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Traditionally, we think of giving at this time of the year, whether it is in the form of gifts or volunteering our time and services to bring joy into the lives of others.
 
With the club visits behind us, there has been one thing that is a common thread uniting each club. Every day of every month, clubs in our district, and around the world, give selflessly of their time and energy, making the world a better place. This doesn’t just happen in the month of December. You are living President Barry’s vision, “together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change…” Rotary is the gift to the world that keeps on giving and I am honored to represent you as the District Governor for our area.
 
Your acts of kindness, collaboration, generosity and empathy have greatly moved both Irene and me. Thank you for sharing your passion and your Rotary experiences with us over these past six months. To experience first-hand the work being done for others in our magnificent District has been a humbling experience. We are making a difference in the lives of those around us whether it is in our own community, or elsewhere across the globe. Please know that your work is truly, “the miracle of others” as Past RI President, KR Ravindran so eloquently stated.
 
May this month find you surrounded by the love of friends, family and community. Throughout the hustle and bustle of this month, may you find peace and the ability to recharge your batteries and prepare you for the work of changing lives in the year ahead.
Wishing you all a Joyous and Healthy Holiday Season,
 
Rob Christie and Irene Szabla
 
PS: Our District Conference webpage will be active shortly so I encourage all of you to circle the dates of May 10 & 11, 2019 and plan on joining us in Pictou County!
 
Hamburg 2019 Convention - Early Bird Deadline Dec 15th!
Rotarians from around the world will gather in Hamburg, Germany for the Rotary International Convention, June 1st to 5th, 2019.  Will you be there too?  If you plan to attend, take advantage of the early booking price and register now for just $395.  Note: This price ends on Dec. 15th, so hurry to www.riconvention.org to sign up.
 
Barry Raskin, President, Rotary International writes:  "a Rotary convention is an unparalleled opportunity to find a world of inspiration in a single city. This year, Hamburg, Europe's "Gateway to the World", will be that single city -- and your gateway to the world of Rotary. Begin your days with general sessions that inspire you, as well as a wealth of breakout sessions for every interest and every ambition.  Then set out, with friends old and new, to explore this historic port city. You'll find classic and modern architecture, delicious multicultural cuisine, and a maze of canals waiting to be wandered.”  
 
He continues: “I'm excited to have you join me in Hamburg, Germany, for our 110th Rotary International Convention, 1-5 June 2019, at the Hamburg Messe.  Come for the inspiration, for the ideas, for the friendship and the fun -- and Capture the Moment forever."
 
Having visited Hamburg, I am pleased to say that I have always wanted to return to it. It is a friendly city with great transportation making it easy to get around. We took the double-decker bus tour around the city and discovered that 20% of the city is mandated as green space.  Touring the waterways in Hamburg was a pleasant adventure and a wonderful way to see the houses which are close to the shore.  Did you know that Hamburg created more living space for thousands of people by repurposing the land which had been old dock yards? 
 
Hamburg is Europe's 2nd largest city; nowhere else in the world will you find a city with 2500 bridges and a maze of canals!  Discover the unique blend of historical and contemporary culture that makes Hamburg such a distinctive place. We visited the Miniatur Wunderland where we saw many miniature scenes of many countries featuring thousands of tiny detailed figures. This is an ongoing project with over 800,000 hours of work already put into it.  It has the longest miniature railway in the world in a setting you will be amazed to see.   It is housed in its own building and covers several floors, so allow yourself time to enjoy all of it.
 
Old Elbe Tunnel or St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel which opened in 1911, is a pedestrian and vehicle tunnel in Hamburg, Germany, the first tunnel of its kind in Europe. The 426m long tunnel was a technical sensation; 24m beneath the surface, two 6m diameter tubes connect central Hamburg with the docks and shipyards on the south side of the river Elbe.
 
Another interesting fact: From 1850 to 1934 alone, more than 5 million people emigrated to the New World via the Port of Hamburg. Learn more about the reasons why the emigrants left their homeland and how they experienced the ship passage to the New World at the BallinStadt Emigration Museum.
       
Unforgettable moments are made at Rotary Conventions and I hope to “capture” them with you in Hamburg! Encourage your fellow Rotarians to take in an International Convention too, it will be an experience they will remember for years.
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District Youth visit Ottawa
The project had its origins in a discussion at the 2017 District 7820 Conference in Wolfville NS.  At a breakout discussion on youth, chaired by District Youth Chair Michael Craig, it was recognized that the vast majority of current Rotary programs in support of youth were directed at high-performers.  Out of this discussion was born the idea of developing a project that would provide developmental opportunities for youth drawn from economically challenged communities, or other demanding circumstances. 
 
Discussions were held with Phoenix Youth Programs, a non-profit, community based organization located in Halifax, which is dedicated to supporting youth, their families and communities.  The product of those discussions over several months was a proposal for a ‘leadership development’ trip to Ottawa.  The objective of this trip was to provide a ‘transformational’ experience for up to twelve youth. The basic concept for the project was to plan, develop, execute and subsequently review a five-day trip to Ottawa and in so doing, provide an opportunity for the group to visit the nation's historic centres and witness the main national and governmental institutions.  This proposal would enable the youth to experience the exhilaration of travelling to a new and unfamiliar place in which to discover themselves and develop more self-awareness, leading to enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem.  Learning to navigate challenges outside their familiar setting and support network would also lead to personal growth and enhanced maturity and poise.  It was hoped that it would also provide an opportunity to learn how to make choices, deal with problems head-on as they arose, and acquire new social skills as they engaged and interacted with people and communities that were unfamiliar to them. 
 
While the eventual objective was to develop a project that could be replicated elsewhere in the District, in this instance it was seen as a first trial step, to develop the concept in a large urban area where there was a high concentration of youth experiencing challenging circumstances, and also a high degree of expertise in providing much needed support.  Hence the choice of Halifax as an appropriate focus, and Phoenix Youth Programs as an institution with an impressive record of providing support to challenged youth over the past 30 years.
 
To allow for the necessary preparation and planning August 20-25 was selected as the proposed date for the trip.  This also allowed time for the selection of the participants, as well as four Phoenix chaperones.  The planning process included review and application of Rotary's and Phoenix's rigorous youth protection measures and policies, and of course parental consent.  To enhance the value of the experience for participating youth, it was arranged for them to play a key role in the detailed planning of the trip, and selection of visits and activities.
 
Rotary project leaders contacted Ottawa Rotary Clubs principally through the Rotary Club of Ottawa, (not least because that Club organizes the Adventure in Citizenship program), in order to seek assistance and advice in putting together the detailed program in Ottawa.  Out of this came a number of visit suggestions that included an opportunity to meet astronaut Chris Hadfield.  The trip also included visits to the National Gallery of Canada, The Canadian Museum of Nature, Vintage Wings of Canada, The Canadian Mint, Changing of the Guard, House of Parliament Northern Lights show, the Haunted Walks, and of course the Calypso Water Park!
 
The clear conclusion among the youth who participated, the chaperones who accompanied them, and Phoenix senior management was that the trip was an outstanding success.  The youth had clearly enjoyed a transformational experience, and in so doing, had developed strong interrelationships with each other, and each built up their personal self-esteem and self-confidence. As a conclusion to the project, and as an important element in its ‘leadership development’ dimension, it was arranged for the party to deliver a presentation about the trip to an audience made up principally of Rotarians.  It was a quite powerful and emotional event and many in the audience were quite moved by the stories told as the youth made their presentations.
~ Submitted by Dick Hodgson & Michael Craig
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Clubs in the Christmas Spirit!
Santa tends to make frequent pre-Christmas appearances south of his Arctic home, yet is rarely seen before the big day in northern regions! Due to this unfortunate irony, children living in the remote communities along the Labrador Coast don’t have a chance to pass on their Christmas list or have a chat with the guy in person. So started a tradition some 58 years ago by personnel of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force stationed in Goose Bay. They would collect gifts for the children living on the coast, pile it all aboard a DeHaviland Single Otter on skis and head off to the coast. When ice conditions permitted, Santa would land on the harbour and hold audience and dispense gifts. When conditions were poor, gifts were often dropped by parachute!
 
In 1990 the operation was handed off to the Rotary Club of Happy Valley-Goose Bay who have maintained the tradition to this day. The format has changed a bit. They now have landing strips at all the communities and are not allowed to throw anything from the aircraft anymore! But every year the club congregates at Universal Helicopters’ hanger to put together up to 700 gift bags for the kids on the coast. Then it is off to Air Borealis’ hanger where the gifts along with Santa and Rotary Elves board a DeHaviland Twin Otter for points north. The club owes a huge thank you to Universal Helicopters and Air Borealis for their unwavering support over the years.
 
Visited communities usually take this opportunity to hold grand holiday events including Santa Clause Parades by ski-doo! There are always large crowds to greet Santa despite temperatures which can dip as low as -30C. Frost laden eyebrows and scarves are common sights on the ramp, but the program continues to be a great catalyst not only for club fellowship, but also for connecting with remote regional communities.
 
The Rotary Club of Yarmouth hosts “Ugly Sweater” day as their final meeting in December; guests are welcome and the “business” program is slanted to being social. Prizes are given for Best Sweater and Honourable mention. If they have any awards, notations, happy moments, etc they are handed out at this time...they make sure the meeting is light-hearted and a bit of a celebration of a year of good work and fellowship.
  
Fund raising is saved for mid January, when they have a lunch meeting and undertake “The Crap You Got for Christmas and Mystery Booze Auction”. If they raise over $1,000 at the auction, local car dealership Murray Motors gives them a $500 donation!! The club hits over and above that goal each year. Guests are again welcome and there are lots of laughs...a great way to start off the year!
 
The Rotary Club of Truro participated in the town’s Annual Santa Claus Parade on November 17th.  It was a cold 2.5 km walk for the 15 Rotarians and friends who accompanied the float through the streets of town passing out candy canes and exchanging Christmas greetings. Thanks to Richard Bowness and Truro Toyota for loan of the truck and trailer and to Brian Matthews, Wayne Gillis and Jim Gould who headed up efforts to design and decorate the float.
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People of Action for December
The island of St. Pierre is a much cleaner place after members of the Rotary Club of St. Pierre & Miquelon picked up more than 550 kgs. of garbage along the roads of that beautiful place! This club knows the value of partnerships and engages frequently with the members of other service clubs to realize their goals for community involvement.
 
The membership of the Rotary Club of Sydney continues to grow with the recent induction of 4 new members! Congratulations! It was wonderful to learn that the club sponsored Lyndsey Prosper, from the Eskasoni First Nation, to participate in the Adventures in Citizenship trip to Ottawa.
 
The Rotary Club of New Waterford’s “Number for Life” fundraiser enables them to give back to other community organizations. They have helped a local rink buy an ice resurfacer and donated to the local hospital, schools and the Salvation Army. Thanks for giving back to your community!
 
Members of The Rotary Club of Sydney Sunrise put a yeoman effort into making the Sydney Ribfest a huge success! Working with the other clubs in the area, proceeds from this function go to support many different community groups. In memory of PDG David Muise, the club partnered with other groups to construct a fieldhouse in his memory.
 
The members of The Rotary Club of North Sydney are actively participating in a community environmental project that will see the development of the Smelt Brook Park. Using the proceeds from their Pay 2 Play Lotto, they put 80% of the monies back into the local community and use 20% for international projects.
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What do You get out of Rotary?
Many of us joined Rotary to meet new people, or for a number of other reasons. But can we as individuals convey all that Rotary offers, to prospective new members? In the latest of the membership video series, PDG Larry Furbish enlists the help of Zone 24/32 Director Jeffry Cadorette to outline the many opportunities and benefits of being a Rotary member. Need some inspiration? Watch the video now!
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Alana Hirtle
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