Fritz Schaer, one of the founding members of Rotary, stands under the umbrella at Clearwater’s May Day Parade in 2013. Photo by Kay Knox

Twenty-five years of Clearwater Rotary’s projects

After a quarter century, club still going strong

  • Oct. 4, 2018 8:30 a.m.

By Kay Knox

Have you ever wondered what members of Clearwater Rotary have been doing for the past 25 years? Finding the answer is not difficult as several of the founding members are still active in this local group.

With the support of so many others in Clearwater and area, the main focus is, as it always has been, on this community.

“We took on some ‘day jobs’ for initial fundraising,” said Rotarian Ursula Schaer.

“These included tree planting to reduce flooding at Mann Creek, assisting with landscaping at the new RCMP building, and, under direction of member Tim Panko, developed hiding places for fish spawning in Raft River.

“Funds from Bingo were added to money raised by other clubs in District 5060 to help with building Cancer House in Kelowna. Through a local pharmacist, also a member, help was given to cover costs of some monthly medications. Financial assistance also covered bus and taxi fares as required at that time.”

More recently, money raised from projects was added to local donations and sent to Fort McMurray after their “beastly” fire.

Because Rotary is an international organization, the club spear-headed collection of donations to provide Shelter Box kits to those affected by the deadly tidal wave in Indonesia, and the disastrous earthquake in Haiti.

A one-time project saw a sewing machine and money for the purchase of goats, and on their way to Guatemala, with Jean Nelson and Hazel Wadlegger. For World Polio Day on Oct. 24, pinky fingernails are offered for a loonie. Watch for that event this year as Rotary International continues to focus on eradicating this life-threatening disease.

Every two years, exchange students fly across oceans to experience 10–12 months of life in a different country while foreign students are hosted here. Within three months, these teenagers must become proficient in the language of their “new” country.

Also benefitting youth of the community, Rotary provides a scholarship that’s handed out on each graduation night. Students travelling elsewhere attending special events, benefitting others in the long run, received money towards expenses.

Rotarians assist with Raise-A-Reader day including having fun participating in the Spelling Bee. Several years ago, working with Mike Bowden, Rotarian and principal of Raft River School at that time, Rotary helped provide a class set of iPads.

For School District 73 speech contests, Rotary provides judges and prizes for the local competition.

Seniors are not forgotten. Each year bags loaded with useful items are distributed at Evergreen Acres and Forest View Christmas events.

Buses are provided to tour seniors around to view the local lights and, hopefully in sunshine, to watch the May Day Parade go past. Speaking of that parade, although Rotary didn’t instigate the cheerful spring tradition, Clearwater Rotary took over in 1995. With Schaer at the helm, this event has happened annually for 23 years.

Other enjoyable community events, past and present, include persuading people to bring out costumes for Dancing for Diamonds, Oktoberfest, Casino, and Halloween evenings; drawing the community together for Christmas Tree Light-up; chasing wily fish swimming below the frozen surface of Dutch Lake on Ice Man Days; sending Rotary Richard out onto the ice to clock when it will disappear; holding a giant yard sale, and hosting a golf tournament for the fun of it.

Specific projects, old and new, include providing sand for volley ball courts near the Sportsplex, installing a new sign at the entrance to Ida DeKelver’s original museum, working on the Dutch Lake boat ramp, revitalizing Schapansky Park, building the gazebo at Dr. Helmcken Hospital, and partnering in the popular Skate and Splash Parks.

And then there are those Rotary-made benches that have been placed in locations around town. Rotarians regularly lend a helping hand at District’s occasions like Spring Clean-up and the Canoe Regatta. Some trail maintenance has also been done in with BC Parks.

Many items on the above list couldn’t have happened without the assistance of other groups, societies, individuals and grants received, all working to improve the well-being of citizens of Clearwater and area.

Volunteers all, Rotarians express gratitude to everyone who’s been part of the successes over the past 25 years. It’s hoped you’ll join Rotary at the Dinner Gala being held at Dutch Lake Community Centre on Oct. 13. Tickets costing $50 are available at the Wells Gray Inn where Rotary’s weekly meetings are held.

Be at the dinner for the draw of the celebratory raffle to see who will win the ATV, BBQ, and jewelry!

The Kamloops club that sponsored Clearwater Rotary 25 years ago must be proud. Some 20–25 men and women joined in 1993. That number of members remains stable with a variety of backgrounds, representing the International flavour of Rotary (and Canada).

While working in different jobs, businesses, or retired, all are proud to be part of this flourishing, active group.



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