Rotary Club of Oak Bay

Bulletin, 8 January 2019

by Wendy Townsend

President-Elect Joan Firkins chaired the meeting and invited everyone to sing the National Anthem. Steve shared a heartfelt invocation that reminded us all to appreciate the gifts of food and friendship we all enjoy. Lunch followed and it was very tasty! Fresh bread (so hard to resist!), butter, crisp Caesar salad, vegetable and beef stir fry, rice and curried pumpkin soup. Of course there were also a nice assortment of dessert pastries and tarts.

Tom introduced our guestsJudith Pazder (hosted by Ceci Diemecke) and newly elected Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch. We also welcomed Tom Kofin, our good friend from the Rotary Club of Edmonton South.  It’s always nice to see familiar faces from other Rotary Clubs join our meetings!


Joan P shared that there would not be a lunch meeting on February 26. Instead we will have an evening event at Sol Restaurant, #101-2955 Jutland Rd. Cost is $29.95/person + add applicable taxes. There will be a White Elephant Live Auction with the goal of raising funds for the polio campaign. Members bring fun items for auction and provide a valuation. Your auction amount will be credited as your donation to polioThe restaurant requires 35 attendees. Let Joan P know you are attending and mark it in your calendars!

Neil talked about the Salvation Army kettle bell campaign held prior to Christmas. While the final tally of funds collected is not yet known, Neil was able to share that some of our Club members really stepped up to the plate this year. He was happy to share that Kris signed up for 7 shifts and that Neil, Joan P and Jack each completed 5 shifts. Of course others pitched in when they could and all 63 shifts were filled. Overall 30 members from our Club participated.  Another great year of ringing bells on Oak Bay Avenue!!!  Well done everyone!!

Steve told us about the Interact breakfast at Oak Bay High School coming up on Thursday January 10th at 8:00 am. These breakfast meetings are a big hit with the students and all OBRC members are encouraged to attend.

Wendy announced that next week’s meeting (January 15) would be held at the Oak Bay Rec Centre and not at the hotel. She will send out a reminder to everyone and asked for members to advise her if they would or would not be attending as the Rec Centre would appreciate knowing the number of attendees.

Vicky was invited to take the podium as Celebration Master. She was able to secure a lot of our coins through the usual battery of questions. Did you do this (fill in action)? Or did you not do this (fill in action)? In either case there was always a reason for most of us to pay up!

Happy and Sad Dollars

Neil had a happy and sad dollar. He and his grandson attended the gold medal junior hockey game (happy) but Neil’s car window was smashed while street parked (sad). The new Air Jordan running shoes he had bought his grandson were stolen. Sheesh!  Sandy contributed a happy $5 for being married to his wonderful wife Barb. A lovely gesture, and not for any brownie points as Barb wasn’t there to hear it!! Such happiness is contagious!!!  Atam contributed to the pot in celebration of his recent trip to Miami, Peru and Panama. He spoke of the newly excavated pyramids in Lima that are causing quite a stir in the world of anthropology and archaeology.

Vicky P announced the following January birthdaysPerry is a New Year`s baby!, Lynnie celebrated on the 6th, Jason on the 7th, a very happy Sandy on the 9th and Joan F on the 10th. Ryan was recognized for his Rotary anniversary – 4 years with our Club! Yay!

Lorna won the 50-50 draw, but wasn’t able to draw a marble for the pot as the marbles are missing (fill in your own joke here!!). BF to next week.

Joan F invited Kevin Murdoch, and Lorna as Membership Chair, up to the podium and welcomed him to our Club as an Honorary Member. It is a Club tradition that we invite the sitting Oak Bay mayor to join our Club as an Honorary Member. Kevin was presented with a pin and a welcome package.

Main Program – Club Day

Our very own Lorna has been selected to be the District Governor for 2021-22.  We are all proud and thrilled, knowing what an excellent candidate she is and how well she will represent Rotary. Lorna shared some thoughts with us. First she acknowledged that the job comes with a lot of training. It is basically a 4 year commitment from beginning to end. Training starts the very first year. She has just returned from a training event called the `Blue Denim Event`; it was a great start to meeting the other DG`s and mentoring. There is a big public speaking component to the position and that was a key part of the recent training. This was the first of many training sessions Lorna can expect as she prepares for her year. One of her responsibilities is to identify members interested in serving at the district level. If anyone is interested in learning more about the possibilities, please contact Lorna. When Joan F was District Governor the mantra was MJH (Make Joan Happy). Lorna has requested that we follow suit with MLH (Make Lorna Happy), lol!

Our next presenter was John Jordan. John provided an update to the project in Rwanda this year. He has been working on various projects in a community in Rwanda for 11 years now, and our Club has been providing financial support along the way. The focus of his work in Rwanda has been on families and education. This year`s project is to build housing for 4 families who are in dire need. Currently they are living 8 in a house and the homes are not at all adequate for the environment. The new structures will provide adequate space, and are designed to fit in with the community while proving a safe place for the family to live. Each family is also assessed on the health, education, schooling needs, social abilities and skill development. By involving all aspects of the family unit John and his team are able to create opportunities for positive changes. They are finding that with stable and safe housing the children are now returning to school. Others have started training in sewing and construction. The houses are furnished and set up to be move-in ready, complete with beds and mosquito nets.  Our Club finances the 4 houses at a cost of $8000. Each house takes about a month to complete. This is a very exciting project and our Club should feel good about the ongoing and meaningful contribution to the Rwanda projects. I have inserted the PPT where you can see the houses in various stages of construction.

Rwanda Project – house construction.pptx

Gary Lunden was then invited to provide an update on the Community Services Committee.  Two projects have received support so far:

  1. The Club has supported the purchase of musical instruments for George Jay Elementary School ($2K). We hope the students will join us at one of our meetings to perform with the new instruments. This has occurred in the past and is always a big hit!
  2. The Club has donated $3.5K to the Victoria Hospital Foundations current fundraiser – this will be put towards the purchase of new vital signs monitors for both Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital. Committee members toured RJH this week, were able to see the new monitors and gain an appreciation for how useful they will be to nurses and improving patient care.

The Committee now has a matrix with which to evaluate the various requests for funds received through the year. It has been very useful so far with the two projects submitted being supported by the Board. The Committee is working closely with Jack and the Public Relations Committee to ensure that our events, contributions and participation are being recognized.

Joan F spoke about the membership survey. While only 24 of our 52 members completed the survey (46%), there were some interesting themes and suggestions to follow up on. Joan will email the results to everyone and we will all have an opportunity to brainstorm on the next Club Day (February 12).

Mardi Gras Event – Saturday April 27, 2019

This is our big fundraiser and funds raised will be used to support the future Carnarvon Waterpark renovation. For this event to be the kind of success we are accustomed to having (ahem), we need to get everyone`s help. Look for volunteer opportunities in upcoming emails and sign up to help out or contribute. This is a really fun event and you can actually work it and have a blast too!!! Get out your shiny baubles, colourful hats, feathers, and your friends and family too – we need this event to sell out (and it will!). Tickets are $50 each and a lot of goodies come with that price, not to mention being in a room filled with happy Rotarians!!!

Thank you all!

Joan F adjourned the meeting.

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