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I was not even a Rotarian way back then! In fact, in 1988, it was a stipulation of the Rotary Club of Westbank, BC, that a student selected for the Rotary Youth Exchange Program could not be the son or daughter of a member.
 
Our son, Adam, through the encouragement of his teachers and others in the community applied for and was the successful applicant, as a Rotary Exchange student in San Louis Potosi, Mexico. From a parent’s perspective it was an emotional experience to wave goodbye to a 16 year old and entrust his health and safety to another set of adults for a full year!
 
What we didn’t realize at the time was that this program offered by Rotary would change our lives! Upon Adam’s return, we opened our home to other Rotary Exchange students from all over the world. We had fantastic kids from Mexico, Japan, Costa Rica and Australia join us for a minimum of three month stays with some staying even longer. Having these young people in our home brought us opportunities to connect with the other exchange students in the District. Our world became so much larger through this valuable program of Rotary.
 
Now, over 30 years later, our lives continue to be enriched through the bonds built during the times that the students were with us. A couple of years ago Irene and I had the pleasure of visiting Yukako, in Japan and seeing her family. It was quite something to realize that her son is now the same age as she was when first arriving in Canada as an exchange student. In years past, my travels took me to Australia and Costa Rica where the bonds made those many years ago are still strong and valued.
 
To those of you reading this whom may have pondered the value of the Youth Exchange Program offered by Rotary, it is my hope that you have gleaned a little insight into the value of the program through this short message. In conclusion, I challenge you to “live the experience”!
Rob
District Conference registration extended!
The deadline for the district conference registration has been extended until May 3, 2019. Please note that all registrations must now be paid by credit card, as there will be insufficient time to receive cheques by mail.
 
Our Conference Committee wants to thank everyone who has already registered as it makes our pre-planning so much easier for things such as meals etc. For those of you not yet registered, we encourage you to dust off your credit card, go to https://rotary7820.com/page/district-conference/ and REGISTER now!
Help is at hand for International Projects
**To learn more, there will be a Foundation seminar on Sunday, May 12, after the conference
8:30am to 11:30am at the Holiday Inn Express. There is no charge to attend.
For more information, please contact Stella Roy Roystellaj@gmail.com or Elva Heyge elvaheyge@gmail.com.
 
Are you fed up with trying to plan an international project?  Too many ideas?  Not enough ideas?  Too complicated?  Where do we start?  Relax!  Help is at hand. Your District International Service Chair (DISC) is just a phone call or e-mail message away.
 
Here are all the ways that your DISC can help you:
  1. To decide whether or your project idea fits the criteria for a global grant, district grant or just direct funding;
  2. Provide advice on the pre-planning for your grant application;
  3. Direct you to resources to help you with project design;
  4. Help you find an international partner for your project;
  5. Help you identify an international project for your club;
  6. Suggest some funding possibilities.
Contact me at elvaheyge@gmail.com or 902-692-1308 (mobile).
May is Youth Service Month
May is Youth Service month across Rotary International, so it’s a great time to reflect on Youth Service in our District. We should be proud of the range of programs our Rotary clubs offer youth. Equally, we should be proud of what young leaders can accomplish with a just a little support and input.
 
Interact is for 14-18 year olds and is our largest program, with approximately 300 members in 23 Interact clubs. Interactors volunteer in their communities, make international connections, and develop leadership skills while making new friends. Two new clubs were chartered this year: Maple Grove (Yarmouth) and Northeast Kings (New Minas).
 
We also have 6 Rotaract clubs based mostly at universities, where young leaders ages 18-30 come together to exchange ideas with community leaders, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service. A new club was chartered this year at NSCC Kingstec and recognized as student organization of the year.
 
Rotary Adventures are our most widely available programs.  Across the district, clubs invest almost $45K each year to sponsor youth attendance at several Rotary Adventures programs. The best-known is the Rotary Adventure in Citizenship in Ottawa; we have 27 students on this program right now, Apr 28 – May 1. Students from every community in NS, PE and NL can apply to attend the Adventure in Citizenship and Adventure in Human Rights programs (the application process for the Adventure in Human Rights program starts this week).
 
Rotary Youth Exchange takes the adventure to the next level, either as a Summer exchange lasting 1-2 months or a School Year exchange lasting 11 months. A school year exchange is a major investment in a student, with the equivalent value of approximately $20K (Rotary delivers this program for 70% less than that). This program changes the lives of 20+ students each year.
 
Lastly, we strive to offer programs that are available to all youth. Interact, Rotaract and the Adventure programs are no/low cost and there is financial support available for students without the family means to afford a year abroad on exchange.
 
Clubs can also develop (and D7820 and Global Grants can support) programs targeted to youth at risk, from disadvantaged backgrounds, etc. For example, in 2018 several Rotary clubs in metro Halifax worked with a community partner organization to send 12 students on a late summer Adventure in Ottawa. 
 
Clubs across D7820 are doing some excellent Youth Service programs. I’ll leave you with these two questions: What would you like Rotary to do for Youth Service next? And are you the person who can lead the next great thing?
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Hamburg Convention Update
The 2019 R I Convention in Hamburg is just a month away, so, to refresh your memory and your longing for the lovely port city which will be hosting the convention, here is a link for you to see. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z25jW9l4hls .
 
Can’t travel to Hamburg? Register for Rotary Live Connect to livestream the convention to your computer or mobile device. Many General Sessions , Breakout Sessions and Ceremonies will take place during the Convention and if you are NOT able to attend, you can join the Convention through their Live Connect by registering at https://www.riconvention.org/en/hamburg/rotary-live-connect .  Take a look at the page and you will see all that they will be broadcasting; it is truly quite a line up of events and meetings.  This could be interesting to you too because you'll be able to tune in to the Breakouts you've missed!  If you have never attended an International Convention, you can see what when on by going to the Live Connect site and looking back at a previous Convention.
 
To whet your appetite, go to this link https://www.rotary.org/en/convention-2019-hamburg-dining .  Wishing you a safe trip and bring back lots of memories and information to share with us.
Kingstec Rotaract Club wins NSCC Award
Each and every year NSCC Student Life honors and celebrates the work of its student leaders in the College by hosting the Student Appreciation Awards.
 
AWARD: Student Organization of the Year
This award recognizes the campus student organization that has positively influenced the NSCC student experience through the creation of opportunities for personal growth, social networking and professional development. 
 
Award Criteria:                                                                
The Student Organization was relevant to the student membership; organized and delivered activities in a professional manner; successfully met the stated goals of the organization; and collaborated with other members of the college community to achieve success.
Eligibility Requirements:
To be eligible for a Student Life Appreciation Award in this category, nominees must:
1. Be a student organization officially chartered by their campus Student Association;  
2. Be engaged in activities that are academic, athletic, social or community service related.
 
Three student groups were nominated across the College – and NSCC Kingstec Rotaract Club was named the award recipient. Congratulations!
[The picture shows the Rotaractors during a recent breakfast meeting with New Minas Sunrise Rotary.]
New Membership Videos available
Rotarian Lawrence Furbish has created more short membership videos which have been a huge hit at membership seminars and club meetings. The videos are a fun way to provoke conversation about important membership engagement topics. I encourage you to share these videos with club leaders who might use them as reflections on what we do. 
May's People of Action!
Editor’s Note: In our April newsletter, we incorrectly identified the Rotary Club of Halifax as the sponsors of the “Toonies for Change” project. The activities funded by this program are the work of the Rotary Club of Halifax Northwest. We extend our sincere apology to the members of the Halifax Northwest Club for this error, and reprint the segment below:
 
The Rotary Club of Halifax Northwest is growing! It was wonderful to participate in the induction of five new members during my DG visit to the club. They are able to support their projects through the monies earned through their “Toonies for Change”. Concerned about the younger people in their community, the club supports the Edward Jost Children’s Centre and the Spryfield Urban Farm. This club has fun when they get together!
 
What a milestone! The Rotary Club of Windsor celebrates their 90th Anniversary this year. This club is able to give back to the community in many ways through the monies earned from their Toonie fundraiser. The local Food Bank, the “Food for Thought” breakfast and lunch program at the local school, the funding of 4 scholarships at Avon View High School and the Intouch Emergency Response Units that are supplied to seniors in the community are examples of the wonderful work being carried out by club members.
 
The Rotary Club of Yarmouth really knows how to have fun with a fundraiser! Their “Scotch to Water” was a sold out event that saw Rotarians and members of the community enthusiastically support the evening of tasting as well as the live auction. Through the efforts of club members, their “Meals on Wheels” program ensures that the meals prepared by the hospital are delivered quickly and efficiently. A unique project that this club sponsors is the “Rotary Boys Cooking School”. Internationally, they support the “Hands across the Sea” orphanage project in Haiti. The club has also initiated a program to provide clean water for the residents of the orphanage.
 
Support for the music and arts in the community is one of the primary focuses of the Rotary Club of Port Hawkesbury. Through the talents of some of the club members, a kitchen party was held to raise money for the End Polio Now program. Folks in the community look forward to the club’s free outdoor concert. Each year they continue to build on the work started in the splashpark that was constructed a few years ago. The club works closely with “Friends United” to ensure that local First Nations artists and their work is displayed and promoted.
 
The Rotary Club of St. Pierre et Miquelon is the reason that our District is an International one! How special it is to have these vibrant and active French citizens as engaged members of 7820! The streets and roads of St. Pierre are cleaner through the concerted efforts of club members. The club supports the purchase of beds for the maternity hospital in SPM and recently supplied a manual wheelchair, a seat, crutches and a walker to the residents of the hospital. The club regularly ships boxes of clothing to people in need in St. John’s, NL. Internationally, they have a global grant to improve family health in Cote d’Ivoire.
 
Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Happy Valley – Goose Bay teamed up with the local air cadets to prepare over 400 gift bags for kids in the outer coastal communities in a program called “Santa to the Coast”. A locally based airline generously provides Santa and his propeller driven sleigh so that the gift bags can be distributed. The club has also funded the purchase and placement of spin-bikes for the use by school students in these communities. The food-bank located in the Labrador Friendship Centre is also supported by the club. Rotarians were part of a community wide endeavour to purchase a wheelchair accessible van for a family with a challenged young girl.
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Friendship Exchange updates
Correspondence received from our two RFE inbound groups this year indicate that they are very excited to visit us! District 5110 (Oregon) wish to visit NL & SPM, August 8th to 24th and District 9790 (Australia) wish to tour NS, September 22nd to October 5th. It appears that our tourist departments have a long reach. We would like to hear from more clubs and individual Rotarians who would like to become involved in this program and help to make our visitors welcome.
 
Our return exchanges will be to D5110 September 10-26, 2019. We have yet to determine dates to return to D9790 but March/April 2020 is suggested due to their extreme temperatures earlier although a great time to visit.  The selected outbound team can make that decision.
 
We have already received several applications for participation in the outbound exchanges.  More are encouraged. You can access the application form via our RFE section on our district homepage, then click on Outbound RFE Application Form to open it.
 
Applications are being accepted until May 20th by email dgtom7820@gmail.com. Links to our visitors’ websites are https://www.district5110.org/ and https://www.rotary9790.org.au/. For more information or to express interest in either exchange, please contact PDG Tom McCaughey at dgtom7820@gmail.com or (709)682-7259.
 
 
Read more...
New RLI Website
The Atlantic Division of the RLI has a new website and a new beginning.  Starting with the fall session of RLI in Truro coming on October 26th 2019, all registration will be on our new website https://rliatlanticdiv.org.  The new registration process is faster and simpler to negotiate.  In addition to material about RLI, you'll find a list of all the upcoming RLI sessions out to 2022.
 
The facilitators for RLI recently met to map out a strategy to make Rotary learning in Atlantic Canada even better.  Check out the new website for details as things unfold and plan to join us or make sure someone from your club attends RLI in Truro in October.  It's an investment in membership. Research shows that there is more than a 50% improvement in retention rate for Rotarians who have attended RLI compared to those who have not.  Contact us as rli.atlantic.division@gmail.com if you have questions about the Rotary Learning program.
St. John's Northwest Wins Award
At a recent Ronald McDonald House Charities Volunteer Gala, the Rotary Club of St.John’s Northwest was presented with the Ronald McDonald House Charities NL 2019 “Helping Hand” Award - House Programs. These awards honour Dr. Jack Hand who worked tirelessly to make Ronald McDonald House a reality in Newfoundland and Labrador. There are 6 categories of awards that are presented to volunteers who reflect a dedication and commitment to Ronald McDonald House and its mission of helping families of sick children when they need it most.
 
Rotary Club St. John’s Northwest has shown dedication through active participation in the house programs over the past 6 years. The club donated $50,000 in 2012 to the capital campaign and funds were specifically used to outfit the house kitchen. From the start the club committed to regularly participate in the “Home for Dinner Program” that provides home cooked evening meals for the children and their families who are staying at the house. Rotarians also volunteer each year at the house anniversary celebrations by cooking hotdogs and hamburgers.
 
Many thanks to all the amazing club members from Rotary St. John’s Northwest who volunteered their time for this great community service project. Your “Helping Hands” are really appreciated! Showing in the photo (L-R) are: Norma Elliott, Rotarians: Dorothy Sullivan, Heddy Peddle, Enid Strickland, Esraa AbouAmin
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Alana Hirtle
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