Kitchener Rotary


February 14, 2022

Meeting Recording

A recording of Today’s Meeting can be found here.

President's Comments

President Adrian welcomed everyone to the meeting and wished all a happy Saint Valentine’s Day.  He encouraged everyone to focus on the good and fun things that are going on around us and not on the negatives that seem to fill the news these days.  He announced Louise Gardiner as the Bell Ringer this week for organizing the terrific Women in Rotary meeting we had last week as part of our 100th Anniversary recognition.  He also extended a big thank to Marissa Watkins for creating the excellent Rotarians in Action PowerPoint show that was used to kick off the meeting last week and was shown again at the start of today’s meeting.
The Rotarians in Action video can be seen at this link

Visiting Rotarians

Elena Shpinel, Rotary Club of Moscow International


Hannah Gardiner, past exchange student and guest speaker
Decio Correia, past exchange student and guest speaker
Janet Giordet, former host of exchange student Decio
Marlan Correia, Decio’s brother and Rotarian

Happy Jar

Louise Gardiner was happy to be a gust at a bush part on the weekend.  Not a bush party of her youth perhaps but a gathering of friends at a farm in Winterbourne with a huge bonfire and sleigh rides.  She is also happy to be off snowshoeing later today.
Paul Rostrup was happy to be at family gathering in Oakville on the weekend where it got to visit with a cousin visiting from Vancouver.
JB Moore was very happy to have celebrated his 80th birthday last week and believes that that fact he is still a Rotarian is a testament to the added wisdom that comes with getting older.
Our guest speaker Decio was happy to be back with our club and pleased to be able to reminisce about his time with us as an exchange student.

Club Announcements

Coldest Night of the Year
Our fabulous Rotary Road Scholar Team has now raised $2,145 to support those experiencing hurt, homelessness and hunger in our community.  WOW! Thanks so much to our supporters so far!!
To learn more about this valuable cause, please watch this video.
There is still time to donate or join our Team.  Click this link - to JOIN or to DONATE:  
Catch the Ace
Week 13 of Catch the Ace saw Maureen G. as our lucky winner. She picked card # 25, revealing the 8 of Hearts and won the weekly prize of $252.  Maureen G. is from KW, has been a regular player of Catch the Ace and also was a weekly winner in our first round of Catch the Ace. Tell your friends so they can also have a chance to play and win. 
Still no Ace of Spades so there is still time to get your tickets for the next weekly draw on Thursday February 17th.
Notice of Proposed membership
A membership proposal has been received from Deborah Barton (Stratford, Ontario) as an alternate corporate member from Grand River Hospital Foundation, proposed by Betty Bax in the classification of Philanthropic Management.  Any member opposed to this membership proposal must indicate so in writing to the club secretary no later than February 23.
Nogales and Caborca Projects
Hubert Singh let members know that although these projects are on hold for now due to COVID restrictions.  He and Frank O from Guelph Rotary will be travelling to these areas at the end of the week to maintain dialogue and to begin planning for next year.

Program Highlights

As part of our ongoing 100th Anniversary recognitions, our program today was a reflection on our Youth Exchange program with two guest speakers - Decio Correia an inbound student from Brazil for the Rotary year 1997-98 and Hannah Gardiner an outbound student to Taiwan for the Rotary year 2014-15.
Ed Fowler the current co-chair of our Youth Exchange committee spoke about how in 1997, not long after he joined the club he was asked to be a member of the Youth Exchange committee and became the counsellor for inbound student Decio Correia.  Our club has always been very supportive and involved with the Rotary Youth Exchange program, with often two outbound and two inbound students a year.  The inbound students always became very active in club activities as well as at the high school s they attended.  Ed’s own son was an exchange student and he knows that the life changing experiences that the exchange students have cannot be overstated.  The impact on the host families is also dramatic and positive.
Decio Correia spoke first about his experience as an inbound student to Canada in 1997.  His father was a Rotarian and suggested he apply to the exchange program which he did.  His brother Marlon is now a Rotarian.  He is from a city called Blumenau, which is about the same size as Kitchener and has a similar Germanic heritage, along with an annual Oktoberfest festival.
In addition to having three host families he visited often with Ed and Martha, often having Sunday dinners with them.  Decio had three host families – a Nurse by the name of Irene, the family A.B. Aitkenhaed, who was the president-elect that year and Janet and Ed Girodet, who were able to join us today.
Decio attended Resurrection Catholic Secondary school and one of his fondest sets of memories relate to the many camping, canoeing and hiking trips they had as part of the Outdoor Education class.  At the end of his exchange year he was able to participate in the thirty-day cross Canada tour along with other exchange students, many of whom became good friends and still are today.  The group has already had two reunions with another planned for next year in Miami.  His family and that of other exchange friend, originally from Venezuela, but now in Miami do get together often and now their children have become good friends.  He feels that with his connections through the exchange program he has a place to visit and stay in just about every part of the world.
Decio made many of his later educational and life choices based on his exchange experience, including studying International Business at university.  He also feels that the personal and communication skills developed through the program has helped him in his businesses over the years.
Hannah Gardiner then spoke about time as an outbound student to Taiwan.  She has provided a copy of her presentation.
Hello everyone.
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to you today. As some of you may already know, my name is Hannah Gardiner. I was a 2014-15 Rotary Youth Exchange Student. I had just graduated high school and spent my exchange year in north-western Taiwan in a city called Hsinchu.
After my grade twelve year, I was preparing myself to go abroad on exchange and had no idea Taiwan was in store. Once we found out at announcement day, a tradition in the 7080 district where destinations are selected for you, my concern then became how I’d ever learn Mandarin. Here’s a picture of myself and a former exchange student of this club, Jessica, who is from Taiwan at announcement day just after finding out.
The entire experience didn’t really become real until I was there, where I spent a year living with a host family, attending high school with local Taiwanese students and attending language and culture classes with other exchange students. I had the opportunity to travel the island, to see the beautiful mid-island mountain range on many camping trips with my host family, to see the beaches in the east and south with other exchange students. I was exposed to Taiwanese cuisine – some of which became my absolute favourite foods.
Being in Taiwan, I learned learn again – I gained an awareness of the many aspects of life that had become invisible to me and taken for granted over time, like language, cultural customs, assumed societal roles and trajectories. Though the exchange student embarks on a personal journey, exchange is more of a process of de-centering the self, of having the carpet of culture and all the security it offers being torn out beneath you and being challenged to come back from that without holding onto what’s comfortable and instead embracing this uncertain world that’s right ahead of you. 
As a teenager, I wouldn’t have been able to find the words to understand what was happening, but what was more important was that it was happening: that I lived through this process of change, though it was certainly at times very difficult. Living away from home as a teenager is a change, living across the world a great challenge I sometimes don’t know how I thought I could take on, I am so thankful that I did. Coming back from exchange too was a challenge since I, like all other exchange students, had to find my way back to a familiar place and make peace with this newfound sense of plurality in the world, which is, you realize, reflective of the lived experience of many people.
After returning to Canada, I began attending the University of Waterloo, where I was a student in the Knowledge Integration program. This program allowed me the flexibility to select my courses, and in an effort to maintain my language skills, I took five Chinese language courses over my first three years in school. In my third year I was offered an opportunity to compete in the preliminary round of a Chinese language competition, called the Chinese Bridge competition, for university and college students studying Mandarin. I would compete with students from Ontario and Manitoba for a chance to go to China and compete against other students internationally. I won first place in the first local competition and was awarded a free trip to China to compete in international rounds, placing top thirty in the world to end up on Chinese television. Here are some funny, and some photos of the initial competition and then the televised one – the outfit was not my choice and surely not designed for a six-foot-tall woman such as myself
That same spring, my parents and I travelled to Taiwan. My mom and I previously came to this Rotary club when she shared her perspective as a parent of a child who went on an exchange, and what it meant for her and my dad to experience in some way what I experienced. My parents were grateful to have been welcomed by my Rotary Club in Hsinchu, to meet and spend time with my host family, and to preview Taiwan: its nature, its culture. It was quite odd, I must admit, to have them there with me, but I was and am thankful that this place I talked about became reality. We also spent a week in Japan, visiting Saeko, who this club hosted during the year I was away, and who lived with my family for a few months.
It was also nice to go back and see people because the communities built on exchange are in some sense transitory; classmates go off to college or university, separating from one other, as do the exchange students. But to see my host family again and individual friends was very memorable.
When I signed up for my exchange, I didn’t anticipate the different forms my life would take afterwards. Not just these explicitly Taiwan-related opportunities that I’ve shared today, but certainly other opportunities like making other exchange friends and having the chance to travel and see them. These experiences have impacted my perspective on my plans in life, widening them, but also offering a certain sense of meaning by knowing how to be in a place. It has unearthed the knowledge I have of Canada and continues to remind me of the hidden beauty of knowing a place and being known by a community. I have obviously been fortunate to have opportunities directly in thanks to my exchange, but there are other ones, like certain jobs I’ve had, where this ‘be first’ mentality we learn on exchange, of really putting yourself out there and being confident in that attempt, I think, is great thanks to my time as an exchange student.
Right now, and most people usually ask, how my Chinese is – and I must confess that I have been rather out of practice. These energies have been replaced with a master’s degree in English literature, which I am now completing. My career path will not be filled Taiwanese–Canadian or Sino–Canadian relationship building in a traditional sense, but I do look forward to what is to come.
It is once again with great thanks to this club for sponsoring my exchange and offering me an opportunity to grow in these ways. I am very grateful and endeavor to continue to add meaning to this experience.
Thank you.

Closing Remarks & Reminders

President Adrian reminded the group that there will be no lunch meeting next week as it is Family Day and also a week to allow our committees to do their work. The next meeting will be at noon on Monday Feb 28th. 
Feb 14, 2022 12:00 PM
ZOOM NOON - Youth & Club Exchange History
Feb 21, 2022
Committee Meetings to be Scheduled by Committee Chairs
Feb 28, 2022 7:00 PM
ZOOM NOON - Speaker Series - Lessons from Indigenous political activism in the 20th century
Mar 07, 2022 7:00 PM
ZOOM EVENING - Indigenous Education and the Martin Family Initiative
View entire list
Birthdays & Membership Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Neil Swayze
February 1
Lew Ford
February 5
JB Moore
February 8
Ailton Dias Santana
February 14
Cameron Yule
February 19
Josh Bedard
February 23
Wayne Boehler
February 28
Join Date
Lew Ford
February 1, 1991
31 years
Laura Mae Lindo
February 10, 2020
2 years