Rotary Club of Kitchener


May 4, 2020

Happy Jar

Louise Gardiner was happy to be part of a 55 car caravan that did a drive by of 10 different local senior's homes and St. Mary's Hospital with honking horns and signs of Thanks and Best Wishers.  The Rotary Club of Kitchener Westmount, the Knights of Columbus and other volunteers were involved.  Workers at each location were informed of the event and were able to be outside to see the caravan and receive the thanks.
Jess Perucho is happy that his eldest daughter has been accepted in to a Masters program at the University of Buffalo and that his younger daughter has been accepted into the University of Western Ontario.
Peter Gray was delighted to announce the arrival of their fifth grandchild last weekend and the imminent arrival of grandchild number 6 later this week (different mothers!).  He also thanked all members who took part in the modified trails clean up this year.
Lumi Mironescui was happy to have been able to help a colleague in Bucharest by sending her 12 much needed face masks.
Elna Shpinel was thankful to have been able to participate in an online District Training event on the use of ZOOM created and run by our very own Darren Sweeney.
President Paul and his wife were happy to have been able to talk on the telephone with their granddaughter who turned 2 in February and now has Grandma and Grandpa in her vocabulary.

Bell Ringer(s)

President Paul thanked Peter Gray for his work organizing the Trails Clean Up this year and for his on going Environmental leadership.

Club Announcements

President-Elect Louise reminded members that the Committee Sign Up information has been distributed and asked members to respond to her by the end of this week if they have not already done so.  Members are asked to sign up for three committees for next year.  Members not responding will be assigned to the same committees as last year and/or assigned where the need is greatest.  Louise also informed members that the district is providing online training in lieu of the Club Leadership Training event that had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.  She will send out details to all members.
President Paul reported that our fundraiser for the Food Bank is going very well with over $3,100 donated so far to which the club will add an additional $2,500 along with an additional $500 from another generous supporter. Members have until the end of the week to make a contribution. 

Program Highlights

Our program today was a presentation from the members of our Peace Committee to inform members about this area of Focus and what our club is doing in support of it.  Committee chair, Ernie Ginsler started things off.
Youth Exchange and Peace
Some highlights:
  • In 1917 Rotary declared that Peace was a core value, and in the 1920’s Youth Exchange was launched to create international friendships and promote peace and understanding among youth.
  • Kitchener has been involved with YE for over 50 years.
  • There are 8,000 students on Rotary YE at any time in over 80 countries around the world.
  • The program relies heavily on volunteers to keep costs low and accessibility high.
  • It’s said that Youth Exchange is not just a year in your life, it’s a life in a year.
The objective of Rotary Exchange Programs is to foster world peace and international understanding.  It is hoped that the participants will experience firsthand, the challenges and accomplishments of other countries, by living with and meeting people of different cultures.
Each year, the Rotary Youth Exchange Program provides thousands of young people with the opportunity to experience the cultures, problems and accomplishments of people in other countries.  Through this Rotary program, students are given the opportunity to grow as individuals while their concept of the world is growing too.
A year of study overseas as a Rotary Youth Exchange student provides a student:
  • an opportunity to develop one’s personal self-confidence and maturity,
  • an opportunity to develop a lifetime of international friendships,
  • an opportunity to develop a real understanding of many different cultures, and
  • an opportunity to develop a base for future education and career goals.
Participants return with a broader view of the world and a deeper understanding of themselves.  As these young people become adults, many assume leadership roles in their communities and bring to those positions the benefits of their exchange experiences.  As a result, Rotary’s Youth Exchange program becomes a powerful force in the promotion of world understanding and peace.
Richard Bruckeder then Provided an Overview of our Kitchener Youth Forum
The Kitchener Youth Civics Forum is a project that was initiated by the Rotary Club of Kitchener.
It has required, and received, significant input and contribution from the City of Kitchener, Compass Kitchener, Waterloo Region District School Board, and Waterloo Catholic District School Board.
The forum is designed to provide High School students with a greater understanding of how their local government works; an understanding that they can have a voice in the direction of their city; and an appreciation that their voice is important in determining the future of their city.  A very important aspect of Peace in the world is having stable governments and it is important that students know what contributes to a stable government and how they can be a part of it.
The project has evolved to occur twice per year and is targeted at students in the Grade 10 Civics program. For schools that are involved in the Kitchener Youth Forum, there is a three-part program that includes the following:
Part 1 - Education: City of Kitchener staff, along with a City Councillor attend at the classroom of the participating school. The students are given a presentation on what the City of Kitchener does, an explanation of the fundamentals of local government and engage in a discussion with the City Councillor.
Part 2 - Student Projects: In small groups of 3 to 4, the students are required to develop a project related to some aspect of municipal government (and are important to them). This includes research, original thinking and presentation preparation.
Part 3 - A trip to City Hall! The half day trip to City Hall is the highlight of the program.
The students present their projects to their peers, a City Councillor and other 'judges' and are critiqued; students then enjoy a youth-oriented guest speaker (a young person who has contributed positively to the community); a tour of City Hall and a Q&A session with the Mayor and City Councillors.
After much iteration, our Club has now refined this program such that it operates very smoothly and is very 'transportable' to other Clubs in other cities.  We have presented the project at our District Conference, and we have completed a video of the project and intend to promote this program to other Rotary Clubs across our District and beyond.
Now that we have the project refined, it is not an expensive initiative. The Rotary Club of Kitchener pays for the buses to get the students to City Hall and the refreshments for the students on the day of the visit to City Hall.
Our Club members have been involved in the initiation of the project, the ongoing organization, the logistics of the trip to City Hall, and the judging of the projects.  Ernie Ginsler and Carl Zehr were involved from the beginning of the forum, Martin Jones took the lead and still takes on the responsibility to lead the forum with hands on help from Lew Ford, Neil Swayze, Howard Pell and Bill Proctor.
The project has been incredibly well received - City Councillors are eager to participate and they see the value of engaging young people in City governance.  The program has been featured on our local television station and has raised the profile of the Rotary Club of Kitchener as the 'Downtown Kitchener Club'.
In closing, a couple of years ago we have received an Award from Rotary International.  The Award is called the “RI Significant Achievement Award”.
Tom Mennill Provided an Overview of the R. Y. L. A. Program
  • RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.
  • It is an intensive Six Day Leadership Training Program for individuals 18-25.
  • It is a district Event, with approximately 40 participants.
  • It is held Annually Last Week of April at the Ecology Retreat Centre near Orangeville.
  • Similar sessions are being held around the world.
  • 2020 Session was cancelled because of COVID -19 but 2021 is proceeding.
The Purpose of the Event is to:
  • encourage and assist in growing leaders,
  • expose young leaders to the ideals of Rotary, including our efforts to foster international understanding and to promote peace, and
  • develop friendships and networks that have proven to last lifetimes.
The program includes a series of lectures, workshops and activities including planned social events all with the aim of developing leadership skills but with a particular focuses on:
  • Community building,
  • Conflict resolution and problem solving, and
  • Promoting the ideals of Rotary including the enhancement of peace around the world.
Clubs support the program through:
  • Promoting RYLA with contacts at universities/colleges/workplaces and members.
  • Reviewing complete Application forms and choosing candidates.
  • Sponsoring financially the attendance of their chosen attendees at $825 each.
  • Often providing transportation to and from the program.
  • Attending a Rotary meeting at the event on the Tuesday evening.
After the event attendees present to their sponsoring club on their experience.  Our club has sponsored many candidates in the past and always with very positive feedback.
Howard Pell Concluded the Presentations with an Update on the Rotary Peace Park
  • The Peace Park, situated at RIM Park in Waterloo was a joint project of the KW Cluster Clubs and the City of Waterloo.
  • The City of Waterloo has not maintained the park area as was the original agreement and it is in need of some repair and updating.
  • Brenda Halloran the President of the Rotary Club of Waterloo is the current contact for Rotary Peace Park.
  • The City of Waterloo has shared plans to build a skateboard park incorporating it with the Peace Park, which is really not in keeping with the original intent of the park.
  • The City of Waterloo was looking at doing something within 12 to 18 months, but that has been put on hold until at least 2020 June due to the COVID-19 issues, this would have also included a  cleanup of the park.
  • A cluster committee will be looking into how best to move forward with the park.

Closing Remarks & Reminders

President Paul reminded members to respond to Louise about Committee Selections if they had not already done so and to check out the online Club Leadership Training offerings when they receive the information.
May 11, 2020 12:00 PM
Nogales 2020 Report
May 18, 2020
Victoria Day Observance / Committee Meetings Week
May 26, 2020 7:00 PM
An Online Family Fun Night!
May 30, 2020 8:30 AM
District Conference - Cancelled
Jun 01, 2020
LInda Kenny and Lisa Talbot from KidsAbility will provide a KidsAbility Update
View entire list
Birthdays & Membership Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Laura Mae Lindo
May 6
Tom Mennill
May 14
Pete Gray
May 16
John Webster
May 17
Martin Jones
May 19
David Chatson
May 31
Join Date
Bill Krohn
May 17, 2010
10 years
Russell Hampton
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