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As I pen my last letter to you as your District Governor, my mind swims with a barrage of images, learnings, understandings but mostly, of relationships developed over these past twelve months. What struck me most about the visits was learning, first hand, what we as Rotarians in our District are accomplishing! Through our projects, lives have been transformed!
 
My goal, as I shared with you, was to S.H.A.P.E up your Rotary world. I encouraged everyone to Strengthen our clubs, provide Humanitarian service, raise Awareness of Indigenous peoples, tell our stories through a higher Public Image and engage in Environmental stewardship. From what I have seen, each club in our District has responded to this challenge in unique and positive ways. I reflect on one club’s initiative of bringing in a First Nation’s woman to conduct a smudging ceremony. Other clubs chose to have a garbage pick-up project or plant trees during the visits. Irene and I were humbled to be part of a club’s outreach to a downtown soup kitchen. The look of wonder on the faces of children in Labrador when encountering Santa will forever be etched in my brain. Rotarians serving the community where they are located was evident wherever our travels took us. It is impossible to mention, in the space available, the accomplishments of every club in the District. However, if you want to refresh your memory, look back on our “People of Action” series in the newsletter to see the summaries of outstanding projects and initiatives.
 
As you remember, Rotary International President Barry Rassin, challenged us to “Be the Inspiration” as we lived out his vision statement of “Together, we see the world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves”. He stated in his most recent article in the Rotarian that the response of Rotarians world-wide was “an inspiration to me.” I share that same sentiment. The projects and energy exhibited by each and every club that I visited throughout this past year were an inspiration to me. It enabled me to see our organization in action across our expansive District.
 
The first thing that I learned is that the love and support of my life partner, Irene Szabla, was essential as we moved through the years of the DG stream. Whether it was accompanying me on our many club visits, editing my letters and speeches or just being there as a friend to talk with was so important to me and to the success of this past year. Irene was an integral part of the team and I just want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to her.
 
The other thing that was abundantly obvious in my travels around the District over this past year was that none of the accomplishments of this year would have been possible without the INSPIRED work of each and every Rotarian. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the privilege and opportunity of serving as your District Governor and being part of the incredible team we call District 7820!
Rob
Be part of the Hamburg Convention
If you’re reading this bulletin on June 1, you’re probably not at the international convention in Hamburg, Germany. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the fun! You can follow all the action live on social media. Go to the social media convention page and check it out. Remember to use hashtag #rotary19 if you want to join in the conversation.
 
Take a look at the Rotary Vimeo channel for videos from throughout the week!
District Conference Recap
A good time was had by all who attended the 7820 District Conference this past month in Pictou County.
 
The Kairos Blanket Exercise was a thought provoking experience for the ± 80 people who participated on Friday morning. Throughout the two days, there were engaged speakers and opportunities to share best practices with our fellow Rotarians. RI Representative Greg Yank provided a commentary on RI’s mission and activities around the world; Foundation Chair Stella Roy brought us up to speed on the Foundation’s activities and polio stats for 2019. Senator Dan Christmas spoke to us about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and how the Ivany "Now or Never" Report from 2014 addresses some of Nova Scotia's challenges by involving the aboriginal community. Incoming Leadership Chair Louisa encouraged us all to “be flamingos” and think of ways we can affect positive change, thereby moving the needle in our clubs.
 
Many thanks to the organizing committee for this year’s event. Mark your calendars now to join us in Sydney, May 29-31, 2020 for next year’s conference!
A Flamingo Challenge...to Move the Needle!
A new approach to club visits by District Leaders. What is your club’s wish list?
 
This year’s RI President Barry Rassin, has challenged Rotarians to come up with a Flamingo Challenge.  Flamingos do a very interesting thing – one bird in a flock might decide to go the other way… and eventually the others turn and follow (remember last July's Rotarian mag cover?).  That one flamingo has the courage to try something new.  That’s what Barry is asking us all to do.  And, we are asking your club to identify what would help you do something new to move your needle. 
 
What does that mean?  Simple – what aspect of your club do you want to see change and how could your district help you?  It could involve any avenue of service – club planning, governance, youth, local service, international service, fundraisers, socials… what will help the club be more irresistible? 
 
At the District Conference in May, every club received a small card with a gauge and a needle to help remind you of the need to move some needles, and to help prompt your conversations about moving them.  Maybe you want to start a youth program or an international project for the first time.  Maybe your Board has lost some of its effectiveness over time and you’d like some help with leadership approaches.  Or maybe you need help with facilitating a new strategic plan.  It’s up to you!  Let Louisa know what you would most like support with, by the end of June, and the District Leadership Team will endeavor to provide the best talent to help you move that needle – and meet your Flamingo Challenge. 
 
Louisa can still come to give a presentation, if that is what your club wants – but if other people can help your club more, that is what we will try to deliver.  Here are a few examples to prompt your creative thinking about how your district can have the most impact for your club:
  • Strategic planning/visioning workshop
  • Support for starting a new Passport or Satellite club
  • Board structure/effectiveness workshop
  • Partnership connection (e.g., presentation at a Chamber event or with local Lions!)
  • International project – planning a grant application or establishing a collaborative committee with other clubs
  • New Youth initiative – Interact, YE, Adventures…
  • Have the District Chair participate in an event (fundraising, PH event, local service….)
  • Orientation training workshop for new members
  • Membership session or presentation to a new member event
  • Public image training
  • Program on some other topic
Or maybe you’d prefer to have a more traditional club visit from the Chair of the District Leadership Team (aka DG) on some topic from the Rotary world… whatever would have the most impact for your club… we want to know!
 
Please send your wish list of “move the needle actions” to Louisa at rotarylouisa@gmail.com by the end of June – with an indication of your preferred timing – and the team will do our best to meet all your requests. 
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June is Fellowships Month!
From the Rotary International website
Rotary Fellowships are international groups that share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world, explore a hobby or profession, and enhance your Rotary experience. Fellowships are open to Rotarians, family members, and program participants and alumni. Visit rotary.org/fellowships to find out how to join one of nearly 80 fellowships or start a new one.
What does your District DO anyway?
In one sentence – the purpose of your District is to help clubs thrive!  That’s it.  Nothing more complicated than that.  How do we do that?  We identify talented people from across the district with a passion for helping clubs grow and be even more successful in their work.  We support nine Area Governors from across the district to offer help to your clubs and we manage a grants program and youth exchange program. 
More specifically, your District is asked by RI to have several committees that work for your clubs.  Briefly, these include:
 
  • Youth – helps you establish and deliver programs for youth such as Youth Exchange or Interact, as examples.  Do you want to start a new youth oriented project?  Let Chair Michael Craig know!
  • Foundation – helps you learn how to access grants and build connections with other clubs around the world who are doing interesting international service.  Or maybe you’d like to know about global scholars?  This committee can help with all this and more!  And they administer the grant funds that we receive from RI too.  Want to know more?  Ask Chair Stella Roy.
  • Membership/Healthy Clubs – helps you with strategies to become more irresistible and can link you to resources about membership initiatives or find someone to help your club with strategic planning.  Chair Gail Gosse can help.
  • Public Image – helps clubs with initiatives to build public awareness of what Rotary does – and can also provide advice if a crisis situation happens to arise.  Contact Chair Kristina Ennis to learn more.
  • Professional Development – designs and delivers training for Leaders of Clubs – Chair Alana Hirtle can answer any questions you may have.
  • Governance – this includes our Finance committee and can help your club enhance your systems or offer assistance with updating your policies on such topics as audits and risk management.
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Happy Anniversary Avalon Northeast Club
On May 25, a reunion was held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Avalon Northeast. A large turnout that included current, former and charter members plus lots of special guests got together at the Manuels River Hibernia Interpretation Centre to celebrate.
 
In March 1989 a group of 35 community minded individuals achieved their goal of establishing a Rotary Club to serve the communities of Conception Bay South and Paradise.  Eight charter members were in attendance at the reunion, who are no longer active members of the Club: Tim Chalker, Ken Corbett, Clyde Grantor Nev Hackett, Reg Lawrence, Kevin McCormack, Laurie Willar and Dave Young.
 
Six charter members are still members of the club and five of them were at the May 25 event: Past District Governor Don Sword, Doug Russell, Rick Spracklin, Bill Alcock and Sid Blundon. Charter Member Bob Jenkins also continues to be an active member but was not able to attend. All were thanked for their vision and commitment to Rotary and their community.
 
As Club President Alan Hatcher said that evening, “The Rotary Year theme 30 years ago was ‘Put Life into Rotary-Your Life’.  I believe that this theme has transcended the Club throughout the past three decades of service above self.” There were many smiling faces as everyone enjoyed themselves.
Thank you to all who were able to attend. For those who could not, maybe next time!
Puppies for Public Image
Puppies for PI – Your very own Ro-terrier!
 
District 7820 is “gone to the dogs” for the 2019-2020 Rotary Year! The district wants to help YOUR club thrive, to “move the needle” on club irresistibility, and help you attract and retain new members.
 
The district has Public Image (PI) funds, and instead of purchasing annual theme banner/pins, your district will be supporting club PI initiatives. How would your club use up to $500 towards a PI initiative that will help your club thrive?
What’s a Ro-terrier puppy got to do with it? In support of a creative public image challenge, each club has been given a PI Puppy – they are your new buddies – and they are doggedly committed to building greater awareness of Rotary.
Step 1: Come up with a public image idea for your club. Send us a 100-150 words about how your club would use some PI funds and your plan to deliver your idea. Send your ideas to publicimage7820@gmail.com by August 31, 2019.
Step 2: Take your PI Puppy on a training tour! Submit photos of your puppy with all of the past and present activities your club has been involved in via email to publicimage7820@gmail.com and use #PIpuppy7820 on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). Have some FUN with your puppy – give them a name, dress them up if you’d like, take them on an adventure! Snap as many pictures of your PI Puppy as you can so we can share with the Rotary world all of the amazing things happening right here in D7820! Check out the list of ideas below in “PI Puppy FAQs”.
Step 3: Complete steps 1 and 2 by August 31, 2019 for ROUND 1 of the PI Puppy Challenge. After round 1, we will communicate the award winners and set a deadline for ROUND 2 in early 2020.
 
Some puppies already have names! Check out Toller from Yarmouth learning to ring the Rotary bell. Louisa took Beacon to DG training and he got to take a peek inside an iron lung.
PI PUPPY IDEAS
 
·         Get creative, think outside of the kennel! Engage club members in deciding your club’s puppy strategy;
·         Bring your puppy to club meetings and events – snap a picture of your puppy at your meeting spot, with members, helping plan events.  Think beyond the typical hand (paw) shaking photos;
·         We want to create a database of all the activities that have happened in this district so take your puppy on tour – snap a pic of them looking at photos from past projects that came before them, take them to visit projects in your community (or internationally!);
·         Include them in current or ongoing projects;
·         Does your club have a big event coming up? Your puppy might like to help too!
·         Social, community, international, fundraising, new generations, any avenue of service - you name it, your puppy will be like a dog with a bone when it comes to enthusiasm;
·         Last but not least, have fun. Let’s show the world what Rotary is really about – fellowship and making a difference in our communities!
 
Why?
1.       Puppies are cute and they get shared on social media!
2.       Last year’s member survey gave two clear messages – clubs want help with membership and public image.
 
I’m stumped! What can we use PI funds for?
It could be a new banner for a project, or a new sign for a project, or a People of Action banner to replace faded blue felt, or a flamingo costume for a parade, or support for building a parade float, or super flashy vests to wear at an event…. or some other very creative idea that hasn’t been imagined yet!  Go wild!
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Help for Venezuela
The Westville Rotary Club has looked into providing assistance to Venezuela, for immediate needs, primarily medical supplies. DG Rob has been in touch with the DG from that district in Venezuela, Alberto Camacaro Zerpa, and he would welcome any and all assistance.
 
Westville has a plan in place to forward $500 CAD funds to this Club to offer assistance to this country as an International project and we are wondering if other Clubs might want to match our contribution.  Enquiries can be directed to our Club, President Charlie Parker or in-coming President Leonard White.
Future District Leaders Wanted!
Opportunities are available to learn and network with some great Rotary colleagues, and develop new skills that are useful in your professional life.  The District Leadership Team is always looking for talented people to offer their skills to the many district committee and teams.  If you, or someone you know, may be interested in a District leadership role, please let us know so we can discuss committee opportunities and learn about the talents and time you have to offer.  Contact rotarylouisa@gmail.com for more info. Following are some specific committee needs right now, please read on:
 
Creative Blogger wanted!  We are gone to the dogs!  Beacon, the 2019-20 District Spaniel mascot, and his puppies have an opportunity for a creative writer to help them with their new blog, starting July 1.  Some core content will be provided.  Short, informative posts on a bi-weekly basis desired.  Ability to write from a K9 perspective useful.  Good sense of humour a definite asset. Contact rotarylouisa@gmail.com for more info.
 
The Public Image committee is seeking several passionate, creative, and open-minded Rotarians to join us for the 2019-2020 Rotary year! Let’s create a PI committee with shared leadership – spreading the work out amongst committee members, zero in on what our committee members love to help with and maximize our impact! Please connect with Kristina if you are interested in the roles below at kristina.ennis@gmail.com.
  1. Social Media Master Mind – 1 available
    1. Previous experience with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Experience using Facebook “Pages” app / online tools an asset. Ability to create content and post to the various social media pages. Engage with and share posts from Rotary Clubs throughout the district. Respond to inbox messages on the district social media pages.
  2. Newsletter Ninja – 2 available
    1. Someone who loves to know what is happening in the district would be the perfect committee member to take on the newsletter! Creativity to “shake it up” and make reading the newsletter something every Rotarian looks forward to. Collect news stories from clubs, edit the content they submit as needed for grammatical correctness, and update in Club Runner.
  3. Puppies for PI Liaison – 2 available
    1. District 7820 is gone to the dogs! Seeking a committee member who is keen to connect with clubs around the district. This person will be responsible for collect puppy pics via PI email account and on social media using the #PIpuppy7820, placing the photos in a central location on Club Runner, and track club submissions for PI funding ideas.
  4. Public Image Aficionados – unlimited opportunity!
Are you keen to help with Public Image but unsure where your skills fit into the committee? Let’s chat! Connect with me at kristina.ennis@gmail.com.
 
Membership Think-Tank: four times this Rotary year – two Saturdays @ morning coffee time (jammies permitted) and two mid-weeks lunches (your brown bag), we will gather remotely to hear your opinions and ideas. One-hour max! You might not commit to all but we want your voice @ at least some so that we can hear from the boots-on-the-ground about: membership ideas that worked, issues regarding membership in your club, what we need to start/stop/continue in terms of membership, and so on.
 
This is to be a free-flowing conversation whereby each of us can put thoughts on the table, and your membership committee can (a) facilitate and (b) share your input with the whole District. No problem is too small and no solution irrelevant for this discussion. Themes might be: attracting new members, keeping members, understanding why members leave us, surveying members to get a sense of their satisfaction, re-inventing our clubs to attract and keep members, and any other membership issue.
 
If you sign up you will receive notifications of meetings times with no commitments except that your district membership committee hopes that you can attend a meeting or four meetings! Contact gailgosse7@gmail.com for details.
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June's People of Action!
Talk about a busy year for the members of my home club, the Rotary Club of Pictou! Not only did they coordinate the staging of the extremely popular musical “Mamma Mia”, they also were a key part of the organization of this year’s District Conference in Pictou. For three nights the “Mamma Mia” musicians and cast performed for sold-out audiences who were thrilled to hear the music and see the talented young musicians of Pictou County. Proceeds from the production will go to support projects in our community, as well as around the world. Rotarians in this club are very supportive of the Shelterbox program and continue to fund the purchase of the boxes. Pictou has been beautified in part through the planting of a red maple in the downtown area with six more plantings to follow. Our local 4-H club is supported through the purchase by the club of two baby changing tables. Our club recognizes the value and importance of contributing to community projects.
 
It takes commitment to run an auction for 46 years! It has changed somewhat over that time and is now an on-line auction run by the Rotarians of the Labrador City – Wabush Rotary Club. I encourage you to go to their Facebook page to see a photo of the beautiful clock they have installed in their Rotary Peace Park. With the addition of the gazebo, a number of community groups use the park regularly for their celebrations. The club has recently purchased over $20,000 of sound equipment for use by groups using the park. Some of the proceeds of their various fund raising events support the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in the schools. They continue to provide scholarships to deserving students in the community. Their numbers are growing! The club just welcomed a new, young woman into their ranks! Plans are well underway to sponsor a music festival for the community which will be launched later this Spring. The club is very generous with their donations to the Rotary Foundation. This dedicated group of Rotarians are still optimistic about the plans ahead even though there is still a meter of ice on the local lakes!
 
It was fascinating to see various clubs at the District Conference display their projects. We are People of Action and whatever we can do to raise the awareness of Rotary at work in our District is well worth the effort. I would encourage Rotarians throughout the District to tell their stories on their Facebook pages but share the big news stories on our District page as well.
 
Since this is my last People of Action article for this DG year, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to show and explain your club projects to me during the visits. I am in awe of the work being accomplished in our District! Keep up the excellent work so that we can truly BE THE INSPIRATION!
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Alana Hirtle
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