Centennial Celebration
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Happenings in Rotary
The Rotary Club welcomed Celina Symmonds, Executive Director of the MH Food Bank to our meeting today.  Celina is well known in the community as a former member of City Council, a current member of the Public School Board and her work at the Food Bank.
Celina began her talk by reviewing some of the history of the Food Bank, which started in 1982 as a method of enuring food security for those who were hard hit by the economic downturn occurring at that time.  They were not expected to last many years, but are still an unfortunately thriving part of our social security net.  The organization has a "Food First" Plan, and have been working with families to provide about 12 weeks of education, to help impress on them the importance of making food a priority.  This has been remarkable successful, with many of the program graduates moving beyond needing the Food Bank, and helping lift them out of poverty.
This work has led the organization to propose a Community Food & Wellness Center, with access to a meal with friends, a teaching kitchen for food safety and serving.  As well, the facility would provide contact access for other social service groups, including medical and dental care, as well as contact with organizations like Phoenix Safe house for those driven to the food bank by domestic violence.  Celina played an impactful video of the food bank in action.  She also provided some facts and figures on this proposed 35,000 sq ft building, at a cost of $8.5 Million.  Currently MHSD # 76 has come on board as a major partner and she spoke about opportunities for service clubs to provide facilities or help access grants.
A number of questions were asked and answered, and she was thanked by Wayne Chesley with a token of our appreciation.
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed County Reeve Dan Hamilton to the meeting today.  Dan spoke about the large rural municipality which surrounds Medicine Hat and Redcliff and talked about a number of the upcoming projects in the county.
First, Dan spoke about the great enthusiasm that Cypress County has for the construction of the walking trail connecting the City trail network to the Desert Blume development.  They are thrilled that Rotary is a part of that project and look forward to its start as soon as the frost is out of the ground in July or Aug......(editors note - hopefully not that long).  The other major recreation project is a new boat launch being constructed at the Sandy Point park on the South Saskatchewan River.
Also important is the creation of a signalized intersection in Dunmore, at the intersection near the High School.  Construction is expected on this work over the summer.
Dan spoke about a number of other projects, probably none more vital to life in the county that water.  The county leadership are developing a water strategy for all of Cypress County.  As well, the support for an equestrian center in Dunmore, and an ice surface at the high school are high priorities.
Dan also spoke about a number of interesting green energy projects in Cypress County, including the 91,000 panel solar PV facility at Suffield.  With state of the art solar panels, manufactured in South Korea this facility will be an interesting test of large scale solar power production.  Dan answered a number of questions and was thanked by PP Karen for attending the club meeting today.
President Elect Margie Booyens was the speaker today.  Margie is helping District 5360 enter a new portion of youth service with the New Generations Service Exchange program.    The program is being led by noted Calgary Rotarian Christina Assan, and provides an opportunity for youth professionals, either during their post secondary education or their initial years as a professional, to experience a cultural and learning exchange.
The New Generations Service Exchange (NGSE) program is a short term International Exchange program, the objective of which is to create goodwill and international understanding. In addition to vocational experience and cultural immersion there will be the opportunity to take part in international voluntary service opportunities.
Two youth adults have taken part already, one from Italy in engineering in Calgary and one from German who is a geologist and was in Drumheller, AB.
The program is very inexpensive for Rotary, the applicant is responsible for most costs and there is no youth certification required.  It is intended to help build interest and appreciation for Rotary in the next generation of adults who could be Rotarians.  Margie talked about opportunities and next steps and got several suggestions from the club.
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Medicine Hat

We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
Medicine Hat Lodge
1051 Ross Glen Drive SE
Medicine Hat, AB  T1B 3T8
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Club Contact Info
Rotary Club of Medicine Hat
PO Box 1058
Medicine Hat, AB, T1A 7H1