Clearwater Rotary Club, active and community-minded as we are, is one cog in District 5060, which in turn is a small but relevant part of Rotary International. (Though showing as one tiny region on a world map, our district encompasses the area from Clearwater in the north to Moses Lake and Yakima, Washington in the south.) The energetic spirit of Rotary was evident to four delegates from Clearwater who covered their own expenses to attend the District Conference in Penticton from June 1 – 3. Inspirational young speakers told how their experiences of being Rotary exchange students influenced their thinking in selecting meaningful careers. “Service above self” is the motto for Rotary’s 1.2 million members; a large banner inscribed with these words greeted us on arrival.
Another speaker told us that, 27 years ago, “an upstart doctor from Wenatchee” decided that Rotary needed to stop the dreaded disease of polio in its tracks.
“This has almost been achieved,” he assured the enthusiastic and cheering crowd from north and south of the border. “Just three countries have reported new cases in the past year. India has been polio-free for 16 months.”
Many local achievements were displayed around the hotel’s conference area on storyboards and kites, and “flew” through the upbeat atmosphere as members shared ideas and experiences. Clearwater’s large blue kite with yellow trim won second prize in the District Governor’s category. On both our kite and storyboard were pictures of some of this small club’s recent achievements: student exchanges with France, Brazil, Argentina and Finland; partnership in the development of the Literacy Program at our schools; and a garden building at Dr. Helmcken Hospital. Several events organized by Clearwater Rotary were pictured as well: Ice Man Days, Rotary Richard waiting on Dutch Lake for the ice to melt, May Day Parade, Oktoberfest, and Christmas Tree Light-up with Santa. Also included were photos showing Rotary’s support for and participation in ventures run by others: providing “muscle” and benches as the District of Clearwater upgraded Rotary Sports Park; Pitch In Campaign; Canoe Regatta; Raise-a-Reader Day and Spell-a-thon, and collecting donations for Shelter Boxes to be sent to Haiti and Japan.
Such a conference stirs a sense of pride and belonging – and a realization just how much difference one person can make, especially when part of a vibrant, worldwide organization like Rotary. Next year’s conference is hosted by Kamloops/Chase. Good things are happening at home – and worldwide.