. DGE Drew truly did have the ugliest sweater!! Huge shout out again to Rotarian Chris Browne for making me feel at home - appreciate you so much my dear friend. The Rotary Club of Richmond's Holiday Party capped off my December with a bang and mom and I had the best time. 
Richmond Sunset's 22nd annual Winter Wonderland inside and outside of Richmond City Hall is a magnificent seasonal display launched early this month as the Mayor, members of Council, an MLA and an MP joined me in bringing Rotary greetings for happy holidays to the community.
Rotary is "the opportunity to take the opportunity." The past four weeks have been a shining example of this. A huge shout out to Assistant Governor Mary Anne for taking me on an adventure to Ottawa where we had the opportunity to meet Her Excellency Andrelita S. Austria the Ambassador of the Philippines. Her Excellency is a Person of Action and it was such an honour to award her a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of all her support of entrepreneurs and artists - she is a great friend of Rotary! 
Her Excellency also inspired AG Mary Anne and I to think about how we can help not only our local community as advocates for those with health care skills currently not being utilized here in Canada, but also to think about how Rotary can help in the Philippines to work towards addressing the 91 percent literacy poverty rate in the country. Stay tuned as this dialogue is inspiring an international project idea for 2024 to bring our District signature project - Write to Read BC - internationally to create literacy learning opportunities with the Indigenous communities in the Philippines.  
AG Mary Anne was also instrumental in the opportunity for me to award a second Paul Harris to a young local Philippine artist with Autism who will be donating a piece of her art to help us fundraise for this project. The synergy and sense of community is truly inspiring!! 
Keep up Awesomeness, my fellow Rotarians.
Shirley-Pat Chamberlain 
District 5040 Governor 2023-2024
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