Outgoing president of the Rotary Club of Clearwater, Margot Venema, Rotary members Susan Ward, and incoming president Abbey Bates prepare to cut into the cake that Ward made and decorated. Photo submitted

Clearwater Rotary welcomes new president

Abbey Bates receives gavel and bell from outgoing president Margot Venema

By Kay Knox

Laughter echoed back from the ceiling of the skillfully renovated Upper Clearwater Hall as Rotarians celebrated on the evening of July 24. Toasts were made as the gavel and bell were handed from out-going president Margot Venema to incoming president Abbey Bates.

“We have achieved such a lot in the past two years,” said Margot proudly, “including the gala occasion for our 25th anniversary. Fundraising efforts have all been successful with the community benefitting from everything Clearwater Rotary does. And our Exchange Student program of the past year saw our own Juniper Wadlegger off on her ‘experience of a life-time’ in Sao Paulo, Brazil, while Reka Csefai, who came from Slovakia, stole our hearts with her lively ways and willingness to participate in everything Rotary and beyond.”

“I’m thinking of making some changes,” warned Abbey with her wide smile as she accepted her new responsibilities willingly, “so look out!”

“We are a group of ‘doers’,” added treasurer, Larissa Hadley. “We make a decision and get the job done.”

Hazel Wadlegger spoke next: “It’s been a fun time,” she said as heads nodded in agreement.

“Did you all come in one car?” Susan Ward had jested as a big group of us all arrived on the dot of 6 p.m., walking in and commenting on the tempting aroma of the delicious supper prepared by Ursula Schaer.

Susan’s sky-high cake and the room—skillfully and attractively decorated with a Rotary theme and iconic blue and gold colours—added to the welcoming feel. Tables clad in bright yellow tablecloths and covered with flowers and Rotary emblems, all arranged by Ursula, drew us in.

“Help yourself to appies and drinkies,” Ursula and Fritz encouraged each new arrival. And we did, trying to restrict ourselves to leave space for the yummy Swiss-style meal that followed.

Twenty-five years of Clearwater Rotary’s projects

The cutting of the cake by past and new presidents concluded the official program. “I hate to see it being cut up,” grimaced Susan’s husband Mike. “I know how much she put work into it.” Well, we savoured every mouthful of that too. Unquestionably, Clearwater’s Rotarians are good at getting the job done!

“We have a surprise for you,” Ursula announced next. Soon the large screen above us was filled with Fritz’s professional-looking photos showing scene after chilly scene of Greenland and their trip to the eastern end of the North West Passage in 2017. “We actually saw the wreck of Amundsen’s ship Maud that sank in1930,” they explained. “It had recently been raised and was returned to Oslo in Norway in 2018.”

All gasped as we viewed that photo.

Members of Clearwater Rotary are ready to take on all kinds of jobs to benefit others, but our own social events are always something special. On this happy occasion, hard-working, talented members of our group willingly catered to the rest of us. Thank you to all who helped, not to mention members who accept the challenge and extra chores of being on the executive.

“You did well, Margot, and now we welcome Abbey to the podium.”


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