Posted by Mary Lou Harrison, District 7070 Governor , 2018-19

 On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again

- Willie Nelson 

There's so much to explore in our District and so many amazing things going on. Douglas the Flamingo of Change and I spent many days in May travelling and meeting members of our Rotary family across the District. In this month's article, I invite you to come along  on our Rotary Road Trip!

One of the absolute joys of being involved in the leadership of the District is the opportunity to see just what Rotary - People of Action looks like and also who it looks like. On Wednesday, May 8th, I attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Gala at the YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre. It was incredible to meet the graduates and to hear how the  RYLA experience changed the life of each and every participant. The energy in the room was transformative and the people inspirational, each in their own way. I left much more hopeful about the world we live in and also very grateful for everyone who made RYLA 2019 possible, including all the Rotary Club sponsors.

And speaking of gratefulness, I am so appreciative of the willingness of Shannon Lavigne, President of the Rotary Club of Courtice, to share to her mental health journey. She was the speaker at the May 14th meeting of the Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise. Some of you will remember Shannon from her incredible breakout session at the 2018 District Conference - Rotary Reunion. Idea - Check out the speakers at other clubs and take a Rotary Road Trip of your own!

RYLA, Mental Wellness & Food Truck Frenzy

Douglas ready for adventures
at Camp Enterprise at Trent!
RYLA Speaker Jimmy Chan
Founder of Odyssey3D
Shannon Lavigne presented with 
a book for the Rotary Reading Circle 
Axe throwing at Food Truck Frenzy!

You can also take a trip to visit another club's community event, fundraiser, or service project. The very warm welcome I received from the members of the Rotary Club of Whitby at Food Truck Frenzy on May 25th was wonderful. I loved reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I also learned how to axe throw (something that has been on my bucket list for some time), ate a deep-fried onion in the rain, and danced to live music in the sun! 

The next day, May 26th, brought a visit to the Apple Blossom Tyme Festival in Colborne to see the District's Rotary VR Kit in action. Here, I was delighted to meet the very enthusiastic members of the EarlyAct Club of Colborne Public School. Thank you so much to the members of the Rotary Club of Colborne for providing an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about polio eradication through the virtual reality experience. Did you know that there are currently three VR films available for viewing, all created by Rotarian Bruce Sinclair of Idea Studio in Toronto? Idea - Book the Rotary VR Kit to use at your club and/or in the community. You can contact me to book it and to learn more.

While at the Apple Blossom Tyme Festival, I also met someone who would make an amazing Rotarian. Nurjahan Begum is the Founder & CEO of Progoti, a social enterprise that works to revolutionize the garment industry in Bangladesh by providing workers with retirement and insurance benefits. Nurjahan creates beautifully-crafted custom clothing and sells it at cost. Buyers are given the opportunity to make a donation to support garment workers. She's very happy to to speak with Rotary Clubs and/or Rotarians wishing to learn more or to partner with her. Contact her via email if you're interested.  

Apple Blossom Tyme in Colborne, Alliston Selfie, Newmarket Interact Social 

Members of the EarlyAct Club
of Colborne Public School
Nurjahan Begum
Founder & CEO of Progoti 
Virginia, Mary Lou & Douglas
Rotary Peace Park, Alliston
Members & alumni of
the Interact Club of Newmarket
at the 1st Annual Social

When you drive through a community, do you look for the Rotary wheel? I do. And I was not disappointed when my Rotary Road Trip took me to the Rotary Club Alliston with Membership Chair Virginia O'Reilly to talk about membership development strategies. The photo above was taken at one of the club's sweat-equity projects, the Spring Creek Peace Park. There are so many such locations in Alliston that we talked about the idea of a selfie tour, something like a car rally, to promote the work of Rotary in Alliston. Idea - Create a selfie tour of Rotary in your community. Use it to increase Rotary's profile and/or to help new members to learn about the club's history of Service Above Self. 

The end of my May Rotary Road Trip included a visit to the Interact Club of Newmarket for their 1st Annual Social for members and alumni of the club at the Cachet Supper Club.  Members past and present connected at this fun, social gathering. There were card tricks,  great food, and lots of Rotary talk. Thank you to the Rotary Club of Newmarket for sponsoring this wonderful community Interact Club, and thank you to every club in the District that sponsors EarlyAct, Interact, and Rotaract Clubs!

A road trip is always an adventure. I hope you'll consider taking one of your own, maybe even as a club activity. What about a road trip to the 2019 Pride Parade in Toronto on June 23rd? We've got room for up to 100 members of the Rotary family to walk in the parade this year, the first time that Rotary has participated. Please be sure to register asap to secure your spot and so that we can communicate with you about meet up plans and t-shirts!

Yours in Rotary,

Mary Lou

Mary Lou Harrison, District Governor 2018-19

P.S. As the end of the 2018-19 Rotary Year approaches, it's time to make plans to celebrate. And this includes all members of our Rotary family! Our year-end celebration and changeover party will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, July 7 at the Scarboro Golf Club. Please click here to register. If you're not part of our ClubRunner database (e.g. Youth Exchange students, RYLA grads), please register as a guest. Hope to see you there!