Rotary clubs throughout the province are preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rotary in B.C. The Rotary Club of Vancouver was created in 1913 and since that time, clubs have appeared throughout the province.
Clubs have been busy raising funds for both community initiatives and needs around the world including the eradication of polio. In fact, a study has just been released confirming that $8.5 million has been raised by Rotary Clubs in B.C. during 2012. This places Rotary in the top tier of charities in the province.
There are 147 Rotary Clubs in British Columbia with a total membership of more than 6,700.
Locally, there are three Rotary Clubs – The Rotary Club of Abbotsford, the Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Sumas and the Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Matsqui – which consists of about 130 total members.
As part of the 100th anniversary celebration and to help people learn more about the local organizations, the Abbotsford News has created a special supplement to showcase the work being performed by local Rotarians.
” I want to thank Black Press and Publisher Andrew Franklin (president of Abbotsford Rotary club) for creating this historic edition for the Rotary Clubs of Abbotsford and their community. This edition celebrates 100 years of Rotary in British Columbia” said Angelo Rea, President- Elect, Rotary Club of Abbotsford. “It explains in a nutshell what Rotary has done, is doing and will be doing in our wonderful community and throughout the rest of the world. This edition highlights the Rotary story and is a testament to the service of the three Abbotsford Rotary Clubs” he said.
See the January 17th 2013 edition of the Abbotsford News to see all the ways Rotary helps the community.
The Power Of YES
Like most large organizations, Rotary International has its share of mission statements, and mottos that try to capture the spirit and purpose of its members. Rotary stands by its “4-Way Test” as a model for ethical and moral conduct of its 1.2 million members in over 34,000 clubs.
The “Service Above Self” motto has guided and influenced Rotary clubs in British Columbia for 100 years, positively impacting virtually every single BC community. But there’s one particular catch phrase that you won’t find in any of service club’s official material that gets passed around like a secret handshake. It’s simply this:
“When Rotary asks, you say YES”.
From the global commitment to End Polio Now, Rotarians have raised millions and almost single handedly taken a global pandemic that killed tens of thousands to a disease on the brink of global elimination.
In Abbotsford, saying YES means building Rotary Stadium, one of our community’s premiere gathering places. It means building Rotary House, a learning facility for mentally and physically challenged pre-school children.
It means paying off the mortgage for Abbotsford Hospice and doing significant fundraising for the new Campus of Care. It means providing scholarships to every single high school in Abbotsford as well as students at UFV.
Rotarians saying YES means turning strawberries into community playgrounds, turning golf balls into Sally Ann soup kettles and turning beer and sauerkraut into teddy bears and disaster recovery equipment for Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service.
Saying YES means you get to see the excitement in the face of a young boy going off to summer camp. It also means the look on the face of that child’s single working Mom, knowing that her child isn’t going to miss out this time simply because there isn’t money to pay for it.
It’s the miracle of taking the trip of a lifetime to help Rotaplast (www.rotaplast.org) reconstruct a baby girl’s deformed face in the Philippines or Peru. But it’s also the look of hope in her mother’s eyes, knowing her baby girl now has a fighting chance for a normal life. It’s sending Rotary Shelter boxes (www.shelterboxcanada.org) to Haiti after the earthquake that get there before any other foreign aid. But its also seeing the flicker of hope in the faces of one single family that has lost everything.
Saying YES means walking a section of Discovery Trail. It may look like you’re just picking up trash, but really you’re getting some free exercise and priceless camaraderie. It means taking time out of your busy week to attend a breakfast, lunch or evening meeting, but really it’s you connecting with your amazing neighbors and colleagues while at the same time being inspired and challenged by guest speakers.
“Were looking for people open to learning the power of yes” says member of the Rotary Club of Abbotsford Bruce Beck.
Saying YES can sometimes take you outside your comfort zone, like driving around pilots during the Abbotsford International Airshow or Christmas partygoers with Operation Red Nose. It may mean wearing lederhosen or dirndl during Octoberfest, building new structures for disabled children at Zajak Ranch or even having your head shaved by professional hockey players during Cuts for the Cure. But in reality, what you’re really doing is building stories that you will retell for years.
Local Rotary clubs are always looking for new members to answer the call for the next 100 years. We’re looking for people open to learning the power of YES. Rotary is asking. Say YES. It’s an experience that will change your life.
Rotary meets three times per week in Abbotsford. There is a morning, lunchtime and evening meeting to suit all timetables.