Rotary Club of Kitchener


August 17, 2020

Meeting Recording

Click here for a recording of the meeting.

President's Comments

Last week President Louise informed us about the initial communication she had with Steven Jackson, CEO of the local Indigenous organization.  This past week she had the opportunity to meet with him and tour their new long house type building.  In conversation with President-Elect Adrian they believe there is interest in the club for an Indigenous Relations Working Group. Lew Ford and Candi Harrington will be in the group and are looking for other members to join and in particular, for a member to chair the group.  If interested please let Louise or Adrian know.
President Louise reminded us that the RI Theme for the month of August is Membership and that she is looking forward to our committee’s presentation today.  We currently have 43 active members.  Our new Friends of Rotary initiative now has 21 members and our goal is to reach 50.
Each year ClubRunner runs an annual conference to help uses learn more about the tool and to get the most out of it.  This year the online event will be August 20 and 21 and President Louise will send out more information with the links.
President Louise announced that Hubert Singh, Board Director and Chair of our membership Committee is this month’s Rotarian of the month in recognition of all of the work he has done leading the committee.
Since some of our committees will not be very active this year due to the impact of COVID-19, President Louise has reassigned some members to different or additional committees.  Any one feeling that a new appointment does not work for him or her should let Louise know.


Our guest today was Tracey Hare Connell, former member, Past President 2005 - 2006 and presenter.
We were also pleased to welcome again our visiting Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Moscow international – Elena Shpinel.

Happy Jar

Shawky Fahel was very happy to be able to celebrate his wife’s birthday on the weekend with many family members in attendance.  He is also pleased that the Mennonite Central Committee is working with his organization and Rotary to provide support for victims of the disaster in Beirut.
Ernie Ginsler and his wife are quite happy for their daughter who has had her contract at the Stratford Theatre renewed dispite the effect of the pandemic.
President Louise was happy to announce that her daughter and fiancé have just purchased their first house and will be moving in on October 8.
President Louise also let members know that she has had a Social Media book prepared with all of the photo highlights from last year and will be presenting it to Past-President Paul in the near future.

Club Announcements

Last week we were informed of the cancellation of the Local Lager licence from RI and that existing stock was being sold at a reduced rate.  President Louise was pleased to announce that 14 cases were ordered by our members which raised $168 for the club.

Program Highlights

Our program today was a presentation from our Membership Committee led by Director Hubert Singh.
Hubert began with an update on the work of the Memberships Committee.
Everyone has been hearing about the membership crisis for the last 10 to 15 years in Rotary and in fact in most if not all volunteering organizations.
Rather than expanding upon that today we will focus on our club and what we are doing to achieve the two major membership mandates of our club.
How do we Retain our current members?
How do we Grow our current membership?
Why Membership? Membership is the fuel that drives the Rotary engine. Period!
Without a vibrant and robust membership all co,mmittees, and in fact all clubs will eventually fade away.
Your membership Committee was inducted before the last rotary year.  We started putting together a hard hitting and committed team in April of 2019 at a time when we were losing a lot of members.
We also decided to get some outside help to oversee the committees work and progress and to give us advice when needed. Almost like the Board of Directors of a large firm but with no pay and meet quarterly.
Your membership committee consists of:
Hubert Singh (chair) Paul Rostrup, Tom Mennill, John Webster, Howard Pell, Louise Gardiner and Adrian DeCoo.
The Advisors Carl Zehr, Karen Redman, and Tracey Hare Connell.
Retain Current Membership
To a large extend membership will stay in a club if they are engaged and they are part of a vibrant club.  With Paul’s leadership and now Louise, to be followed by Adrian the club is on its way to being an even more vibrant, engaging and welcoming club.
All members can help by being involved, supportive and contribute to the overall health of the club.
Members can also help by being vigilant and engaging to each other.  When a club member resigns it is generally not an overnight decision. They become less active, do not attend the meetings or participate in activities.  In a few exceptional cases they would voice their concerns and displeasure with one or two items.  Finally, over a period of time, it becomes easier for them to resign.  Let’s be vigilant with each other and look for the telling signs that the club is perhaps not meeting that member’s expectations.  Let the committee, the President, or a member of the board know. Often times we can address these concerns before it is too late.
Grow our Current Membership:
New members can occur through several avenues:
  • Prospective members reach out to the club and we need to be sure to follow up.
  • Referrals from current members - talk to your friends, neighbours, business associates and introduce them to the club.  Be sure to promote membership in Rotary whenever you can.
  • Friends of Rotary – These are individuals who may, at this time, be willing to assist the club in our activities but may not want to become full members at this time.  However, they may choose to join later after seeing more of what we do and they can also help to spread the word about Rotary.
  • Past members – Members who left because of work or family issues may after several years be more flexible and may have their interest in Rotary rekindled.  Reach out to these individuals that you know to see if they may be interested in returning.
Jess Perucho, one of our newer members, and a member of the Membership Committee then spoke of his experience as a new member.
Thank you all for the warm welcome accorded to me when I first joined the club.
I decided to re-join Rotary last summer after I opened my business in SW Ontario as a manufacturer's representative of LED Lighting.
Twenty-three years ago we immigrated to Canada from the Philippines.  Back home I was a member of Metro Iloilo Rotary Club for 3 years.
I enjoyed the fellowship with the Rotarians and community projects we engaged in.
Most Rotarians are authorities and respected in their field or profession, even business.  It is always a pleasure to do with business with Rotarians as they fully observed the 4-Way Test.
You always meet business and corporate leaders and chances are they are Rotarians.
It gives us the utmost pleasure and satisfaction to serve the community at large in which you conduct your business.  Giving back to the community and less fortunate brothers & sisters are part and fabric of being Canadian and I'm still learning every day through committee interactions.
We always live for others.
I chose our Rotary Club because of its rich history - almost a century old.  What it means is that members are fully engaged in the communities in one way or another and can provide directions and most especially inspirations on why we do this.
In my first few months, I met & interacted with most members in so many civic activities like trail cleaning, selling tickets at St Jacob's market last summer, car draw at the Kitchener Rangers game, Rotaract, online auction, website, and In Vino Caritas.
I get to learn a lot about the many charity works we are involved with like KidsAbility, educating women in Africa, Polio plus amongst others.
You see firsthand the zeal and dedication of every involved Rotarian and I always asked myself wow - how they are doing it and keeping at it for some more than a few decades.  That's dedication!
I'm a total newbie compared to these grizzled veterans.
Former member and Membership Committee Advisor Tracey Hare Connell was invited to share the perspective of an ‘Advisor’ to our 2019/20 Membership Committee.
She reflected on the fact that when approached to participate as an advisor 1 year (or more) ago, it was clear that Hubert, the Membership Committee and the Club at large were intent on addressing some significant issues with membership. The external viewpoints would ideally help to generate ideas, offer new perspectives and accelerate action to address problems/issues.
The Advisors, Karen Redman, Carl Zehr and Tracey came with different backgrounds and experiences, but each had a shared interest in community (local/global) and understanding of the value of organizations such as Rotary.
Each of the quarterly ‘Advisor’ meetings was well structured, with the committee meeting each month in-between to further flush out ideas and take committed steps. Advisors provided input and were forthright and candid with their feedback - always given final opportunity to comment before each meeting was adjourned.
This engagement-oriented approach serves to extend the reach and mind-share of the Club further into the community - engaging ‘friends of’ and ‘Rotary Alumni’ in a way that will ideally expand possible solutions and ideas.
But perhaps less obvious, it also serves to give ‘outsiders’ an appreciation of some of the challenges and accomplishments of the Club. In the short or long-term, this has great potential to help secure elevated commitment and support - even from the advisors themselves.
Adrian reflected that he appreciated the addition of the ‘advisors’ and felt, at times, that they challenged ‘old’ or stale thinking - helped the Club members see things in different ways.
While the work is not nearly done, and changes still need to be made to retain and grow membership, it was hard to overlook many members still committed to the Club and making a significant contribution - heartwarming and impressive. Now to make sure that work is sustainable!
Looking ahead, in the interests of retaining members and growing the Club, the following food for thought was shared
  • Be relevant. Ask not what the community can do for Rotary, but rather what Rotary can do for the community.
  • To ensure progress and action, shoot for the moon (big ambitious objectives), but identify and achieve shorter-term tangible milestones along the way (90-day outcomes) 
  • Listen (to members, prospects and the community) with curiosity. From what you learn, think about where Rotary can add value.

Closing Remarks & Reminders

President Louise reminded member of upcoming meetings and events:
  • Next week, August 24th is our Family and Friends Golf Outing.  The event is on our website and an invitation has been sent to all members.
  • On the evening of August 31st we will be treated to a virtual Cooking Demonstration with local celebrity chef – Chef D.  Invitation will be forthcoming.
  • There will be no meeting on Monday September 7th, Labour Day, but we will be having an evening meeting on Wednesday September 9th at Hubert Singh’s PSI facility which will be both a Vocational Services event as well as the kick off for our Online Auction this year.
Aug 24, 2020
Committee Meetings to be Scheduled by Committee Chairs
Aug 31, 2020 7:00 PM
Virtual Cooking Class - Registered Event
Sep 07, 2020
Labour Day
Sep 09, 2020 3:00 PM
Registered Event
Sep 14, 2020
View entire list
Birthdays & Membership Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Richard Bruckeder
August 15
Raj Saini
August 21
Join Date
Russ St. Louis
August 11, 2014
6 years