7 0ver 70 Presentation

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The Rotary Club welcomed Francis Barnes to our meeting today.  Frances was introduced by Dave Panabaker.  Frances is a long time educator in the local school system and recently was the Chair of the Community Foundation of South Eastern Alberta.  She is now working as an executive coach, and trying to spend a little more time on the golf course.
Francis was with us today, to introduce us to a project that the CFSEA is taking on, a recognition program for 7 individuals over 70 years old.  The criteria specify that the achievements must have been made after the nominee has reached the age of 70.  Francis provided examples from a recent gala celebration in Calgary.
Frances asked the members of the Rotary club to first; spread the word, second; gather nominations (Aug 26 is the deadline), and third; to attend the Gala Event, on Thursday October 10, 2024 at Medalta.
 
More information can be obtained at https://cfsea.ca/top-7-70 .  This is not a fundraiser for the CFSEA, it is intended to recognize these outstanding individuals in the community.  Dan Kammerer from our club is a member of the CFSEA Board and is available to answer questions if you contact him.
 
Frances was thanked by President Bruce Shepard, with our Rotary coffee mug.
 
 
 
 
7 0ver 70 Presentation Dave Panabaker 2024-05-13 06:00:00Z 0

RYPEN presentation

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome to our meeting today, Kerstan Price, who is currently the Administrative Executive for the RYPEN camp.  Kerstan was introduced by Margie Booyens and has been involved with RYPEN since 2005, when she attended as a participant.  After that "life changing" experience she has returned as a leader and now helps organize the camps on a yearly basis.
The RYPEN camp (Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment) is held annual at the Lomond Bible Camp on the Little Bow Traverse reservoir.  Camp leaders are normally past participants.  Participants are not necessarily the top students or those who naturally excel, but those who have overcome adversity and can use an opportunity experience their own strength.  Many participants will move on to our Rotary Youth programs such as RAYEC or YEX.
 
The group has an amazing leadership team, and employ professionals in certain positions for social work, counselling and nursing.  Rotary clubs can support this with sponsorships, transport of students and leaders.
Many clubs across District 5360 (Including ours) sponsor participants.  The current cost is $600 per student.
 
The next RYPEN camp is May 3 - 6, 2024 and more information is available at http://www.rypen5360.org
RYPEN presentation Dave Panabaker 2024-04-15 06:00:00Z 0

REDCLIFF YOUTH CENTRE

A ‘second family’ for over 400 young people.
 
On Monday 25 March, the members of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat had the privilege of spending just under two hours at the Redcliff Youth Centre (RYC).
 
The Centre, established in 1990, is on Main Street, in Redcliff. It is a registered charity, and a ‘standalone’, not affiliated to any provincial or national body. It offers a variety of free educational and recreational programs to young people between the ages of 10 and 17 years.
 
The purpose of holding our Rotary noon meeting at the Centre was to see, ‘feel’, and learn more about this context for youth empowerment and development, to which we made a donation last year, for kitchen equipment.
 
 
We were warmly received and hosted by Executive Director Janae Ulrich, Sandra (Youth Support Worker) Hayden (a student), Chris (President of the RYC Board), and three other Board members, Carrie, Danielle and Gary.
 
 
What a worthwhile visit! We left the Centre with a better understanding of who they are and what they do, and with a huge appreciation for the quality of this context in which over 400 young people (on average), sign in for at least one activity, per month. Interestingly, about 70% of the 365 young people who are registered with the Centre, are male.
 
Most of these young people live in Redcliff, but 30% hail from Medicine Hat and a small percentage come from other parts of the Prairie Rose school district. They all attend school.
 
In this ‘second family’ context, which operates from a strengths-based perspective, the youth are able to relax, be themselves, play pool, make and eat lunches and dinners, connect with positive adult role models, join in a homework program, get help to put a resume together for employment purposes, participate in Teen Group Sessions with Medicine Hat Family Services, enjoy Emotional Support Animal Assisted therapy, and go on field trips to places of interest, including the Medicine Hat College.
 
Child and Youth Care Counselling (CYCC), Social Work and Nursing Clinical Students from the College attend the Redcliff Youth Centre as their practicum / practical study for hands on learning during their field of study.  Students participate in programs and services, helping to advocate for youth during the time spent with the agency.  CYCC, SW (2-3) students, and the Nursing Clinical Students (8-12) along with their instructor, attend the centre twice a week. The Nursing Students help to host the Annual Wellness Fair, where registered youth are able to obtain free new and gently used clothing, hygiene products, and community resources, while participating in a variety of wellness themed events, such as animal assisted therapy, yoga and team building exercises, all related to the “Needs Assessment” made by the nursing students during their time spent in the Redcliff community and placement agency.  
 
The staff, Board and volunteers are guided by the following core values and principles:
  • Mentoring, building healthy relationships
  • Inspiring leadership and developing active citizenship qualities, through volunteerism and engagement
  • Promoting and developing youth self-efficacy, building personal growth, and individual esteem
It was good to hear, during question and discussion time, that a fair amount of time is spent on helping the Centre members think about their futures, in terms of post-school education and future vocation.
 
The facility has undergone major renovations over the past year, costing $68,000. Home Depot Canada Foundation covered the cost AND Team Home Depot spent days at the Centre, doing the actual work. It looks great – an environment in which young people feel comfortable and respected.
 
 
Who supports the Redcliff Youth Centre, in addition to the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat? Home Depot Canada Foundation, United Way, Sun City Ford, Suntaira Growers, Servus Credit Union, CIBC, the Town of Redcliff, UFA, the Community Foundation, and others.
 
What are the biggest challenges? Recruiting Board members, parent participation, and finding money to cover operational costs.
 
But, as put forward by Janae, “We may not have it all, but together we have it all”. Such a positive, inclusive, message.
Another takeaway for all of us, is this:
 
 
Read more about this amazing Youth Development Centre - and how you can get involved - on their website: https://redcliffyouthcentre.com
 
REDCLIFF YOUTH CENTRE Margie Booyens 2024-03-25 06:00:00Z 0

Los Amigos - 2024 Presentation

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed two representatives of the Los Amigo's project to our meeting today.  Karl Samuels of the Rotary Club of Lethbridge Sunrise and Michael Henderson of the Rotary Club of Cardston joined us to bring us closer to this project.  Los Amigo's has been operating for about a dozen years, it took a couple off during the pandemic but is now hard at work assembling convoy's of emergency vehicles, which are miled-out or houred-out in Canada, a new home in Mexico.  The Los Amigos Project is an inspiring international service initiative coordinated by the Rotary Club of Lethbridge. Since its inception in 2011, this project has been making a significant impact by repurposing retired service and emergency vehicles for communities around Mazatlan, Mexico. 
Their 2024 trip, which is their 12th group going down leaves on September 29th, for the one week drive to Mexico and then stays for approximately another week to distribute the vehicles, and the additional equipment that can be sent with them, as well as provide some training to the emergency responders who are receiving the equipment.  The fleet for this trip will be 4 fire trucks and 4 hand-i-bus vans.  An example of the donated equipment is shown below, from the town of Fort Macleod, a 1997 Ford pumper.
The program has a cost of approximately $8,000 per vehicle, so the group is obviously looking for donations, both of funds and of vehicles.  They are also looking for drivers, as the two week trip is usually something that retired individuals can accommodate in the schedule with more ease that regular working folks.  A class 5 license, with the "Q" endorsement for air brakes is required.
 
The group has so far taken 61 vehicles south, and the reception from the municipalities in Mexico is often overwhelming and heart-warming.  Some of the equipment hardly has time to cool off from the drive, as it is put to use almost immediately.
 
Karl indicated that only one vehicle of the 61 which have been donated so far is no longer working, so that is a great track record.
 
Karl and Mike were thanked by President Bruce.
Los Amigos - 2024 Presentation Dave Panabaker 2024-03-18 06:00:00Z 0

"Be the light. Ignite the potential  in our community"

This is the guiding mantra of the YMCA – and the Y certainly provides a wide range of contexts, facilities and services, in which this can become a reality for all who use this wonderful, multi-faceted resource – which is proud to have a current membership of 4,600 members, plus many who purchase day passes, attend free events, and rent space.
 
 
More statistics:
 
CEO Sharon Hayward shared that the programs and services of the Down Town Y impacted over 7,100 people over the past year (2022-2023), in Medicine Hat and Brooks, drawing on a budget of $9.6m, and staffed by 200 employees, 23 registered volunteers and 15 event volunteers.
 
What kind of impact do they aim to have?
 
 
When did it all start in Medicine Hat? In the late 1950s, thanks to the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat undertaking a major fundraising campaign. Incorporation followed in 1966.
 
Child Care: impacted 664 children over the past year.
 
The Employment Center offered 12 job fairs, attended by 400 job seekers. The Center’s 14 programs assisted 1,344 people in Medicine Hat and Brooks.
 
The Y’s programs can be divided into three: Community Programs, Day Camps, and Health Fitness and Aquatics.
 
On the financial front, the Y raised $116,740 last year, through the Strong Kids campaign, capital/greatest area of need, and events, the latter raising $35,961 of the total.
 
 
Turning to the future, CEO Sharon spoke about the Y aiming to expand its impact. In what respects? Included are an increase in licenced child care spaces; sustainability in a competitive market; and increased collaboration with the City of Medicine Hat regarding the possibility of a new recreation center in South Ridge. Clearly, funds development is needed and envisaged, to support all these and other expansions.
 
Go, YMCA, go! We, the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat, are proud to have been instrumental in raising funds for the establishment of the Y and to have been supporters of different initiatives, over the years.
 
A big thank you to CEO Sharon and all the staff and volunteers, for your dedication and for the spectrum of services you offer, through which you make a significant contribution to promoting the well-being and the development of the potential of residents, at all stages in the life cycle, in our communities.
 
 
"Be the light. Ignite the potential in our community" Margie Booyens 2024-03-11 06:00:00Z 0

Update on the Rotary Music Festival

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The Rotary Club was pleased to welcome the Executive Director of the Music Festival, Delynne Lorentzen to our meeting today.  Delynne has served as our ED for over 5 years now, and is encouraged by the renewed interest in participation.
Delynee provided a brief update on attendance at the upcoming (March 4 - 17) Rotary Music Festival.  She indicated that our participation is recovering after the shock of the COVID pandemic, and she is hoping for around 600 individual performances during the 2 weeks of Festival.  She was also very happy to provide the news that we are expecting 11 school bands to perform, 7 choirs, and 7 musical theatre groups.
 
She has a great group of adjudicators lined up and is looking forward to a very successful festival.  She is particularly encouraged by the number of junior level performers who are entered.  That bodes very well for the future.
Delynne provided some great slides of past participants and told some great stories about their work and their success.  Several members of the club also stood up and spoke about how the Festival had impacted their families.  She also advised the club of a number of last minute, volunteer opportunities that have arisen as the Festival gets near, and she was able to sign up most of the duties.  Thanks to everyone who will help out!
 
Delynne was thanked by President Bruce Shepard on behalf of the whole club, for her exemplary work on this showpiece of our Community Service.
Update on the Rotary Music Festival Dave Panabaker 2024-02-26 07:00:00Z 0

ROTARIAN GERRY DARICHUK AND THE UKRAINE: the what, the where and the why

 
We had the pleasure of the company of Gerry Darichuk and his wife, Barbara, at our noon meeting on Monday. While living in Calgary, Gerry and his four sons run a large engineering company in Airdrie.
 
Gerry has an entrepreneurial spirit and thrives on challenges. We had the privilege of hearing about how he has responded, thus far, to one of them: how he, with others, have become involved in the lives of Ukrainians, settling evacuees in Calgary and getting medical equipment to the frontline in the Ukraine.
 
 
Gerry’s connection with the Ukraine in fact goes back to his forefathers and those of his wife, who were Ukrainian. But fast forwarding, the focus of Gerry’s presentation was on how things transpired after Russia’s invasion into the Ukraine in February 2022.
 
The very next month, two important things happened in Canada: the federal government introduced legislation related to evacuees from the Ukraine, and Gerry received a phonecall, asking whether he and Barbara would take in the very first family to arrive in Calgary, from the Ukraine. He collected them from the airport on 20 March 2022, a mother and her two daughters.
 
From that time, assistance given to the many Ukrainian families arriving in Calgary has become well coordinated. The Calgary Communities Support  Program for Ukrainian Evacuees is up and running, supported by a collaborative effort of a number of community organizations, including a PDG of Rotary and the Calgary North Rotary Club.
 
Gerry shared many interesting facts, gathered through his experiences. One is that a common injury suffered by soldiers on the frontline is bleeding from shrapnel injuries. It is critical to stop the bleeding at medical centres 6-8km from the frontline, prior to transporting the injured soldiers to the nearest hospital. It was in relation to the need for this type of equipment, that in December 2023, Gerry packed 700lbs of tourniquets, bought with a Rotary grant (Global, District, Club), and headed for the Ukraine. Air Canada offered him free transportation of the equipment, if he bought an air ticket. Done deal!
 
A lovely example of how Rotary connects the world at so many levels is that in Warsaw, Gerry met up with a Rotarian who had been one of four Ukrainians, on a Group Study tour, hosted by his club, Calgary North, 22 years previously.
 
Gerry highlighted a very active non-profit that organizes volunteers who come to the Ukraine from all over the world – called UNITERS – united volunteers. It was through Uniters that Gerry made his way to Kiev on a military truck.
 
A wonderful example of how life happens while you’re busy planning:
 
Gerry planned to hand over the supply of tourniquets in Kiev and head back to Canada. However, a senior medical officer asked whether he would like to go the frontline. It took him just a split second to say yes.
 
Gerry spoke about seeing ‘graveyards’ of equipment, about being in Kharkiev, the home city of the first Ukrainian family whom he and Barbara took in, in 2022, about being struck by how young the majority of the soldiers were – a hard-hitting experience being when he met a soldier who looked just like one of his grandsons.
 
We were filled in about drones and their roles in the Ukrainian – Russian war. There are three types: surveillance/reconnaissance that check out the area to which they are flown, those that drop bombs, and those that kamikaze into a target. Of particular interest was to learn that a retired farmer, living in the Olds area, makes a large percentage of the surveillance drones used in the Ukraine warfare. Gerry was told that when a Russian drone flies overhead, the soldiers know that have four hours to pack up and vacate that spot as it will likely be targeted by the Russians.
 
Dispelling any myths about Ukrainian soldiers living in tents and trenches, is the sad fact that they house themselves in the homes of families who only had time to pack a few clothes in a suitcase and leave, when the war broke out. These homes are filled with all the possessions of those families, from wedding photographs to crystal glassware, crockery, cutlery, everything … left just like that.
 
Having addressed the WHAT he did and WHERE he went, Gerry then zoned in on the WHY.
 
Gerry spoke about the impression made on him by the Rotarians he met in Kiev (“It blows you away to hear what they are doing”), the work done by the Uniters non-profit, in coordinating voluntary assistance that comes from all over the world, and the kinds of help offered by other countries. He highlighted the role played by Austria, that takes in children of 6 years and younger, focusing on their mental and emotional well-being, attempting to mitigate the trauma these children have experienced, of war – many having lost members of their family.
 
So WHY did Gerry get involved? Because he said to himself, “I think I can do something”.
 
The presentation ended with the next step in Gerry’s quest to make a positive difference. He is raising $100,000 to buy rehabilitation equipment for a hospital in the Ukraine. His own club, Calgary North, is in on this. His ‘ask’ of the Rotary Clubs of Medicine Hat is $2000 each, in the form of type C grants – as recommended by District Governor Kurt Kowalchuk. Combined with a Global grant, the target will be reached. This equipment is sorely needed at the hospital Gerry visited, where he witnessed the ravages of war on the bodies of the young and older soldiers, civilian men, women and children.
 
The point that Gerry brought home, is that war not only results in death but the mental and physical injuries of the hundreds of thousands who survive and who urgently need rehabilitation in order to be reintegrated into society.
 
The presentation was very well received and was followed by numerous questions and discussion points.
 
A show of hands indicated that the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat is ‘in’!
 
Gerry, you are a Rotarian second to none. Thank you for sharing your Ukraine-linked journey in such a riveting way. You have our respect and our support.
 
NOTE:

A big thank you to Dieter and Kitt Brand, who hosted Gerry and Barbara Darichuk and organized two innovative social events for them to meet Rotarians in Medicine Hat.
 

ROTARIAN GERRY DARICHUK AND THE UKRAINE: the what, the where and the why Margie Booyens 2024-02-12 07:00:00Z 0

Cycling without Age

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The Rotary Club was very happy to welcome Chris Christie and Julie Lacasse to our meeting today.  Both these ladies spoke about their work with Cycling without Age, a continent wide organization which provides the cycling experience to those who through age, or disability have lost that experience.
 
The organization uses a Trishaw, which provides transportation for two individuals and is powered by a "pilot" and an attached electric bicycle.  Their first full summer of operation, they provided 70 rides and have doubled their fleet of trishaws, to hopefully provide a significant increase in their capacity for 2024.  They expressed a desire for more individuals to train as pilots, as that seemed to be a limiting factor in the number of rides last year.  They received a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation to get the organization off the ground and support from both Pembina Pipeline and International Petroleum Corporation for training and equipment.  They are responsible for insurance, pilot training and qualifications, helmets/racks and storage.
Their first year of operation centered on the Cypress View Foundation, who provided space to store the trishaws and offered their residents the opportunity to use the service.
 
It was apparently great for mood, mental health and an outstanding outing, especially when the trip included a stop at the ice cream shop.  The group has also provided some youth and vulnerable sector individuals with the opportunity to participate and that has gone very well.  They are currently looking for donations to allow operation of the service for the next year.  More information is available at their website https://www.cwamedhat.ca .
 
Julie answered questions, including how Team Freewheel might potentially help with maintenance or volunteer service.  She was presented with a Rotary Mug and thanked for her work and presentation by President Bruce Shepard.
 
Cycling without Age Dave Panabaker 2023-12-11 07:00:00Z 0

SAAMIS IMMIGRATION SERVICES ASSOCIATION

Helping newcomers to build a new and fulfilling life in Canada since 1988
 
Mihaela Craciun, our guest speaker, is Manager of Programming and of Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) at Saamis Immigration Services Association (SISA) in Medicine Hat.
 
It was fascinating to hear briefly about Mihaela’s life journey from her youth in her country of origin, Romania, to the present. An immigrant herself, she is now a well rooted Canadian, committed to giving back, through her work at Saamis, by connecting with newcomers, understanding their challenges, and helping them to feel welcome and develop a sense of belonging.
 
Mihaela expressed appreciation for the ways in which the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat has supported the work of Saamis over the past couple of years. Team Freewheel has donated over 180 bikes to 75 families promoting much-needed mobility and access to resources including education, shopping and work. Rotarians have joined Saamis clients for a Family Movie night to converse in English; the Club has donated money to help cover the cost of a bus that took Saamis clients on a trip around town to see the Christmas lights; Rotarians accompanied Saamis clients on a ‘get-to-know-Medicine Hat’ walk to the Teepee; Club members spent time with Saamis clients in Echodale, showing them the museum and agricultural equipment from the past; and our Club recently put together 35 ‘health bags’ and handed them out, in lieu of International Men’s Day and the theme, ‘Healthy Men, Healthy World’ (see photos at the end of the article).
 
Mihaela’s presentation on SISA was lively, interactive, informative and enlightening.
 
The objective of this association is to assist in the integration, adjustment and resettlement of immigrants and refugees into the community and to foster the development of independence that will aid them in becoming self-sufficient.
 
In terms of numbers, in 2022, Permanent Resident intake to Canada was:
  • Economic class: 56%
  • Family stream: 24.3%
  • Refugees: 17.8%
  • Humanitarian and other: 1.9%
Arrivals to Medicine Hat numbered 259 in 2022, the breakdown being:
  • Ukrainian evacuees:42%
  • Refugees: 40.6%
  • Economic class: 9.4%
  • Family class: 6.7%
  • Other: 1.3%
Mihaela spoke about how immigrants from refugee camps, in which they could have spent 10 or more years, had a huge challenge getting settled in Canada, due inter alia to unfamiliarity, language barriers, emotional stress, gender role differences, and adapting to a new culture while maintaining their own.
 
All immigrants are eligible for accessing settlement services in Canada. Saamis is funded by the IRCC to provide settlement support and services to any immigrant with Permanent Residence (PR) status.
 
Saamis provides three phases of help: arrival and survival; orientation and settlement; and grow and thrive.
 
Offered during these phases are five programs: Resettlement Assistance during first six weeks after arrival; Settlement Services to help newcomers to fully participate in social, cultural, civic; and economic life in Canada; Settlement Workers in Schools; Language Instruction offered at four different levels; and Community Connections which is federally funded and matches newcomers with volunteers acting as mentors, language coaches, or community ambassadors.
 
How can Rotary and others assist?
 
Opportunities include: volunteering on the Community Connections Program; offering and/or funding city tours e.g. to Police Point and Medalta; forming and/or joining Conversation Circles e.g.attending a Breakfast Circle at Saamis; putting together gift bags for women clients on International Women’s Day; and in general, creating a welcoming community by recognising and attempting to resolve cultural conflicts through effective cross-cultural communication.
 
The presentation was greatly appreciated and enjoyed by Club members. It served as an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between our Club and Saamis, to develop a better understanding of Saamis and the vital role it plays in our community; and to spark new ideas for Rotary Club involvement in the support of newcomers to our community.
 
THANK YOU, MIHAELA!
 
Very best wishes to you and all your colleagues at Saamis Immigration Services Association.
 
***
 
ROTARY CLUB OF MEDICINE HAT'S TEAM FREEWHEEL DONATES BICYCLES FOR DISTRIBUTION TO IMMIGRANT FAMILIES
 
 
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SIGHT-SEEING
 
 
GETTING TO KNOW MEDICINE HAT: A VISIT TO THE TEEPEE
 
 
SPENDING TIME TOGETHER IN ECHODALE
 
 
"YOU MATTER": INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY GIFT BAGS FOR SAAMIS MEN CLIENTS
 
SAAMIS IMMIGRATION SERVICES ASSOCIATION Margie Booyens 2023-11-28 07:00:00Z 0

A DIG INTO ARCHAEOLOGY

We had the pleasure of a presentation by Cathy Linowski during our noon meeting on Monday 20 November.
 
 
Cathy graduated from Simon Fraser University, majoring in botany and archaeology.
 
Over the years, she has worked for the Alberta Dept. of Agriculture and done teaching for the Medicine Hat College on the Brooks campus.
 
Cathy is currently an active member of the Southeast Alberta Archaeological Society (of which President Bruce is the chair) and she works as a field botanist for Environment and Climate Change, monitoring rare and endangered plant species in the Dry Mixed grass prairie.
 
What a pleasure to listen to, learn from, and ask questions of someone who is a passionate expert in her field!
 
"Archaeology is the study of past humans, and how they lived, by examining their material remains. Through excavation and analysis, these material remains can tell a story about how humans have tackled problems, survived, and thrived. Archaeologists can determine timelines, range of occupation, and learn aspects about diet, housing, social status, and lifestyle of the peoples that lived there".
 
Moving on from what archaeology is, Cathy took us on a trip to develop our understanding of why it is important and what archaeologists do. She then moved into:.
 
Archaeology in Alberta, in Medicine Hat, and specifically, the Saamis Archaeological site.
 
One of many snippets of interesting information from the southeast region of Alberta, is that the Majorville Medicine Wheel near Bassano dates back 4500 years - and is still used. The center is 9m across, with 28 spokes.
 
Cathy gave us clarity on what an archaeological site is, prehistoric archaeological sites, archaeological artifacts and features, and the interesting issue of reporting an archaeological find.
 
If you find an archaeological artifact, photograph it, write down the location of the find, your contact details, and email this information to: sheila.macdonald@gov.ab.ca.
 
Yes, you can keep your artifact, OR you can choose to donate it to the Royal Alberta Museum for curating and display. You may not sell it.
 
Over 80% of sites in Alberta predate the arrival of Europeans. Some sites are more than 13,000 years old, while some are just a few hundred years old.
 
Common types of prehistoric sites include: campsites, animal kill sites, rock art sites, and ceremonial sites.
 
It was interesting to hear that Alberta has over 40,000 recorded archaeological sites, managed by the Government of Alberta, with approximately 500 new records added each year. There are over 50 documented historic and prehistoric archaeological sites within Medicine Hat. Historic archaeology sites in Medicine Hat include Medalta and the IXL brink plant.
 
A final note on the Saamis Archaeological site: it was designated a Provincial Historic Site in 1984. Fencing to limit riparian erosion and allow for natural regeneration along Seven Persons Creek was installed in 2019. Restricting off-leash dogs was also  imposed. Cathy was happy to report that recovery of the area has been excellent.
 
All in all, a very interesting and informative presentation, for which many thanks, Cathy Linowski!
A DIG INTO ARCHAEOLOGY Margie Booyens 2023-11-20 07:00:00Z 0

TOGETHER, WE CAN!

An update on the Medicine Hat Health Foundation by dynamic Executive Director
 
Executive Director Heather Bach was our guest speaker today. She presented interesting and up-to-date information about the Medicine Hat Health Foundation.
 
 
Heather started her presentation by thanking the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat for the $12,000 given to the Foundation, by the Club, for local healthcare, over the past 25 years.
 
A bit of interesting history shared by Heather, is that the Medicine Hat General hospital was built by volunteers in 1889 – and was the first hospital west of Winnipeg. Our Regional Hospital was built in 1958, with expansions in 1986 and 2017. The Medicine Hat Foundation was founded in 1996.
 
A Board of 13 Trustees heads up the Foundation, which is a registered charitable organization that raises funds to support, improve and equip local healthcare providers and facilities.
 
The Core Funds of the Foundation are: Men’s Health; Women’s Health; Children’s Health, Senior’s Health, Addictions & Mental Health; and Greatest needs. All donations received remain in the community.
 
Guiding the operation and services of the Foundation are five key values: Community, Transparency, Compassion, Integrity and Philanthropy.
 
ED Heather has four coordinators heading up: Major Gifts; Program/Volunteer; Donor Relations; and Strategic Giving.
 
Evidence of the difference made by the Health Foundation in Medicine Hat is that since its establishment in June 1996, the Foundation has invested over $20.1 million in local health care.
 
Most readers will have noticed or even popped into the Gift Shop on the ground level of our Regional Hospital. This shop, operated by volunteers, raised a staggering $11,409.89 over the past 12 months.
 
In addition to putting in time at the Gift Shop, there are many ways in which one can volunteer for the Health Foundation, including newspaper delivery to inpatient units, taking the shop’s gift cart around the hospital to bed bound patients and staff; assisting in the Foundation’s office and assisting with various campaigns.
 
Heather made special mention of the specialized space in the hospital that the Foundation has set up for children, where they can access support in moments of crisis. This paediatric mental health room was officially opened in April 2023.
 
The Foundation has been able to purchase vital equipment over the past year, including vaccine refrigerators, a Fabian ventilator for Neonatal Intensive care unit, MRI-safe monitoring equipment, therapeutic burn sleeves, Sonosite Ultrasound for the high-risk maternal clinic, and a fluid management system for surgical suites.
 
Heather ended her presentation with a list of the Foundation’s greatest current needs. These include funds for: the expansion and renovation of the gift shop, a Hana surgical bed, and special beds for the mental health unit.
 
Thank you, Heather, for the significant impact you, your staff, Board and volunteers are making in the health sector of Medicine Hat. May the Foundation continue to have all the community support needed – “Together, We Can”!
 

TOGETHER, WE CAN! Margie Booyens 2023-11-13 07:00:00Z 0

Community Service Announcements

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The Community Service Committee led a portion of our meeting today, and Director Terry Cooper announced several project awards.
 
Firstly, the Committee had been approached by the YMCA to replace a number of the life jackets that they provide to boaters on the South Saskatchewan river.  Some of the life jackets that we provided in 2018 have been worn out, and are in need of replacement.  The CS committee met with the YMCA staff and agreed to donate a total of $690.00 to replace the safety items.  A "thank you" plaque is prominent above the life jacket storage area, indicating our support of this safety program.
Director Terry Cooper provided a "Notice of Motion" that based on a review of the location by several committee members, and approval of the Board that $2,000 be donated to the Redcliff Youth Centre, for a new standup freezer and dishwasher to complete the replacement of their kitchen setup.  It was noted that a gently used stove and refrigerator had already been donated by Alain Guerard when they replaced their kitchen appliances.  The kitchen is used to provide a hot lunch program for approximately 90 youth each month, and teach youth how to cook, at twice a week sessions.
Alain spent a little time speaking about the Redcliff Action Society for Youth and their organization on Main Street S in Redcliff.  They have a staff of 5 full and part time social workers and deal with many different youth in the area.  The Executive Director, Janae Ulrich gave a tour of the facility to Alain and Margie, and they were both very impressed with the operation.  It is hoped we might take a tour of the operation sometime in the future.
 
Dave Panabaker made a motion to waive our traditional 2 week waiting period for financial commitments, which was seconded by Mike Christie and passed unanimously by those in attendance.
 
The motion to approve the donation was made by Alain Guerard and seconded by Margie Booyens, and passed by the club.
 
The meeting finished with a service project, where 35 Men's Hygiene Bags were packed, in support of clients of Saamis Immigration and "International Men's Day".  The bags will be presented to the participants on November 16th.
 
Community Service Announcements Dave Panabaker 2023-10-30 06:00:00Z 0

Phoenix Safe House Presentation

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The Medicine Hat Rotary Club welcomed Natasha Carvalho, Executive Director of the MH Women's Shelter and Peggy Revell, Community Education and Awareness Coordinator for the Shelter to our meeting today.  Natasha began by speaking about the history of the shelter, which now goes back almost 30 years in Medicine Hat.  They began with a 13 bed facility, and they now have a total of 30 beds.  They also have a vastly expanded range of programs and services, and since 2018 have been inclusive of all genders, so the "Safe House" is now for anyone.
Natasha reports to a Board of Directors, who operate the charity and it is unfortunately a pretty busy place.  The emergency portion of the shelter saw a total of 202 adults and 99 children in their 2022-2023 year.  Natasha also spoke about their second stage facility, named Musasa House, which is a 10 unit townhouse type facility which provides second stage shelter for up to a year, as clients rebuild their lives and transition back into the community.  That facility, the only one south of Calgary at this point, saw 17 adults and 31 children over that same reporting period.
 
Natasha spoke about their newest endeavor, a community outreach facility, aimed at counselling and education.  It saw a total of 728 individuals over 2022-23.
 
 
The Shelter is just beginning a funding campaign for needed upgrades to the facility, to make it more appropriate for their current clients.  They are starting out a campaign for capital improvements to the shelter and facility to the tune of over $6.0 Million dollars. Much more information is available on the Shelter Society website at https://www.mhwss.ca , should you choose to support this necessary and deserving service in the community.
 
Natasha was thanked by everyone and presented with our Rotary speakers mug by President Bruce.
 
 
Phoenix Safe House Presentation Dave Panabaker 2023-10-23 06:00:00Z 0

BIG MARBLE GO CENTRE: A FITNESS AND RECREATIONAL GEM

We, the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat, are on a mission to visit and get to know better, key resources in our community – and today it was the Big Marble Go (BMG) Centre.
 
We had the pleasure of the company of Benj Heinrichs, Fitness Coordinator, who gave us a great tour of the Centre and answers to many questions as we moved around.
 
 
BMG is a recreation centre second to none. It is maintained and operated by the City of Medicine Hat Parks & Recreation Department, which has about 200 employees, deployed throughout the City.
 
The size of the Centre, the range of services and facilities, the cleanliness, the kinds of equipment, the staff – amazing!
 
All the instructors are certified and are also trained to take care of any health issues that may pop up.
 
Benj takes about 8 classes per day; he also trains the staff to ensure they are doing a good job; does administrative work; and he is responsible for seeing that the whole Fitness Centre is operating smoothly.
 
A bit of background: Benj taught kinesiology at the Medicine Hat College for 15 years until 2013. He then spent 8 years in Edmonton, returning to the Hat in 2022. Medicine Hat is HOME!
 
 
The original building, comprising the pool and the ice rink, opened about 23 years ago.The gymnasium, fieldhouse and fitness centre were added in 2016.
 
 
From the lobby, we viewed the pool, the rink, the hallway, fieldhouse, gymnasium, and fitness floor, including doing a (leisurely) lap of the track, before returning to the lobby and the Board Room for a time of socializing while enjoying coffee and muffins.
 
Pickleball has become very popular. It is one of the fastest growing sports globally, according to Benj. There are outdoor and indoor courts (the latter set up in the gym) at BMG. One has, however, to become a member of the Pickleball Association of Medicine Hat, in order to access the courts.
 
Benj pointed out that BMG offers one of the biggest outdoor pickleball facilities in Western Canada. There are 24 courts.
 
The Fieldhouse accommodates indoor tennis, indoor soccer and classes. Athletes train there as well.
 
Walking round the indoor track (200m on the inside), we noted how equipment looked so well maintained and in pristine condition.
 
 
The BMG staff are divided into groups: Recreation Programming; Customer Service; Aquatics; Fitness; the ice rink is taken care of by facility operations; and rentals by facility planning.
 
Funding? 50% from the City, generated through taxes, and 50% from membership fees. Big Marble Farm’s sponsorship goes to the City, and is then allocated by the City Parks and Recreational Department, to BMG.
 
 
It was an excellent visit – we left better informed and had fun in the process of learning!
 
 
Thank you Benj, and indeed all the staff at BMG!
 
If not already a member, we encourage you to join BIG MARBLE GO for a range of great recreational opportunities, guided by informed, qualified, caring, and friendly staff members! Only $50 per month for seniors! Subsidization is available for anyone, of any age, who is unable to pay the full membership fee.
 
GO, BMG, GO!!
BIG MARBLE GO CENTRE: A FITNESS AND RECREATIONAL GEM Margie Booyens 2023-10-16 06:00:00Z 0

Visit by the District Governor

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One of the highlights of the Rotary year, is the annual club visit by our current District Governor.  This year's governor is Kurt Kowalchuk of the Rotary Club of Calgary Downtown.
Kurt and his partner Manon Mitchell (who is a member of the RC of Sarcee) have experienced a lot in Rotary, and Kurt shared his Rotary story with the club.  It was a wonderful tale of adventure and discovery in the Himalayan mountains, and discovering your Rotary passion.  He is very committed to this year's Rotary theme of "Creating Hope in the World", as they found an opportunity to do just that.
 
Kurt was introduced by our local Assistant Governor, Sharon McDonnell with the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat Saamis.
 
Kurt spoke about working for continuity in the District, by sharing information along the whole DG stream.  They all need to be aware of the challenges facing clubs and provide long term support.
 
He has the idea of continuity working through meetings, committee and the planned District conference.  He had to "pause" for a minute during his talk, to read an invitation to the 2024 District conference in Drumheller delivered by "Aurasaurus", the official Drumheller mascot.  District conference will be held May 4 - 5, 2024 in Drumheller.  He promises a great time, and encourages us all to plan to attend.​​​​​​
 
The meeting concluded with the traditional presentation of this years "theme" banner to President Bruce Shepard and the handing out of theme pins to all those present.  Don't worry if you didn't get one, there are plenty!!  President Bruce gifted Kurt with a Rotary coffee mug, our traditional gift for visiting speakers!
 
 
We truly thank Kurt for his inspirational talk and his visit to Medicine Hat, and we look forward to seeing him again soon.
Visit by the District Governor Dave Panabaker 2023-09-25 06:00:00Z 0

Real Humanitarian: Changing lives in a changing world

CANADIAN HUMANITARIAN, now REAL HUMANITARIAN: REAL RESULTS, REAL DEDICATION, REAL PASSION
“Changing lives in a changing world”.
 
Development practitioners would revel in the story of Canadian Humanitarian, now Real Humanitarian. Why? Because this is not an organization that goes in for dependence-creating and maintaining handouts. It is a non-profit that believes in and does hands-up work.
 
Here’s a very brief summary of the story, as presented by Co-Executive Director Deborah Northcott.
 
 
Canadian Humanitarian was ‘born’ in September 1994, when Dick and Deborah Northcott adopted two Ethiopian children. Their thinking shifted from “Someone needs to do something” about the lives and living conditions of children in Ethiopia, to “What can I/we do?”.
 
Deborah described the dire living conditions of families, both urban and rural, as well as the under-resourced school contexts. Ethiopian education statistics reveal that 68.1% of students leave school before completing high school, 35% enter post-secondary studies, with a 8% graduation from tertiary education.
 
In 2003, Dick discussed with the Ethiopian ministries responsible for children, the kind of assistance what would be best to lift children and their families out of extreme poverty. There was consensus that moving children out of the workforce into school and helping them to complete their high school education – or at least some level of education - would likely have the most impact on their personal economic status, as well as the country’s future.
 
Deborah then presented the United Nations 2030 Social Development Goals to Club members, pointing out that the primary focus of Real Humanitarian, is Goal #4: Education, under which they address, inter alia, poverty, gender equality, health and well-being, and hunger.
 
Unpacking and outlining the services and support of Real Humanitarian in Ethiopia, Deborah described what is offered in the school context, the involvement and participation of the families of the children with whom they work, and the role of local government.
 
There are eight afterschool projects, established, run and maintained by Real Humanitarian. There is also a vocational training campus, and three scholarship programs. All these services are staffed by 92 Ethiopian staff.
 
Deborah showed photos and shared the phenomenal stories of a number of the alumni of the Real Humanitarian program.
 
Real Humanitarian aims to help the children with whom they work to:
  • Develop life skills
  • Live independent lives
  • Become active, contributing citizens and community members
Over the two decades of development work carried out in Ethiopia, raising over $11.8m, Real Humanitarian offers the following impressive statistics related to the children who have been involved in their programs:
  • Average number of years in school: 9
  • Depart from program: 10% (7% move away and 3% decide to leave education)
  • Pass grade annually: 92%
  • Go on to post-secondary education: 91%
  • Complete post-secondary education: 93%
  • Employed after graduation: 72%
  • Number of teen or unplanned pregnancies during education and child marriages: 0%
This is evidence of a meaningful impact on the lives of the children with whom Real Humanitarian works – a hand up and not a hand out.
 
We salute you, Deborah and Dick Northcott, and all the staff and volunteers involved in the life-changing development work done by Real Humanitarian.
 
Thank you for the significant contribution your organization is making to the achievement of the 2030 Social Development Goals of the United Nations.
 
Real Humanitarian: Changing lives in a changing world Margie Booyens 2023-09-19 06:00:00Z 0

Presentation by City Manager - Ann Mitchell

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The Rotary Club was very happy to welcome the new City Manager, Ann Mitchell to our meeting today.  She was introduced by Dave Panabaker, who provided the club with a short view of her CV, and welcomed her to our gathering.  She has been in her position for approximately 6 months, and is getting settled into her task.  She mentioned how much she and her husband value to size and makeup of the community, how "walking to work" is a wonderful idea and that many of the social intangibles of our community are very attractive.
 
She spoke about how local government is the "closest one to the people" and how satisfying that can be.  Her "mandate" would be to have a cohesive and properly functioning administration, with superior department co-ordination and comprehensive long term plans.  That's a big task and in order to accomplish that she will need the right people in the right positions.  She spoke about the recent recruitment efforts, in Economic Development, in HR and at the City Clerk position.
 
She also spent time talking about the need for role clarity, how Council/Senior Administration/ Organization all have specific roles to play, and making sure those are well understood is vital.  Also managing expectations, from all sides, is important.
 
She spent time answering questions on change, utility costs, Strong Towns, growth and other issues.
 
Ann was thanked for her talk by President Bruce Shepard and presented with a Rotary coffee mug, manufactured locally at Medalta.  A great presentation and thanks!
Presentation by City Manager - Ann Mitchell Dave Panabaker 2023-08-28 06:00:00Z 0

ROTARIAN BRIAN ROBINSON, A MAN OF ACTION

 
If ever there was a big dreamer, a big thinker, and a Rotarian of Action, all rolled into one, it is Rotarian Brian Robinson.
 
 
Brian is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat Saamis, currently Club treasurer, and at District level, District Youth Exchange (YEX) inbound events coordinator.
 
President Bruce Shepard and members of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat were delighted to welcome Brian as guest speaker at the noon meeting on Monday 21 August 2023. He was accompanied by Saamis Club President, Frank Devine.
 
Brian shared how he and other members of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat Saamis have for a number of years, explored ways and means to generate club funding beyond the usual selling of tickets, staffing Bingo sessions, and having a turn to person an evening at the Casino.
 
The Monarch Theatre is ‘it’. It will become a Rotary commercial venture, operating on a business model, as a social enterprise, with Federal Charity status, for which application has already been made.
 
This exciting breaking news will be disclosed to the media shortly.
 
The theatre has been bought from the City of Medicine Hat by the Monarch 1911 Society, for an undisclosed amount, and will be restored to its former 1950s glory, redecorated by local construction companies, and transformed, over the months ahead, into a community resource second to none.
 
The transformation vision is that the Monarch will operate as a social enterprise. It will be run on business principles and as a for-profit business, but after sub-contractors and other expenses have been paid, all remaining profits will be returned to the community as a grant.
 
The Monarch project is a joint Rotary project in the sense that to join the Society and to become a member of the Board, one has to be a Rotarian in the city of Medicine Hat.
 
A second committee will be set up annually, to receive applications and to decide on how the profits of that year will be distributed in the community.
 
The hope is that through this initiative, Rotary will not only increase its funding for service projects, but its prominence in the Medicine Hat community and that this will unfold into attracting new members for the four Clubs.
 
Daily operations of the theatre will be outsourced to Plugg=d-in Media. This means that volunteers will not be needed at that level, as has been the practice in the past.
 
Landmark Media will be contracted to sell movie tickets and to show movies at the Monarch.
 
Matinees will be shown, in addition to regular movie nights. The Monarch will be open to community music organizations, community theatre, indigenous groups, comedy groups, and for any number of events, including private functions.
 
The Monarch 1911 Board will do fundraising, including grant applications. A sum of about $200,00 is needed to kick-start the renovations and the transformation of the theatre.
 
Once the Monarch 1911 Board has the keys, a full assessment will be done of the building. New ideas will feed into the renovations, including the extension of the stage and the improvement of the sound system.
 
Timeline: if all goes according to plan, the first movie show will be at the end of November 2023.
 
A distinguishing feature is that, once operational again, the Monarch will be the longest operating community theatre in Canada.
 
Brian was sincerely thanked for identifying this wonderful opportunity for Rotary, for taking the lead, and for making this ground breaking initiative a reality for Rotary in Medicine Hat, and for the Medicine Hat community.
 
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat salutes you! You can count on our support!
ROTARIAN BRIAN ROBINSON, A MAN OF ACTION Margie Booyens 2023-08-21 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Music Festival update

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The Rotary Club welcomed our guests today from the Charitable Society that runs the annual Music Festival.  Our guest speaker was Delynne Lorentzen, who is the Executive Director of the Rotary Music Festival.  She was introduced by Don Davis, Chairman of the Festival.  Don also welcomed the President of the Rotary Music Festival Society, Cathie Catalano.  The charitable society has operated the Music Festival for the past few years and is transitioning to a public society to allow parents, teachers and those interested in youth and music to participate in running the event.
Delynne spoke about the value of the Festival, which has been running for 68 years.  The Medicine Hat Rotary Festival is the longest continuous running music festival in the province,  Delynne spoke about the long term benefits of the festival experience on all the youth that perform, they gain confidence, discipline and creativity in performing in public and that carrys into their adult lives.  Sometimes you don't know exactly what the impact will be, but many local adults speak very fondly of their time in the Rotary Music Festival.
"There is nothing that builds into the foundation of a local community more than investing in its young people.  When you think about your community and ways to make it better, some people look at infrastructure or amenities but I think that foundation is the children".  Delynne also spoke about seeing the progress and maturing of local music students, some who go on to do great things, not always in music.  But music training is quite literally one of the top predictors of general success in life.  
Delynne also spoke about some of the very accomplished students who have grown out of our Festival into the professional music business, and how we are known as a community that seems to generate a very high level of performer.  As a club we should be very proud of the impact and lasting benefits of the Festival on youth.
Our current leadership of the Rotary Music Festival Society, Cathie Catalano - President of the Society, Delynne Lorentzen - Executive Director of the Festival, Anne Carrier - Past ED of the Festival and Don Davis - Chairman of the Festival.  Thanks to all of you for your hard work.
Rotary Music Festival update Dave Panabaker 2023-07-31 06:00:00Z 0

Celebration for Rotary Centennial Trail

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat, together with its community partners, celebrated the official completion of our Centennial Trail project in Medicine Hat.
The trail is 2.4 km from the intersection with Southridge Drive west to the Desert Blume community, and includes a safer crossing of South Boundary Road.  There are three stopping points along the trail, with garbage cans, benches, and small Rotary storyboards. It provides a safe pathway for City and County residents to travel back and forth.
A great crowd of Rotarians, friends and community leadership were present for the celebration.
Rotary leadership, Cypress County and City of Medicine Hat Counsellors and Managers
President-elect Mike Christie was the MC, and provided a summary of all the Rotary Centennial projects.  Our thanks to our great community partners.
Celebration for Rotary Centennial Trail Dave Panabaker 2023-07-17 06:00:00Z 0

The Social Side of Rotary

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This week the club experienced the social side of being a Rotarian, with two events outside our regular meetings.
 
First, we enjoyed an evening of fellowship at the Medicine Hat Maverick's game, it was a nice night for baseball and we had reserved the Dugout Deck for the club.  Unfortunately, the score in the game got out of hand very early, but it was still a great event.
 
On Monday at noon, rather than stay indoors at the Medicine Hat Lodge, we set up our meeting at the Team Freewheel workshop on Spencer St SE.  A good group gathered to hear about this hard working bunch, who have sent over 300 bicycles out into the community for students, newcomers to the community and the needy.  It's a great project and they are becoming incredibly skilled a bike repair.  There are plans in the works to involve some students to teach them repair skills and perhaps involve some folks from Saamis Immigration.  It is a great project and promises to get even bigger.
The Social Side of Rotary Dave Panabaker 2023-06-19 06:00:00Z 0

Local Employment Initiative talk

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Michael Austin to the meeting today.  Michael runs a new initiative to assist newcomers to the community with employment and it's called the Medicine Hat Area Employment Mentorship.  Michael was welcomed to the meeting by PE Bruce and introduced to us by Milan Vujovic.  Michael is almost "related" to our Rotary club, as he happens to be Dick Northcott's son-in-law.
Michael explained the Medicine Hat Area Employment Mentorship (MHAEM ) organization, a local professional partnership between Industry and Community Leaders with Newcomers.  The organization has two distinct visions:
  • "..creating a streamlined system for helping newcomers to Medicine Hat: close their professional/education gaps, build networks and friendships and find productive and fulfilling employment in a timely manner."
  • "...work to enrich the Medicine Hat community through diversifying the workplace, filling the skill gaps, improving workplace understanding and culture in Medicine Hat and empowering individuals to better contribute to this wonderful community"
Their organization can be found downtown and much more information is available on the website.  http://mhaem.ca 
 
Michael spoke about the trends in employment within the province and the risk that many of the newcomer community are seriously underemployed.  He talked about a few different industries and how they have found variation across Alberta.  The program works on a mentor/mentee relationship and they are looking to recruit a wide variety of industry professionals across many disciplines.
 
They have provided a variety of workshops on resumes, interviews, financial culture and business culture in North America.  They have also been partnering with established organizations such as Saamis Immigration, Being Human Services, MH Chamber of Commerce and the MH College to both provide service, mentors, and help with job placement.
Michael was thanked by PE Bruce Shepard for his excellent presentation and given our traditional "thank you" coffee mug, made at Medalta Pottery with the Rotary logo.
Local Employment Initiative talk Dave Panabaker 2023-06-12 06:00:00Z 0

An evening with MHHS Rotary Interact

Once a year, we, the members of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat, are invited to have dinner and spend the evening with the Rotary Interact Club members at the Medicine Hat High School. It is always a feast of an occasion - literally and figuratively.
 
We were warmly welcomed by 2022-2023 Interact President, Bethany Klein (see below), Vice-President Mo Suberu, Social Media Coordinator Anna Thomas, four other Interact members. and two Teacher Advisors, Tammy Vaari and Tiffany Adams.
 
 
 
Sitting around tables, chatting and enjoying a delicious taco meal with brownies for dessert, we 24 Rotarians and guests, 7 Interactors, and  two teachers spent two informative and inspiring hours together.
 
 
The MHHS Interactors are a group of Hat High students that come together to act in Rotary values. Leadership is promoted and interaction with the local and international communities enabled.
 
The Interactors took turns to present the many activities undertaken during by the Club during the past Rotary year, starting with a recruitment drive among Hat High students in September 2022. This Rotary year, they had 24 members, 14 of whom were active.
 
 
The Interactors bowled us over with their presentation on the many and varied activities, services and projects undertaken by MHHS Interact Club this Rotary year.
 
These included: 
Positive message cards for Hat High students who needed a boost; a  Poppy Project related to Remembrance Day; the selling of Candy Grams for friends and teachers; a Bake Sale which raised over $230.00; Operation Christmas Child, involving filling 20 boxes which were then dropped off at Hillcrest Church; Campus Clean-up, in partnership with Earth Club; and Youth in Philanthropy, a program which allows Interact members to have hands-on experience working on projects of local charitable organizations. This year they researched three organizations: The Women's Shelter, the SPCA, and Saamis Immigration. The Community Foundation heard their presentations on these three organizations and gave Interact a grant of $1,400, which Interact then donated to Saamis Immigration Services Society.
 
During the question and discussion part of the program, we were entertained and delighted to hear from each Interactor, what their Rotary-related highlight had been. President Bethany identified her attendance of the Zone 28/32 Interact Conference as the main highlight of her year, which had been a great opportunity for her to network with other Interactors and to learn.
 
CONGRATULATIONS, President Bethany and your executive and members! Your Interact Club's projects are great examples of 'Service Above Self', which have made a significant difference in the lives of others. We, the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat, salute you and are proud to support the MHHS Interact Club!
 
A fun part of the evening was a fund-raiser with a difference: an envelope lottery.
 
 
Luck was on the side of President Melany Harty and Assistant Governor Keith Walker, who were two of the winners of very interesting prizes!
 
Rotary Club of Medicine Hat Director of Vocational and Youth Service, Peter Mueller, was thanked for his support of the Interact Club over the past year.
 
The regrets and the warm congratulations of newly retired MHHS vice-principal and teacher advisor of Interact, Sue Withers, were conveyed.
 
Anne Carrier congratulated and thanked President Bethany and her Interactors on their achievements and on a very successful and enjoyable joint meeting.
 
The evening wrapped with the introduction of two young men from Brazil! - twins Gabriel and Tiago Oliva. These two are both ROTEX members, having been on Rotary Youth Exchanges in Canada and Germany respectively. They are currently students at the Medicine Hat College, studying Business Management. Rotarian Gail Halderman met them quite by chance at a bank in Medicine Hat, and invited them to attend the joint Interact/Rotary Club meeting.
 
 
They gave brief introductions of themselves, past, present and hoped-for future. 
 
Gabriel and Tiago, we welcome you to our city, and to whatever Rotary connections you choose to make over the months and years ahead!
 
 
All in all, once again at this joint meeting, the incredible power of Rotary to empower young people, to connect people of all backgrounds and life stages in service to others, and to promote world understanding and peace, was evident. What a privilege it is, to be a Rotarian!
 
An evening with MHHS Rotary Interact Margie Booyens 2023-06-06 06:00:00Z 0

From Curator of a Museum to Curator of a Rotary Club

 
President Elect (PE) Bruce Shepard started his address by thanking the members for the trust placed in him as incoming President of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat.
He drew a parallel between being a museum curator, ‘a keeper of a collection of valuable items worth keeping’, and the curator of our Club, comprising so many ‘specimens’ who have invaluable perspectives on life, having lived for many years and had so many experiences.
 
PE Bruce referred to the history document published at the time of our Club’s Centennial Celebrations (2018), the ‘story line’ of our Club, how proud members can be of the many achievements over the decades, and said we need to shift gears from being overly modest about the Club’s achievements, to getting the word out about what a great service club Rotary is, and the difference we make in people’s lives, both locally and internationally. He made special reference to the Rotary Music Festival.
 
Bruce highlighted Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, suggesting that many Club members have moved through the different levels over the years, and have now reached the level of self-actualization, putting us in the important position of being able to see beyond ourselves, acknowledge the needs of others, and live the ‘service above self’ motto.
 
Medicine Hat has a population of about 63,000, a third being over 60 years of age. PE Bruce said how important it is, that we give those retirees who would like to, the opportunity to serve their community in a different capacity, namely via a service club like Rotary. He also referred to newcomers to our city, our ‘new neighbours’, and getting the Rotary story out to them.
 
The key to attracting new members and retaining their participation? “Tap into what people feel most passionate about”.
 
Our Club will be holding an event in April 2024, National Volunteer Month in Canada, to showcase Rotary in general, our Club specifically, and to attract new members. PE Bruce will chair the organizing committee.
 
He again encouraged all members to join at least one of the many Club committees that will be up and running during his year as President.
 
To our incoming ‘Curator of the Exhibit’ of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat and its members:
 
Thank you, Bruce Shepard, for taking on the position of 2023-2024 Club President. We wish you the very best for a year of member attraction, retention, club innovation and vibrancy!
From Curator of a Museum to Curator of a Rotary Club Margie Booyens 2023-05-29 06:00:00Z 0

Classification Talk - Alain Geurard

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Alain Guerard was introduced as our speaker today, to give his classification talk by his club sponsor, Dave Panabaker.  Alain described himself as being a very lucky person all his life.  He thanked Joe Hrankowski, whose reclassification talk he heard and that prompted him to make some notes so he wouldn't forget something important that he wanted to say.
Alain was born and raised in Montreal, and they had a good life, good schools and good friends.  He said that other than some summer trips to the farm, he never left the "Island", and was very happy.  When he was 16 he decided that he wanted to join the Canadian Armed Forces, and became a cadet destined for the infantry.  However, 5 years at the Royal Military College and poor eyesight resulted in him graduation as a logistics officer.
 
He got married to Joanne after graduation, and they have been together for 52 years.  They have two children, their daughter has been a police officer but is now studying for a degree in education.  Their son is a geologist in Calgary.  Most importantly, they have 4 grandkids.  His career took him to many locations around this country and he retired from the military in 1995 as the DCO of the School of Logistics.
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Upon retirement, he found a job at KPMG in supply chain management and has continued to work in that field over the past 20 years.  He has been involved in larger projects with firms such as Pfizer, with the Canadian Blood Service, and overseas with fuel logistics in Sudan and container loads of relief supplies for the Ukraine.  His work is gradually tapering off, but he still gets calls and puts in about one day a week. He has volunteered at AJ Loan Cupboard over the past year, and both the Esplanade and Co-op Place. He descibed himself as a "WYSIWYG" guy, "what you see is what you get.
 
He was thanked by Past District Governor Sandy Mackay, and presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship, our tradition for new members and we look forward to Alain's ideas and energy in the club for years to come.
Classification Talk - Alain Geurard Dave Panabaker 2023-05-08 06:00:00Z 0

May Business Meeting

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The Club does not normally publish a story about our regular business meetings, however the Rotary Club adopted unanimously a new Strategic Plan, which has been in the development stage for the past year.
President-elect Bruce Shepard spoke to the group, about the work that went on and how he followed a model he learned early in his career.  Bruce mentioned the need for more publicity and advertising, as well as a membership brochure which would extoll the values of Rotary to newcomers.  He also spoke about engaging local industries, both large and small to further our reach.
 
Club Vision
 
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat will be a high profile, dynamic service club recognized both locally and abroad for its leadership and community service.
 
Club Mission
 
The purpose of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat, in keeping with the Rotary Code of Conduct, the Four Way Test and the Objects of Rotary, is to ethically serve our local and global communities by providing opportunities for service, fellowship and personal growth for our members.
 
Club Actions to support the Mission
The following actions will be undertaken by our Club to reach our Objectives and fulfill our Mission:
  1. The current Club Committee structure will be revised and animated by a renewed commitment to fun and fellowship;
  2. A new Promotions and Marketing Committee will be created and tasked with raising the profile of our Club in the community;
  3.  Plan, develop and hold a single major Club event, with spouses, aimed at recruiting new members, or encouraging former members to return.
 
There is lots of work to do, and all members will need to be engaged to make it happen.
 
Thanks to Bruce, Melanie and the whole Rotary Board for getting us to this point.
May Business Meeting Dave Panabaker 2023-05-01 06:00:00Z 0

A STORY ABOUT CHANGES, PROCESSES AND PLANS

Medicine Hat News (MHN) City Editor, Ryan McCracken, has a degree in journalism from a university in Ontario. During the two years he worked as a (mainly) sports reporter for the St Paul journal in Saskatchewan, he covered several significant, traumatic events. One was a bus crash and another the murder of a priest.
 
Ryan moved to Alberta in 2014. He covered sports in the area for the Medicine Hat News for six seasons, before taking on the role of sports editor in 2020, then city editor in 2021, the position that he still holds today.
 
The COVID era had a hugely negative impact on the MHN. For example: No sporting events to report on; staff had to do as much work from home as they could, which was very challenging, and they had to relay times at the office to get the layout etc. of the paper done. Most devastating was that the number of journalists on the staff was reduced from 12 to 6 – a City Editor, a Publishing Editor and just four journalists. This had to be done due to the reduction in advertising during the COVID years. The Monday edition had in turn to be axed because of the reduced size of reporting staff and the rising cost of newsprint. Over the years, the total staff contingent has been reduced from about 100 to the current 30-40.
 
 
Ryan described the office as a positive environment, with the journalists working hard and often overtime (“For the love of the game”) to get each edition of the MHN shipshape for the 7,000 (mostly) print subscribers.
 
Ryan shared a few funny typos, and his typical working day. He explained how important it is that the paper balances out space and attention, particularly on the front page, e.g. to political parties, not appearing to favour any one in particular. He described the process followed each day, from content to layout to submission for printing, reception of the printed papers from Lethbridge, insertion of flyers in the mailroom at MHN, and then the distribution of papers in Medicine Hat by the carriers.
 
Ryan pointed out the important role played by the MHN, having a foothold in the community, which allows the journalists to cover and explain decisions made by e.g. City Council and the Police, as well as covering events of local interest.
 
Three of the things Ryan and his team are working towards are more ‘proprietary content’, the digital copy of the MHN being different to the hard copy, and more cohesion between the many newspapers in the Alberta Paper Group.
 
The tour of the MHN building revealed a development that few know about. The MHN is now printed in Lethbridge, alongside sister newspaper, the Lethbridge Herald, and several other local (mostly weekly) newspapers. The printing machines at MHN now stand idle.
 
 
 
Ryan and his team were sincerely thanked for the exceptional coverage given to the Rotary Music Festival each year.
 
Rotarians and guests were interested to see and hear that the Santa Claus Christmas Fund operates from the MHN offices, reducing rental costs.
 
 
In sum, this was a very interesting and informative visit, for which we once again thank Medicine Hat News City Editor, Ryan McCracken.
 
We wish Ryan and his staff the best for the vitally important role they play, inter alia, in helping to keep our leaders challenged and accountable, and our community informed and vibrant.
 
A STORY ABOUT CHANGES, PROCESSES AND PLANS Margie Booyens 2023-04-24 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Interact at MH High School

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The Rotary Club welcomed an honorary Rotarian to the meeting today, in the person of Sue Withers.  Sue retired a year ago as Vice-Principal of Medicine Hat High School, and was the driving force behind the MH High Interact Club almost from it's formation in 2003.  Sue was welcomed to the meeting by "her friend" Anne Carrier .
Sue spoke about the formation of the Interact Club in 2003, originally by Sue Moench who was principal of the school at that time.  She provided a snapshot of a great many of the activities of the club, from supporting the local hospital, and learning about philanthropy in conjunction with the Community Foundation, to international projects in Liberia and Nicaragua, to supporting the Rotary "End Polio" efforts with purple pinkie days.
Sue spoke about how many of the students have taken advantage of Rotary programs, such as RYLA and RYPEN, as well as the "Adventure Series".  She thanked Rotarians who had been involved with the club, as the Student Advisor or as Club Executive.
 
Many of the students have continued to volunteer, either with Rotaract as they move into post secondary education or in the community as they encounter subjects they are passionate about.  Sue was thanked for her many years of service to both the students and Rotary by acting President Bruce Shepard.  She was given a new Rotary coffee mug, to enjoy her morning "retirement" coffee in.  Thank you Sue, for all you done.
Rotary Interact at MH High School Dave Panabaker 2023-04-17 06:00:00Z 0

REDI - HELPING PEOPLE TO TAKE FLIGHT AND SOAR

REDI ENABLES INDIVIDUALS TO ATTAIN RESPECT, OPPORTUNITY, AND RESPONSIBILITY
 
On Monday 27 March 2023, at noon, members of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat congregated at REDI Enterprises Society on Allowance Avenue SE in the Hat.
 
 
This being an outing to a well-known and well-respected resource in our community, a few members were accompanied by their spouses.
 
 
We were received by Almira Vujovic (Manager, REDIworks), wife of Rotarian Milan, who very ably organized the program for the visit.
 
 
In one short hour, we had the privilege of meeting and being addressed by a number of staff members and clients, including Craig Wood (Executive Director), John Steer (Secretary, The Action Group, Medicine Hat), Sean Tiffin (Member of TAG in Brooks), Robin Keenan (Job Developer), and Dalton Ehry (Fund Development Coordinator).
 
 
Executive Director Craig Wood summarized the impressive history of REDI, which has steadily grown and evolved over the decades from its pioneering start to the present.
 
 
REDI was founded in Medicine Hat in 1952. The growth and development of the services of this organization, from those early days, is truly amazing. What has remained consistent, however, is the openness and the drive of those involved in the organization, to be creative and innovative.
 
The services of REDI are based on the belief that each person has the right to be respected, to have opportunities to be part of the community, and to have responsibilities as citizens in the community – including opportunities to contribute to community life, and to be valued for efforts in this regard.
 
Geographically, REDI has expanded over the decades to encompass much of Southern Alberta, including Lethbridge and Brooks.
 
A few clients and a REDI staff member from Brooks were present, one of whom, Sean Tiffin, illustrated the advocacy work being done by REDI in that city. One example: they have succeeded in getting the name of the Brooks operated bus for People With Disability changed, from HANDY-BUS to ACCESS TRANSIT.
 
 
As portrayed in these images, this Monday meeting was held in the cafeteria at REDI (previously a workshop for people with disability), with all sitting comfortably around tables in a bright room, taking in the presentations, and enjoying the refreshments that were kindly provided.
 
 
John Steer (Secretary of the The Action Group) explained that TAG is a self-advocacy group, most of the members being REDI Enterprises clients.
 
 
TAG members in Medicine Hat meet once a month to discuss goals and make plans to create an impact in the community. One illustration of what they do is to visit schools to talk about TAG and their advocacy efforts and successes.
 
 
Unpacking aspects of the history of REDI, Robin Keenan shared how REDI was the brainchild of Ada Williams and Beth Clarke, pioneers in an era that did not support the idea of women or people with disabilities being advocates and entrepreneurs.
 
From its humble beginning in 1952, located in the Empress Theatre building at that time, REDI is now a registered charity and non-profit organization, with its offices on Allowance Avenue.
 
It supports upward of 600 people in their quest towards independent living, and has spread its services over the years from Medicine Hat to include the entire southern region of Alberta.
 
Robin Keenan spoke about the five divisions of REDI:
  • Brain Injury Relearning Services (BIRS)
  • REDIconnects:
  • The Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) Adult Mentorship Program
  • Cross Disability Support Services
  • Community Access for people in continuing care
  • REDIlives: supporting about 75 people 24/7 to live and participate in the community
  • REDIworks: assisting people with developmental disabilities to gain meaningful community involvement through employment and volunteerism. With about 60 community partners, REDIworks has created over 100 employment and 60 volunteer positions for 90+ individuals in the past 12 months
  • REDIventures
 
Illustrating REDI’s commitment to innovation, Robin shared how from being the first bottle depot in southern Alberta, REDI now also offers confidential shredding and e-Waste recycling.
 
 
In 2000, REDI closed their workshop that had provided piecework employment. The purpose was to support and promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the community, through employment and volunteering.
 
 
 
Dalton Ehry (Fund Developer) was the final speaker. He spoke about the “Everyone Can” REDI initiative, a collaborative marketing strategy that is intended to accomplish three things:
  • Increase awareness of the REDI brand
  • Celebrate and highlight community partners
  • Promote inclusion and reduce stigma around disability in communities
The request to partners, including Rotary, is to grow the initiative with REDI, by placing the Everyone Can Initiative marketing material on their online website and social media, and by supporting REDI activities in the city.
 
 
Our meeting was concluded with President Nominee Mike Christie thanking the REDI staff and clients, in particular Executive Director Craig and Almira, for the informative, well-organized visit.
 
 
 
 
REDI - HELPING PEOPLE TO TAKE FLIGHT AND SOAR Margie Booyens 2023-03-27 06:00:00Z 0

Presentation by Canadian Mental Health

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Lyndon Grunewald to our meeting today.  Lyndon is the Executive Director of the Medicine Hat office of the Canadian Mental Health Association.  Lyndon began his presentation by speaking about the organizational structure of CMH, how they are a Federated, National body with provincial chapters and local (area) offices.  He advised that the MH office handles a large rural area as well, from Oyen to the Border, from Brooks to Foremost, a lot of ground. He spoke about their funding structure, how they did not get any government funding directly, and how they work with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to put on classes and provide education.  He reminded everyone that the POST thrift store is one of their funding mechanisms, and they appreciate the donations and sales that arise from that outlet.
Lyndon went on to describe the "climate" of mental health generally in the community, the impact of a lack of school and social interaction on young people and how that has affected development and stability.
 
He spoke about their suicide prevention programs, how they have a "keep in touch" program and school representatives to liason with students.  He mentioned how "My Collective Journey" has evolved from addiction recovery and that the need for attention to depression and addiction recovery has not diminished with the end of COVID, but has continued to be a major problem.
Lyndon also spoke about the CARE team (Community Assisted Response Team), and this community is one of three across Canada where Police Officers and Community Mental Health workers collaborate in their response to mental health issues.  He mentioned that they have been responding to an average of 5 calls per day, and that they are operating two teams, 12 hours per day.  This is a one year pilot, which so far has shown great promise, and although it still has many aspects to be perfected, is showing that putting the right people in the right place can have very beneficial results.  He is hopeful that funding through the Provincial Government will be found to expand this service across the province and the country.
 
Lyndon was asked and answered a number of questions at the end of the presentation, and was thanked by Mike Christie for his talk.
Presentation by Canadian Mental Health Dave Panabaker 2023-03-20 06:00:00Z 0

Agents of Change to Reduce Abuse and Sexual Violence

It was indeed a pleasure welcoming Christina Johnson (ED) and colleague Kelsey Galipeau of the Sanare Centre here in Medicine Hat, to our noon meeting on Monday 13 March.
Sanare, previously SARC (Sexual Assault Response Committee), means ‘healing’.
 
 
"Sanare Centre provides a safe, healing space for those who have experienced violence and trauma to have their voices heard, and we are an agent of change to reduce abuse and sexual violence. We are a recognized, innovative, and trusted leader providing violence and trauma support services, education, and advocacy throughout Southeastern Alberta."
 
Their prime mission is to support anyone across southern Alberta to help them find a path to healing: Children, women, and men. 
 
Unfortunately, with the increase in the rate of sexual violence of 21% between 2021 and 2022, the need for Sanare and its services is growing.
 
Sanare Centre helps shine a light into dark places with the goal of leading someone out of that darkness.
 
Our Club had the pleasure of donating $15,000 towards the decoration of the reception area at the Sanare Centre.
 
The cheque was handed over to Christina and Kelsey by Mike Christie, Director of Community Service.
 
Agents of Change to Reduce Abuse and Sexual Violence Margie Booyens 2023-03-15 06:00:00Z 0

Presentation by Police Chief Alan Murphy

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The Rotary Club welcomed our new Medicine Hat Police Service Chief, Alan Murphy to the meeting today.  Chief Murphy was introduced by Rotarian Brent Secondiak, who also happens to be a member of the MH Police Service.
Chief Murphy was originally from our most easterly province, NFLD & Labrador and although he still has family "on the rock", he's been an Albertan for a long time.
The Chief was with the Edmonton Police Service for 27 years, the last 4 as deputy chief and has a well rounded background in law enforcement.  He came to Medicine Hat last year as Interim Chief, and really enjoyed the community and a smaller center to work in.
Chief Murphy spoke about the trends, both good and bad, concerning crime in our community.  He drew parallel's to larger centers and showed why some issues are present everywhere, and some are unique to a particular location.  He spoke about the impact that the COVID pandemic had on policing, on community mental health and those suffering with addiction issues and how even as the pandemic is in our rear view mirror, it has had lasting impacts.
 
The Chief was asked a wide variety of questions by those present and provided great answers.  The members of the club are grateful for the professionalism and the service of our Police Department, and wish Chief Murphy a success stint as the "top cop" in MH.
 
Chief Murphy was thanked for his presentation by PE Bruce Shepard and presented with a Rotary mug.
 
Presentation by Police Chief Alan Murphy Dave Panabaker 2023-02-27 07:00:00Z 0

Reclassification Talk - Joe Hrankowski

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One of the fun activities the Rotary Club has engaged in recently is a reclassification talk, allowing seasoned Rotarians to speak about their work experience, their life experience and their Rotary history.
 
Today was Joe Hrankowski's turn, and he turned in a sterling performance, as we knew he would.  Joe first explained why he had a fist full of notes, to talk about himself and he said that his wife Vicki said that if he didn't write down what he wanted to say, he would forget something important.  Joe had to agree that she was right, and therefore wrote out the important points.
Joe was born in Gimli, Manitoba in 1945, and entered the welding trade at a relatively young age.  He worked at that for a while, but always wanted to be an RCMP officer.  So he applied at age 18 and was admitted in 1964 at age 19.  He learned a lot of horses and actors in his training.  He married Vicki in 1967, and they have two children.
 
Joe spoke about the challenges of being an RCMP officer, the many transfers.  He studied at Carlton University and obtained a BA in Politics, and was eventually promoted to Inspector in 1984.  He was responsible for security of all embassies in the Communist bloc, which was very interesting work. He left security after 14 years, was promoted to Supt and stationed in Ottawa, and then in 1996 promoted to Chief Supt in Vancouver.  He retired from the force in 2000 after 36 years service.
Joe spoke about retirement to Medicine Hat, how the Paradise Valley golf course was a critical piece of the decision making process and the last move.  He has owned 17 house and moved 18 times.  
 
He spoke about his time in Rotary, starting in Gimli, MB and the roles he has played in Medicine Hat.  As Director of International Service, he led a Group Study Exchange team to Ukraine in 2004.  He also travelled with Chesley's and Mackay's to India, to see the 3-H project our club organized.  He spoke about his challenges with hearing, and how that has affected his ability to participate in some activities.  But he has been happily retired now for 23 years and is grateful for his time in Rotary (good friends, good projects and giving back to the community).
 
After answering a few questions, Joe was thanked by President Melanie.
Reclassification Talk - Joe Hrankowski Dave Panabaker 2023-02-06 07:00:00Z 0

Presentation by Corlaine Gardner

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The Rotary Club welcomed Corlaine Gardener to our meeting today.  Corlaine has been a key figure in the local Grasslands Naturalists, and one of the long time employees of the Police Point Park Interpretive Center.
Corlaine spoke first about the wonderful parks and trails system that the City of Medicine Hat enjoys.  It is the legacy of the location of the City and some visionary work by our forebearers, who recognized the opportunities that the river valley and the coulee system presented.  The topography of the community may present challenges to driving in the winter, but does offer some wonderful walks.
 
Corlaine reviewed some of the history of the River Valley Trail system and the evolution of the Outdoor Recreation group.  She spoke about the takeover of the Police Point Interpretive Center by the Grasslands Naturalists, on a contract with the City.  It is a pleasant place to enjoy our prairie environment.  She was employed there from 1995 thru 2022, and it was a great place to work.  Everyone who visits is happy and engaged.
She spoke about building connections in the community and those can lead to some common goals.  She also spoke about the exhibits that the Interpretive Center hosts, particularly the current annual event featuring high school student art, which is always inspiring.
 
She provided some literature for those present to take home, and encouraged everyone to check out the website for the Nature Center at http://natureline.info  and the local Birding Trail guide, available at http://grasslands-naturalists.org/birding
Presentation by Corlaine Gardner Dave Panabaker 2023-01-30 07:00:00Z 0

The Vibrant Veiner Centre

The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat visited the Unison for Generations 50+ Veiner Center on Monday 23 January 2023.
 
 
The Veiner Centre is located on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, sharing the geographical area with many peace-loving deer, who entertain and delight those who go to the Veiner Centre.
 
 
 
A short history:
The Veiner Centre was built in 1975 on land donated by Mayor Harry Veiner. It was a multi-purpose social service and cultural drop-in and information facility, available to all residents more than 50 years of age.
 
Fast forward
The City of Medicine Hat believed that a non-profit organization would have more flexibility in operating the Centre, so requested proposals.
Kerby Centre was successful in getting the contract in 2021 – the Kirby Centre in Calgary having been operating for 50 years.
 
Expansion followed
Unison, Generations 50+ is an evolution of both Calgary and Medicine Hat programs. It is the ‘mother body’ under which the Calgary and Medicine Hat programs now operate.
The Unison website will soon be available: www.UnisonAlberta.com.
 
Staff and volunteers
We experienced the staff at the Veiner Centre (about 15, including kitchen staff) as welcoming, friendly, knowledgeable, and so enthusiastic about what they do!
There are many volunteers, who help in a variety of ways, some of whom include members of our Rotary Club. And the Centre is always looking for additional volunteers!
 
What does Veiner Centre aim to do?
Unison at Veiner Centre wants to support the well-being of Medicine Hat seniors by serving as a central hub for connection, community programs and services, and essential healthy aging information.
 
How much does membership cost?
Membership options range from $25 (6-months general) to $200 (FitPlus one year).
 
ACTIVITIES
There is a wide range of activities, something for everyone. A monthly program is put together, setting out activities at both the Veiner Centre and Strathcona Centre.
 
ACTIVE AGING
Twenty-five options from which to choose, ranging from Chess, to darts, to scrabble, to billiards, to any number of card games, to bingo and an art studio – all designed to help older people stay mentally and physically active.
 
FITESS ACTIVITIES
Take your pick from pickleball, table tennis, yoga, line dancing, walking… and more!
 
OTHER SERVICES
These include an income tax clinic, Medicine Hat Family Services, community computers and a lending library.
 
MEALS-ON-WHEELS
Meals-on-wheels operates from the Veiner Centre. It is a FCSS subsidized program, for those who are unable to prepare or obtain a meal for themselves. It is based on need, not income.
 
THE BISTRO
The Bistro is open daily, with a small breakfast fare, lunch specials and supper on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
 
ELDER ABUSE CASE MANAGEMENT
Sadly, elder abuse is a reality in Medicine Hat. A case manager supports those who have experienced or are at risk of elder abuse.
 
WELLNESS AND CONNECTION
Mental health is vital to physical health and a healthy mind. One can join a singer and songwriter circle; scrapbook fanatics; a book club; live bands; a Parkinson’s Support Group; and Alzheimer’s Support Group.
 
WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS
Tune in, and take in Tech support, monthly movies, pet therapy, rock painting and more!
 
OUTREACH
… there’s Wellness Services, Food Security Services, and Transportation Services.
 
We left the Veiner Centre feeling informed and inspired.  Some Rotarians are already members and volunteers. An additional number took the plunge and applied to become members before leaving!
 
If you are 50+, do consider joining and volunteering - the opportunities for enrichment are endless.
 
This is a Medicine Hat resource with very capable, open-minded leadership, that all living in this wonderful city of ours, need to support, utilize, and appreciate!
 
The Vibrant Veiner Centre Margie Booyens 2023-01-23 07:00:00Z 0

Words from District Governor Steve

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The Club also welcomed this year's District Governor Steve Levitt, for a "return engagement"!  DG Steve is a member of the Rotary Club of Raymond, and was specifically attending meetings with clubs to promote the 2023 District Conference, which will be held in Lethbridge on May 5th - 6th, 2023.  This year's conference theme is " Dreaming the Future", so he was especially delighted to share the stage at our meeting with members of Interact, truly the future of Rotary.
DG Steve spoke about the upcoming conference, May 5 - 6, 2023 in Lethbridge.  A group from the Strathmore High School theater will be performing and several special guests will be in attendance to present awards.  He very much encourages everyone to consider attendance, Lethbridge is not far away.  He also spoke about the Secret 3K Marathon event, a project of PDG Martin Parnell.  An opportunity to participate in the fundraising exercise is noted in our  Minutes.
 
Lastly, Steve was very happy to present the local Interact Executive with a banner of this year's theme, "Imagine Rotary" and some Rotary pins to share with the Interact members. 
Words from District Governor Steve Dave Panabaker 2023-01-16 07:00:00Z 0

Interact Conference Presentation

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The Rotary Club welcomed the current executive of the Medicine Hat High School Interact Club to our meeting today.  Introduced by the Club Director of Youth and Vocational Service, Peter Mueller were Bethany Klein who is the Interact President for 2022-2023 and Mo Subaru who is this year's Vice President.  Both girls attended "ZIC", which is pronounced like "sick" but with a Z.
ZIC stands for "Zone Interact Conference", held in Calgary in October of 2022.  It was the first time Interact students from across the Zone 28 and 32, which covers much of Canada and the north-eastern United States has been held.  The girls spoke of days of fun filled events, developing leadership skills, learning about empowering youth and lasting friendships.  The "fun" was purposeful, it tested them and educated them.  They specifically mentioned the value of the "privilege" walk.
 
They discussed how the development of leadership skills is a requirement in some areas, and how that will benefit them in their upcoming post-secondary admittance.
The attendee's got a bus tour of Calgary, and saw a great many of the local attractions.  The girls spoke about being local tour guides, for those who had never been to Alberta. 
 
They finished with a short video done by one of the participants which can be accessed on Youtube at https://youtu.be/otPu6HmtNcc. They also thanked the club for sponsoring their trip, which they truly enjoyed.  It was a great presentation and the club saw that our investment in this conference was well spent and will pay back for years to come.
Interact Conference Presentation Dave Panabaker 2023-01-16 07:00:00Z 0

Update on Rotary Music Festival Society

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed Cathie Catalano to our meeting today.  Cathie is a former member of the club, who has taken on the role of President of the Rotary Music Festival Society.  
Ownership of the Medicine Hat Rotary Music Festival is gradually being taken over by the Rotary Music Festival Society (RMFS).  In 2021, the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat and the RMFS signed a 5-year sponsorship agreement, which commits the club to funding of the Festival from the 2022 Festival to the 2026 Festival.  The initial funding for 2022 is at the existing level of $40,000, but each successive year that amount is reduced by $2,000 so funding in the last year of the agreement will be down to $32,000.  Given the decline in membership of the club and the difficulty of raising funds, the Rotary Club felt that they could not sustain the funding at current levels.  No decision has been made regarding the sponsorship level from Rotary after 2026.
 
One of the reasons for the creation of the RMFS, as a charitable entity, was to assist the Festival in gathering funding using their charitable status.
2023 marks the 67th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat sponsorship of the Festival.  We are extremely grateful for the commitment not only of financial support, but the many volunteer hours that the club has faithfully spent.  In 2020-2021 the Rotary Club advised of the phasing down of the support as major sponsor.  2023 marks year 2 of this 5-year commitment and as we go forward you may seem some changes as we transition.  In the meantime, the RMFS (Medicine Hat Rotary Music Festival | The Best Musical Talent in Medicine Hat ) is seeking membership - this means you, as a supporter of the festival with a vested interest in keeping things going.  Executive members for the RMFS are needed including a Society Secretary, a Society Vice-President and several other executive members, as well as general working members.  If help and support are not provided, there is a chance that there may no longer be a music Festival in Medicine Hat, after 2026.  Please help us keep the Festival alive and thriving.
 
Cathie also spoke about the 2023 Festival, a couple of new adjudicators and a restoration of the choir program are some of the highlights,
 
 
 
Update on Rotary Music Festival Society Dave Panabaker 2023-01-09 07:00:00Z 0

Club 1000 Raffle

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ONE WEEKS LEFT TO SELL THESE TICKETS, please do your best.
 
Every year, the Rotary Club holds a cash raffle in support of the Rotary Music Festival.  Tickets for the 2023 Raffle are now available from Rotarians and online.  This raffle is the Rotary Clubs primary support mechanism for the Music Festival, which is in its 67th year.  Please consider purchasing a ticket (or two!!) to help us keep the Festival growing.
The website for online ticket purchases can be found at https://www.zeffy.com/en-CA/ticketing/63a3f617-fe73-44ad-9913-d0296da68041 or by scanning the QR code below.  Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far!!
Dave Panabaker provided the updated that the raffle draw was Sunday March 19th at the Stars of the Festival and that the raffle team has received about 1/3 of the tickets back sold.  Plenty of time to get out and sell more, Doug Fleming, Glen Presley and Dave have extra tickets if anyone needs them.  Also tickets will be available at the information desk at the Cultural Center through the Music Festival.
 
Club 1000 Raffle Dave Panabaker 2023-01-02 07:00:00Z 0

Meeting with Rotary Club of Zenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina

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At our regular Rotary Club meeting today, we used the ZOOM technology to join with the Rotary Club of Zenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
 
This club was established on the 20th of September 2018 and has 16 regular and 1 honorary member.  They are a very hard working group, and reviewed their accomplishments with us.
 
The RC of Zenica has been part of a Global Grant project, which is titled "INCREASING READING LITERACY OF PRIMARY SCHOOLS STUDENTS IN ZENICA-DOBOJ CANTON".  It has been running for 3 years, has involved 220 teachers, 14,000 new books and 59 primary schools in the area.  An amazing accomplishment.  They have also been involved in a District Grant funded project, to procurement and distribute 120 sensors for non-contact glucose measurement at children and adolescents with diagnosed type 1 Diabetes, in their area.
 
They have also been involved in the Youth Exchange program, they have donated music instruments to local schools and established a number of scholarships. It is truly an impressive list of accomplishments for a club so young.  Well done!!   They are not resting on their laurels, they have big plans for 2023 and beyond, including post-secondary scholarships and seeding additional Rotary clubs in the area.
 
You can follow them on the website http://www.rczenica.ba or on Facebook "rotaryzenica".
 
After a short presentation by President Melanie Harty about our history, several questions were asked and answered.
An inspirational program for sure!
Meeting with Rotary Club of Zenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina Dave Panabaker 2022-11-28 07:00:00Z 0

RISE TO SHINE EDUCATION FOUNDATION, KENYA: 'Education is the Greatest Equalizer'

Guest speaker Emily Bakhita is a member of the Rotary Club of Kisumu Winam in District 9212, Kenya. Overcoming many odds as she grew up, she now has a degree in commerce and is studying for her Master’s degree in public policy and management.
 
Emily is a founder of a NGO called ‘Rise to Shine Education Foundation’, which previously operated as a Community Based Organization called ‘Scars to Stars’.
 
Emily spoke passionately about the work of the Foundation, which seeks to empower and enable young, bright students from impoverished backgrounds, in four counties in the lake region of Kenya.
 
 
Sadly, too many poverty-stricken girls and young women in this region resort to ‘sex for fish’ to earn money and food, many picking up HIV in the process.
 
 
The Foundation sponsors young people, boys and girls, enabling them to attend (mostly high) school and get an education. Their school fees are paid and they are equipped with school uniforms, bags and shoes, as well as food. This level of support enables them to develop their potential and step out of the cycle of poverty - to ‘rise to shine’.
 
 
Over 500 children have been assisted since 2012.
 
Emily put forward the option of sponsoring one or more children, for four years of High School education, at a cost of about CAD1,000 per student, per year, saying:
“We invite you to join us to heal their scars, change their life, and inspire their future”.
 
We thank you for your presentation, Emily, and salute you and the Foundation for the significant difference you are making in young people's lives.
 
RISE TO SHINE EDUCATION FOUNDATION, KENYA: 'Education is the Greatest Equalizer' Margie Booyens 2022-11-22 07:00:00Z 0

Root Cellar - Medicine Hat

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Members of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat went out into the community this lunch hour, for a tour of the Root Cellar and an education on the programs that are being run from that facility.  The Club was very lucky to have the Root Cellar Executive Director, Melissa Mullis as our tour guide and instructor.
Melissa began by explaining that the name change was really part of a branding effort, to avoid limiting the public perception of the facility and the work that they do.  She spoke about getting to the "root" of the problem of food security, and that a root cellar always had something for everyone.  Alberta has the highest food bank use in the country, and they have seen their client numbers skyrocket from between 50 - 100 calls per day to over 300.  They have added outreach and social workers to their intake process and as resources for clients.
We were given a tour of the building, which of course was at one time the main City of Medicine Hat Fire Hall.  They are creating a social enterprise, to run a cafe in the "Co-op" Community Cafe and will be inviting everyone to use the space.  The idea is to remove some of the stigma attached to the facility.  Melissa spoke about their Food Rescue Program, the Food First Culinary Experience, the School Brown Bag lunch and other family support services.
The Root Cellar has also been a conduit for our Team Freewheel folks to get bikes to families who need them.  More information can be obtained by checking out their website at http://mhrootcellar.com
 
A marvellous tour and an amazing group of community focused volunteers and staff.  Thank you so much for the education and your hard work!
Root Cellar - Medicine Hat Dave Panabaker 2022-11-14 07:00:00Z 0

MEDICINE HAT NEEDS PURPOSEFUL GROWTH

Let us aim for a population of 110,000 in 20 years
Our guest speaker, Dr Glenn Feltham, interim City Manager of Medicine Hat since June this year, gave an excellent presentation, first about his career and achievements, then his impressions and views of the city of Medicine Hat.
 
 
His educational background? A PhD in Accountancy (U of Waterloo); MBA (U of Montana); LLB (Queen’s U).
Dr Feltham is a man who has made his mark in the post-secondary sector in Alberta and Canada, serving in a number of significant positions, including: Professor in Accounting; chair of Polytechnics Canada; chair of the Council of Post-Secondary Presidents of Alberta; President and CEO of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)(2011-2019); President and CEO of Grande Prairie Regional College (now Northwestern Polytechnic); and, recently, Vice-Chair of the Premier’s Council of Skills.
Dr Feltham emphasized the need for young people go into skills training, this being a fundamental for city and country economic growth.
Glenn thoroughly enjoyed academic teaching – empowering future generations.
He also enjoyed research, writing (“I hate writing but love having written!”) and the administrative part of his positions over the years.
In addition to impacting the post-secondary field, Dr Feltham has also made significant contributions in Canada and Alberta through serving on numerous Boards in the economic, governmental, academic, cultural, and social spheres.
While Glenn finds retirement ‘awesome’, he decided, when approached (through a phone call while watching a Formula 1 race on TV!) to take on the short-term challenge of assisting Medicine Hat until the next City Manager is appointed – likely by the end of this year.
Dr Feltham describes Medicine Hat as a complex city, that he has come to love. What especially does he appreciate? The facilities like the airport, the principal parks, the river, the trails, the historic downtown. He believes that mostly good decisions have been made by those in charge, over the years.
He believes Medicine Hat is in good shape … gas has been a major economic driver over the years…and he believes that the city has financial sustainability… but that it needs to grow in a meaningful way. Who and what do we want to be as a city?
One growth strategy is a targeted immigration policy, seeking needed talent and skills from around the world.
With purposeful growth, “the best days are ahead”.
We thank Dr Feltham for the role he is playing as City Manager in the transition period in our city… and wish him all the best for his post-Medicine Hat retirement!
MEDICINE HAT NEEDS PURPOSEFUL GROWTH Margie Booyens 2022-11-01 06:00:00Z 0

Remembrance Day Presentation

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Our visiting Rotarian, Norman Leach from the RC of Edmonton Strathcona, presented to the club on Remembrance Day ceremonies and demonstrated some of his passion for Canadian History.  He spoke very movingly about the Battle of Passchendaele.  He initially became involved in this project by working on the movie of the same name, which starred Paul Gross.
Norman is an accomplished history author, with over a dozen books to his credit and his book on Passchendaele sold over 22,000 copies.  Norman also spoke about the movie, which for Paul Gross was not biographical, but was inspired by the story of his grandfather who fought in that battle.  Norman reviewed the early history of the Canadian army in WW1, growing from 3,000 to over 35,000 troops in just over a year.  He spoke about the difficulties with training and equipment, as well as less than ideal leadership.
He spent some time reviewing the accomplishments of the Canadians prior to this battle, and the sobering facts of the botched original strategy as well as 15,654 casualties.
 
Norman reminded all of us that is those casualties that we honor on Remembrance Day, those who did not make it home.
Remembrance Day Presentation Dave Panabaker 2022-10-24 06:00:00Z 0

Gabriella's NGSE adventure

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Gabriella Hartung arrived in Rotary District 5360 on 6 August, our first inbound New Generations Service Exchange participant since the Covid lockdown. She is a Mechanical Engineering student in Germany. Her father is a Mechanical Engineer and her mother works in the Tourism sector. The District NGSE team had the pleasure of meeting Gabriella, her parents, as well as Margie's counterpart in District 1880, Christof Furtwaengler, through a number of Zoomed planning meetings, prior to Gabriella's arrival.
 
 
Gabriella spent her first week in Calgary, second in Red Deer, third in Lethbridge, and fourth back in Calgary, flying out on 3 September.
 
There were a number of Rotarians in each of these cities, who, with input from Gabriella, planned a week filled with discussions with engineers in that city, Club meetings and socials with Rotarians and Rotaractors, as well as time in the outdoors, where Gabriella was able to relax and get to know our beautiful District.
 
 
The four week New Generations Service Exchange experience has enriched Gabriella's understanding of engineering, mechanical engineering in particular. 
 
 
 
Gabriella's time in our District has given her deeper insight into Rotary and Rotary service. She has also had the opportunity to make life-long friends with both Rotarians and Rotaractors.
 
 
Rotary's New Generations Service Exchange program is indeed 'life-changing'!
 
For more information, visit our website:
 
Gabriella's NGSE adventure Margie Booyens 2022-10-17 06:00:00Z 0

Reclassification Talk - Doug Fleming

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Club Secretary Doug Fleming provided the club with a thorough and entertaining "reclassification" talk.  As this club has a number of very experienced Rotarians, the club Board would like to re-introduce more junior members to our senior folks with these 'historical" talks.  Doug started his talk by advising that he goes by his middle name, his actual first name is John.
Doug has been married to Joan for 54 years, and they have two children, Wendy and Chris.  They also have three granddaughters; the middle one's name is "Charlie" after her grandfathers (who were both members of this club!!)
 
Doug has had a varied career in surveying, regional municipal planning and consulting.  He joined the Rotary Club in Nov 1983, at the encouragement of Sandy Mackay and spent 16 years in the club until he moved to Hanna for 6 years.  He rejoined the club when he retired in 2005.  He served as Club President in 2011-2012 and since then has had the role of Club Secretary, a position he said might be "for life".
 
He spoke passionately about Rotary Youth programs, specifically the RYPEN program that he participated in and how the Rotary Music Festival was an important project to him personally because of his family's involvement.  He also talked about the Rotary Foundation, how it has become one of his charities of choice, for their great work promoting the eradication of polio.
 
Doug answered a couple of questions and was then thanked by President Melanie.
 
Other Rotarians will be asked to do similar talks, throughout this Rotary year.
Reclassification Talk - Doug Fleming Dave Panabaker 2022-09-26 06:00:00Z 0

BBB presentation to Rotary

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The Rotary Club enjoyed a presentation by Odeta Doroftei, the Marketplace Programs coordinator for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) servicing Southern Alberta and East Kootenay.
 
The BBB is a non-profit organization funded by accredited businesses to offer services that foster trust in the marketplace.  It was originally established in 1912, and there are now 112 BBB organizations across North America.  The BBB has a Vision that "an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other".
 
Odeta provided an overview of the history of the BBB, of some of the challenges facing the marketplace at this time and several of the most dangerous scams that are lurking out there.  She started by saying that "Being a victim of a scam is not your fault, and not to be ashamed if this happens to you".  It is incredibly important to report such problems, to keep others from being future victims.
 
She specifically pointed out in "How to spot a scam"
 
  • Time Constraints (it has to happen right now)
  • Limited Availability (of this specific good or service)
  • Emotional Factor (it will play on your feelings)
These are designed to keep you off balance and not thinking clearly.
 
The presentation ended abruptly, as she was finishing up, due to a failure of our laptop.  Unfortunately no Q&A period was possible.
 
 
BBB presentation to Rotary Dave Panabaker 2022-09-12 06:00:00Z 0

Pancake Breakfast at Dr Ken Sauer School

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We enjoyed the EARLY morning of Friday September 2nd, 2022 which presented a great opportunity for Rotary to provide service in the community & have some fun doing it. A total of 9 Rotarians & 3 Friends of Rotary volunteered 36 hours to feed 450+ people breakfast. Many of those who participated would volunteer to do more of these kinds of projects. No or limited costs and gets our name out there.
 
Certainly a lot of fun, a few photos to show off our cooking skills
Pancake Breakfast at Dr Ken Sauer School Dave Panabaker 2022-09-12 06:00:00Z 0

Visit to Saamis Teepee with LINC students

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Medicine Hat Rotarians joined the staff of Saamis Immigration and two classes of LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) students for a social event at Saamis Teepee and an hour of snacks and visiting at the Medicine Hat Tourist Center.
Rotarians Bruce Shepard, Emilia Dirk and Keith Walker (joined later by Gwen Dirk and Peter Mueller) enjoyed a beautiful day for the event.
The students got practice in the English skills and learned some history of the indigenous tribes of this area.
A great morning for all.
Visit to Saamis Teepee with LINC students Dave Panabaker 2022-08-30 06:00:00Z 0

Social with Saamis Immigration Services

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The Saamis Immigration Services Association event on Monday 22 August was a great success, led by Holly Hoffman (LINC Instructor, class 1), Davar Broeckert (LINC Instructor, class 2) and Judith Gonzalez (LINC Coordinator).

Three Rotarians joined in.

After arrival at the Tourist Centre, the group walked to the Teepee and spent a good 45 minutes reading the stories about aspects of Indigenous history… and taking many selfies and group photos!

AG Keith Walker spoke about the origin of this, the tallest Teepee in the world.

Back at the Tourist Centre, the group enjoyed conversation, developing their conversational English language skills, and refreshments.

It was a privilege to meet these immigrants from all over the world, who have made and managed major changes in their lives. A flyer on Rotary in Medicine Hat was handed out on the bus back to Saamis offices.

Social with Saamis Immigration Services Margie Booyens 2022-08-23 06:00:00Z 0

Annual District Governor Visit

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome, in person the District Governor of 5360 for 2022-2023, Steve Leavitt of the Rotary Club of Raymond.  Steve was accompanied by his wife Pat, with whom he shares five children and 15 grandchildren.  After a few years of virtual visits, it was wonderful to be back to this particular meeting in "live" form.
DG Steve was introduced by AG Keith Walker from the MH Sunrise Rotary Club, who also got his "Imagine Rotary" baseball hat to wear at Rotary events.  Steve has been a member of the RC of Raymond for 21 years.  He received his Masters degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Alberta, and he has been involved in marketing and agricultural management his whole career.
 
Steve became a true Rotarian when he experienced first hand the impact of Rotary in the developing country of Uganda.  In 2016 Steve and Pat served a volunteer mission of 18 months in St Lucia. In conjunction with their local Rotary Club, they have participated in fundraising and service opportunities on their local Indigenous Reserve.
Steve spoke about the wonderful opportunity to be District Governor, and his recent experience meeting and interacting with RI President Jennifer Jones.  ( You may have seen them both in the Calgary Stampede parade).  Steve spoke about his vision for Rotary in the District, and talked up a couple of current issues.  The first of course is membership, our District membership has declined to approximately 1,500 people.  A second current project is the "Move for Polio" campaign, and he encouraged everyone to participate in the Quad Club social on September 1, which will raise money for continued polio eradication. 
DG Steve was thanked by acting President Mike Christie and presented with our Centennial Book, a club banner and our "half full" coffee mug.
 
Thanks to both Steve and Pat for visiting, bringing the annual club banner and pins and joining us for lunch.
Annual District Governor Visit Dave Panabaker 2022-08-22 06:00:00Z 0

Meet and Greet with Saamis Immigration clients

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The Rotary Club was delighted to join the clients and staff of Saamis Immigration, for a morning of visiting and relaxation at Echodale Regional Park on Thursday August 11, 2022.  Echodale Park still shows many of the scars of the recent extreme weather event, many stumps indicate where trees were lost.
New clients got a chance to practice their English, if the language is new to them, other clients met old friends and all the kids enjoyed the sunshine.
Participants in the Summer program for Youth, enjoying a beautiful day.
The Youth really enjoyed the walks around the lake at the park.
Rotarian Ted Cowtan, with Aide and her colleagues.
Meet and Greet with Saamis Immigration clients Dave Panabaker 2022-08-13 06:00:00Z 0

A window into the services of the Sanare Centre

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“We’re working to stop sexual, domestic and personal violence and trauma through education, training and advocacy services”
 
Christina Johnson, Executive Director of the Sanare Centre in Medicine Hat told a compelling story of the extent of violence and trauma in Alberta and indeed Medicine Hat.
Sanare records indicate a 56% increase in the violence and trauma cases they have dealt with, in the post-Covid months, after restrictions were eased.
She shared the shocking statistics that by 18 years of age, 50% of girls will have experienced some form of sexual violence or trauma; the percentage for boys being 25%. The Sanare Centre aims to impact these figures.
 
Working with the provincial government and the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services sexual assault centres, the well-qualified, dedicated staff and volunteers of the Sanare Centre offer a wide range of individual and group services to support and promote the healing of those who have suffered violence or trauma.
The move to a larger building has enabled the establishment of the Child Advocacy Centre, the first of its kind in southeast Alberta. The CAC brings together staff and officials from Sanare, Alberta Children’s Services, Alberta Health Services, Addictions and Mental Health, MH Police Service and RCMP, as well as judicial officers, in an effort to streamline the legal and judicial process for children and youth impacted by abuse and violence.
Included on the Sanare staff is a new team member. Meet Sarabi, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix and see where she hangs out in the Centre!
 
   
The Sanare Centre also offer services of an educational, primary preventive nature, and they do advocacy work in the field of sexual, domestic and personal violence and trauma.
Preventive, education programs include: Family Connections, programs for Grades K-6, for ages 12 and up, for students at Junior High School, for Senior High School level, as well as programs for adults e.g. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace; and Child Sexual Behaviours.
It is encouraging to know that Sanare’s outreach services include a Men and Boys leadership program.
The Centre needs an elevator! Staff member Kelsey is focusing on raising funds for this addition to what is a very interestingly laid out Centre, with many rooms, small and bigger, for staff, for private conversations and therapy, including play therapy for children, and rooms for group meetings of different kinds. Keep an eye open for ways to support Sanare’s ‘Rise the children’ campaign!
In just a short hour, Christina, her staff and a psychology student succeeded in giving our members a window into the nature and prevalence of violence and trauma in Medicine Hat and further afield, and into the wide-range of services offered to reduce the numbers and intervene at a primary preventive level. Since July 2021, Sanare has served more than 90 children in the region. All respect to the team for the work that they do.
Read more about the Sanare Centre on their website:https://sanarecentre.ca 
A window into the services of the Sanare Centre Margie Booyens 2022-08-08 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary's developing relationship with Saamis Immigration Services Association

Over the past two years, the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat has had the pleasure of donating reconditioned bicycles to people needing mobility, through Saamis Immigration and other organizations – thanks to Terry Cooper, Peter Mueller and others involved in Team Freewheels.
We are delighted to be developing an even closer relationship with Saamis Immigration, through recent discussions with the Executive Director, Marijana Agicic, Rotarian Emilia Dirk (Settlement Outreach Worker), Aide Hilsendeger (Community Connections Coordinator) and Mihaela Craciun (Manager of Programming).
On August 11, clients from Saamis’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) and their children are invited to participate in a family event at Echodale Park. Busses will be leaving Saamis Immigration at 09:00 and returning at 13:00. Rotarians are invited to come out to Echodale for a ‘meet and greet’, bring chairs and a snack/lunch. Clients are keen to meet local residents and to practice their English language skills.
Our Club and the RC of MH Sunrise are sponsoring two Sunshine Trolley tours of refugees connected to Saamis, due to take place on August 22 and 23. Five to seven Rotarians are invited to join each of the tours, to accompany the 30+ newcomers to Medicine Hat. The tours will both end at the Visitor’s Centre at the Tourism office, where refreshments will be provided by Saamis and Rotarians will have the opportunity to have 45 minutes to chat with the newcomers – again, helping them network and develop their English language skills.
The Rotary Clubs of Medicine Hat and Sunrise are also contributing towards the cost of a ‘movie in the park’ family event – on September 8 in Kin Coulee. We are invited to mingle and connect with the Saamis Immigration clients, volunteers and staff for an hour prior to the showing of the movie at 20:00.
 
The ‘ask’ from the Board and the Community Services Committee of our Club?
Please use these opportunities to reach out to newcomers to Medicine Hat – to make them feel welcome, to help them make connections, to give them the opportunity to practice their English language conversation skills – and for us to learn more about the challenges of emigration and settling in Medicine Hat. These will be wonderful opportunities to make a difference, albeit small, in the lives of newcomers to our city.
 
We will keep you updated at meetings and through the Weekly News.
Rotary's developing relationship with Saamis Immigration Services Association Margie Booyens 2022-07-27 06:00:00Z 0

Update on CFB Suffield

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat was delighted to welcome the "new" base commander of CFB Suffield, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Burke.
LCol. Burke (who preferred to be addressed as Stephen), began by giving us a short bio of his more than 20 years serving in the Canadian military and some of his recent assignments.  He has been the base commander at Suffield for just under a year and now that we are coming out of our COVID hibernation, he is happy to be out in the community and rebuilding the relationship between the base and its surrounding neighbors.
 
He gave a brief history of the base, from its inception during the Second World War, to its role in the issues around the Cold War and the more recent rise of regional insurgency's.  The base is a large isolated area, and as Stephen described, an incredibly rare and valuable asset for military training.  He presented some fascinating aerial photos of the base, and how it has changed over the years.  Only the hanger is the same (sort of).
 
CFB Suffield main purpose is support DRDC/BATUS and CAF.  There are approximately 225 military personnel and 590 civilians who are employed at the base, which makes the facility a large (if not the largest) employer in the area.  Staffing is a key issue with them, and they support a payroll of over $58 million dollars annually.
LCol. Stephen spoke about the relationship between the property and other stakeholders, such as the oil and gas industry, wildlife management and recreational area's.  He spoke about the future, which is certainly subject to change but has many upsides for the area.  He answered a few questions and was thanked by President Melanie.
 
A great talk, we wish Stephan and his staff all the best in the future.
Update on CFB Suffield Dave Panabaker 2022-07-18 06:00:00Z 0

BEN CAMPBELL on Preserving Native Grasslands through Regenerative Agriculture

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The fact that 70% of the Native Grasslands ecosystem and 80% of the Aspen Parkland ecosystem in the foothills near Black Diamond have been destroyed, with a loss of up to 90% of the wildlife, has motivated Ben and Steph Campbell to rise to the challenge of developing a vibrant, healthy ecosystem on their ranch.
The aim is to raise and feed cattle in a sustainable way that benefits the land, the soil, and conserves the wildlife, there being a symbiotic relationship between them.
Wasps, bugs, ducks, native bumble bees, and brown bats are all being conserved and are thriving on the ranch - and predators like badgers, coyotes, bears and mountain lions are not eliminated. In Ben’s experience, “A healthy ecosystem manages and balances itself”.
Ben projected photographs which evidenced the difference between the green, fertile land on his ranch and the adjacent overgrazed land of a neighbour which was clearly not part of a healthy ecosystem.
Ben touched on climate change and how what he is doing on his ranch is designed to fight it.
The essence of Ben’s message is that on the Grasslands of North America, cattle can fill an ecological role and make the environment stronger, healthier, more diverse and more climate change resistant.
Ending off his lively, impassioned presentation and the subsequent question time, Ben reminded the audience of the inextricable relationship between people and the natural environment – when nature suffers, we suffer. The environment is critical because it supports the ‘family of humans’.
Here’s the link for the full recording of this presentation, which we hope you will view:
BEN CAMPBELL on Preserving Native Grasslands through Regenerative Agriculture Margie Booyens 2022-07-11 06:00:00Z 0

Induction of the 2022-2023 Board

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Assistant Governor Keith Walker attended the club meeting today to participate in our annual Executive Changeover.
 
Past President Mark Sorenson assisted in the ceremony and newly inducted President Melanie Harty made a short speech.
 
She specifically thanked the Board, for dividing up the work and pitching in as we encountered challenges in this past year and she asked the club to think about three questions.
  1. Why did you join Rotary?
  2. Why do you stay in this club and in Rotary?
  3. If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change?
She asked members to think about their answers to those questions, as we go forward in this year.
 
As well as President Melanie Harty for 2022-2023, AG Keith inducted the new Board which included President-elect Bruce Shepard.
Returning to serve the club for another year on the Executive are Past President Mark Sorenson, Treasurer Gail Halderman and Secretary Doug Fleming.
 
The Directors for 2022-2023 are Peter Mueller, Mike Christie, Edward Lipin, Terry Cooper, Milan Vujovic and Dave Panabaker
Induction of the 2022-2023 Board Dave Panabaker 2022-06-27 06:00:00Z 0

Presentation on the effects of armed conflict

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Our guest, Luisa Fernanda Manosalva Alzate from Bogota Columbia spoke about the victims of armed conflict and her work directing the Columbian agency's that will need to assist them.
Luisa has a master degree in Psychosocial Intervention, and helps manage  social programs in Columbia, dealing with the victims of armed conflict.  Columbia is now a peaceful country with Caribbean Sea coastline in South America. It has a population of over 51 million people, but over 14% live on less than the basic essentials and 4% are "in misery".  As well, over 9.2 million people in this country have suffered as the result of years of armed conflict and much of her work is centered on helping teach the institutions in her country how to cope with this group.
 
She works with Rotary International and the Institute for Peach and Economics to strengthen and support her people.
 
She was thanked for her talk by President Melanie and given a club banner to take back to the Rotary Club of Bogota.
Presentation on the effects of armed conflict Dave Panabaker 2022-06-27 06:00:00Z 0

STATE OF BUSINESS: We are excited to see what the future holds!

 
Executive Director of the Medicine Hat and District Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Kowalchuk, gave an interesting and insightful presentation on the State of Business in our city and region.
"After two difficult years of the impacts of the pandemic, we are pleased to see a return of tourism, investment and cultural events in the region".
Lisa said that our municipal government leaders have adopted their strategic plans, and they were working to start conversations on how to move forward together on the priorities, including working with regional partners to develop a regional economic development strategy that addresses business retention, expansion, and attraction, tourism, workforce development, infrastructure, policy/process reform and developing an economic subsystem that encourages entrepreneurship.
Lisa shared a few great tools that have been built for our community by various partners, including:
The local Chamber represents over 1000 businesses from every sector, with over 800 businesses having invested in membership of the Chamber - from large to small/micro companies, as well as private and not-for-profit members.
How does the Chamber help? Three key actions: CONNECT, SUPPORT, INFLUENCE.
Lisa explained how the advocacy role of the Chamber works and encouraged Rotarians to look on the Chamber's publications page and in their annual reports, to read about the many successes the Chamber has had in this field.
"We remain a member-driven, community-minded, solution-focused and collaborative organization. We recognize that our community is an eco-system that needs to work together to thrive. For our community to thrive, our businesses need to thrive to support the social fabric and sustainability of our community. For our businesses to thrive, we also need a healthy, active and thriving community that supports local and puts our local business community first. We are here to help the businesses that support our families and our community and we want to work to align our strategic goals to help our community thrive and grow".
After setting out the strategic goals of the Chamber, Lisa drew attention to the fact that the Chamber and Rotary share the common strategic goal of making great things happen in Medicine Hat, both as residents and as members of the business community, through effective partnerships, powerful connections, common interests and influential voices.
 
We too, Lisa, are excited to see what the future holds, knowing our Chamber is in very wise and capable hands!
 
P.S. Lisa would like us to explore the Chamber's page titled "Stories that Shape our Community": https://www.medicinehatchamber.com/storiesthatshapeourcommunity/. Stories that Shape our Community is a reminder of the importance of putting local first and the positive impact it has on shaping our communities – now and into the future. The episodes will give listeners an inside perspective on the “Why” behind these local businesses. There is no “one size fits all” approach in business and these stories will highlight those who shape our community in business and ideally help other businesses who find themselves in similar situations. Our local business owners and their teams will share their stories, showcasing the resiliency and positive impacts they make to help shape our community. Do have a look and a listen!
STATE OF BUSINESS: We are excited to see what the future holds! Margie Booyens 2022-06-21 06:00:00Z 0

Reagan Weeks -Classification talk

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Margie Booyens introduced Reagan weeks. Reagan is the Superintendent for the Prairie Rose School Division. She has two teenage children as well as being an avid skier, a Member of the Chamber of Commerce and  a Board member of the Sanare Center.
Reagan's road  as a teacher, educator and now superintendent all began with her first job as a City of Medicine Hat lifeguard. Her leadership style revolves around the thought that "How you do anything" is how you proceed in life. Reagan almost became a lawyer but the draw of teaching won out. Her first job was as a teacher at River Height elementary teaching grades 1- 6. This time then lead her to get her MBA (which was sponsored by the City of Medicine) and then her Master degree.
She was then given the position as principal of the Elm Street School. This school had the unacceptable position in having the lowest grades of any elementally school in the province. In accepting the challenge to change the direction and abilities of the children she partnered with the Medicine Hat College. She started with the induction of music with the help of many very accomplished musician from the college. She found that integrating music with high standards for teaching, had the students respond with better attendance and higher grades. She recounted her story of bringing the students to their first Music festival and the positive suggested improvements  noted by the adjudicators produced a positive response from the students and and more active involvement by parents who now fully support the children's music and the school.
Reagan has now incorporated that same principal but with sports, drone training and even training to become commercial air pilots. This is especially true with the aboriginal students who have come south with an elder. This training to be a pilot is needed for the northern communities. The main goal is Equity for all students.The 3 prong strategy starts with respect in the workforce,  updated policies and training in all levels of the school when significant issues are identified.
Overall a great presentation by a valued new member of the Rotary team. We look forward to  her contributes to Rotary and the community in the upcoming years.
 
Reagan Weeks -Classification talk Dave Stalwick 2022-06-13 06:00:00Z 0

Meeting with MH Interact Club

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On Monday May 30th, the Rotary Club celebrated Youth Service Month, with our annual supper meeting with the students in the Medicine Hat High School Interact Club.  The yearly event keeps us up to date on the activities of the Interact members and introduces the whole club to the Rotarians.  The meeting was chaired by the Interact President, Ezekiel Salazar-Bojorgez and the MH Rotary Youth Services Director, Peter Mueller.
 
This year it also gave us an opportunity to honor the Interact student advisor, Sue Withers who has served in that capacity for more than 15 years.  She is retiring at the end of this school year, and will be sorely missed by both the Rotary Club and the Interact students.  We can not thank Sue enough for her many years of service and her outstanding leadership of the Interact group.
 
Rotarians were also introduced to Sue's successor, Tiffany Adams, who has accepted the challenge and will take over the advisor role in the fall.
 
It was a great evening, wonderful fellowship and an awesome meal.
Meeting with MH Interact Club Dave Panabaker 2022-06-06 06:00:00Z 0

RYPEN: A story within a story

Our guest speaker, Klinton Nesmo, spoke passionately about the Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN) in our Rotary District (www.rypen5360.org) (rypen5360@gmail.com).
RYPEN is an annual indoor/outdoor summer camp of four days, for about forty 13-17 year olds, held on the Little Bow Travers Reservoir.
The emphasis is on facilitating personal growth and leadership development through experiential learning – learning by doing.
This year’s participants become next year’s leaders, which is not difficult to facilitate, as participants give the camp rave reviews and want to retain their connection.
RYPEN targets youth who have overcome adversity and can use the opportunity to experience and further develop their own strength and skills.
Heading up the camp is a leadership team of professionals, including social workers, counsellors and nurses. Rotarians are welcome to join the team. Rotarian Peter Imhoff (RC of Lethbridge Mosaic) heads up RYPEN at District level.
Rotary Clubs can sponsor one or more participants at the cost of $600 each – selecting a participant or sponsoring a place for a youth selected by another club. Clubs can also assist by providing transport for participants, to and from the camp.
The next RYPEN camp will be held from September 16-19, 2022.
We were privileged to hear our guest speaker’s very own RYPEN story and the impact his participation in the 2002 camp had on his life, which explain his passion for the program.
 
 
In his own words:
My involvement with RYPEN (Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment), dates back to 2002. The Medicine Hat Rotary Club sent me to a leadership camp in the Cypress Hills called RYPEN. As a Student , I had a life altering experience. I came back from this camp with more confidence, and the ability to take charge when needed. I was asked back the following years as a Youth Leader, then a Senior Leader. I am still with the camp, as a Senior Leader and part of the Administrative team. Having being involved with RYPEN 20 years now, I still hope to help change someone else’s life. Every year I hope to help someone for the better, as Rotary helped me years ago. And I would like to sincerely Thank the Rotary club for changing my life, and continuing to change lives for other youth across the world. As well as continuing to sponsor the camp for our youth in the Rotary 5360 district.
 
Forever in your debt
Klinton Nesmo
 
RYPEN: A story within a story Margie Booyens 2022-05-16 06:00:00Z 0

The impact of Covid on the car industry

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Amanda VanderMolen gave a very informative talk on how COVID has impacted the car industry, with particular reference to Toyota dealerships.
Since 2020, it has been a journey of ongoing hurdles and road blocks, an obvious one being the shortage of vehicles.
 
A chip shortage has evolved into a material shortage, including leather, plastic and the raw materials to make microchips and batteries.
Shipping delays and natural disasters have had major negative impacts, as has the war in Ukraine, rising interest rates, inflation and major staffing shortages with logistics companies.
 
“Keeping frustrated staff motivated and supporting them with realistic positivity, while communicating with customers that we are doing everything in our power to help” has been a major challenge.
 
Elaborating on the shortage of vehicles, Amanda said that “Of everything we have coming in, 95% of it is sold, and the other 5% ends up selling within hours”.
While Canadian car sales are down, Toyota is still the #1 manufacturer for retail sales, year to date.
Amanda spoke about the increase of vehicle exporters and how Toyota is dealing with that.
The shortages and logistics issues are not just limited to new vehicles. Parts departments are also impacted.
Amanda ended her presentation by saying that the car industry has changed forever; that she thinks the shortage situation will get worse before it gets better; and that she is grateful to work for a manufacturer like Toyota, “who is always pushing to make improvements and continues to make great products and remain realistic – only sourcing material by ethical means”.
After her presentation, Amanda very ably fielded a number of interesting questions.
 
The impact of Covid on the car industry Margie Booyens 2022-05-09 06:00:00Z 0

 Gwendoline Dirk - Classification Talk

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Gwendoline was born and raised on a family farm in Saskatchewan with 9 siblings.  She cherishes her farm background as it has given her the values she still carries today: a good attitude, working hard, helping others, compassion, empathy, and collaboration. 
                              
 
Her parents, especially her mother, were a strong advocates for education. Because of this Gwendoline, her three sisters, and one brother all have post secondary education.Gwendoline has one son who has recently married. Her son has also pursued post secondary education, and is presently working on his third degree: a Masters in Philosophy at the University of Alberta.  Presently, Gwendoline lives with her spouse, Peter Mueller and their two pets Benni and Princess. Gwendoline obtained her Bachelor of Education degree in 1986, and this led to a rewarding career teaching for 33 years: 20 years in the public school system and 13 years at the Medicine Hat College in adult development. She also obtained a Master of Education Degree from the University of Lethbridge in 2020.When Gwendoline’s division closed in June of 2020, she was faced with a new reality:  "What do I do now"? So she pursued many new interests and took courses in painting, sewing, computers, and many other things. Gwendoline has also been driven to being healthy, fit, and doing what she can to help create a society that values all people. She is currently part of Rotary, Kiwanis, and the MH Police Commission, and she volunteers for Saamis Immigration.       Gwen hinted that she will have a new and exciting project in the "near" future. Questions from the floor were all answered. 
Gwendoline Dirk - Classification Talk Dave Stalwick 2022-05-02 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Peace Fellow Presentation

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Lorelei Higgins to our meeting today, by ZOOM from Calgary, to speak about her experience as a Youth Exchange Student and a Rotary Peace fellow.
Lorelei was welcomed to the meeting by Acting President Gail Halderman, and introduced by Margie Booyens. 
 
Lorelei began her story with her unforgettable experience as a Rotary Exchange Student (1998-1999) to South Africa, post-apartheid.  She had such a life changing experience that she went on to post secondary education at the University of Alberta, completing a BA majoring in political science and international relations.  She went on to obtain a MBA from Royal Roads University majoring in Executive management and leadership.
 
She has subsequently gone on to gain experience by serving an internship with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Interantional Trade, in Bolivia and subsequently worked as a team leader and program officer for Ghost River Rediscovery (the NGO for which she interned).  She speaks four languages fluently and is presently emplyed with the City of Calgary, as an Indigenous Relations Strategist.  Her mandate is to develop the City's Indigenous Relations portfolio in light of the 2016 Truth and Reconciliation report.
 
She spoke about Peace Conversations as a way of getting started.  She attempts to "Increase Connectors and Decrease Dividers".
 
 
Lorelei is married with 2 children and is a proud member of the Metis community (she is pictured above with her Metis sash).  She spent time honoring her grandmother for teaching her many of the traditions of her family and that legacy motivates her to pass that along to her children.
 
As well as her many community service and volunteer activities, she was honored to win the 2021 Mrs. Canada competition.
A wonderful talk, a tremendous personality and incredible energy.  We were honored to have her speak.  A great example of the impact of some Rotary Youth programs, and how they pay dividends down the road.
Rotary Peace Fellow Presentation Dave Panabaker 2022-04-04 06:00:00Z 0

Medicine Hat College into the future

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“I have the best job in the world”
 
 
Kevin Shufflebotham, President and CEO of the Medicine Hat College since April 2019, bowled us over with his enjoyment of living in the Medicine Hat community and his commitment to the College staff and students.
 
Shortly after starting at the College, a strategic planning process was undertaken, involving all stakeholders and exemplifying Kevin’s vision to plan WITH stakeholders, working as a collective. The most important stakeholders? The students.
 
The College has five exciting priorities:
  • New program development
  • Offering ‘high flex’ learning
  • To offer own degrees
  • Expanding the cultural centre, development a stimulating space for students and expanding the fitness centre which will be open to the public
  • An Innovation Centre which will connect industry, faculty and students to solve problems
After the exploration of alternatives, the MHC Board has decided, for a number of good reasons, that the College will remain a Comprehensive Community College, rather than becoming a Polytechnic or a University.
 
Kevin fielded a number of questions and was then thanked by Dave.

Medicine Hat College into the future Margie Booyens 2022-03-14 06:00:00Z 0
Clubrunner Training Gwendoline Dirk 2022-03-07 07:00:00Z 0

Electric Utility Presentation

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This meeting was special meeting with a presentation by Bradley Maynes, Managing Director, Energy & Infrastructure for the City of Medicine Hat.
 
 
Bradley started his presentation by saying that the pricing for gas and electricity has been a hot topic in Medicine Hat. He also advised that COVID has been a dominating influence as well as the extreme weather...both hot and cold. Many people have been working from home which increased residential demands but this was offset by the reduction of demand from the commercial buildings.
He also showed graphs which outlined the cost of gas and electricity for the past few months as well as the estimate for the costs moving forward and how this influences the city's estimates. Brad talked about renewable resources and outlined the current supply generated by sources such as wind power, solar and other sources of power generation. The projection over the next 35 years outlines the continued growth of solar and wind generation and a reduced need for gas and oil generation facilities.
The new Thermal power generation system, called Unit 17 will be completed next month. This new facility has been built on budget and on time in spite of the restriction imposed by COVID. This new UNIT 17 will be the beginning of Medicine Hat being the "Renewable Heartland" for  the new renewable energy solutions such a Green Hydrogen.
One major obstacle is the need for better storage or batteries for the power that is generated during the day by solar and for wind turbine power collected as the wind allows. Currently there are only two main power transmission lines from Medicine Hat and so these will have to be maximized as we move forward. 
He also outlined the need for a new electric delivery system as the new demand for power for homes and business will dramatically increase with the charging stations required for these new electric vehicles and residential heating needs. There is also the need to deal with the new solar generation from residential roofs and how that influences the electric grid by either a demand during peak needs or the supply back to the system by over capacity created by the solar panels. 
The export/sale of surplus energy needs to comply with the new standards set by the  "Clean Energy Standards" that will be implemented by 2030.  
Brad fielded several questions from the group.
 
This was an excellent presentation.
 
Electric Utility Presentation Dave Stalwick 2022-03-07 07:00:00Z 0

The New Generations Service Exchange Program

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AG Keith kicked off by giving the meeting a rundown of the many events being planned at District and International levels.
 
Keith also reminded our members about the fundraising raffle of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat - Sunrise, of which he is the co-President. The winner will be the lucky recipient of two e-bikes. A second upcoming initiative of the Sunrise Club is a walk, at twilight, on the Sunrise Rotary Trail on Wednesday March 2, starting from the MH Cultural Centre at the College at 5:30pm. See the Sunrise Club's Facebook page for more details.
 
After this overview of events, Keith spoke about Rotary's New Generations Service Exchange (NGSE) program.
 
The District NGSE team comprises seven Rotarians, Rotex and Rotaract members, located in different cities in our District and chaired by Margie Booyens.
 
Keith spoke about the successful 8-week virtual exchange of Juliana Nishitani ('Juba') from Sao Paulo, Brazil) in our District in 2021 - two weeks in each of Medicine Hat, Calgary, Olds/Red Deer and Lethbridge that combined the three key components of the NGSE: the vocational, cultural and Rotary service. He mentioned that this exchange will be presented in a breakaway session during the upcoming Rotary International Convention in Houston, in June 2022.
 
The next inbound virtual exchange is on the topic of Agriculture: Crop Production.
 
In closing, Keith reminded members of the many benefits of participating at District, Club and personal levels, in the NGSE, and invited members to contact him or Margie to find out more.
The New Generations Service Exchange Program Margie Booyens 2022-02-14 07:00:00Z 0

Update on the 2022 Rotary Music Festival

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Acting President Mike Christie, introduced Rotarian Don Davis, who is the Chairman of the Music Festival committee.  Don was delighted to welcome Delynne Lorenzten to our meeting today and did a short introduction.  Delynne has been the Executive Director of the Rotary Music Festival for the past 5 years, and has done an amzing job coping with the issues around the Public Health restrictions.  Don described her as an "indominable" force, and everyone in attendance can agree with that.
 
Delynne spoke briefly about her love for music, how it is very important in her own home and how both her boy's have benefited from their musical education.  This year's Festival will be a little more open that last years entirely virtual experience.  Although it was certainly different, last year's performances and celebrations must be viewed as a success, as many festivals across the project were canceled outright.  The Facebook live stream views from last year had 1,200 views of the Rosebowl and 4,100 views of the Stars of the Festival.
 
This year we have approximately 160 participants, about 510 entries into various categories.  Although there will be no groups larger than duet's performing in the Festival, Delynne believes that 6 school bands will be included this year (which will add at least 200 additional participants to the event).
Delynne spoke about the changes to venue's, with the MH College being entirely shut down to visitors.  We will still have the craft room and the black box theater at the Cultural Center, which are considered "city" rooms.  The Rosebowl will be performed ath the Esplanade Studio Theater (to your right as you enter the lobby) and the Stars of the Festival will take place at St Barnabas Church as it did last year.  Delynne was very happy to report that Mayor Clark will attend the Rosebowl this year.
 
Delynne spoke about the need for volunteers and the enriching experience it can be to participate.  As well, it was great to hear that a past Rosebowl winner, Kumiko Sakamoto will be in town to adjudicate in the Musical Theater discipline, so it's great to see some of our graduates return.
 
The Rotary Club is proud to sponsor the Music Festival, now in it's 67th year, and we are delighted and grateful for all the hard work done by Delynne and her team.
 
 
 
 
Update on the 2022 Rotary Music Festival Dave Panabaker 2022-01-24 07:00:00Z 0

Methanex Presentation

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We welcomed the new Plant Manager, Brad Apking and Stakeholder Relations Coordinator Jody McGill.
 
 
Methanex took over the plant-site in Medicine Hat in 1992, so they will celebrate 30 years in the community this summer.  The plant originally was constructed by Alberta Gas Chemicals and opened in 1972, so a 50 year anniversary is also in the calendar for this year.
 
Brad has been with Methanex for 9 years, and transferred to  Medicine Hat in June of last year.  He spent a little time speaking to the change in climate and lifestyle from his previous posting in Louisiana.  Methanex is a Canadian company, headquartered in Vancouver.  They have 1,500 employee's worldwide and make approx. 13% of the worlds methanol supply.
Brad recommended the company website, www.methanex.com , to everyone for much more information.  He spoke about the uses of the product and some of the challenges of the Medicine Hat location.  He mentioned that they have had 6 years of operation without a lost time injury and work diligently on Emergency Management.  They also have been awarded several safe operation and safe shipping awards.
 
Brad and Jody invited everyone to the plant site in the Fall of 2022, for the annual "Connecting with Community" day.
Methanex Presentation Dave Panabaker 2022-01-17 07:00:00Z 0

Meeting with the new Mayor

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Medicine Hat's new Mayor, Linnsie Clark, to our meeting today.  She spoke about her first 50 days in office and her experience so far in the role.
 
Mayor Linnsie was welcomed by President Terry Partis and introduced by Membership Director Mike Christie.
 
 
Linnsie was born in Oyen, and grew up on a ranch south of Medicine Hat.  She attended the University of Lethbridge for her undergraduate degree and obtained her law degree at the University of Victoria.  She worked for 10 years in Vancouver with the hospital union, and returned to Medicine Hat as a solicitor for the City in 2017.  She expressed her passion for the community and for a healthy, vibrant population.
 
She spoke about the difficult times that the community has endured during the COVID period, particularly the economy and the mental health of both the community at large and individuals.
 
She appreciates the Rotary principles, and our motto of "Service above Self" and she hopes to make a difference during her time as Mayor.  She mentioned the challenges that face members of the community, housing, mental health and substance abuse.  She spoke about the budgeting challenges and upcoming Strategic Planning that this Council will do together.  She sees exceptional talents in the Council, and is hoping to lead them towards a bright future.
 
Many questions were asked and answered and President Terry expressed his appreciation for the Mayor's attendance and her willingness to speak to us.
Meeting with the new Mayor Dave Panabaker 2021-12-13 07:00:00Z 0

Update from Canadian Humanitarian

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Bisrat Sime, the Country Coordinator for Canadian Humanitarian in Ethiopia, as well as Deb Northcott who with spouse and Rotarian Dick run this charity.  Bisrat has been with Canadian Humanitarian since 2010 and with other NGO's prior to that since 1996.
Bisrat spent some time detailing the program in the area of Addis Ababa, as well as several centers in the south of the country. He spoke about the need for care, for vocational and educational training and support for high education that they have been able to provide.
 
They are involved with over 1600 children in 7 different centers.  He gave several great examples of success stories with graduates, who have gone on to professional careers and have broken the cycle of poverty.  He spoke about the difficulty of operating with COVID restrictions over the past year, involving home study, phone comsultation and scheduled visits to promote social distancing.  He also spoke about the political instability, which has resulted in an ongoing war in the north part of the country which is very troubling.
He finished his talk by thanking all those present for their support over the past years, which has been vital and essential to their success.  He is confident and hopeful that Rotarians will continue to support the organization and their work.
Update from Canadian Humanitarian Dave Panabaker 2021-11-29 07:00:00Z 0

Community Service Opportunities

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Rotary Club Community Service Director Mike Christie took the opportunity at today's meeting to review several very worthwhile projects.  These projects have approached our club for support, and while we don't have the resources to support all of them, he believed that our club members might be interested in one of these specific initiatives.
 
MHART
 
 
Dick Bide has drawn this organization to our attention and offered to match a $200 donation.
 
MHART is an initiative of six local churches, which began in 2015, to sponsor a family from Syria. Now a non-profit society, MHART invites you to help us rescue six members of this South Sudanese family from the Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya & settle them in our community.
 
MHART plans to sponsor six of William's relatives, including his mother and five educated young people, eager to work and contribute to our community. The Government of Canada will bring these family members to Medicine Hat, provided we can raise $15,000 per person to support their first year of settlement.  
 
 
 
Medicine Hat Women's Shelter - ADOPT A FAMILY

Last year COVID-19 made MHWSS re-evaluate the most effective way to operate our program while keeping all our staff, volunteers, clients and sponsors safe and healthy.  The changes we made turned out to be a huge success with a lot of positive feedback from clients.  We have listened to the needs of those who access our services and are going to no longer run our program as a matching program.  Instead, we are asking our community to assist us through donations of new toys and gift cards so we can then provide the parent the opportunity to choose the gifts their child will receive.

We are excited to be able to empower Mom or Dad with the opportunity to be a part of choosing items that will make their child's Christmas special.  Mom or Dad will also receive a gift package and each family will receive a gift card for groceries.

We hope you will consider helping to make a difference in the lives of one of these families in need.

We invite you to support the program in any of the following ways:

  1. Donate new toys, gifts (for all ages) or gift cards by dropping them off at Sun Valley Honda and Davis GMC in Medicine Hat between November 12 and December 17.
  2. Make a financial donation towards the program (this can be done online at www.mhwss.ca, e-transfer to info@mhwss.ca or mail a cheque)
Deidre Giesbrecht, Volunteer and Donation Coordinator
Medicine Hat Women's Shelter Society
 
 
Medicine Hat Santa Claus Fund
 
Dieter Brand mentioned that former club member Mike Hertz was a long time supporter of the Medicine Hat Santa Claus Fund.
 
The form for making a donation is available in "PDF" form in Club Documents.
 
 
Community Service Opportunities Dave Panabaker 2021-11-22 07:00:00Z 0

Cancarb Presentation by Peter Donnelly

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The Rotary Club welcomed Peter Donnelly to our meeting today.  Peter is the President of Cancarb, a producer of thermal carbon black located in Medicine Hat.  They were established in Medicine Hat in 1973, and will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2023.  Their parent company is the 4th largest carbon black producer in the world, Tokai Carbon Group. Previously they were owned by Trans Canada Pipeline Ltd for over 20 years.  Cancarb currently have 82 Full Time employee's in their office in Brier Park, as well as support a wide range of contractors, consultants and suppliers in the area.  Carbon Black is used as a strengthening agent in rubber, and at least 75% of their product finds its way into the automotive business in some way.
Carbon Black is manufactured by a thermal decomposition process, in which methane is converted to pure carbon and hydrogen.  At the local Cancarb plant, the methane feedstock is natural gas.  The manufacturing process creates a lot of waste heat, and in 2001 an electric generating plant, designed to use the waste heat as steam to produce power was commissioned.  When the carbon black plant is operating smoothly, they produce approx 25 MW of power, which is sold to the City of Medicine Hat on a long term power purchase agreement.  A great arrangement for all concerned.
 
The carbon black from the local plant is shipped around the world, in fact 94% of it is exported.  Peter made several comments about the current difficulties in the supply chain system and difficulties in transportation.  Peter spoke about the recent commissioning of Train 6, which was completed in 2021 at a cost of $35M.  It was the first major expansion of the processing plant in quite a while, and a great sign of success and a prosperous future.
 
He also spoke about their passion, which was to have a "Perfect Day".  It combines their cultural, operational, safety and customer activities into a simple slogan for staff.
 
A great presentation, a number of good questions asked and answered.  We all wished Peter and his staff a lot of "Perfect Days" in the future.
Cancarb Presentation by Peter Donnelly Dave Panabaker 2021-11-15 07:00:00Z 0

Reorganized Veiner & Strathcona Centres

President Terry introduced our guest speakers today. Jolene McIvor is the Community Engagement Assistant at the Veiner Centre. Cori Fischer is a Director of both the Veiner & Strathcona Centres.
 
Both ladies have extensive service in the non-profit organizational environment.
   
Reorganized Veiner & Strathcona Centres Terry Partis 2021-11-01 06:00:00Z 0

Sanare Centre presentation

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Introduced by Community Services Director Mike Christie, and assisted in her presentation by Rotarian Brent Secondiak, the Rotary Club welcomed the Executive Director of the Sanare Centre, Christina Johnson.  The Rotary Club has selected the Sanare Center as the focus of our Community Service work this year, and has successfully applied for a District Grant for work on the reception area of the new location of the Sanare Center, which is in the strip mall adjacent to the Thai Orchid restaurant.
Sanare Centre (Sanare means "to heal" in Latin) will be moving to this location over the winter months, with a hopefully opening date of March 31, 2022.  Sanare will own this space, and will utilize the space for their Child Advocacy Center, which is a partnership of Alberta Health Services, the Medicine Hat Police Service, the RCMP, the Prosecutors office and Alberta Child Services. 
Christine explained some of the history of Centre, and it's predecessor organizations.  They have been in the community for 40 years, and since 2015 have been a "standalone" charity.  They have grown to 17 staff and provide both trauma and triage service, as well as a variety of educational programs.  It is an unfortunate reality that they have exceed their initial projection of helping 100 children per year, and are now at a rate to more than double that number.  They have an experienced and skilled interview and counseling staff.
 
Christine answered a number of questions about their staff, their process and the need within the community.
 
Much more information is available from their website, https://sanarecentre.ca .
 
More information and photos of the work we are doing inside the Centre will be coming in the next few months.
Sanare Centre presentation Dave Panabaker 2021-10-25 06:00:00Z 0

Paul Harris Fellowship award to Helio Colaco

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District Governor Martin Parnell began the explanation of today's award of a Paul Harris Fellowship to Helio Colaco.
 
Rotary established the Paul Harris Fellowship in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to what was then the Foundations' only program, the Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships.  In 1969 the Rotary Foundation unveiled the first Paul Harris medallion at the Rotary Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Since the International Assembly in 1979, where incoming RI President James Bomar challenged each Rotary Club to make one non-Rotarian a Paul Harris Fellow, the first recipient was Mother Teresa in 1980, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Pikesville, Maryland.
 
Margie Booyens and Cinthia Correa Da Costa then filled members in about Helio Cosaco’s connection with Rotary and why he was being given this award by the Rotary Club of Sao Paulo (Sudeste).

Nicole Nemo, who is on the staff of the MH College, was part of the MH NGSE team that helped plan the 8-week virtual exchange of business graduate Juliana Nishitani of Sao Paulo. Nicole connected with colleague Helio, whom she knew had emigrated to Canada from Brazil and could speak Portuguese.

Helio mentored Juliana throughout her exchange program, interpreting, sharing, listening and supporting. He gave a huge amount of time and energy to Juliana and the program, which made a significant contribution to the success of the exchange.

Helio then went on to assist the RC of Sao Paulo (Sudeste), virtually, with the development and presentation of a Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) project at the Valentim Gentil Public School in Sao Paulo over a number of months this year. The Rotarians involved experienced Helio as a kind person, dedicated and totally involved with the project and the children. He remains virtually involved in the second presentation of this STEM project.

Helio lives out the Rotary motto of ‘Service above Self’ and has promised to consider membership of Rotary once he completes his Masters degree in Artificial Intelligence.

The Paul Harris Fellowship was presented to Helio by Cinthia Correa Da Costa, on behalf of the RC of San Paulo Sudeste and District 4420.

Congratulations Helio on your contribution to two Rotary projects – jobs well done! You are most deserving of Paul Harris recognition.

 
 
 
 
 
Paul Harris Fellowship award to Helio Colaco Dave Panabaker 2021-10-04 06:00:00Z 0

2021-2022 Club Budget

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Today's business meeting centered around the adoption of our 2021-2022 Club budget.  Treasurer Gail Halderman walked the club through the various avenues of service and the proposed funding of each of them.  It is certainly not a normal year, but our Community and International Service projects are both funded and our contribution to the Rotary Music Festival is also in line with our funding agreement.
Gail spoke about the approach to the budget, which contains a few conservative estimates so that we don't promise more than we can deliver.  By spring, the funding and financial position may look much different, and at that time other projects could be considered if the budget has a significant surplus.
 
Gail spoke about our fundraising projects, and the need to finish the trail signage along Rotary Centennial trail.  As well, the club's support of the Sanare Centre is provided for in the budget, so that should be a wonderful project.  As part of the budget, it was mentioned that the annual club dues, of $250/year, are now due.  Gail is sending out invoices for those that haven't paid already.  The budget was recommended for approval by Gail, seconded by Dave Panabaker and approved without opposition.
2021-2022 Club Budget Dave Panabaker 2021-09-27 06:00:00Z 0

Update on Team Free Wheel

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Another service project is winding up for this year, as fall weather arrives and the bicycle season draws to a close.  Thanks to Terry Cooper for the notes on this project.
To date the bike "working bee" (Peter, Doug, Dale, Adolf, Roger, Marco, Glen, Anne, Margie and I) have collected and refurbished 138 bikes (122 distributed, 16 in Sea-Can ready for distribution).  Anne and Margie are currently in the process of identifying organizations and families to receive the bikes.  Most bikes have the police identification sticker attached, and can be registered by the recipients with the Police Service.
The Sea-Can also has the spare tires and wheels that we have stripped from bikes that cannot be economically repaired.  The new helmets (thanks in part to the Sunrise Rotary Club) are also stored in the Sea-Can.
Now that the weather is cooling down, we plan to look for more bikes at the police compound and start up the working bees with additional volunteers from the Sunrise Rotary Club.  peter still has 5 bikes he is working on at this place.  Our plan is to work as long as we have bikes and the organizations to give them to.  Once the cold weather sits in we will store the bikes for repair in the Sea-Can and will get back into the repair mode in the spring.
 
 
Update on Team Free Wheel Dave Panabaker 2021-09-20 06:00:00Z 0

Prairie Gleaners Visit

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat enjoyed an opportunity for service, with a visit to Prairie Gleaners on Saturday morning.  Prairie Gleaners provides the basics of a nourishing soup from donated produce that is either not capable of making the sale specifications for grocery stores or has been donated by the community.  They get a wide variety of produce and ship the product both internationally as well as providing it at the local Mustard Seed.  Waste product from the process is used by local livestock farms, so nothing goes to waste.
 
6 Rotarians were joined by 2 spouses, and combined to package 600 bags of product.  Each bag makes 125 cups of soup, so the effort will provide over 75,000 cups of soup.  The event  produced positive feedback by those that participated and we anticipate a desire to return on a regular basis.  President Terry Partis took a few photos of the work.
 
 
Prairie Gleaners Visit Dave Panabaker 2021-09-20 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Learning Center

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Robert Wolfson, with the District 5360 Learning and Development Committee.  Rob joined the Rotary Club of Calgary Chinook in 2014 and has been actively involved with the club on many committees and at the Board level.  He has just completed his year as Past President of the club.  Interestingly he was the lead Chair for Rotary Rib-fest YYC in 2019 and 2021 and the Rotary McMahon movie night.  He is a competitive 5 pin bowler and volunteers and coaches youth in weekly youth leagues.  He and his wife Angela have two teenage children.
He provided instruction and insight into the Rotary Learning Center, on the RI website.  A great resource for "all things Rotary".
 
First you need to ensure you have a "my Rotary" login, which is obtainable at www.rotary.org. Note, please use the email address that Rotary uses, that is used to link your Rotary information to your "myRotary" account.
 
The site has a great number of courses about Rotary History, Getting started in Rotary, Rotary Basics and Club Officer Material.  Rob's presentation has been saved under "Club Documents - Rotary Speaker Presentations" for anyone who needs a refresher or missed the talk.  Rob answered a number of questions, after his presentation.
 
Rob was thanked by Acting President Margie.
 
 
Rotary Learning Center Dave Panabaker 2021-08-30 06:00:00Z 0

Strategic Planning Update

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President Terry Partis introduced Rotarian Ken Feser, who has offered to use his experience at Strategic Planning, within established organizations to work for us in updating our 2019 Strategic Plan.  Ken took the podium and provide a little background about himself, and his desire to help with this particular project.
 
Strategic Planning is one of Ken's passions, and is a believer in the Rotary Club and it's principles.  He described himself as not an "engaged" Rotarian, but a capable writer and facilitator.
 
Ken provided a summary of his planned activities and outcomes to the Rotary Board in July, and the Board has given their consent to proceed with this project.  Our 2019 Strategic Plan was never quite completed, and part of what he will do is review that process and see where there is work we can build on.  He will be conducting interviews this month with a number of Rotarians, and he stated that although change is sometimes a good thing, it "can't destroy what existing members cherish".  He also acknowledged that the club is aging, over 50% of the members are over 70 years old, so refreshing membership is a key.  He was also excited about working with younger members and youth; who bring passion and energy that we can all feed off of.
 
Ken was thanked by President Terry, and his first output is expected at the August Board meeting.
Strategic Planning Update Dave Panabaker 2021-08-09 06:00:00Z 0

Talk by DG Martin Parnell

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The annual tradition of a visit from the District Governor continued at Rotary today, as our newly installed DG Martin Parnell, of the Rotary Club of Cochrane, joined us by ZOOM.  Martin was introduced by Assistant Governor Dan Kammerer, who was "pitch hitting" for AG Keith Walker.
AG Dan introduced Martin Parnell, a long term Rotarian from the RC of Cochrane, married to Sue, with 3 children and the 3 "best" grandchildren.  Martin left the mining industry after 25 years, but he certainly didn't "retire".  He has had a long term personal project in terms of a "Quest for Kids", and has run a number of overseas marathons, completed a 250 marathon in one year task and has raised over $1.3 Million dollars for the organization "Right To Play".
 
Martin is an author, with his latest book coming out this year, and has been a long service Rotarian.
 
Martin began his talk with a land acknowledgement for District 5360, and spoke about the transition from a "virtual" world to the "new normal", which might not look quite like the normal we left 18 months ago.  He stressed that we need to be flexible and adaptable in Rotary, especially this year as we move back to "in person" meetings.
Martin talked about an African proverb, " if you want to go fast, go alone...and if you want to go far, go together".  He liked that image, because as Rotarians when we are together we can go a long way.
 
Martin spoke about his focus on the Strategic Plan of the District, the "Family of Rotary" and his three special initatives.  He mentioned "Move for Polio", and reminded everyone that donations to the campaign are matched 2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  He spoke about Wed March 2, 2022 which will be Rotary Day of Service, with an emphasis on empowering and supporting girls and women.  His third special promotion was the 2022 District Conference, a one day event in Cochrane on Saturday May 14, 2022.  They are hoping for 400 participants, and the charity partner that day will be Shelterbox.
 
He asked some questions of the club and answered a few questions from the group.  We look forward to an exciting year Martin, thanks for visit!!
Talk by DG Martin Parnell Dave Panabaker 2021-07-26 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary "Drive-Thru" Ribfest 2021

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat is proud to participate in 2021 Rotary Rib-Fest again this year.  A big "THANK YOU" to Murray Chev Cadillac for allowing the use of their property again this year.
 
The dates have recently been confirmed as Friday August 6, 2021 (starting at 11:00 am) and running through to Sunday August 8, 2021 (finishing at about 7:00 pm).  It does take "serve" to a completely different place, but based on last year's wonderful ribs, they will "change lives"...so come on out and enjoy.
Rotary "Drive-Thru" Ribfest 2021 Dave Panabaker 2021-07-24 06:00:00Z 0

Special Meeting of the Music Festival Society

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President of the Music Festival Society, Milan Vujovic took the podium today and operated a Special General Meeting of the Rotary Music Festival Society.  The purpose of the meeting was to approve a set of updated and revised Society bylaws, which would open up membership in the Society to the general public.
After calling the meeting to order, Milan provided some background to the changes and there were a few comments and questions answered from the Project Team members.  After those were complete, on a motion made by Don Davis and seconded by Dave Panabaker, the revised bylaws were approved unanimously.  Anne Carrier, as the recording secretary for the Society, took attendance and confirmed that significantly more than a minimum quorum were present to approve this historic change.
 
The work continues, as new membership applications for the society were available at the meeting and the existing Society Board will begin recruiting interested parties from the music community.
Thanks were given to the Project team and to the existing Music Festival Society Board, for all the hard work that went into this project.  There is more work to do, but this was a significant step forward.
 
 
Special Meeting of the Music Festival Society Dave Panabaker 2021-07-19 06:00:00Z 0

Summary of the Meeting

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President Terry spent a few minutes speaking about the "Move for Polio" initiative, which has been created through District 5360 to support the End Polio campaign.
 
 
The campaign main page can be found by following this link. https://go.rotary5360gives.org/polio/Campaign/Details 
 
You can sign up yourself, any activity will do.  And you can share your individual sign up link, to get contributions from friends and family.
 
A specific question was asked, "Although you will get a charitable receipt, will Rotarians get Foundation Points when they donate."  Answer to the question is "Yes, when you donate you will be asked if you are a Rotarian and what club you belong to, that will be used to track your points"
 
Great fundraiser for Rotary's # 1 priority, the eradication of Polio throughout the world.
Summary of the Meeting Dave Panabaker 2021-07-12 06:00:00Z 0

Move for Polio

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President Terry Partis spent some time speaking to the club about a significant initiative that is going on within Rotary District 5360.
 
As everyone knows, the job to "End Polio" is Rotary's # 1 priority, everywhere in the world.  We need to get this done, both because the goal is definitely in sight and so we can go on to do more good work in the world.  Rotary District 5360, with PDG Dan Dorherty and his wife Marlene have come up with a fundraising project that works very well with DG Martin's "more than healthy" lifestyle.
 
The project is called "Move for Polio", in any way you can.  Set a goal on an individual basis, sponsor another Rotarian or just make a financial donation.  President Terry will be sending out invitations to join "Team Medicine Hat", and have your contribution counted.  Any activity qualifies, walking your dog, swimming, running, biking, working a bingo, Team Freewheel's outside work certainly qualifies.
 
 
We hope to celebrate the success of this project, at World Polio Day in October.
 
 
Move for Polio Dave Panabaker 2021-07-05 06:00:00Z 0

Presentations in the Park

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Newly Inducted President Terry Partis spoke for a few minutes about some of the priorities of his year, which begin with membership.  "Many hands make light work", and every new member we induct will add strength to the club and lighten the load for the rest of us.  He passed around two club photos taken over the past 15 years, and noted how much change there has been in our membership.
 
First, he assisted Keith Walker in the induction of his new Board.
Melanie Harty (President-elect) had a conflict and could not be present, and Peter Mueller "was a little late" and not present for the induction.  We forgave him, because he brought a new member with him.
 
Terry spoke about the "Move for Polio" initiative of our incoming District Governor Martin Parnell, so far 26 clubs in the District have registered a champion for their club and Terry is looking for someone to step to this roll in our club.
 
Terry also spoke about the District 5360 Indigenous Committee, which will be working on engaging the native community over this year.
 
Terry also spoke about the structure of meetings, as we go back to "near normal" in terms of COVID protocols.  He sees a mixture of in-person and virtual meetings, in the future, with at least one "hands on" type meeting in the community over the next few months.  Stay tuned, more information to come.
 
Terry was then able to turn the meeting into a great series of recognition for the efforts of Rotarians and others in helping our community.
First, the Rotary Club was delighted to recognize the amazing work of our Music Festival Executive Director Delynne Lorentzen, who was able to pull together a "virtual" Festival this spring and provide over 150 kids with the opportunityto "have a stage", and many 100's of others to watch remotely.  Great work Delynne!
Next new Rotarian Brent Secondiak was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship by PDG Sandy Mackay.  Brent has been a force in our community as a senior member of the Police department and a worthy recipient of this honor.
Next PDG Sandy presented Bruce Shepard with his Paul Harris +1 pin, for his continued financial contributions to the Rotary Foundation.  Thanks for ths support of the Foundation, where we get the funds to give back to the community!
 
Presentations in the Park Dave Panabaker 2021-06-28 06:00:00Z 0

2021 Rosebowl Winner - Josie Hoffarth

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The Rotary Club welcomed Josie Hoffarth and her parents to our meeting this evening, and enjoyed a performance of "3 Preludes" by G. Gershwin. Josie was the winner of the 2021 Rotary Rosebowl, a unique competition in that the entire Festival was put on virtually and the Rosebowl was performed without an audience and judging was done remotely.  Josie was introduced by the President of the Music Festival Society, Milan Vujovic who described Josie as a "force", driven and determined.  She is passionate about music and dance, as well as being a golf and silver medalist at her studies.
"Sitting still" is not in her vocabulary and she will begin a degree in Arts at the Medicine Hat College in the fall.
Josie finished by thanking everyone in the Rotary Club for the opportunity to perform, for the operation of the Music Festival over the past 65 years and for finding a way to have the Festival during this pandemic.
2021 Rosebowl Winner - Josie Hoffarth Dave Panabaker 2021-06-21 06:00:00Z 0

Economic Development Presentation

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Lisa Kowalchuk, Executive Director of the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce to our meeting today.  Lisa was introduced by Mike Christie and joined us to talk about the COVID pandemic, it's impact on the local business community and how she perceives the business communities ability to bounce back from this trying year.
Lisa's presentation was titled "Economic Impacts, Outcomes and Opportunities for Southern Alberta in a Post COVID Economy".  Lisa began by thanking the student who helped her assemble the survey and statistics for the presentation, Rebecca Weiler (who joined us as a guest).  The report surveyed most of the Chambers members, talked about the impacts of the closures, and layoffs of the beginning of the pandemic and looked at the options that industries explored to maintain cashflow and employment.
 
The entire report is available at https://growthzonesitesprod.azureedge.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/1308/2021/04/Economic-Impacts-Report-Final-Copy.pdf and other information about the Medicine Hat and District Chamber of Commerce is available on the groups website https://www.medicinehatchamber.com .
 
Lisa spoke about the disruptions, and the various financial supports offered by each level of government.  She stressed that recovering businesses need price and cost certainty going forward.
 
She asked and answered a number of questions, and was thanked by Acting President Melanie.
Economic Development Presentation Dave Panabaker 2021-06-14 06:00:00Z 0

Review of the recent Club Satisfaction survey

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Incoming President Terry Partis, from his floating cottage near Kingston, Ontario joined the meeting and reviewed some of his preparatory work for his term July 2021 - June 2022.
Terry spoke first about his interesting experience driving across the prairies and Ontario, to get to both his clients and his boat.  The concept of checkpoints along the Trans Canada Highway is one thing we'll be happy to forget once the pandemic is history.  He thanked the 62% of club members (32 of 52) who responded to the Club Health Checkup, and explained that some of the comments and significant points would form the basis of his priorities for 2021-2022.  He broke the  talk into the Good/Attention/Needs Attention.
 
He spoke about the value of club culture, of communication between the Board and the club members, making valuable use of the meeting times and getting feedback from everyone.  He encouraged anyone who had not filled out the original survey to contact him by email or phone, if they wanted to express an opinion.
 
Under the heading of "Attention", he mentioned that engagement of all members, in some form of the Rotary world, and in the entire club is needed.  He wanted to make sure that new members have mentors, the mentors are known to all and that they perform a more active role in the instruction of new Rotarians.   He encouraged everyone to have a "MyRotary" account, to use the resources of "Rotary.org" to access the Learning Center, a great informative tool.  He wants to "change those things that aren't working" and to increase participation.He is looking for all of us to be "membership" champions, to promote Rotary within our friends and family.  New members, especially within younger, diverse sectors of the population would be wonderful.  Mike Christie is membership chair, and his committee could use all our support.
 
Under the heading of "Needs Attention Now", he listed four area's that he will need help right away.
  1. Perhaps the most important "immediate need" is someone to join the Board as the Director of Community Service, to fill the big shoes of Melanie Harty, as she moves into the roll of President-elect.
  2. He needs someone to champion new fundraising activities, someone who can lead a small committee to explore alternatives to our current fundraising activities.  Without funds, we can't do too much.  This someone willing to be a champion, but not necessarily a full Director with those associated time commitments.
  3. He needs a promotions and communication champion.  This person doesn't need to be a Board member, but he wants to keep communication open between the Board and members, promote Rotary within the community and increase our profile.
  4. He thanked  Ken Feser for responding to his call for help updating the strategic plan.  Ken will help facilitate additions to our existing strategic plan, to provide real goals, timelines and responsible parties for change.  There is room in this group to join Mike Christie and Ken Feser, on this project.
He thanked all of us for an "extended" 10 minute talk....and we all look forward to his year and some great things!
Review of the recent Club Satisfaction survey Dave Panabaker 2021-06-07 06:00:00Z 0

Interact Student evening

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The Rotary Club was delighted to visit with the young leaders of the Medicine Hat High Interact club on Monday evening.  Even if the visit had to be "virtual", it is always great to catch up with the students and find out what projects they have been involved with and what their plans for next year are.
 
The 2020-2021 President of the MH High Interact club is Ezekiel Salazar, who had each of the 8 other students introduce themselves and speak about why they joined the Interact club.  The club had a total of 15 members this year, and with COVID restrictions had to split it's meetings into two  separate times, to ensure social distancing.  Even with those road blocks, they have done some amazing things.
 
Ezekiel began by thanking the Rotary Club and it's members for the work at the Sea-Can Garage Sale in September of 2020.  That event, based on donations by Rotarians and the Interact students, raised $1,700 for the clubs activities.  The Interact Club also did a poppy campaign in support of the Legion on Remembrance Day, and helped participate in Operation Christmas Child, organized through Hillcrest Church.  They also did a number of Christmas cards to those staying at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital over the Christmas season.
 
The club also did a public campaign to thank essential workers, titled "#MHSaysThankYou".  They encouraged schools to provide posters and cards that hung in many stores in the area.  They got support from schools all over the region.
 
As well, they participated in the CFSEA - Youth in Philantrophy program, and donated $1,800 to the MH and District Food Bank.
 
Many of the students, including those in the executive will be back next year, and they are already looking at a list of potential projects for 2021-2022.
 
After the presentation, the students were congradulated by PE Terry Partis on the great work and a special thank you to VP Sue Withers, our faculty advisor for many years.  Without that school based support, the Interact club would be virtually impossible to run.  We really appreciate all her efforts.  As well, PE Terry thanked Theresa Eisenbarth, the Rotary advisor to the Interact students who helps support their efforts and introduces them to all things Rotary.  In this very odd year, meetings were difficult and her role tougher to perform and we thanked her for her work.
 
It's always an uplifting meeting and we were all amazed at the great work, during a tough year, done by the Interact students!
 
 
Interact Student evening Dave Panabaker 2021-05-31 06:00:00Z 0

Membership Presentation - PDG Neil Berg

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed back Past District Governor (PDG) Neil Berg from the Rotary Club of Red Deer East.  Neil was the District Governor in 2016-2017 and has been President of his club twice. Neil has assumed many roles within his club and within the District, and he is currently the District Membership Chair. He is still actively working in wealth management for RBC and feels his retirement is "a long way into the future".
Neil is a man who claims he has no original thoughts, but he has come across many great idea's for attraction and retention in Rotary, and loves to speak about them.
 
The first key point he wanted to make was clearly identified in the Rotary International, and District survey's over the past five years.  The "onboarding" process for a new member is critical to keeping them engaged and interested through the two most vulnerable periods of membership, the six month interval and the two year interval.  Clearly identifying a new Rotarians passions and trying to support them are key, as well as mentoring them through the bizarre number of acronyms and abbreviations that make up Rotary.
 
He spoke at length about "Vibrant Clubs", how they both share a common purpose, have diversity of opinion and thought, and a meeting has a certain "buzz" about it.  He spoke about being accountable, as individuals and as a club to make our strategy's work and report on them.
 
He finished with some tactics around being successful and how being "welcoming", having engaging and relevant guest speakers and working on picking potentially good Rotarians, worrying about "fit vs fill" was important.
 
Neil took a few questions and was thanked by our club membership chair, Mike Christie
Membership Presentation - PDG Neil Berg Dave Panabaker 2021-05-17 06:00:00Z 0

Visit from Police Chief Mike Worden

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome the new Police Chief for Medicine Hat, Mike Worden to the meeting.  Mike was introduced by Director Mike Christie, standing in for our newest Rotarian, Inspector Brent Secondiak.  Mike C. was provided an extensive biography on Chief Worden and provided a great intro.  Chief Worden is an advocate of life long learning and was a long service employee with the Calgary Police force.
 
Chief Worden is a native (almost) Medicine Hat, his family moved to town in 1972 when he was 3.  His father was the pastor of Westminster United Church, and has remained in town in his retirement.
 
Chief Worden attended Central Park School, Alexandra Jr High and Medicine Hat High School, so he knows his way around the south east hill area. He has a sister in town as well, so moving back to the Hat allowed for much closer family connections.  He referred to policing as a "calling" and spoke of the need to have "consequences for actions". but that jail is not always the right answer.
 
He spoke about the frustration experienced in modern policing, and how it's easy to blame the homeless, those suffering from mental health or addiction issues.  He spoke about "harm reduction" as a part of a strategy to break the cycles that can cause crime or community unhappiness, and how those efforts need to work closely together.
 
He also spoke about the Medicine Hat Police Service "app" for those with smart phones.  It is a great way to be in touch with events in the community, and be "in the know" about police activities.  If you have a smart phone, and you know how to use it, please download the app (pictured below).  It is a great tool.
 
Above is the screen display, and the icon for the app.  Use it!
 
Mike was asked and answered a wide variety of questions about police issues, and we all thanked him for attending and his frankness about the role his officers must play.
 
We all wish him well, and welcome Mike and his spouse Clare back to Medicine Hat!!
 
Visit from Police Chief Mike Worden Dave Panabaker 2021-05-10 06:00:00Z 0

Adopt a Pond - SEAWA update

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Martha Gue to our meeting today.  She was welcomed by President Mark and introduced by Past President Margie Booyens.  Martha is a well known figure in our community who has done a great deal of voluntary work.  She is currently a member of the Grasslands Naturalists Society and a founding member of the South East Alberta Watershed Alliance (SEAWA).  Their website is https://seawa.ca.
 
 
Martha spoke about an idea which occurred to her because of the cancellation of displays for World Water Day, and how being restricted from doing the normal outdoor activities caused her to do some thinking.  She wondered who was "looking after" the ponds in town?  She discovered that there are 20 ponds in Medicine Hat, a combination of natural areas, park ponds and storm water retention areas.  She started an "adopt a pond" program, to help deal with invasive species, pick up trash and repair damage and engage families and friends in enjoying these outdoor areas.   The idea started on March 8th and all but two of the twenty ponds have been adopted.  The two remaining "orphan" are Southridge Community Park and the Stormwater Pond behind Candidan Tire.
 
She also spoke about the repair projects that SEAWA has been engaged in, along the riparian areas along the creek and river banks.
 
The work of SEAWA fits very nicely into the new 7th Avenue of Rotary Service, "Protecting the Environment".  The information that Martha provided will be forwarded to our Community Service Committee, for review and for a recommendation on some aspect that might fit well into our existing projects in the Community.  I suspect there will be more to discuss in the upcoming months.
Adopt a Pond - SEAWA update Dave Panabaker 2021-05-03 06:00:00Z 0

Business Meeting Notes

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There were several pieces of business done at the meeting today, starting with President Mark's comments on the planned tree planting in Rotary Centennial Park in Dunmore.  Because of COVID rules, the size of the work party's must be limited, so a block of time on Friday April 30th has been reserved, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Mike Christie will be sending out sign up sheets for everyone who can attend.
 
Community Service Director Melanie Harty explained the process, and provided some feedback on how the project had progressed.
As everyone will remember, during our Centennial year of 2018, the RI President Ian Riseley challenged every club to plant a tree for every member.  Our club believed we could do better than that, and because of the 100 year anniversary funded the planting of 100 trees in this new park in Dunmore.  The park is on the east side of Eagle Butte Road, north of Eagle Butte High School.  Hopefully it will become a valued part of the community in Dunmore and a lasting memorial to our Centennial.
 
Melanie also spoke about the work that the Community Service Committee has been doing, particularly on a large, meaningful project within Medicine Hat.  The group had been introduced to an organization named "SANARE"(formerly SARC), which is the Latin word for "healing", and the organization is a service provider to promote healing within sexual assault victims.  Their executive Director, Chris Johnson made a presentation to the Board of Directors on Tuesday evening, and because their work is focused on children, the subject matter was most distressing.  They are currently leasing a new facility to deal with almost 200 children annually who experience this trauma, and the opportunity for Rotary is to work on a welcoming lobby area, to make children feel at ease.
 
Although the project is not fully fleshed out, the Club was asked to approve the application for a District Grant to provide partial funding of this project.  A final approval will be brought before the club once everything is planned, but the District Grant must be applied for by Friday, or we miss our window for this year.  The club members present approved with a show of hands, proceeding with the application and were interested in hearing the presentation once the work is fully identified.
 
CS Director Melanie also spoke about the "Do Crew", the name for our project team from the club who will be going out to various locations and performing community service.  The group will be tasked with various projects, as COVID restrictions ease and those kind of work projects are possible again.
 
International Service Director, Terry Cooper provided a number of updates on our work overseas.
  • Our "Make 'em Smile" Denture project in Sri Lanka will be finished next month, and a total of 390 dentures will be fitted.  It is "on schedule and on budget", and a report will be coming to the club in due course.
  • Our participation in the "3D Limb Printing" project is moving along, there are five Calgary clubs and at least one in Ontario are of this team.  They are waiting to confirm the financing, after changes to the Global Grant program with Rotary International.  This work is also going on in Sri Lanka.
  • The "Tenderfoot School Kitchen" project, in Nairobi, Kenya which our club participated in this year is also moving along, Kitt Brand has received photos of the construction work beginning and the work is proceeding.
  • The International Committee is currently studying a large, multi club project in El Salvador designed to provide clean water and sanitary facilities to 500 Public Schools.
 
Terry is also the lead on "Team Freewheel" and he provided an update on recent donations of refurbished bikes, 8 to the Catholic School Division and 6 which are going to International Students at the MH College.  The group also was introduced to an organization named "Bike - Medicine Hat" who may provide other contacts, or perhaps so help at repairing bikes. The work has been enlightening and we are being more selective about the bikes that are being picked up from the MH Police compound.
Business Meeting Notes Dave Panabaker 2021-04-26 06:00:00Z 0

The "Top Ten" Reasons to get out of bed during COVID

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat was delighted to welcome our District Governor Elect, Martin Parnell to the meeting today.  He will "take the reins" of the District on July 1st and will be back to entertain us again on Monday July 26th for his official visit to the club.
Martin provided a humorous and motivating talk about the serious side effects of the COVID pandemic, the physical and mental health of many people who have been effected by the shutdowns and restrictions.  DGE Martin provided us with his "Top Ten List" of reasons to get out of bed during the pandemic.  The talk was well received and hopefully will help all of us to soldier on and look to the good times down the road that will return.
 
MARTIN'S TOP TEN REASON TO GET OUT OF BED DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC
 
10 - Make Your Bed....
 
9 - Play a Game
 
8 - Take on a Project.
 
7 - Take a course.
 
6 - Go and do something "virtually".
 
5 - Get outside.
 
4 - Phone a friend.
 
3 - Set a goal.
 
2 - Help each other.
 
1 - Have a fundraiser.
 
and the bonus reason is to "attend a Rotary meeting, anywhere".
 
Thanks Martin, a great list and some wonderful stories for sure.
 
Doug Fleming said after the meeting that his number one reason to get out of bed was "to pee"....and can't we all relate to that too!!
The "Top Ten" Reasons to get out of bed during COVID Dave Panabaker 2021-04-19 06:00:00Z 0

Evolution of the Music Festival Society

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The project team working on updating the bylaws of the Rotary Music Festival Society and creating a Support Agreement between the Society and the Rotary Club for the next five years presented their work to the members of the Rotary Club.  The team consists of Anne Carrier, Mike Christie, Wayne Chesley and Dave Panabaker.
 
The team worked on the following Principles in it's work on the Festival Society.
  • All members of the Rotary Club want the Festival to be “successful and sustainable” as we make changes.
  • The Rotary Club wants to remain the Primary sponsor of the Festival and retaining the naming rights.
  • Rotarians wants to be involved - as Members of the Society, fundraisers, volunteers and sponsors.
During Strategic Planning workshops wth the Rotary Club in 2017 and 2018, as well as Planning Workshops for the Music Festival in 2019, it was clear that an evolution of the Music Festival, to be a publicly run, open society which would be responsible for the Festival was the goal of the club.  Some of this was due of course to the declining number of Rotarians in the club and the difficulty of staffing two operational groups.
 
Highlights of the Support Agreement
 
• A five year financial commitment, which the new Society can “bank” on and work their budget around.
• A commitment to discuss future funding prior to the expiry of this agreement.
• A commitment by the Rotary Music Festival Society to retain the name, in exchange for the financial commitment.
• A commitment by the Rotary Music Festival Society to a quality Festival, in keeping with past practice.
• A seat “reserved” for a Rotarian, nominated by the Club, to sit on the Music Festival Society Board, to work as a liaison with us as principal sponsor.
 
After significant discussion and a number of questions being asked, the following motion was called.
 
Moved by Dave Panabaker and seconded by Mike Christie; "Do the members of the Rotary Club support the proposal, of opening the Rotary Music Festival Society membership to the public, and with continued financial support from the Rotary Club, the movement of the operation of the Festival to this new public group?"
 
The motion was approved by the members present and will form the basis of the signing of the support agreement and revisions to the Music Festival Society bylaws.
Evolution of the Music Festival Society Dave Panabaker 2021-04-12 06:00:00Z 0

A New Rotary Year - PE Terry Partis

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From sunny, far off Fort Meyers Florida, President-elect Terry Partis took the stage and spoke about his journey into the role of President that begins in July 2021.
 
 
He started by thanking everyone in the club for the honor of servicing as Club President, and for trusting him with the responsibility.  He noted how he originally thought of himself as "a 20 year Rotarian but not an ideal member", but after listening to the incoming RI President Shekhar Mehta, Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanger, West Bengal, India he changed that description to "a member for 20 years but not an ideal Rotarian".  He showed the introduction of the theme for Shekhar's year at the helm of Rotary International, and the logo of "Serve to Change Lives".
 
His speech is on YouTube, the link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUEdRqyuJU4 
 
Terry has enjoyed the Leadership Training, although in-person training is always preferred, the use of breakout rooms and great speakers has really helped the learning stay interesting.  Terry spoke about the opportunity our current District Governor Mary Turner mentioned at her last visit, that COVID has allowed us the chance to review what we do, to change what needs to be changed and come back to in-person meetings with a fresh approach.
 
Terry also spoke about several of the quotations in the Shekhar's speech, and how "Service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on this earth" was a meaningful expression of Rotary ways.
 
Terry thanked two Rotarians especially for helping get his year started on a positive note.  He thanked Terry Cooper for taking on the International Service Director role, and for organizing some joint projects with other clubs which will help us get restarted in International Projects.  He also mentioned new Rotarian Brent Secondiak, for helping him understand some of the Youth Advocacy Center issues and what may be a wonderful local project for Rotary..
 
He finished by reminding all of us of the challenges to all of us, "Bring One Member", "Empowering Girls" and the need for "Inclusion, Diversity and Equity".
 
 
A New Rotary Year - PE Terry Partis Dave Panabaker 2021-03-29 06:00:00Z 0

Update on International Service

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Terry Cooper, Director of International Service took the "stage" and did a presentation on the activities of the committee over the past year, as well as proposed the participation in a new project.  He began his presentation by speaking about the need to recruit new members of the committee over the past year, with changes in club membership.  He also spoke about some reorganizing of the committee records that has taken place, they now have a "Dropbox" site where records and information are stored and can be shared with the club,
He spoke about getting the group active again, about some updates on the "Make 'em Smile" project in Sri Lanka and provided a review about a couple of other projects that were proposed.  He also mentioned the Tenderfoot "Self Help" School kitchen and cafeteria project in the Kangemi slum, in Nairobi, Kenya.  Kitt Brand will provide a update on that project when she receives one.
 
Terry finished his update with the opportunity to participate in a unique project, "3D Limbs - Columbo, Sri Lanka".  The project came to the committee’s attention in February when they were following up on the Make Them Smile Dental Project with the Rotary Club of Capital City Columbo Sri Lanka.  The committee had a Zoom call with Paul Cahill of the Rotary Club of Calgary Centennial and Sri Lanka club members Stephnie Rodrigo and Supem de Silva. The  Committee decided to pursue this project given it was cost effective ($2000 US from club’s 2021-22 budget), and we would partner with 3 Calgary clubs and an Ontario club, and looked like a promising project that would have an immediate impact on children in the area,
 
The project involves providing the necessary seed money (scanners, software, printers, and training of local technicians) to set up the production artificial limbs below knee using 3D printers. The target audience would be youth under 23 from impoverished regions in Sri Lanka, and the technology allows for a better fit and alignment with the knee socket which needs adjustment every 6 months due to leg growth.
 
Based on a motion from Terry, seconded by Dave Panabaker, the club agreed to make allowance for this project in our 21-22 budget.  That motion was approved unanimously and we will all watch this project with interest.
Update on International Service Dave Panabaker 2021-03-22 06:00:00Z 0

NGSE Presentation by Juliana

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed our NGSE (New Generations Service Exchange) Participant to the meeting today.  Juliana Nishitani is 22 and a resident of Sao Paulo, Brazil.  She was introduced to the club by our local NGSE leader Edward Lipin, who began the meeting by speaking a bit about the idea of a "virtual" exchange.  He also introduced the NGSE program lead for District 4420, Sao Paulo who was with us as well and it was great to see Jany Hatanaka again at our meeting.
Juliana (who's nickname is Juba) spoke a little bit about the amazing difference for her in the size of the communities, Sao Paulo has over 12 million citizens.  She introduced her family and spoke about her experience as a scout and ballet dancer when she was young.  She also spent four months during high school on a student exchange in Barcelona, Spain.  She has obtained a bachelors degree in business, and concentrated on marketing and entrepreneurship.  She also loves to travel. She started a small business herself, dealing with clothing within her community but it was affected by the pandemic lockdown and she has suspended it's activities.
 
Although Medicine Hat is small, it certainly appealed to her and she would dearly love to travel north to visit with us in the future.  She was complemented on her English language skills and spoke about the emphasis on English during her schooling. After her presentation, she was asked and answered a number of questions, and Edward explained the balance of her "virtual" trip to Canada, which has about 7 weeks to run.
Juba was thanked by President Mark, who spent time with her reviewing the operations in their office last week.  He confirmed the invitation to visit us in the future when travel is practical.  Margie Booyens, who is the District 5360 NGSE lead, reminded members that other districts are looking for 18 - 30 year old individualas who are looking for a travel and educational experience.  She hopes to have a candidate for a return visit in the future.
 
Thanks for the presentation Juliana, we wish you all the best in your experience with NGSE and in your future endeavours.
NGSE Presentation by Juliana Dave Panabaker 2021-03-15 06:00:00Z 0

Visit with DG Mary Turner

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat was delighted to welcome District Governor Mary Turner to our meeting today.  With the use of ZOOM technology, the DG is able to make second visits to most clubs and the meeting tools have changed the way that the role can be accomplished.  Although it would be great to meet in person, we understand that everyone needs to work at being safe.  It has been almost a year since Covid turned our world upside down and limited social gatherings, service projects and fund raising plans.
DG Mary was very happy to reconnect with everyone.  She promoted the theme for her District Conference "Navigating a New World", now happening virtually on May 1st.  The registration links are available at the end of the Newsletter or on the District 5360 website.  There are great speakers planned to address "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion", a Youth Panel, and current Mental Wellness issues.
 
DG Mary and President Mark spoke about the accomplishments of the club during this time, the adoption of new technology and the introduction of new events.  President Mark mentioned the Project Freewheel, and the introduction of the Rotary Ribfest on the weekend after the August long weekend. Also mentioned were the switch of the Rotary Music Festival to a "virtual" platform for the 66th year of the event, and the participation in several international projects with clubs from across the country.
 
Mary urged the club to imagine what we might look like when we finally get back together in person.  It's likely that technology will play a part in that as well.  We should review what we want for a "perfect" Rotary club, and this is an opportunity to start some things fresh and brand new.  She recommended an article from the recent Rotarian magazine, entitled "Lower the Temperature", about making a positive change in clubs and community.
 
Mary was thanked by President Mark for taking the time to visit with us and we all look forward to attending the conference.
 
Visit with DG Mary Turner Dave Panabaker 2021-03-08 07:00:00Z 0

Community Service Commitee update

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The Rotary Club received an update on the status of our Community Services Committee from Director Melanie Harty.
 
The committee has been hard at work documenting their purpose and process, COVID has given us a chance to catch up on some of this administrative work.  Melanie reviewed a number of issues for Rotarians and thanked those who have agreed to make up that committee.
 
The nine members of the Community Service team have a wide variety of experience both in Rotary and in Community Service, so that breadth of knowledge is a real asset.  The current members have all agreed to serve for an approximately 18 month term, and will shuffle a bit in June 2022.  The committee has agreed on a "Purpose" statement as follows.
 
"..to improve the quality of life through tangible projects and activities within Canada and normally focused on local, regional and provincial jurisdictions".
 
They will have five area's of focus, detailed on the attached slide.
 
A number of questions were asked and answered and Melanie was thanked by President Mark, for all this great work and for the projects now to come.  The first one of those may be our Dunmore tree planting, which is tentatively scheduled for May 2021, once the park development is proceeding.
 
 
Community Service Commitee update Dave Panabaker 2021-03-01 07:00:00Z 0

City of Medicine Hat Update - Mayor Ted Clugston

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The Rotary Club welcomed our honorary member, Mayor Ted Clugston to the meeting today.  He has recently provided the City, through an annual speech with the Kiwanis Club and the MH Chamber of Commerce, a "State of the City - 2021" updated and he was here primarily to answer questions and provide any clarification to the speech.  So to assist us in doing "our homework", he provided the link.  Several Rotarians commented what a thoughtful and interesting speech it was, complete with video's and poems! Here's the link to the whole presentation.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u4z-TWgBLE 
 
Mayor Ted spoke about preparing the speech, how this one was different because the presentation was virtual, and how a discussion about COVID could wash over some serious concerns in the community and some great accomplishment by Hatters, business owners, the City and other organizations.  He divided the video into thirds, the first to underscore the damage that COVID isolation has been to the general well being of citizens and a significant mental health challenge.  He spoke about the rash of suicide and overdose deaths that have occurred in this area, and the ongoing work to address those issues.
 
 
He spoke about the work of Council, and staff.  The unusual situation that the pandemic has created and other needs, particularly the accelerated Financially Fit program, to deal with the impacts of commodity prices on our Gas/Oil and Electric Power businesses.  He talked about some of the great upcoming work, due to the Federal stimulus grants that will be taking place in 2021.  Some very interesting projects, such as expansion of the trail system at Echodale Park, a massive pickleball court project at the FLC, development at 603 1st ST SE and a canopy at Athletic Park, to name just a few.
 
In the remaining third he spoke about leading the team at City Hall through this time, thanked his staff and fellow Council members and spoke about deciding to run for mayor again in the fall of 2021.
 
He answered a number of questions on many of these issues, and we all thank for spending the time with us, to educate us and learn about what is going on.
 
 
 
 
City of Medicine Hat Update - Mayor Ted Clugston Dave Panabaker 2021-02-22 07:00:00Z 0

Brent Secondiak's Classification Talk

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It's always wonderful to hear the classification talk of a new Rotarian, as they join our Rotary family.  It's amazing the life experience of some of our members and we very much enjoyed the "Book of Brent" today, as Brent Secondiak told us his story.  He was born in Calgary, spent his primary school in Bassano, his high school years in Brooks and moved to Medicine Hat in 1999.  He has been with the Medicine Hat Police Service for 21 years, starting as a constable and progressing to his current position as an Inspector, in charge of their operations.
He's been married to his wife Debbie for 20 years, she is a local real estate agent and they have two children.  His father was a long service RCMP officer and his mother a nurse, so as he said "Service" runs in his family.  He has been actively involved in the community, helping with the MH Women's Shelter, Ducks Unlimited and several service organizations.  He enjoys watching football, staying in shape and gardening and showed off a few photos of his backyard garden.  He also is a dutiful dog walker, they have two small dogs, who have 3 arrests to their credit.  It appears if you go walking at night, you can find some interesting stuff.
 
He spoke of some meaningful incidents during his tenure with the police, and Brent spoke of the experience of the 2013 Flood, working in the Emergency Operations Center.  He was asked and answered a number of questions on a variety of topics and we all look forward to his continuing contributions to the community through Rotary.  Welcome to the club!
Brent Secondiak's Classification Talk Dave Panabaker 2021-02-08 07:00:00Z 0

Toastmaster - Rotary Partnership

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome three members of Toastmasters District 42.  Rotary and Toastmasters have formed an organizational partnership over the past few years, to develop training programs, leadership training programs, provide service opportunities and  general support each other.
 
We welcomed Bev Le Blanc, Program Quality Director in District 42, Dave Schaaf from Lethbridge and Tom Simpson, the President of local Circle T Toastmasters club in Medicine Hat.  Dave Schaaf shared some of the thinking behind the partnership and some recent activity, while Tom shared his Toastmasters experience.  All were introduced by Past President Margie Booyens.
Dave spoke about the nature of both organizations, and how the Rotary Learning Center, on MYROTARY, has adopted a number of modules developed by Toastmasters.  He also spoke about the Pathways program within Toastmasters, the first major re-write of programing in Toastmasters since it's inception.  He described a typical meeting, how it operates and what the objectives are for the participants.
Tom spoke about the usefulness of Toastmaster training and experience in his personal and professional life, and how it helps build confidence and skills in almost everyone who attends.  The local club meets each Tuesday from 6:30 - 7:30 via ZOOM.  When the pandemic restrictions are lifted, their face to face meetings will be returning to the Anglican church hall at 606 12th ST SW.  Any Rotary members are most welcome to drop in, there is no obligation and they can learn about the organization.
 
The link for the meeting can be obtained by emailing their membership chair Ryan O'Reilly at ryanoreilly@live.ca or himself at tom21@telusplanet.net 
 
A number of questions were asked and answered and more information on Toastmasters is available at http://www.toastmaster.org 
 
 
Toastmaster - Rotary Partnership Dave Panabaker 2021-02-01 07:00:00Z 0

Next Executive and AGM

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As is the custom of our club, the Past President, Margie Booyens introduced those Rotarians who have volunteered to serve on the Board and Executive for the 2021-2022 Rotary Year.
 
They will be inducted in late June, to take off for July 1 but those people introduced today were.
 
Past President - Mark Sorenson
President - Terry Partis
President Elect - Melanie Harty
 
Secretary - Doug Fleming
Treasurer - Gail Halderman
 
Directors at Large
Terry Cooper
Mike Christie
Peter Mueller
Dave Panabaker
 
Past President Margie advised that their are two spots available as Directors, should anyone wish to volunteer.  Not having enough Directors will hinder some of our service efforts, as four can't cover the work of six.
 
Terry Partis thanked Margie for all her work over the past three years in the President stream, and Margie thanked outgoing Director Glen Presley for his service over the past four years.
 
The second half of our AGM was a review of the Year end 2020 Financials with Treasurer Gail Halderman, who advised on our current financial position and how our reserves are sitting.
Gail spoke about the large spending in the previous year, related to the Rotary Centennial Trail along South Boundary Road.  All those expenditures were run through our club books, so some pretty big numbers accumulated in the Community Service column.  Gail advised that the club has approximately $30,000 of unrestricted funds in the bank, after the completion of transfers to the Music Festival for last year and  may need some of that money to fill in for our Club 1000 raffle if it doesn't sell out.  As well, our commitment to the "Dunmore Park" tree planting will use up some of those funds as well.
 
Several other projects, such as signage on Rotary Centennial Trail and other Service Projects will be affected by the availability of District Grants and a restoration of bingo.  It appears we will not have a casino in this Rotary year, so our funding will be tight.
 
Alternative methods of fundraising are being discussed by the incoming Executive and the Community Service team.  More information on that to come.
Next Executive and AGM Dave Panabaker 2021-01-25 07:00:00Z 0

Edward Lipin Classification talk

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The Rotary Club enjoyed a Classification talk and presentation from Edward Lipin, a new Rotarian this year.  Edward began his presentation by clearing his lap of cats, and making sure he could access his computer without fear of "attack" from the relocated feline.
He titled the presentation "the first 34 years of Edward Lipin", and did a wonderful job of sharing his life experience so far.  He spent most of his youth in Elora, Ontario, a beautiful mill town and tourist area in Southern Ontario.  He joined the military at age 19 as a Local Communication and IT Technician, and did a six month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009.  He spoke about some of his private sector jobs after leaving the military in 2013, and how he ended up in Medicine Hat as the Director of Technology for Medicine Hat School District # 76.  He has finished his MBA very recently with the University of Fredericton and now looks forward to a little more free time.  He and his partner Tara have 5 rescue cats, some Canadian and some American.  He enjoys squash, crossfit and NFL football (he's a Pittsburgh Steeler fan by marriage).
 
He talked about the impact of COVID on education, particularly the introduction of the online HUB, and how that might affect elementary school going forward.
 
A number of questions were asked and answered, welcome to Medicine Hat Edward and Tara, and we look forward to your participation in our club and our community.
Edward Lipin Classification talk Dave Panabaker 2021-01-18 07:00:00Z 0

Service Project updates

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Terry Cooper provided some updates and information on a number of service projects, both International and Local that are ongoing.
 
First, he provided an update on the status of the first batch of bicycles that have been donated by the MH Police Service.  With the hard work of Terry, Peter, Ken and Roger, as well as a number of others, the first shipment has been repaired or scrapped.  A total of 12 bikes went to the Salvation Army, 3 are going to the MH Public library and a further 4 or 5 will be lent out in the spring.
 
Second, Terry reviewed the progress of the "Make them Smile" program, of providing dentures to needy seniors in Sri Lanka.  This project was started early last year, with leadership from Sri Lankan Rotarians who were members of a recent Rotary Friendship echange but was suspended as the effects of the COVID pandemic hit Sri Lanka.  The work has started up again, and Terry provided some great photos of happy people smiling for the first time in a long time!
 
Terry then reviewed an opportunity to partner with several other Rotary Clubs around the world, and support the "Tenderfoot" Self-Help School in Nairobi, Kenya.  As they have expanded, they are in desperate need of kitchen facilities, and through a contact of Kitt and Dieter Brand in Ontario, we can provide a contributions to this project.  The total project is over $32,000 US, and with a generous donation from the Brands, we can access unallocated District Grant funds from 2020 - 2021 which are still available.  Terry Brekko moved, and Dave Panabaker seconded the club apply for the District Grant for this project and that motion was approved.  Kitt Brand will do the grant work for the International Committee and hopefully we will know in a few weeks if we can access the funds.
 
Service Project updates Dave Panabaker 2021-01-11 07:00:00Z 0

Introduction to Project Amigo

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Elly Contreras to our meeting today, to speak about Project Amigo, "Ending Poverty through Education" in Manzanillo, Mexico.
Elly was introduced by Kitt Brand, who made her acquaintance at the meetings of the E-Rotary Club One.  Elly joined Rotary in 1996 with the Rotary Club of Stoney Plain in District 5370.  Project Amigo aims to help end poverty amongst migrant farm workers and their family's, by encouraging and assisting children to finish school.  Many families in this area end up as unskilled farm labor, and their children are often captured by the same working environment, and only half finish middle school, and only 20% finish high school. Although Mexico has the 14th largest economy in the world, they also have one of the highest percentages of poor people.
 
Project Amigo aims to improve academic standards, and using a rewards based system provides material, scholarships and facilities to aid in further education.
 
The program has so far graduated over 80 students from university, often the first person in their family to achieve that level of education.  This year they had 26 Jr High grads, 22 High School grads and 8 university graduates.  Many of the university grads "give back" to the program to help keep it going.
 
A wonderful presentation, more information can be obtained by contacting Elly or visiting their website.
 
Introduction to Project Amigo Dave Panabaker 2021-01-11 07:00:00Z 0

Update on Team Freewheel

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As everyone knows by now, the Rotary Club and the Medicine Hat Police Service have entered into an agreement to allow the Rotary Club to gather and restore up to 30 bicycles from their compound and donate them to local charities and public facilities that might need be able to put them to good use.
 
Terry Cooper, Peter Mueller, Roger Roy and others have been hard at work on the first "batch", lots of challenges and hard work.
 
Terry Cooper provided an update at todays meeting, the group has received both the Police Dept bicycles as well as 8 - 10 donated by Rotarians and other interested citizens.  About half those have been worked on and the Salvation Army picked up a load from Terry's garage the other day.  Each bike has a bright "Donated by Rotary Club" sticker on it, and the team continues to work on the idea of a helmet accompanying each bike, especially kids bikes.
 
Once work can be done outside, and some of the COVID restrictions have been relaxed, hopefully more club members can join the repair teams.  Terry did thank Gravity Sports, who is allowing the group access to their "spare parts" bins, and being helpful in some of the repairs and parts.
Update on Team Freewheel Dave Panabaker 2021-01-04 07:00:00Z 0

Webinar with RI President nominee Jennifer Jones

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat was thrilled to join our sister club in Lethbridge, and many other clubs across the District for a special speech and Q/A session with incoming Rotary International President nominee, Jennifer Jones of the Rotary Club of Windsor.  Jennifer will be the first female in the history of Rotary to lead the organization and all of us are thrilled both for her and that the honor of that step towards equality is being made by a Canadian.
 
 
Jennifer was introduced by Allan Friesen, the President of the Rotary Club of Lethbridge, who acted as the Master of Ceremony for this webinar.
 
Jennifer was accompanied on the webinar by her niece Olivia.  Olivia is a member of one of the "Early Act" clubs in southwestern Ontario and one of the jobs of the kids is to start the meeting with the 4 way test.  You are never to young to start taking on Rotary ways.  Olivia spoke about a plastic "reuse" project, as the Environment has become the 7th area of service within Rotary and one that kids very much get behind.
 
Jennifer spoke about a saying coined by her brother, also a Rotarian which is "to live in the kind of society you want, you have to help to build it".  Words to live, and serve by for sure.
 
Jennifer talked about her interest in eradicating polio, how that organizational structure might help in the fight with COVID and how Rotary's emphasis on "diversity, equity and inclusion" is also a theme she very much endorses.  She answered a number of questions and was encouraged in the "End Polio" fight by a donation of $70,000 from Rotary District 5360 Polio chair Marlene Doherty.
 
One other highlight of the webinar was the singing of "O'Canada" by the Uphill Both Ways school in Malawi.
Webinar with RI President nominee Jennifer Jones Dave Panabaker 2020-12-21 07:00:00Z 0

Project "Freewheel" begins

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The first bikes, in this case donated by Rotarians, were delivered by Peter Mueller and Terry Cooper to the Salvation Army on Friday morning.  Each bike will be sold with a certificate for a helmet and with a sticker showing the donation from the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat.
 
Thanks to Peter Mueller and Roger Roy for fixing them up, prior to delivery to the Salvation Army.
 
 
Next, watch for the donation of 27 bikes recovered by the Medicine Hat Police Service, and we are hoping these can also be delivered before Christmas this year.
Project "Freewheel" begins Dave Panabaker 2020-12-21 07:00:00Z 0

Medicine Hat Santa Claus Fund

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Former Rotarian Mike Hertz was on our meeting to talk to us about the Santa Claus Fund needs for 2020.
 
 
The Santa Claus fund is celebrating it's 34 year. In these years it has assisted some 18,000 families by raising some $5 million dollars that has been distributed to the needy families. Mike reviewed their mission statement. 
COVID -19 has presented a new challenge in raising funds to match an increased demand for help. Personal donations are only 75% of 2019 and corporate donations are reduced as no face to face fundraisers could be accomplished. He did give a list of major cash donors which include our club. There has been some new fund raising ideas ventured. "Coins for Kids' will provide income up to Dec 31/20. The Co-op is doing a tell ask. Dec 11-15 will have a "Santa Claus is coming to town" which is an ask for toys . Volunteers will pick up any toys that are donated. The Tigers hockey club is selling TIGER t-shirts with profits going to the Santa Claus fund. A new 50/50 draw may be added as the first one was sold out.
The current request for assistance in 2020 has come from 657 families (594 in 2019) representing some 1362 children ( 1232 in 2019). Now any individual/family in crisis will get some support right up to Christmas day. The Santa Claus fund provides assistance though out the year for any family in crisis.
 
If you wish to make that donation, please go to https://www.mhsantafund.com and press the DONATE button.  In the "notes" section please put a note like "2020 Rotary Club Pass the Hat", so the donations can be totaled by the fund.
 
Mike took questions and responded to each.
Medicine Hat Santa Claus Fund David Stalwick 2020-12-07 07:00:00Z 0

New Rotarian Project

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As an experiment in the 2019-2020 year, Margie Booyens asked the Rotary Board if she could challenge the newest Rotarians in the club with spend the "Presidents" $1,000 budget item on a project they all could agree on.  Today the club was treated to a wonderful discussion by three of our newest members, about three projects they investigated and about the one they collectively chose to support.
 
First, Rotarian Shalla Shaharyar and our guest Nicole Nemo spoke about Unisphere Global Center.  It is an organization that strives to "foster a vibrant community through global awareness and understanding"  Unisphere has three broad mandates; inclusiveness, social justice and environmental wellness.
Their project, which won the approval of all three Rotarians was phase one of a three phase campaign centered on the question, "What do you see when you look at me?"   The aim is to record a number of conversations within the community, from recent immigrants, disenfranchised and minorities, and gather their experiences.  It is definitely in line with Rotary policy on inclusion and diversity.
Peter Mueller spoke about the "B Youth" program and Igor Grujic talked about the "North Flats Neighborhood Association".  Everyone did really well, it was a very valuable exercise and we wish Unisphere every success in their task.
 
Rotary President Mark "virtually" presented the check to Nicole and Shalla, and we all look forward to their progress.
New Rotarian Project Dave Panabaker 2020-11-30 07:00:00Z 0

Conference of Rotary's NEW GENERATIONS SERVICE EXCHANGE program

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2nd INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

ROTARY’s NEW GENERATIONS SERVICE EXCHANGE PROGRAM

21 and 22 November 2020

Over 700 participants from 52 countries attended the 2nd international conference of the NGSE program – virtually.

The program comprised speeches, interactive workshops, presentations, short inputs (including from Dieter and Kitt!) … and a message from RI President, Holgar Knaak!

One of the key conference messages was:

· Established in 2013, more education and marketing need to be done of the NGSE program at all levels, from International to Club levels

To promote understanding of the program among our Club members, I offer the following:

The NGSE is a program for young adults, 18-30 years of age, the main goals of which are:

· Job shadowing

· Service experience

· Immersion in the culture of the country, province, district concerned

· Promoting international peace, goodwill and understanding

· Personal growth, leadership development, widening the perspective of the participant

· The development of a new generation of Rotarians

If you would like to play an active role in this program at Club and or District level, please contact me!

Margie Booyens

Chair: District NGSE committee

Conference of Rotary's NEW GENERATIONS SERVICE EXCHANGE program Margie Booyens 2020-11-30 07:00:00Z 0

Evolution of the Music Festival

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The program today was a short summary of the activity of the Strategic Planning group for the Rotary Music Festival.  As everyone is aware, as the membership in our club both shrinks and gets older, handling the Music Festival exclusively within the membership has become extremely difficult.  After several strategic planning sessions last fall, a small working group of Mike Christie, Anne Carrier, Wayne Chesley and Dave Panabaker have been working on a plan for the "Evolution" of the Music Festival.
 
The first priority is to ensure the Festival is successful and sustainable.  As well, it needs to be properly funded, and that was also part of the discussion.  The Rotary Club has supported the Festival for 65 years, and wishes it to continue long into the future.  To do that, it is recommended that a new model for operation of the Festival be created.  This new model will take time, this is a multiyear project.  The Music Festival is now operated by the Music Festival Society which is made up exclusively of Rotarians in our club.  
 
To summarize the results of the 2019 Strategic Planning workshops
  1. A commitment of the Rotary Club to the purpose/ideals of the Music Festival long term.
  2. Longevity of the name "Rotary Music Festival".
  3. Ensure that any changes are designed to make the Music Festival sustainable and successful.
  4. Updates are required to: 
  • Governance Structure of the Society, including public members.
  • Fundraising models from the Rotary Club.
  • Simplification of the relationship between the Rotary Club and Music Festival.
      5. Broading of the fundraising to make use of grants, tax status and estate planning.
 
The conversation went on for most of the hour, but in general there was support for those goals and for including engaged public members in the society.
Evolution of the Music Festival Dave Panabaker 2020-11-23 07:00:00Z 0

Protection of Vulnerable People Policy

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The Rotary Club welcomed Doug Macdonald, Chair of the District 5360 "Protecting Vulnerable People" Committee.  Doug's presentation today was about the revised District Policy for protection of vulnerable people, and expansion of the Youth Protection Policy adopted by the District in 2014.
Doug has decades of experience with organizations that deal with vulnerable people, he just finished over 20 years with Scouts Canada.
 
He spoke about the reasons to adopted a new policy, those being
  • It's the law!
  • It's both Rotary International and District 5360 policy.
  • It's the right thing to do.
The policy is really designed to prevent harm, and when harm is suspected or reported, having a procedure to follow that will stand up to legal scrutiny.
 
The District Policy, and the job description for a Club Safety Officer (CSO), were circulated early last week.  The next step is to build an incident response team and both adopt the policy at the club level and assign someone to the role of CSO.  Training and certification of all volunteers needs to follow.  That training needs to be repeated every 3 years, to ensure it becomes part of our routine.
 
A number of questions were asked and answered, and Doug was thanked by President Mark.
 
Protection of Vulnerable People Policy Dave Panabaker 2020-11-16 07:00:00Z 0

Update on Canadian Humanitarian activities

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The club welcomed Danielle Skogen, the Program Development Director for Canadian Humanitarian and a member of the Medicine Hat Sunrise Rotary club.  Danielle started her presentation by expressing thanks for the opportunity to update us all and apologies from Rotarian Dick Northcott, who was trapped in Fort MacMurray by the weather and couldn't attend. Danielle has been in the International Development business for 9  years, although only this past year with Canadian Humanitarian.  Canadian Humanitarian is a local organized, international non-profit, with operations in Ethiopia, Malawi and Guatemala.
 
 
Canadian Humanitarian aims to break the cycle of poverty by starting with children, their education, nutrition and care.  They use an Educational Support Center model, to deal with many aspects of the children in their programs.
 
 
Danielle spoke about their "child centered program, support that improves the individual sucess of each child.
 
 
Canadian Humanitarian is having a virtual fundraiser, on Friday November 20th.  They would really appreciate the support of Rotarians, so please either donate, check out the silent auction items or buy tickets at the website above.  Danielle explained some of the COVID challenges and answered a few questions.  She was thanked for her great work and excellent presentation by Acting President Terry.
Update on Canadian Humanitarian activities Dave Panabaker 2020-11-09 07:00:00Z 0

Updates on 3 Rotary fronts

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The Rotary Club enjoyed updates and feedback on three area's of activity in the world of Rotary.
 
First, PDG Sandy Mackay spoke briefly about the World Polio Day event last week, and some of the history around polio and Rotary work to eradicate the disease.  He was grateful that a number of Rotarians took this opportunity to make a donation to the End Polio campaign and provided some thanks to those who helped organize the publicity around the event.
 
Sandy also spoke about Rotary Peace Fellowships, in particular a specific young man from Calgary who has taken his passion for service to the field with the Red Cross. The article can be found at this link https://www.uu.se/en/news-media/news/article/?id=15436&typ=artikel&lang=en 
 
 
Next, Rotarian Roger Roy spoke about the situation in Nayarit, Mexico, through a letter from Club Rotario Bahía de Jaltemba La Peñita, who he attends when he is able to escape winter to the Pacific coast of Mexico. The letter talks about the impact of the COVID infections, and the resulting economic shutdowns in their community.  Our club had sent them a donation from our club members in the summer, which amounted to 36,700 pesos which is being used for hot meals, medical supplies and food care packages.  The letter highlights some of the challenges they face and the current dire situation without their normal seasonal tourist trade.  The letter is signed: 
In closing, we again thank our Rotarian friends at Rotary Club of Medicine Hat
for your generous donation and support.
 
 
SERVICE ABOVE SELF!
 
 
Isidro Israel Hinojosa Guzmán
Presidente 2020-2021
Club Rotario Bahía de Jaltemba – La Peñita #81838/ D-4140
 
 
 
Thirdly, PP Margie Booyens announced that our three new club members, who were challenged to look at the community and determine a need they could support with a donation of $1,000 will be doing a presentation at our "in-person" club meeting on Monday November 30.  It should be an exciting meeting and an interesting discussion, try not to miss it.
Updates on 3 Rotary fronts Dave Panabaker 2020-11-02 07:00:00Z 0

End Polio Now

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WORLD POLIO DAY: Saturday 24 October

This year the mayor of Medicine Hat, Ted Clugston (also an Honorary member of our Club) is signing a PROCLAMATION around World Polio Day. The ceremony took place at City Hall on Friday 23rd.  In the meantime, we’re raising public awareness about Polio and Rotary’s involvement via posters in City Hall.  In attendance, Club Presidents Mark Sorenson, Clare Lindsay, Jim Marshall and AG Keith Walker

Learn how @Rotary & its partners have reduced polio cases by 99.9% since 1988: https://www.endpolio.org/donate

A polio-free world is possible, but we can achieve it only by taking action together. Join with @Rotary this #WorldPolioDay to @EndPolioNow.

Please donate now: https://www.endpolio.org/donate

 
 
End Polio Now Dave Panabaker 2020-10-22 06:00:00Z 0

Centennial History Document

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In the main part of our program, it was great to welcome back to the club PP Karen Blewett who provided an overview of the club history document project, which went back to our Centennial year planning group in 2015.  A team of Rotarians spent a considerable period of time piecing together the club documents, photographs and projects.  Karen made special mention of PP Margie Booyens, Doug Fleming, Uwe Krickhahn and Brian Rothwell for their time and energy, as well as a number of others.  The history document is about 130 pages in length, loaded with graphics and photographs and ties into the Rotary Impact work done during Karen's year.
 
The finished document is a professional looking production, and PP Karen made a specific mention of the value of having the talents of a graphic designer, who works for her husband Sean at Community Futures - Entre Corp.  Hayley Gibson's work makes the finished product something to be proud of, and something that will endure for decades.  PP Dave Panabaker presented Hayley (virtually) a small token of thanks for all her work.  The crystal will be delivered this week through Sean's workplace.
President Mark thanked Karen, and everyone involved, for the outstanding job.  Secretary Doug Fleming advised that the Rotary Club Board will meet on Tuesday October 20th and will be discussion what formats the publication will take and how much each will cost.  A sign up sheet will be created and members can pay for whichever format and how many they wish.
Centennial History Document Dave Panabaker 2020-10-19 06:00:00Z 0

Official Naming of Rotary Centennial Drive

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On Wednesday afternoon, October 7th the official "renaming" of 23rd ST NW to Rotary Centennial Drive was observed by the Medicine Hat Rotary Club.  This was one of our Centennial Projects, intended to provide a lasting name to a major arterial road, to recognize a century of Rotary Service in the community.  It took a while to complete, it had some bumps and hiccups but eventually it all came together and we were able to celebrate.
Thanks to Mayor Ted Clugston, and the other City representatives who were present to note this change.
Official Naming of Rotary Centennial Drive Dave Panabaker 2020-10-19 06:00:00Z 0

A morning at Prairie Gleaners

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A group of Rotarians worked a morning shift at Prairie Gleaners on Tuesday October 13, some cutting vegetables and others working in the bagging room.  Thanks to Dan Kammerer for organizing the work party and I'm sure many of us will be back.  It is a tremendous organization, taking what would become waste and turning it into valuable food.
 
The soup mix is sent all around the world, and the instructions for making it are pretty straight forward.  Each bag of soup mix makes approximately 125 bowls of soup.
A morning at Prairie Gleaners Dave Panabaker 2020-10-19 06:00:00Z 0

An Hour of Rotary minutes

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The meeting was full of minutes and updates on Rotary projects going on over the past few months.
 
The RI Gold Club Citation certificate for the 2019-2020 Rotary year has arrived and is in the safekeeping of Secretary Doug Fleming.  PP Margie gave tribute to the Board and members for this achievement, our club was one of only four clubs in the District in 2019-2020 which achieved this recognition.
PRESIDENTIAL PROJECT DONATION
 
PP Margie advised that the group of new members, Shalla, Igor and Peter, are having a Zoom meeting on Wednesday (8 October) to decide which of the projects / initiatives on which they have gathered information, will be the recipient of the $1,000. Their choice will be put to the Board for approval, after which a presentation will be made at a regular noon meeting, hopefully before the end of the year. These members have enjoyed the opportunity this project has created, to get to know more about community needs and possible ways in which Rotary can respond.
 
NEW GENERATIONS SERVICE EXCHANGE PROGRAM
 
So as not to allow the COVID virus to totally paralyze the NGSE program globally, District 3131 in India is wanting to organize virtual placements of 18-30 year olds with families and at work places in their District. If you know of any young person who would like to venture into this unchartered territory and help make the path by walking it, please ask him/her to contact Margie Booyens for further details. An application form will be sent out to all members of our Club, for distribution to interested young people. The NGSE program is all about exposure to chosen field of studies/work getting to know the culture of the country and people in the district, and voluntary service.
 
WORLD POLIO DAY, SUNDAY OCT 24, 2020.
 
 
PDF Sandy Mackay reminded Rotarians that although this project has made great headway, the work is still not complete.  Africa has been declared "wild Polio" free, the only cases that now exist stem from vaccine related reactions, due to living conditions and diet.
 
It will be difficult to promote World Polio Day as we did last year, with gathering restrictions in place, but it was suggested that members please consider making donations to RI for Polio Plus, in lieu of October and November Zoom lunches - which would total $100.  The easiest way to make a donation is to go to "My Rotary" and sign in, and click on the donate button.
 
It is the clubs intention to publicize the efforts of Rotary through local media and social media platforms.  It is not a disease that attracts much attention anymore in North America as it has been so long since active cases were being treated.
 
Sandy will be organizing a  speaker (a neurologist) to address members on polio at a regular Zoom noon meeting.
 
DENTURES FOR THE ELDERLY - SRI LANKA PROJECT
 
Terry Cooper, a member of our International Service Committee provided a quick update on this project, which was started last year and has been severely impacted by COVID lockdowns.  The project was set to provide dentures to at least 300 patients, but was shutdown from mid-March through to late summer.  About 100 patients have been provided with denture work, and about $2,000 of our original donation of $10,000 has been spent.  The project will be ramping up again, depending on good public health conditions, and there will be a more formal presentation of the project once about 75% of the money and the work is complete.
 
A copy of the Powerpoint presentation on this project has been filed under "Club Documents - Presentations" on Clubrunner.
An Hour of Rotary minutes Dave Panabaker 2020-10-05 06:00:00Z 0

Business meeting and Rotary presentations

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The Rotary Club had a busy business meeting today, but managed to fit in some appropriate recognition of Rotarians and service.
 
First, President Mark and Treasurer Gail provided an overview of the 2020-2021 Club Budget.  The simplified approach was well received and there were a few questions from the floor. The document will be available on Clubrunner for members to inspect in more detail.  It was described as a "safe" budget, for a completely uncertain year, but covered our current obligations, to the Centennial Park project in Dunmore and to the 20201 Music Festival.  In general the club is very solid financially, and has some reserves if a project comes up.
 
As well, the budget was conservative (NOT a political statement) in the assumptions about revenue from gaming sources and our 2021 Club 1000 raffle.  With any luck, any surprises will be good ones!
 
Next on the agenda was a presentation to Rotarian Al Garden.  Al has been a member of the club for almost 40 years and because of change health and circumstances had advised the club executive that he would not be renewing his membership.  After a discussion with the membership committee, it was decided that we didn't want to lose Al's experience and company and the club was delighted to present Al with an honorary membership to the Club.  Al was grateful and expressed his deep appreciation for the gesture.
 
The next presentation was to Rotarian Melanie Harty, who passed the PHF + 2 level of contributions to the Rotary Foundation.  PDG Sandy Mackay presented the new Rotary pin to Melanie and made a point of saying that all of us are responsible for the success of the Foundation, and in many ways we get the funds back, so please keep the Foundation in your giving plans.  Thanks and congratulations Melanie!
Business meeting and Rotary presentations Dave Panabaker 2020-09-28 06:00:00Z 0

Music Festival Impact

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Our guest speaker today was Delynne Lorentzen, the Executive Director of the Rotary Music Festival.  She joined us remotely, through a YouTube video she had created to demonstrate the value of music and the festival to our youth and to the community.  Delynne started by thanking the Rotary Club for their sponsorship of the last 65 years, the longest continuous sponsorship of a Festival in Alberta and definitely something to be proud of.
Delynne wanted to demonstrate her top seven reasons for support of the Festival.
  1. Festival provides an opportunity for kids who are otherwise marginalized.
  2. Music makes kids smarter.
  3. Music teaches kids discipline, creativity and builds confidence.
  4. Music keeps kids out of trouble.
  5. Music reduces mental health issues.
  6. Music gives back to the community.
  7. Music creates good citizens and successful adults.
Her video presentation can be found on YouTube at the following link.
 
 
Both Milan Vujovic and Don Davis added thanks to Delynne for all her hard work and provided some updates on the planning around this years festival.  With COVID to contend with, several scenario's are being planned for and alterations to the way the programs are handled and what programs are available are certainly in the works.
 
Music Festival Impact Dave Panabaker 2020-09-21 06:00:00Z 0

Mustard Seed in Medicine Hat

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The Rotary Club welcomed Mustard Seed Managing Director Colette Eirich to our meeting today.  Colette was introduced by President Mark and provided a short slideshow to speak to the work done by the agencies that went before the Mustard Seed and how that changeover came to be.
Colette spoke about her career before this one, she spent a total of 32 years working at the YMCA.  She finished there in 2017 after the completion of the South Ridge Y and took a year or so off.  After that she began volunteering and then working at the Champions Center, helping write grant applications.
 
Colette spoke about the three organizations that have merged their functions and resources with the introduction of the support of Mustard Seed.  Champions Center started in 2008, Hope Street Ministry's began in 2002 and Oasis Cafe was 2009.  During pre-COVID times, there were approximately 68 individuals considered homeless and in poverty.  That number was from 2018.  COVID has changed all that, and the individuals needing assistance has skyrocketed.
 
It was a great presentation, Colette left everyone with a Mustard Seed magazine. More information is available at www.theseed.ca 
Mustard Seed in Medicine Hat Dave Panabaker 2020-08-24 06:00:00Z 0

Visit of the District Governor - 2020

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In keeping with the current health situation, this years visit of the District Governor was a "virtual" one.  The club welcomed Mary Turner, Rotary 5360 District Governor 2020-2021 to our meeting, accompanied by the new Assistant Governor for this area Keith Walker from the Medicine Hat Sunrise Rotary Club.  Both were welcomed by club President Mark Sorenson and DG Mary was introduced by Keith.
 
Keith introduced Mary, a Toronto native who joined Rotary in 2008 and was club President in Olds for the 2013-2014 year.  She and her husband Steve operate the Wildrose Medical Center in Olds and have been active in the YEX program, hosting 3 long term students.
 
Mary started out by thanking everyone for attending this meeting, in this unique year and her current nickname within the District is "COVID Mary".  She spoke about the upcoming partnership between Rotary and Toastmasters, the addition of a 7th area of focus for Rotary International, that being "Enviroment".  She touched on the need to increase our diversity, particularly the balance of males and females in each club and she was particularly delighted to announce the appointment of Jennifer Jones, as the Rotary International President for 2022-2023.  Jennifer is a Canadian, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor and will be the first female President of RI in history.
 
Mary also spoke about the wishes of current RI President Holger Knaack, Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany.  Holger would like each club to take on a few goals for his year including. 
  1. Consider new models for membership, satellite and passport clubs.
  2. Have at least one strategic planning meeting each year.
  3. Be very thorough and careful in selecting members.
  4. And remember that we are "this close" to ending Polio, and support the Rotary Foundation in this effort.
DG Mary also invited everyone to the upcoming District Conference, on May 14-16 in Drumheller, AB.  She hopes it will be an in person meeting but flexibility is the name of the game currently.  She ended her presentation by speaking about her "Rotary moment", working in her club to help a school in Kenya and that showed her the impact an individual and a club can have around the world.
 
Mary was thanked by President Mark and answered a few questions.  We all wish her great success in her year and hope to see her "in person" after January of 2021.
Visit of the District Governor - 2020 Dave Panabaker 2020-08-10 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Drive-Thru Ribfest

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Treasurer Gail Halderman explained the logistics and requirements of the planned "drive-thru" Ribfest, scheduled for August 7 - 9, 2020 running each day from 11am - 7pm.  There are a number of logistics to organize, including power, propane and water.  The "ribbers" are very efficient and can process about a dozen cars a minute, so the service should be fast. Questions were asked about insurance, alcohol and traffic control which Gail explained.
The intention is that vehicles will line up using the Murray Chev-Olds parking lot, and will view the menu's and different "ribbers" offerings as they wait in line.  Then they will line up in the line they wish to purchase from, the ordering and payment will all be done on an iPad system and Rotary will be there to sell water, pop and perhaps pass out information about the club.
There will be 4 ribbers and one "tatter" truck, so lots of choice in the lines.
 
Gail asked Rotarians to consider volunteering, there will be approximately 3 shifts each day of about 4 hours.  We intend to have the Rotary Tent there, and hopefully can provide a "novel" event at this unusual time.  If you are available that weekend please contact Gail, he's helping organize our side of the event.
Rotary Drive-Thru Ribfest Dave Panabaker 2020-07-13 06:00:00Z 0

Induction of the 2020 - 2021 Executive

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In another first for the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat, a virtual induction of our new executive was performed on Monday June 29.  A "Zoom meeting" to do inductions is certainly not the normal for our club but pretty much everything in the last four months has been usual, so this was no exception.
 
Margie Booyens started the meeting with a summary of the past year and a long list of "thank you's" to fellow board members and club members for all the hard work over the past 12 months. She reviewed the accomplishments of the club based on her "slogan" for the year of "Our Club harnesses diversity to strengthen the impact of Rotary Service in the community".  She spoke about the great additions to the club this year, and the flexibility to embrace virtual meetings and changes to our programs.  A complete list of all we've undertaken will be in the DOCUMENTS section of Clubrunner, for everyone's review.  For all the positive, there have been challenges including the loss of some valuable Board members in the process.  We are starting the Rotary year "leaner" but determined.
Margie spoke about the honor and pleasure of serving as President of the club.  She gave special thanks to a long list of board members, executive, committee chairs and Rotarians who provided assistance and effort through the year. She encouraged all to consider making themselves available for leadership positions in the club - "it is a privilege, fun and a growth-inducing challenge."
 
The new Board and Executive were inducted by AG Dave Panabaker, and are as follows;
 
President :          Mark Sorenson
Past-President:    Margie Booyens
President-elect:   Terry Partis
Secretary:            Doug Fleming
Treasurer:            Gail Halderman
 
Directors:  Mike Christie, Melanie Harty, Glen Presley, Dave Panabaker
 
After the formal induction, President Mark Sorenson took the microphone and ran the balance of the meeting.
Mark spoke about the need to collect ourselves, consolidate the good things about the club and move forward together.  He invited all Rotarians to be in contact with him, encouraged everyone to communicate and collaborate and think about the future.  He recognizes this may be a difficult year, with fund raising changes and less folks around to do the work.  But he is also confident that we can do anything we put our minds to, and the way forward is easy if we work together.
 
He spoke about the idea of moving venues, something that has been put on hold by COVID and that as soon as we can, he wants to start meeting in person.
 
Induction of the 2020 - 2021 Executive Dave Panabaker 2020-06-29 06:00:00Z 0

A Pair of District Governors

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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed both our current District 5360 Governor, Christine Rendell and the incoming District Governor, Mary Turner.  Both ladies were introduced by Dave Panabaker, outgoing AG for this area, who welcomed them to the meeting and provided a little background.
DG Christine spoke about this year of "firsts", not the least of which was the meeting of clubs, boards, RI and many others remotely.  It is great to see how many clubs and Rotarians have taken on the challenge of adapting and learning this new technology, some of which wouldn't have happened without the external stress of the pandemic.  Christine talked about her roll, the changes since the lockdown and how Rotary is dealing with it.  She spoke about the District Learning and Development workshops that have really made use of remote technology, making many opportunities available to all Rotarians.
Incoming DG Mary Turner spoke about how the travel changes have affected her, and that very soon the District level "impact of Covid" survey (with individual club statistics as well) will be available.  Mary also spoke about the volunteer connector project, putting needs and available volunteers together, the "people of action" partnership with Toastmasters to assist in training and her plans for her year.
 
DGE Mary will hold her convention in Drumheller, AB on May 14 thru 16, 2021 and has great hope that it will go ahead as a face to face meeting.  She will be holding virtual DG visits through the summer and fall and spoke about working with incoming President Mark of our club on the logistics of the new Rotary year.
 
Both ladies were thanked by President Margie, and the club was very grateful for their presence today.
A Pair of District Governors Dave Panabaker 2020-06-22 06:00:00Z 0

Induction Ceremony for Impa Hiriyanna

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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Impa Hiriyanna to the club today.  District Governor Christine Rendell was present today and did the welcome to Rotary.
Impa was introduced by her sponsor Milan Vujovic.   Impa has experience in the "non-profit" sector, and was inducted over her phone while she traveled to a meeting she had at 1:00pm.  Impa spoke about the profile of Rotary in the community and how several of her friends were members of the club.  She will be more active and available as the Covid crisis abates, and she is a creative person with many hobbies.  She is also a Mom, which is her top priority during this lockdown.
 
Impa was welcomed to the club by President Margie and given a "virtual" hug and applause from those members present.  We look forward to learning more about her in the weeks and months ahead.
Induction Ceremony for Impa Hiriyanna Dave Panabaker 2020-06-22 06:00:00Z 0

Elder Abuse Presentation

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Shantel Ottenbriet is a City Community Resource worker based out of the Veiner Centre, a trained Social Worker and Chair of the Provincial Elder Abuse Council

She advised there is Elder abuse in Medicine Hat even though we may find that hard to believe.The last census shows 19,995 adults over 55 years, less than 2,000 have experienced Elder Abuse. Not all cases are reported.

Definition of Elder Abuse is: ‘Action or inaction by a person in a trust position towards an Elder’

Types of Abuse: Neglect, Financial, Physical, Mental, Health

 

Local Activities: Local Coalition formed to provide training to professionals in this field.

Local Resources: Pocket Toolkit - to educate and provide strategies to identify and deal with abuse.

Notice Me campaign on Facebook & Instagram to raise awareness.

Core Alberta is providing information at a provincial level to make more people aware, through promotion, sharing ideas and best practices.

 

Situation in Medicine Hat.

· Active thriving coalition.

· Working with province on updates to ‘Power of Attorney’ legislation

· Need for Case worker (Dedicated staff) funding required. Shantel is currently handling some cases but only within the City so need for someone who could cover city & district.

· Concerns may be an increase due to isolation as a result of COVID 19.

Veiner Centre which is a resource to seniors currently closed but they are looking at ways to open and provide the activities/services while adhering to the COVID guidelines. I.E how do you social distance & play cards? Sanitizing issues, etc. The City may also be looking for new model to run the Veiner Centre.  A copy of Shantel's presentation is loaded into the Club Documents section of our website.

 

Following a Q & A Session, President Margie thanked our speaker.

Elder Abuse Presentation Doug Fleming 2020-06-15 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary International statement on racism

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President Margie Booyens ended the meeting today, by reading a recent statement from Rotary International, regarding the continuing protests on discrimination and policing issues throughout the world.  She expressed the wish that we as a club and each of us as individuals, could embrace this statement and work hard to live it.
Rotary International statement on racism Dave Panabaker 2020-06-08 06:00:00Z 0

Update from Mayor Ted

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The Rotary Club welcomed Honorary member, Mayor Ted Clugston to the meeting today.
 
Mayor Ted was introduced by Mike Christie (as Ted Grimm), but we aren't sure he wants to serve in the role quite as long as Mayor Grimm did.
 
 
Ted ran through a number of issues ongoing in the community at this time, particularly the impact of Covid-19 on the business community and how the City has responded to help restart the local economy and give everyone a little breathing room to pay City Taxes as they become due at the end of the summer.  Mayor Ted also spoke about the large cannibis greenhouse being constructed by Aurora, as well as the annual potential flood event which this community has been dealing with for many years.  The berms are almost finished, but as the Mayor said "a 98% berm is basically not much good, so that work continues".
 
Ted took a few questions and spoke about the impact of the social distancing and shutdown on operations at City Hall.  As always, a great talk...thanks for your time today Mayor Ted!!
Update from Mayor Ted Dave Panabaker 2020-06-08 06:00:00Z 0

Winter in Mexico - Part 3

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This is the third and last part of a story by Rotarian Terry Cooper, on his experience wintering in Mexico.
 
Escaping Winter in Rincon de Guayabitos – Part 3
 
During our walks we often took along bags to pick up any pieces of small garbage (especially plastic) which was appreciated by both the locals and visitors. Many thanked us and even contributed to our collection! The beaches were cleaned regularly so we were simply picking up what the cleaners missed and the beaches were far cleaner than we have seen at other beaches we’ve visited over the years.
 
Staying in a fishing village one would expect that fresh fish would be available along the shore and we weren’t disappointed. Most mornings we walked along the beach to get fresh fish from our favourite fisherman Jose who always greeted us with a smile and often threw in an extra filet of another fish. We normally paid around 200 pesos (~ $14 CAN) for about a kg of fish which gave us a meal for two days. I think ate almost all of the offerings to – dorado (mahi-mahi), sole, red snapper, sea bass, marlin, tuna, shark, prawns. The nice part was that the fish were fileted so there were no bones or extra work.
 
  
 
We often ventured outside the tourist area to visit local communities such as a show factory and brick-making facility. Visiting the shoe factory in Compostela reminded me of the sweat shops we saw in southeast Asia. There were about 5 people, including a school aged boy, who were working the human assemble line. The young boy worked in the morning and went to school in the afternoon. The soles were made from old tires while the rest of the shoe was made from leather. At the front of the shop was the store where the shoes were sold for around 220 pesos (~$15 CAN). Belts were also sold and now I wish I had picked up one seeing the process and labour involved.
 
   
On our trip to Compostela we observed a worker making tiles and bricks using a traditional process passed down over the years using basically three components – clay, cow dung, and sawdust. After mixing the three components, the worker poured the mixture into a form, wetted the surface, removed the form and repeated the process. Later the tiles / bricks were used to create the kiln which was then fired using wood. The worker has been working here at this small operation for over 30 years at wages that would embarrass us – pennies per brick. Most buildings in Mexico are made of brick, tile and concrete because wood is very expensive and requires constant treatment to prevent damage from terminates.
   
Winter in Mexico - Part 3 Terry Cooper 2020-06-08 06:00:00Z 0

Winter in Mexico - Part 2

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This is Part 2, of a 3 part story done by Rotarian Terry Cooper about his experience wintering in Mexico.
 
Escaping Winter in Rincon de Guayabitos – Part 2
 
After spending several winters in the Palm Springs area Carol and I decided to spend the winter in a small fishing town called Rincon de Guayabitos half-way up Mexico’s Pacific coast just north of Puerto Vallarta. We decided to give up the biking, hiking trails, fine arts, frequent rain and cooler weather in the Palm Springs California during the winter period (and the constant stream of divisive American politics in the media) for walking along the ocean and enjoying the almost constant sunshine and warm weather for the Pacific coast. Best of all – no driving! The town, like many along the coast, draws many domestic tourists (especially on the weekends and holidays) but relatively few foreign visitors compared to Puerto Vallarta. Most of the visitors are Canadian with few Americans or other nationalities. Mariachis and indigenous Huichol musicians roam the soft white sands, offering to serenade you for a small fee. Others offer exquisite skewers of freshly caught tuna or prawns grilled in a smoky marinade and doused with hot sauce and lime juice. The Saskatchewan Rough Riders obviously have a contingent of Rider fans down here in Nayarit. One can’t avoid their promotional material whether walking the beach or attending the market in La Penita de Jaltemba. During our visit to the market in La Penita de Jaltemba it was obvious that the sellers were appreciative of the Canadians. However, President Trump ... not so much.
 
  
 
Carol and I decided to stay in a colourful, beachside hotel with twin pools and an outdoor jacuzzi but with an outdoor kitchen and patio and locked off bedroom. Some say we are just one step up from camping given the close proximity to other residents in the complex. There is little privacy but we enjoy meeting our neighbours as they come and go from their rooms.
 
  
 
We had planned to spend a few days in Puerto Vallarta before heading home April 1 but we received a  notice mid March from the Alberta Retired Teachers' Association (ARTA) telling all members who have their ARTA Emergency Travel plan that they must be back in Canada within 10 days or else their insurance won't cover any coronavirus related issues. It took some time to get our flights changed but left March 21 a day before WestJet cancelled all flights home. Up until this time Mexico didn’t seem concerned about the Novid-19 virus but on our way to the airport we did see notices advising locals to begin social distancing. Shortly after all beaches were closed and access to the fishing villages was restricted to local residents only. Rincon has just opened to visitors. Hopefully this virus will be contained soon so we are able to return again next year to this area.
Winter in Mexico - Part 2 Terry Cooper 2020-06-01 06:00:00Z 0

2020 Rotary Club AGM

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Past President Dave Panabaker led the club through their annual general meeting, rescheduled to later in the Rotary year and done virtually due to the social distancing restrictions of Covid-19.  This certainly was a different AGM that we are used to in this club, but everyone in attendance was supportive and the process went well.
 
After dealing with a few housekeeping issues, including checking that a quorum of club members (34 of 65) were in attendance, the meeting was turned over to the current executive.  President Margie Booyens, Club Secretary Doug Fleming, Membership Director Mike Christie all provided short reports.
 
After a final call for nominations from the floor, PP Dave presented a motion that the club approve the slate as presented, a motion that was seconded by Roger Roy.
 
2020 - 2021 Rotary Club of Medicine Hat
 
Proposed Executive
President -             Mark Sorenson
Past President -     Margie Booyens
President - Elect - Terry Partis
Treasurer -            Gail Halderman
Secretary -            Doug Fleming
 
Directors 
Mike Christie
Melanie Hardy
Glen Presley
Dave Panabaker
vacant (2)
 
The slate was approved with no noted objections.  Thanks to all of you for serving the club.
2020 Rotary Club AGM Dave Panabaker 2020-05-25 06:00:00Z 0

Performance by 2020 Rosebowl Winners

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The club was delighted to welcome Soren and Laec Lorentzen to our meeting today, to perform as Duo Fratelli.
 
The boys were introduced by the Chairperson of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat Music Festival Society, Milan Vujovic.  In part he wished to thank Delynne Lorentzen, Executive Director of the Rotary Music Festival and her assistant Lorie McKenzie for their great work and making our Music Festival on the best in Alberta.  He also thanked Don Davis, Joe Chacko, Terry Brekko and Jillian Koch, for all their hard work on behalf of the Festival.  He spoke about the measurable values of the Festival, the development and showcasing of local talent and ultimately careers in the arts.  He also spoke about the hidden values, the boys and girls who had a chance to develop self discipline, to perform publicly, to experience a sense of accomplishment, to build confidence in their abilities and talents.  This is the unmeasurable value, the part that makes a big difference and has far reaching impact.
 
Brothers Soren and Laec Lorentzen have been performing together since they were 10 and 7 respectively.  They have individually as soloists both been previous Rosebowl winners and have competed in the chamber/ensemble category for the past three years.  Their music has taken them to many parts of Canada and they have been both competed at the Provincial Festival.
 
Here is a link to their Rosebowl performance.
 
 
Laec will be attending McCoy High School in the fall and Soren will be starting a Bachelor's degree program at Rice University in Texas, within the Shepherd School of Music.  The club thanks them both for their performance and wishes them all the best in their future endeavors.
 
Performance by 2020 Rosebowl Winners Dave Panabaker 2020-05-18 06:00:00Z 0

New Rotary Track sign

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Rotary Club President-elect Mark Sorenson and President of the Medicine Hat Track and Field Society Marg Derbyshire unveil the new signage at the Rotary Track and Soccer complex.  The new signage is bright and very visible from the
roadway.  The original signage had to be removed, when recent expansion and renovations to the facilities were undertaken.
New Rotary Track sign Dave Panabaker 2020-05-18 06:00:00Z 0

History of Estelí English School

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My relationship with Nicaragua started when I went with an Oxfam Farmer’s Brigade in March 1987. I spent five weeks teaching farmers how to maintain and repair their newly acquired farm machinery. I was very impressed with their simplicity and appreciation of life, and I always entertained the thought of returning.  Fast forward to Nicaragua 2011 where I ended up looking for old friends from the brigade.  I eventually found 5 people at Casa Blanca, where I had worked, and with whom I spent the day reminiscing about events 24 years ago.
   
While riding an express bus back to Managua a few days later, a young university student from Estelí seated beside me, passed me a note asking if I spoke Spanish.  I said that I could, barely, and Sarai proceeded to tell me their dilemma of career limitations because of lack of affordable English lessons, a skill that more and more employers were seeking in employees.
I returned to Canada several months later and found the Oxford TESOL (Teaching English to speakers of other languages) course at UBCO in Kelowna. At the age of 55 I was finally going to university.  I finished the course, and in January 2012 found myself back in Estelí, Nicaragua. Sarai introduced me to her church elders and I started teaching in their church three nights a week to a group of 20-30 students.  It was a huge learning curve for a retired grain and cattle farmer from Alberta to start a new career teaching English in a developing country. Two months and dozens of new friends later I said goodbye but promised I would return in October. 
I flew back to Calgary, landed and promptly went to a birthday party.  There I met a dentist from High River, Vicki McMullen, to whom I told about my recent experiences in Nicaragua.
 
In October 2012 I was back in Estelí with a Canadian ESL teacher, a Nicaraguan teacher, and our own schoolhouse, albeit rented.  Classes five days per week, and we were an actual English school.  Teaching adult and children groups, each with its own curriculum, was a stressful but rewarding challenge.  
 
In December 2012 Vicki McMullen wrote asking me to organize a dental brigade.  I met Dr. Larry Molina, my since then Nica dentist friend, with whom I organized my first dental brigade which was a resounding success. Doctors Vicki, Larry and Melida Rios, were able to provide 70 adults and children with complete dental care.  This experience led to many more brigades, the largest being Moses Lake Medical Team, which provided medical, optical, dental, and physio care to over 1000 people in 5 days in February 2016.  This connection enabled me to accompany MLMT to Nigeria in November 2016 on a medical mission, an adventure I will never forget or regret.
 
I joined Medicine Hat Rotary in 2015 by Skype from Estelí, and started to attend the meetings of Estelí Rotary Club in Nicaragua.  Convincing the Estelí club to actively pursue sponsorship from the MHRC, they decided to plan a renovation project at Club Sta Lucia, a home for abandoned and indigent seniors.  MHRC sponsored the project and we were able to almost completely renovate the home.
 
Medicine Hat High School Interact became involved by the energetic encouragement of Theresa Eisenbarth. They sponsored two projects, one, a house built by Estelí Rotaract Club for 76 year old Alberto Gutierrez, which evolved into three more residences built by the municipality for his siblings.  They had been living in shacks not fit for human habitation. The second project was sponsoring a complete water delivery system to 200 residents in the community of Santa Rosa.
 
Estelí English School has also secured funds from other sources for another community, Macuelizo, which received latrines, complete water system, grey water system, and laundry facilities.  We also arranged medical and dental brigades to attend the residents, this being the very first time medical personnel had ever been to this community in 50 years!
 
Today at Estelí English School we have 10 groups of students receiving English classes 6 days per week, all free of charge.  Two qualified teachers manage and instruct upwards of 200 students, from beginner to advanced, with long lists of people waiting to enter our classes.
 
We at EES have been able to achieve many successes, but those have been shadowed at times by failures, which have not deterred our vision.  Onward and upward, which keeps our motto “English is the key” alive and well.
History of Estelí English School Dave Panabaker 2020-05-17 06:00:00Z 0

Classification Diversity and Membership

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The program today for Rotary was a group discussion, led by our club Membership Chair Mike Christie on diversity of membership, both from different walks of life and different classifications but varying kinds of memberships...associates, corporate and others.
 
It was our first attempt to hold a discussion like this over the "virtual" meeting platform, but Mike was successfully able to share his screen, talk about where some membership and club documents are located on Clubrunner and provide a breakdown of some area's where our club may be missing out.  A recent survey of club members found several area's of the business community where we could potentially expand.  As well, the suggestion was made that as we are members of the Chamber of Commerce, the membership directory of that organization might be a great place to start.
 
A variety of options and opinions were shared and all of us believe that belonging to Rotary is as relevant and impactful now as at any time in the past.  We all know people who would make good Rotarians, we need to find ways to engage them and improve our meeting alignment, and project contributions to match with a busy world.
 
Classification Diversity and Membership Mike Christie 2020-05-11 06:00:00Z 0

Santa Rosa Community Water project

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The joint Esteli Rotary Club, Medicine Hat High School Interact Club and Rotary Club of Medicine Hat water project has been completed and is operating perfectly.
 
 
The project, guided by Medicine Hat/Esteli Rotarian Doug Thorson, aimed to provide potable water to 41 homes and approximately 200 members of the community for drinking, cooking, bathing and other domestic purposes.
The original pump for this well was a hand powered wheel, bringing up a small amount of water with each turn of the wheel.  It took 30 seconds for any water to appear at surface and the pump was in need of replacement due to wear and tear, and use over a long time.
The new pump in the well delivers approximately 100 litres of water every minute into a 2,500 litre storage tank, which then distributes the water through buried pipes to several faucets between groups of houses.  Water distribution is regulated for the time being and will be monitored to discourage wasteful habits.
      
The project was slightly delayed to January 2020 due to re-submission of cost estimates and municipal licensing requirements.  The contractor ultimately acquired the necessary permits and water tests to ensure that the well water was safe for human consumption.
The Esteli Rotary Club members and the Santa Rosa community members were the lynch pin of this project.  They provided much more that the listed $800US worth of labor and time.  Countless trips to the community, phone calls, meetings, discussions and then momentum to complete the project.
     
 
This is a life changing project for the members of this community, and with a total cost of around $5,000 is providing safe drinking water at a cost of about $25/person.
Santa Rosa Community Water project Douglas Thorson 2020-05-11 06:00:00Z 0

Classification Talk - Peter Mueller

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The Rotary Club welcomed to the "screen" of our Zoom meeting, one of our newest members Peter Mueller.
 
Peter provided a wonderful, and touching summary of his life to date, his early years as an immigrant to Medicine Hat from both the aftermath of World War 2 in Europe and the repression that came to East Germany after the war.  He spoke about the difficulty of being German in this area as a child, and how it took a fair amount of time for some of that to fade away.
He spoke about his children and his first wife, some of the wonderful moments and some of the tough times.  He showed a couple of travel pictures, done for his mental health as well as his physical well being.
 
He talked about his experience as a teacher, and his recent experience running for Provincial politics.  A great presentation, we are lucky to have him in our club and we wish him the best for his new "career" in Rotary.
Classification Talk - Peter Mueller Dave Panabaker 2020-05-04 06:00:00Z 0

Escaping the Cold - Rotary in Mexico

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During our winter break in Rincon de Guayabitos Mexico, Roger Roy invited me to the La Penita Bahia de Jaltempa Rotary club meetings (a 20 minute walk away). The club meets every Wednesday morning and the meetings go only for an hour and finishes promptly at 9:00 AM. I think the club president had a stop watch. The Sergeant at Arms role is easy – someone comes around and each visitor is asked to donate (~20 pesos) and say something if they wish. There were no fines as such – just a quasi mandatory donation.
Roger and I brought down a couple of donated walkers which we gave to the local club here and I hope to get a little more involved with the club activities and school projects next year as Roger mentioned in the last newsletter. It is a small world - Fred von Schellwitz used to be a member of our club and we talked about his days in Medicine Hat.
 
Charlene Bearden District 5360 Executive Assistant for southern Alberta gave an excellent presentation on her role and responsibilities with the Rotary clubs of our region which appeared in an earlier post this year (https://rotary5360.ca/stories/district-administrator-makes-presentations-everywhere/).
I also ran into Gail Surkan, former mayor of Red Deer, and her husband, who have had a condo in this region of Mexico for a number of years. I knew Gail when she and I served on the former Community Savings Credit Union board before its merger with Servus Credit Union in 2008.
Carol and I often took the local transportation to visit other beaches / fishing villages along the coast such as San Pancho (or San Francisco as it is sometimes called) about half way between Rincon de Guayabitos and Puerto Vallarta where we hooked up with fellow Rotarian Dan Kammerer and his partner Cheryl.
The ocean was very rough that day and really only for fearless surfers so we didn’t go in. Of all the beach resorts we visited during our stay in Mexico San Pancho has probably the most amenities including refined restaurants along with a touch of art and culture (a mini Banff).
During our walk through San Pancho the four of us had a chance to visit Entreamigos, a Community and Educational Center that provides educational opportunities to local children and young people in San Pancho which is a story in itself and which Dan could post in a future newsletter.
Escaping the Cold - Rotary in Mexico Terry Cooper 2020-05-04 06:00:00Z 0

Financial Update

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With all the changes to daily life and the restrictions on both Public Gatherings and Gaming activities, the Club Board felt it was wise to sit down with the annual budget, and review both where we stand and what the future might look like. So 3 Wise Men (Gail Halderman, Terry Partis and Mark Sorenson) met and review the status of our accounts.
 
At today's meeting Gail review the preliminary results, preliminary because the return to anything near normal is still uncertain, so the future is very cloudy.  In general, the review resulted in a positive opinion about the clubs position, we have adequate reserves for our known commitments in 2020-2021 and have some hope that our service and giving can be expanded, depending on that cloudy future.
 
A number of questions were asked and answered, and lets hope "normal" returns soon.  Thanks to all three of the wise fellows for their counsel. 
Financial Update Dave Panabaker 2020-04-27 06:00:00Z 0

Roger's winter in La Penita, Mexico

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As requested by our Club President Margie,  here's a brief summary of my Rotary activities this last winter:
 
I'm also involved w/ Angels for Mexico which is out of Calgary,  Christina Callaghan is CEO and they build playgrounds (this is built in 4 days from raw material) and also supply & train fire departments.  Did lots of traveling w/ Angels for Mexico looking for new playground sites.  Amazing accomplishments!!
 
 

Helped ship & disperse walkers & wheelchairs .This was coordinated by Randy & Caroline Vandeen from the Saamis Rotary club in Medicine Hat.  Some of the walkers I placed w/ our club in Guayabitos  (Terry Cooper also brought
one).  Ignacio w/ El Tuito Rotary picked loads & placed with the needy as far as 2 hours south of Puerto Vallarta.
 
 

I know a lot of RV'ers, so we bring down cases of school supplies which Helma directs the "All schools project".

We did concrete work at Los Ayolas school.Widened sidewalk, made ramps cut out & widened bathroom door & made all wheel chair accessible.
 
 
 
Volunteer and helped out at the annual Rotary fundraiser...Always a sell out of 400 people.  John Spry (Campbell River Rotary) & myself usually sell close to 50% of tickets.....so they like seeing us back every year.
 
  
 
Every year there's a fashion show which is also a sell out of 400.  It is put on by a group of ladies & funds are used for scholar ships.  As seen we are waiters...Lots of fun.
 
The wash rooms were not working in a school(La Colema) where we did extensive work over the last 2 years. This is Jim Smith's (Olds Rotary) project. I drafted Libert (RV'er from Calgary) to give us a hand....4 days later we got it done....pressure system was plugged as well as broken toilet bowls etc...Libert's not a Rotarian so I suggested we should give him recognition for the hours of volunteering.  At our breakfast meeting we presented Libert w/ a Certificate of special recognition....Ironically I also received one which was not anticipated!
 


This gives a brief overview from this last winter.

Gracias (Club Rotario Bahia DE Jaltemba La Penita)
Roger's winter in La Penita, Mexico Roger Roy 2020-04-27 06:00:00Z 0

Youth Vital Conversations - CFSEA

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The Rotary Club welcomed guests Sue Edwards and Chris Christie from the Community Foundation of South Eastern Alberta to our meeting today, to speak about a recent project involving youth in the community, and conversations about what they saw as issues and possible solutions.
 
The Project, which was financed by a large grant from RBC had two main objectives. The first was a "Future Launch Community Challenge" where $60,000 was granted to youth-led initiatives across SE Alberta.  The second was "Youth Vital Conversations" where facilitators hosted youth and directed them through a questionnaire initiative.  The team met with over 800 youth at a wide variety of locations, and many of the participates used a smart phone app to input their answers.
 
As well, what do you see as the biggest issues facing youth?
Next steps involve sharing the results with Community Partners as they were doing today, sharing data with the Medicine Hat College which was very interested in the results, aligning the grant priorities with the Community Impact Award to reflect the feedback and to report to the RBC Foundation.
 
Obviously some of the work as slowed down with the recent pandemic restrictions, but they hope to finished over the summer.
Youth Vital Conversations - CFSEA Dave Panabaker 2020-04-20 06:00:00Z 0

Winter in Mesa, Arizona. 2019/2020

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Ric and I enjoy 5-1/2 months in our Winter Home (Valle Del Ore), Mesa Arizona. When we arrive the end of October, we immediately begin our busy routine of Water Aerobics, Cycling, Hiking, Tennis, and volunteer duties with the weekly Chapel Service.

We belong to the 250-member Tennis Club, which plays on six courts of artificial turf. There is a league with several other parks in the Mesa area, which we play in.

My real story begins with being the Tennis Clubs, Campaign Chairman for an ‘Adopted Family at Christmas”. Each November, contact is made with the East Valley Baptist church who provides a Food Bank for destitute families. Our designated family provides requests for basic needs (ie: TP paper, laundry soap, diapers, etc.) as well as clothes, and Christmas gifts for the family.

This year we were connected with a single Father (Josh) and his two sons (Nathan – 10 and Ricky – (8). They’re connection with the Church and Food Bank began one day in early November when the truck they were living in ran out of gas. They rolled into the parking lot of the Church, sleeping in the truck that night. The wonderful, caring Pastor Hughes and his wife Mary, took them in and provided food, found living quarters, clothing, and gas money. In return Josh helped stock the food bank shelves and other odd jobs.

I started the collection from Tennis Club members and a friend and I shopped for requested items. The purchases and gifts were wrapped & presented. First on the agenda, however, was paying December’s rent before eviction December 5th. Truck was then repaired with money donated by a member. Transportation other than bikes could now be used to get the boys to school. Broken bikes were repaired by Ric and two newer ones purchased from Goodwill.I approached Management of our Park and by the middle of December, Josh had a job with the Maintenance Department. This $15 an hour job and $940 rent still led to further needs. Food was provided by the Tennis Club, as well as the Food Bank. The next wall was hit, when the repaired truck broke down, and once again the Tennis Club membership stepped up and a used van, in excellent work order, was purchased, insurance bought, and Josh and the boys have good wheels.

Josh continues to work hard and do whatever he can do to support the three of them. This was a very rewarding experience, as I am totally convinced this young Dad and his boys have found a new life

Even though this was not a Rotary Club connection, it was “service above self”, which I have learned to live by through my Rotary involvement.

Winter in Mesa, Arizona. 2019/2020 Anne Carrier 2020-04-14 06:00:00Z 0

Grateful to go Home

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Rotarians

As part of our "remote meeting" process, we have time and space for members to share their experiences in the current travel climate.  New Rotary member Shalla Shaharyar provided the following summary of her recent trip home to Pakistan.

We'd love to publish others, please send them in.

Editor

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When I boarded the airplane to Pakistan, I did not know that this would be my shortest trip home, yet the most reflective. I had planned to stay three weeks in Pakistan, however due to Covid-19 declared as a global pandemic in the middle of my trip, I was compelled to return early. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my short visit. 

Due to the gradual economic-social shutdown in Pakistan, I eventually became homebound, and unexpectedly with much more time on my hands, as socializing and shopping came to a quick halt.

Shalla & (my mother) Shahida - Waiting for breakfast in the beautiful morning sun!

In hindsight, this extra time was a blessing as I got more time to connect with my two beautiful nieces, which further strengthened my familial relationships, and also provided me the opportunity to learn more about my extended family through stories shared by my mother, the best story teller I know!

My nieces. Eliza and Shiza

Sitting at home also came with extended exceptional hospitality, and I indulged, unrestrained, in savoury curries, grilled skewered meats, fresh organic fruits, special naans, biryanis and much much more!! Not a bad deal after all.  Early spring had just taken hold of Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, when I arrived. It was breathtaking and invigorating to hear the cheering birds, see the budding flowers and trees and the vibrant hues in the backdrop of Margalla hills, a mountainous range that is part of the Himalayan foothills. March is definitely a beautiful month to visit Islamabad.

One of the more adventurous parts of my trip was driving a manual in the chaotic bustling traffic of Islamabad, not once, but thrice and live to tell about it! There is no doubt that driving a stick is fun and thrilling as it requires constant mental vigilance, but I was also glad to know that its a skill that is never lost! 

It was a short trip but one that I will always cherish. I am very thankful for the trip, and also to return safely to Canada, my second home! Now I look forward to spring taking a hold in Medicine Hat…..Shalla

Grateful to go Home Dave Panabaker 2020-04-06 06:00:00Z 0

Sewing Face Masks

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A shout out to Rotarian Dawn Barr, who has been spending her self isolation time sewing washable face masks for use in a variety of situations.  Now sewing for Dawn is not a surprise to anyone who knows her but what a great way to help out and contribute while you are staying home.  Dawn is able to sew about 20 masks each day.  Dawn mentioned "How poignant that my mom was sent to Scotland during the war to sew uniforms and here I am sewing masks ..... history does repeat .... feeling her spirit".
If you have sewing skills, and some time I know that Dawn would be happy to share the pattern with you.
Sewing Face Masks Dave Panabaker 2020-03-30 06:00:00Z 0

Classification Talk - Shalla Shaharyar

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The Rotary Club welcomed new member Shalla Shaharyar to the podium to give her Classification Talk.  Shalla was introduced by Mike Christie.
 
Shalla began her talk by expressing her appreciation for the warm welcome extended to her by the members of the club, right from the first time she was present as a guest.  She was born in Islamabad, Pakistan and spent eight years and completed high school in Washington, DC where her father worked in the foreign office.
When she returned to Pakistan, she studied for a Masters in International Relations, then worked for the British Council and married Shaharyar, who is a chemical engineer.  The couple spent time in Copenhagen, Denmark where Shaharyar continued his studies.  The couple emigrated to Canada 18 years ago, first settling in Brandon, Manitoba and then moving west to Medicine Hat.  The couple have two sons, one studying at Queens University and the other at Medicine Hat High School.
 
Shalla works at the MH College, as the English as a Second Language Administrator, as well as doing diversity training.
 
Shalla described some of the positives and negatives of their immigration experience, primarily being so far from family.  Shalla joined Rotary to enable further involvement in the community, locally and internationally and because the Rotary Motto of "Service above Self" resonates with her.  The club welcomes her and thanks her for a great presentation.
Classification Talk - Shalla Shaharyar Dave Panabaker 2020-03-09 06:00:00Z 0

The State of the City with Mayor Ted Clugston

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Feb 10, 2020
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The Rotary Club welcomed Honorary Member, Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston to the podium today.  Ted was introduced by Mike Christie, who spoke briefly about Ted's history. Mayor Ted had recently given his annual, formal "State of the City" address and he paid us a visit to give us the "Coles Notes" version.  Ted has been a council member since 2007 and Mayor since 2013.
Ted began by speaking about the "team" at City Hall...both his fellow Council members, the Executive and all the staff.  He is extremely proud of the performance of the organization and as shown in a recent article in the New York Times, as a community we "punch way above our weight class".  He spoke about the difference in municipal politics, and how everything is not as bad as it seems in the media.  He spoke of recent success, of the challenges with the recent Aurora Cannabis announcements (he expects 6 of the 36 production bays to be planted this year, with at least 50 - 100 jobs).  That facility is the largest "Controlled Agricultural Environment" in the country, over 1.6 Million sq ft. 
 
Mayor Ted spoke about the challenges in the home building sector, although commercial building is very healthy.  He spoke about the accomplishments of this Council including the completion of the flood protective berms and the work associated with transforming the "Gas City" with the abandonment of many of the oil and gas assets due to the expected prices. He mentioned expansions at Cancarb and the success of Qinetiq as reasons for optimism in the community.
Ted thanked the Rotary Club for the Rotary Music Festival, he credits it with helping a shy child blossom and finished his presentation with a poem titled "Invictus"...or "the unconquered".  Well done Mayor Ted.
 
Mayor Ted was thanked by President Margie Booyens, who spoke about the need to know the needs of the community, what issues are going unresolved or unaddressed and where can Rotary make a big impact.  Our club is reviewing those things now and hopefully will be coming up with local community service projects with the biggest "needs" in mind.
The State of the City with Mayor Ted Clugston Dave Panabaker 2020-02-10 07:00:00Z 0

Tourism Medicine Hat talk

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Jace Anderson (a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club) and the Manager of the Destination Marketing Office spoke about the impact the community has on visitors and some of the "hidden gems" that locals take for granted but are so important to visitors.  He spoke first about promotions, through the magazine "Experience Medicine Hat".  It helps build awareness of the activities and benefits in the community.
 
He spoke about various outdoor activities, like our trails system and some of the mountain biking area's.  He used examples like the Rotary Music Festival, the MH Jazzfest. the Tongue on the Post Folk Festival, and other cultural attractions which are emerging as power ways to get visitors to come and stay.
He spoke about the capital investment in the Tourist Center which is going on, to deal with the 23,000 - 25,000 annual visitors they serve every year.  He spoke about the new Sunshine Trolley as a way to get visitors around town and how both the Historic Downtown and Historic Clay District are big draws for out of town visitors.
 
He spoke about "the passion for the community" which is found in service club and elsewhere and helps provide the opportunity to engage the tourists, currently tourism is the 4th largest industry in Alberta.  He answered a number of questions and was thanked by Karen Blewett.
Tourism Medicine Hat talk Dave Panabaker 2020-02-03 07:00:00Z 0

The history of our 3H project

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jan 20, 2020
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Wayne Chesley took the podium today and presented a slide show on a trip to Calcutta India in 2008.  Sandy & Jane Mackay, Joe & Vicki Hrankowski and Wayne & Bernice Chesley travelled to Calcutta India to review the scope and impact of the 3H project organized by our club and the Rotary Club of Calcutta Metropolitan.
 
 
Our club raised approximately $6,000 and with the matching of funds through the process were able to give $48,000 to the project.  Rotary International contributed $300,000.  Wayne reviewed the devastating conditions in the villages prior to the start of the project and talked about the impact of the trip on the villagers and on the Medicine Hat Rotarians.  A copy of the presentation is stored in the Club Documents section of our website.
 
Rotary was able to provide;
  • An eye clinic
  • Vaccinations
  • Specialized health clinics
  • A school
  • Microcredit for over 500 people
  • A number of fresh water wells for village health
  • 450 toilet installations.
  • 11,000 fruit bearing trees, for food and sale.
  • And a road to connect the villages in all weather conditions, named "The Paul Harris Road"
The Calcutta newspaper printed a big article about the project once it was complete and the best quote from the write was "Rotarians won the hearts of 50,000 villagers.
 
A wonderful presentation with great pictures and a reminder to us that Rotary IS International and "doing good in the world"....thanks Wayne!
The history of our 3H project Dave Panabaker 2020-01-20 07:00:00Z 0

Medicine Hat College - Microgrid

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The Rotary Club was delighted to meet at the Medicine Hat College today to listen to a presentation by Tracy Stroud, Manager of Business Development at the College.  The Community Renewable Energy Microgrid (CREM) was a collaborative project with multiple community partners.  It includes the visible components like Electric Vehicle charging facilities, small vertical access wind turbine and a solar panel array.  It also includes a number of learning opportunities and teaching topics for students studying to be part of this upcoming technology.
 
 
Tracy spoke about the genesis of this project in 2016, how it has incorporated new technologies and opportunities over the past few years and provided alignment with a number of pieces of MH College curriculum. Tracy answered a number of questions and spoke about a few future prospects.  Many of the project goals speak to the economic changes happening within our province and the country, and it is great to see the College get their share of opportunities.
 
For those who are interested, more information about the Microgrid and the Electric Vehicle program are available on the college website, follow this link.  https://www.mhc.ab.ca/AboutMHC/PartnerWithUs/RenewableEnergy
Medicine Hat College - Microgrid Dave Panabaker 2020-01-13 07:00:00Z 0

Reclassification Talk - Gail Halderman

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jan 06, 2020
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Our Club Treasurer, Gail Halderman kicked off what is hoped to be a series of "reclassification talks", to provide long service Rotarians with a chance to introduce themselves to younger club members and to tell everyone a little bit about how their experience in Rotary has affected their life.
 
Gail is the 15th Rotarian in our club to hold the role of Treasurer. He also holds the distinction of being the second longest serving Treasurer.  He has now held that role for 22 years, beginning in 1998.  
 
 
Gail spoke about his childhood in rural Saskatchewan, and how at 27 he began his "education" by purchasing a farm implement dealership.  That began a career lasting 36 years, of which the last 20 were in Medicine Hat.  He and his wife Diane have been blessed with 4 children and 8 grandchildren.
 
He spoke about the "giving back" spirit, in many aspects of the dealership and rural life, and found himself at a Rotary meeting courtesy of Jim White.
 
A wonderful talk, thanks for your contribution to the club and that great presentation.
Reclassification Talk - Gail Halderman Dave Panabaker 2020-01-06 07:00:00Z 0

Rotary Social event

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Dec 30, 2019
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The Rotary Club has a wonderful social event to finish the calendar year 2019 and celebrate the halfway mark in this Rotary year.
 
Sgt-at-Arms Mike Christie helped run a "know your Rotarian" game for the tables, and lots of fun was enjoyed.  We learned who didn't have property in Arizona, who had more than 2 tattoo's and who the model train lovers in the crowd were.  (although the last one wasn't a big surprise) There was a "cheap" gift exchange and a lot of fun and some stealing of gifts was enjoyed by all.  A wonderful way to end the year, thanks to the organizers and to Mike for leading the event.  A Happy New Year to all!
 
Rotary Social event Dave Panabaker 2019-12-30 07:00:00Z 0

Rotary Friendship Exchange - District 7850

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Dec 23, 2019
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Dan Kammerer, accompanied by his partner Cheryl, participated in the most recent Rotary Friendship exchange between District 5360 and District 7850.  District 7850 is a cross border district in northern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and a portion of the Province of Quebec (around Sherbrooke).  The District includes 42 clubs, with 25 in Vermont, 11 in New Hampshire and 4 in Quebec.  The exchange took place from Oct 5 thru Oct 19, 2019.
 
 
Dan spoke about the activities associated with a Friendship exchange, which stresses the Fun and Fellowship side of Rotary membership.  You are constantly on the move and see both "touristy" things and many behind the scenes things that tourists wouldn't be allowed access to.  It is entirely in keeping with the current Presidential motto that "Rotary Connects the World".
 
There are currently two separate District 5360 trips in the works for later this year to Brazil, and Dan spoke about the process within District 5360 for qualifying for one of the exchanges.  The work of hosting incoming groups, and participating in exchanges is scored and the clubs work counts toward participation.  More information is available on the District website https://rotary5360.ca 
 
 
Dan also spent a little time mentioning Rotary Fellowships, which are another social aspect of membership.  Rotary Fellowships are international groups for Rotarians that share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world, explore a hobby or profession, and enhance your Rotary experience.
 
Much more information about Fellowships are found on the Rotary International website https://www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/more-fellowships 
 
 
Rotary Friendship Exchange - District 7850 Dave Panabaker 2019-12-23 07:00:00Z 0

Rotary Exchange student - Maddy Caparini

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Dec 16, 2019
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It was wonderful to have Maddy Caparini with us today, to give us her presentation about her year in the Republic of Czechoslovakia.  She was only 15 when she embarked upon her life changing experience and she spend the 2018 - 2019 school year in Trebic, Czech Republic.  This community is about 2 hours from Prague, but she truly enjoyed the community.  She was hosted by a small Rotary club, with only about a dozen members but they had three different Rotary exchange students that year.
 
 
Trebic has a terrible history from WW2, it was once one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe but was basically cleared out during the war and very few family's remain.  It is full of UNESCO World Heritage sites, they have many many churches and castles....Maddy really loved it!
 
 
She had 3 host families, in a variety of locales while she was there.  She did many presentations in her school about Canada, and made many new friends.  She showed photos of all of the host families, of the food that was popular, of her classmates and her various trips.  This particular District hosted 94 Exchange students, we will have 12 in our District this year according to Brian Robinson, who was her outbound councilor.   Maddy especially enjoyed her Eurotour, which is the District trip through France, Spain and Italy.  She showed many great photos.
 
Maddy was emphatic that she thanked Rotary, particularly her sponsor club which was Saamis - Medicine Hat, for this life changing experience.  She is very grateful for the time and money spent on her behalf and she promised to be involved with Rotary in the future.  She was thanked by President Margie.
Rotary Exchange student - Maddy Caparini Dave Panabaker 2019-12-16 07:00:00Z 0

Minute People today

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Dec 09, 2019
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There were a long list of Minute People today, so it developed into a separate section of the Newsletter.
 
  • On behalf of Past President Chris, President Margie mentioned that the club Past Presidents will be contacted about their suggestions and recommendations for the next President-elect, to follow Mark Sorenson in the leadership of the club.  Please be thinking about candidates to take on this role.
  • Margie also reminded Rotarians to work hard on selling their Club 1000 tickets, so we are in a good position at the start of the year.
  • Ken Zollner mentioned that he, Sharon, Don Davis and Don's son Matt worked at the Co-op Christmas Party on Saturday and sold 50/50 tickets for their raffle.  They earned a $500 donation to the Rotary Music Festival, great work and thank you.
 
  • Teresa Schile, our Community Service (International) Director had two minutes;
    • First about our current project in Sri Lanka to assist in the dentistry to elder patients.  The first 6 have entered the program and the expectation is between 275 and 300 are hopefully going to be helped.
    • Second, that the International Committee is working on a new Indian project, with some of the contacts that our club used on previous projects.  An opportunity to go on a fact finding mission using District Travel grants in being explored, so stay tuned for that.
  • In keeping with the International Project theme, Wayne Chesley is going to do a presentation on the clubs previous 3H project in India on January 20th.  Wayne accompanied Sandy Mackay on a tour of that work about 8 years ago and has seen the "good done in the world" first hand, should be a great session.
  • Dave Stalwick is looking for a few more floor workers for the "Christmas" bingo on Monday evening, December 23rd.
  • Heather Bach advised that the delivery of the Christmas stockings will be at the Masterpiece Seniors facility on Friday December 13, beginning at 2:00 pm.  Please meet there, about 6 - 8 people are needed for the delivery service.
  • Heather also mentioned that she has set up a "Private" - Members only discussion group on Facebook to allow additional discussion and debate on changes to the club.  If you have a Facebook presence, please join in.....
  • Milan Vujovic mentioned that our most recent Rosebowl winner at the Music Festival, Soren Lorentzen will be holding a recital on Sunday afternoon, January 26th at 3:00 pm.  It promises to be a great afternoon of music, with several other Friends of the Music Festival.
 
  • Terry Brekko introduced himself to new and old members alike, he's been away from the club meetings for a few weeks and wanted to remind everyone that January is our push for patron donations and advertising for the Music Festival.  He hopes to have the packages available next week and because the Festival starts on March 1st, the funds need to be gathered in January.  Also, this is "ABSOLUTELY" his last year to be involved in this, after a 30 year run and he is looking for someone or someone(s) to take on this role.
  • Dave Panabaker presented President Margie with a certificate from Rotary International, thanking our club for our support of the End Polio fund.
  • Dave also mentioned that the club has been approached by the Children's Wish Foundation of Alberta, who are in urgent need of several casino workers for Thursday December 19th and Friday December 20th.  They particularly need an alternate GM for both afternoon shifts (3 pm - 9 pm) and a count room person for the second day at 1:00 am.  Please contact april.stallings@childrenswish.ca if you can help them out.
  • As a "post meeting" minute, Adolf Seiler phoned in the following.
    • The top three donation spots were;
      1. Walmart - Tim Hortons entrance.
      2. Northlands Co-op.
      3. Superstore.
    • Our club raised a total of $2,648 for the Salvation Army on Nov 30th, which equates to $47.28/hr for every one of our 56 volunteer hours.  Great work, and a BIG thank you from Adolf for all the cooperation and the volunteers.
  • Dave Panabaker also showed a series of photos of Rotarian Roger Roy at work in Mexico.  Roger was working with "Angels of Mexico" to build a playground and then with local Rotarians and members of the Saamis Rotary Club to bring wheelchairs and walkers down to Mexico.  His note read "it's just another day in paradise", but it looked like lots of hard work.
 
Minute People today Dave Panabaker 2019-12-09 07:00:00Z 0

Community Foundation Presentation

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Dec 02, 2019
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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Susan Edwards, the Assistant Director of the Community Foundation of South East Alberta (CFSEA).  Susan was introduced by Club Service Director Heather Bach and spoke about the recent distribution from the Foundation, to a total of 39 agencies and $207,000 in the fall of this year.
 
Susan also spoke about the expansion of the Foundations reach, recently the "give where you live" theme has been taken up in Brooks & District, 40 Mile and Prairie Crocus (the Oyen area).  Separate rural community funds have been set up for these areas, with dedicated coordinators in each area.  She was hopeful that Cypress County will also have a specific fund and administrator soon.
 
Susan also acknowledge the role of RBC, who have funded significant grants to youth led initiatives.  Approximately $60,000 has been donated to fund this aspect of Foundation work.
 
Susan revealed that new endowments had been set up specifically for the Mustard Seed, and for HALO...to assist them in gathering funds and providing long term financial support.  The Foundation has $14.4 Million dollars under administration with a goal to surpass $15 Million by 2020.
 
Rotarians are reminded that our club maintains an endowment at the Foundation in support of the Rotary Music Festival.  That fund currently contributes over $8,000 to cover the operating cost of the Festival.
 
Susan was thanked by Acting President Melanie and presented with a Medalta mug with thanks!
 
Community Foundation Presentation Dave Panabaker 2019-12-02 07:00:00Z 0

Strategic Direction Discussion

Posted by Mike Christie on Nov 25, 2019
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The presentation and subsequent discussion were the main elements of today’s meeting.  PE Mark Sorenson described a process the Board had been going through to consider the future direction and culture of the Club.  Mark referred to a recent report from the Rotarian (available at each table) profiling a Club in Halifax which had gone through considerable change.  Truly embracing change and remaining open minded and accepting diversity might be a challenge for some. Mark’s own motivation for joining Rotary was related to enjoying the lunch style meeting and a desire to give something back to the community, but he recognized the need to ensure the longevity of the Club by becoming irresistible to new and younger members.
 
    
A Think Tank had been created by the Board and had taken several weeks to research and collect information and report back to the Board.  In essence the report provided a number of alternatives described by Mark and Gail (in no particular order of priority) as:
  1. Maintain Club as is – no change – do nothing
  2. Modify Existing Club to appeal to Younger Members
  3. Completely Revamp Existing Club to an Innovative Culture
  4. Maintain Existing Club as is and Start a Satellite Club/Charter a New Club 
The Board did not have 100% consensus on which alternative might be best and there was obviously a lot to think about.  For example, Mark described the Rotary Music Festival as perhaps needing to be little more independent so that the Club could reduce the current 80% of time and money spent on the Festival.
 
 
There were lots of questions and comments from members including, Dick Bide, Ken Fester, Lisa DesRoches, Sandy MacKay, Kitt Brand, Adolf Seiler, Jan Stalwick, Dieter Brand, Marg Mazerolle, Theresa Schile, amongst others.  Comments and suggestions were related to the need for more of this type of communication with members, making membership as diverse and the process of becoming a member as easy as possible, getting younger members is one thing but expecting to get them straight into leadership roles is quite another, when other things need to take priority in their busy lives.  Live streaming meetings would help those who can’t be present, so as to stay connected.  Rotary ideals and 4-way Test are still a good draw for any age, and different types of meetings would also help.
 
This is a sample of the comments which took the meeting to almost closing time and some attendees needed to leave.  No decisions made but a promise from Margie to hold further discussions on what can be done in the short and longer term, to make our Club more attractive, more diverse and to increase our impact in the community, during the December business meeting, scheduled for December 9th.   A summary of the discussion was sent out to all club members, so absentee's and "snowbirds" weren't missed.
Strategic Direction Discussion Mike Christie 2019-11-25 07:00:00Z 0

Presentation by Chief Andy McGrogan

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The Rotary Club was delighted that Police Chief Andy McGrogan made it to the meeting today and spoke about some of the success's and challenges facing both the Police Service and the Medicine Hat Community at large.  Chief McGrogan was introduced by Rotarian Bruce Shepard,  and welcomed to the meeting.
 
 
Chief McGrogan began his career with the Medicine Hat Police Service in November of 1980, and has a wide variety of roles from patrolman up to the position of Chief, to which he was appointed in November of 2008.  He has also been very active in the community, with a role for 6 years on the board of the Medicine Hat Women's Shelter and as the Alberta representative on the Canadian Chief of Police Council.
 
Andy spoke of the organization he is in charge of, 113 Police officers and a total staff of 150 including the civilians.  He wanted to express his thanks to the community at large, for the general support that his officers receive in their daily duties, and the funding received through City Council.
 
 
Chief McGrogan spoke about the changes that have occurred in Policing through his career, and about several important issues.  The first was the legalization of Cannabis, which he termed a "non-event" so far although he did mention that technology to prove impairment is still not readily available.   He also mentioned with the introduction of "edibles" in the next year, there may be more issues coming forward.
 
He spoke about the opioid crisis, and about the bigger issue facing the community from methamphetamine.  "Meth" is highly addictive and introduces a great deal of social disruption to the community in general.  It has a cumulative effect on all the social services, from police to emergency response personnel to the social service community. 
 
Andy answered a number of questions and was thanked by President Margie Booyens.
Presentation by Chief Andy McGrogan Dave Panabaker 2019-11-04 07:00:00Z 0

Rotary Centennial Park  - Tree planting

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Oct 28, 2019
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Past President Chris Perret took the podium to review our last Centennial project, the creation of a park along the Eagle Butte Road in Dunmore to be called "Rotary Centennial Park", and allow the club to plant 100 trees to commemorate our 2018 Centennial.
 
 
PP Chris reviewed the history of the project, and that getting a spot to plant the 100 trees together within the City of Medicine Hat wasn't possible.  We didn't want them spread out throughout the City, as they would lose the recognition of 100 years.  Chris spoke about the new partnerships that this project could bring to the club, and that after a lengthy review of the storm water runoff pond on this property, the County has committed $80,000 to the project.  Our contribution would total $25,000 and would provide a lasting memorial to the 100th anniversary.  It would also complete our commitment to Past RI President Ian Riesley's wish that every Rotary Club would plant one tree for each member during his year.
 
There were a number of questions asked and answered from the club and then the project was approved unanimously by the members present.  We look forward to celebrating the completion of this area in the spring of 2020.  Great work by PP Chris to stay on this idea, through a number of twists and turns.
Rotary Centennial Park - Tree planting Dave Panabaker 2019-10-28 06:00:00Z 0

Meeting News

Introduction of Guests:

  • Lori McKenzie, Office Manager of Rotary Music Festival 

Birthdays: 

  • Jack Snedden               October 26.

Anniversaries:

  • Dale Stein             12 years     October 22, 2007
  • Terry Partis           19 year       October 25.2000

Weekly Draws:  

  • Teresa Schile - won a box of bulbs to be planted in the garden

Club 500:

  • No draw this week.

Minute People: 

 

Ray - A book was gifted to Ray called Adventures in Rotary Service dated November 30th, 1964 he is going to add it to the Rotary Library

Margie - The Club History document should be ready soon

Kitt - Shared the flag her a Dieter received from their trip to Ontario

Don D. - Anne is looking for 2 volunteers to join the South Country Coop Christmas dinner to sell 50/50 tickets.  It will include dinner and a $500 donation.  December 7th 6pm - 11pm 

Sandy Mackay reminded the club that World Polio Day is Thursday Oct 24, he is hosting an education session at the Medicine Hat Library from 4pm - 8pm

 

Meeting News Heather Bach 2019-10-24 06:00:00Z 0

Medicine Hat College update

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Oct 07, 2019
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The Rotary Club was delighted to move their meeting today, to the Courtyard Room at the Medicine Hat College and enjoy a presentation about the direction and strategic plan updates that have been taking place under the guidance of the new Medicine Hat College President, Kevin Shufflebotham.  Kevin was introduced by "Acting President" Gail Halderman, who presented Kevin as the 10th, and youngest, President to hold this role at the Medicine Hat College.
 
Kevin is new to the College but not new to the area.  Both he and his wife Corrine are from this region, and he "loves being at the college".  He emphasized that they are focused on the mandate of the college, to "be the best you can be" and also focused on "the students".  The reality is that MH College is all about the students, which currently has approx 3,350 enrolled in various programs.
The college has been going through a Strategic Planning process, to envision the next 10 years at the institution.  He intends to be here to "see through" the changes that the adoption of that plan will bring.  He reviewed the "SWOT" analysis done as part of that process, the Strength's, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats to this institution and engaged the Rotarians present in discussion of several of those points.
Kevin encouraged those present to take the questionaire at http://www.OurTimeMHC.com to "Think, Discuss and Engage" about the future needs in the region and where the programs of the Medicine Hat College can at add to the value chain.  He spoke about the need to "refocus" their programs for the next 10 years and he spent some time comparing the situation here to SAIT or Olds College.
 
Kevin was thanked by Rotarian Terry Cooper ( a former VP Academic at MHC) and presented with a token of the club's appreciation.  He answered a number of questions and directed other questions to some of the senior college staff who were present.
A great lunch meeting, and we wish Kevin and the college staff every success in the future.
Medicine Hat College update Dave Panabaker 2019-10-07 06:00:00Z 0

Music Festival Impact - Jason Vaz

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Sep 23, 2019
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The Rotary Club welcomed Dr Jason Vaz to the podium.  Jason was a performer in the Rotary Music Festival from 1990 to 2005.  He began competing at age 3, and was twice runner up in the Rosebowl competition. After graduation from high school he started to focus on dancing and ended up pursuing dance professionally with Citie Ballet (Edmonton), Alberta Ballet, Ballet Jorgen Canada and several other companies.
 
He has subsequently pursued an undergraduate  Biomedical Science degree at the University of Calgary, and completed his MD at the University of Alberta.
 
 
He is completed his final year of Anesthesia Residency at the U of A and did a year long fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
 
His words said it best, " I owe so much of my current success to my formative years in the Rotary Music Festival.  I believe all those years of practicing endlessly, balancing multiple activities and dealing with performance pressure, set the foundation for me to be able to pursue music, dance and medicine. "  "Looking back, I am so grateful to the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat for their continual support of the Music Festival.  I really believe that studying music opens countless doors and that my childhood in Medicine Hat would not have been the same had I not been involved in music".
 
 
Dr Vaz spoke about the lifelong friendships he maintains with fellow performs and the self confidence he still feels to this day.
 
The whole club wishes Jason well, as he takes up his new position at the Children's Hospital in Saskatoon, in their Anesthesiology department.
 
 
Music Festival Impact - Jason Vaz Dave Panabaker 2019-09-23 06:00:00Z 0

Honorary Paul Harris Fellowship - Malcolm Sissons

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Sep 23, 2019
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DG Christine Rendell and PDG Sandy Mackay were pleased to present Malcolm Sissons with an honorary Paul Harris Fellowship on behalf of the Medicine Hat Rotary Club.
 
 
Sandy Mackay advised that this is the second recognition of Malcolm made by this club, the first going back to 1976, when then DG Leo Lewis recognized Malcolm for his work in the community and with a Post Graduate Fellowship in Grenobal, France.  Malcolm spoke about being newly married and spending a year in France.
 
The presentation touched on many Heritage and Historical topics within the community which Malcolm has been active in.  Malcolm is well known in the community for his weekly historical article in the Medicine Hat News and being a "go to" authority on historical places and buildings within the local area.
 
 
Malcolm's work and community spirit will be recognized later this year with an Alberta Award of Excellence.
 
All the members of the club congratulate him on his achievements and thank him for his service to the community.
 
 
 
 
Honorary Paul Harris Fellowship - Malcolm Sissons Dave Panabaker 2019-09-23 06:00:00Z 0

Official Visit of the District Governor

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Sep 23, 2019
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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed Christine Rendell, District Governor for 2019 - 2020 to the meeting today.
 
 
DG Christine was introduced by local AG Dave Panabaker, and told us about her experience with Rotary starting with induction in 1999.  She has now been a member of the Calgary East club for 20 years, and she and her husband Brian have been partners in the Rotary journey.  She joined while she worked for ATB Financial, as an opportunity to give back to the community and network through the business community. She has been President of the Calgary East club and a member of the District 5360 Board. 
 
She is working this year under a motto of "Connect, Communicate and Collaborate".  She has been part of the Calgary East "Police Reading in School" program, mentoring youth and building homes in Mexico.  She believes the time is exactly right for Rotary, for growing it with our increasing diverse community and she read the new "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement".  There is room for everyone in Rotary.
 
Rotary's Strategic Plan has four pillars
  1. Increase our impact.
  2. Expand our Reach.
  3. Enhance Participation and Engagement.
  4. Increase our Ability to Adapt.
DG Christine thanked everyone for all they do for Rotary, and provided a summary of upcoming events and activities in the District.
 
Christine was thanked by President Margie, and given a Rotary "Half-full" cup to commemorate her visit.
Official Visit of the District Governor Dave Panabaker 2019-09-23 06:00:00Z 0

SERnina presentation by Danielle Skogen

Posted on Sep 16, 2019
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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed Danielle Skogen ( a new member of MH Sunrise Rotary) to the club meeting and the podium today, to speak about her experiences in Guatemala.  Danielle is the founder of an NGO in Guatemala named SERnina (which means "to be a girl" in Spanish).
 
 
Danielle grew up in Medicine Hat from the age of 5, and graduated from high school here in town.  A teacher by trade, Danielle has always believed that education and empowerment are the keys to ending poverty.  She picked up stakes at age 23 and moved to Guatemala.  Danielle met many resilient, brave and hopeful young girls in the countryside, and took action to help them reach their full potential.  Alongside REALgirl Empowerment Program, Danielle co-founded SERnina to provide leadership, self-esteem and empowerment workshops to at-risk girls and women.  It has reached thousands of girls and is growing every year.
 
 
Danielle has moved back to Medicine Hat and is now launching a life coaching practice to support local women and girls and help them become the best version of themselves.
SERnina presentation by Danielle Skogen 2019-09-16 06:00:00Z 0

Presentation by Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Sep 09, 2019
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The Rotary Club welcomed Lisa Kowalchuk to the meeting today.  Lisa has been the Executive Director of the Chamber for slightly over 10 years, and has been a significant force in the Chambers amazing performance at the Provincial and Federal levels.  The local chamber has been recognized as the Alberta "Chamber of the Year" 3 times in the last 10 years, most recently in 2018.  The Chamber of Commerce has been around since 1900 and has had to adapt to grow and prosper in this changing society.  there are 870 members of the MH Chamber, and over 25,000 in chambers across the province.
 
 
Lisa mentioned that one of her current Board members is Rotarian Sara Koch, who was in the audience and she acknowledged the contributions of a number of Rotary members to the success of the Chamber over the years.  She talked about the goals of the Chamber, some of the challenges of a small chamber and a number (and it was a significant number) of accomplishments over the past year.  Lisa spoke about the makeup of the chamber and how that has shifted over the past 10 years.  As well, they want to be a credible advisor, to their members and to governments at all levels.  That means their approach has to be balanced and to the benefit of the entire community.
 
 
Lisa answered several questions from the audience and was presented with a Rotary "Medalta" half-full coffee mug by Mike Christie.  Lisa's presentation in "pdf" form is available on the club website under club documents and presentations.
Presentation by Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce Dave Panabaker 2019-09-09 06:00:00Z 0

Short Term Youth Exchange

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Aug 19, 2019
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It was a pleasure to welcome our current Short Term Youth Exchange participants, Karli Mardian from Medicine Hat and Bennedetta Minello from Italy to the meeting today.  Bennedetta is on the reciprocal portion of the exchange, after her family entertained Karli in Italy earlier this summer.
 
The girls were introduced by Rotarian Neil Mardian, and provided photographs of both halves of the exchange.  Karli spend 3 weeks in Italy and Bennedetta has one week remaining on her three week visit.  The girls have had a wonderful time, and everything has gone swimmingly (lots of water sports photos).  
 
 
Information about Youth Exchange can be found on the District Youth Exchange website http://www.yex5360.org 
 
Short Term Youth Exchange Dave Panabaker 2019-08-19 06:00:00Z 0

Adventures in Citizenship

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Aug 12, 2019
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The Rotary Club was delighted to welcome two members of last years Interact Club, Azin Dolatabadi and Rhea Nayak, to the meeting today.  The girls were introduced by Theresa Eisenbarth, who is the club representative to the Medicine Hat High School club.  Both girls attended this years edition of "Adventures in Citizenship", in Ottawa.  They began their presentation by speaking about the travel and meeting their host families.  The event was attended by over 220 students from all across the country, for three days of education and fun learning about may aspects of government, and some of the things that make Canada great.
 
 
They visited the Canadian War Museum, got a tour of the west block of Parliament, meeting both the Speaker of the House and the Privy Clerk.
 
They witnessed an emotional citizenship ceremony and toured the Shaw center learning about the challenges of the indigenous peoples and trying some traditional foods.
 
Both girls are headed to university, attempting degrees in science.  We wish both the girls well in their future endeavors and thank them for their community service through Interact and their great presentation.  The girls were presented with Rotary mugs by President Margie Booyens.
 
Adventures in Citizenship Dave Panabaker 2019-08-12 06:00:00Z 0

Honorary Club Membership - Herman Wahl

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jul 29, 2019
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In a special presentation today, Past President Chris Perret announced that Herman Wahl was being made an Honorary Member of the club.
 
Herman joined the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat in 1962, and took the Rotary charge to heart, participating in club projects and activities for 57 years.  He demonstrated the qualities of head and heart that epitomize being a Rotarian and has been an inspiration to many in the club.  Herman was introduced to the club by Bill Sellhorn ( Anne Carrier's father) and was given the classification "flower farmer" to fit with his greenhouse industry business.
 
 
In 2019, Herman's health has been a challenge and he needed to reconsider active membership and took a leave of absence.  The Membership Committee and the Rotary Board did not want to end over 57 years of dedicated service and fellowship and therefore converted his membership to honorary.  What that hopefully means is all the fun and less of the work.  We also hope to see Herman and Fran at future Rotary events and we all thank Herman for his many years of service to Rotary and the Community.
 
Honorary Club Membership - Herman Wahl Dave Panabaker 2019-07-29 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary in the Park with the District Governor

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jul 22, 2019
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The Rotary Club celebrated the start of this years Stampede Week with our annual picnic in the park.  Rotary Park was one of the major activities of the Rotary Club in the last century, and the site of the old pool has been preserved as a beautiful urban park and greenspace.
 
 
It was a special pleasure this year to welcome this years District 5360 Governor, Christine Rendell and her husband Brian Carnahan.  Christine is a native of Bishop's Falls, Nfld and had a long career at ATB prior to retiring in 2006.  She and Brian have two sons and one 3 year old granddaughter.
 
 
Christine spoke very briefly, and shouted above the traffic noise from Maple Ave, about her love of Rotary, some of her past experience and her general views on this year.  She will be returning in September to a regular club meeting for a more formal presentation of this years theme and some Rotary International updates.
 
 
Everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal, catered by Skinny's Smokehouse and organized by Jillian Koch (many thanks for a great job Jillian!!).  Also congratulations to the winners of the "dress up for stampede" contest, both Anne Carrier and Stan Sakamoto took home door prizes.
Rotary in the Park with the District Governor Dave Panabaker 2019-07-22 06:00:00Z 0

Presentation by Katarina - New Generations Service Exchange

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jul 15, 2019
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The Rotary Club welcomed Katarina Braess, our visiting New Generations Service Exchange student to the podium, who provided a summary of herself and of her community.
 
She began her presentation by thanking everyone for providing her with this opportunity, she is having a wonderful time and learning a great deal about her chosen profession.
 
 
Katarina began by speaking about her hometown, Regensburg which is in Southwestern Germany in Bavaria.  She believes that Bavaria has the most distinctly German culture of any of the area's of Germany.  The City means "Castle at the Rain" and has a population of 150,000.   It has history dating back to the Roman Empire, and the medieval inner city is a UNESCO world heritage site. She is sponsored for her exchange by Rotary Millenium Regensburg. 
 
Katarina is almost 19, has graduated from high school and is taking a gap year before entering university.  Her high school was founded in 1505 and her description of high school sounds like a lot more school and a lot less sports than in North America.  She also described her previous participation in the Short Term Exchange program and their family had a Long Term Exchange student from Brazil stay with them.
 
In her gap year she has taken a French language course in Paris, spent time in Morocco doing social service work and has done legal internships in Regensburg and Munich.  Definitely not an idle year, that's for sure.  She will be returning home in late August, with intentions to attend university close to home.
 
We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.
Presentation by Katarina - New Generations Service Exchange Dave Panabaker 2019-07-15 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Friendship Exchange

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jul 08, 2019
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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed fellow Rotarians from District 9930, which takes up the middle of the North Island of New Zealand.  This was the second half of a Friendship Exchange that saw a number of District 5360 Rotarians in New Zealand last year.
 
The visitors were treated to a tour of City Hall, where they met Mayor Clugston, and also enjoyed a visit to Medalta.
 
 
 
 
On Friday evening, a special club meeting was held and Michael Nightingale and Carl Tookey from the New Zealand group presented a great slideshow on District 9930 and the flora/fauna of New Zealand.  A great time was had by everyone and we wish the group well in their further travels over the next 10 days.
 
 
 
Rotary Friendship Exchange Dave Panabaker 2019-07-08 06:00:00Z 0

2019 - 2020 Club Budget

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jul 08, 2019
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Club Treasurer Gail Halderman presented the 2019 - 2020 Budget for approval by the club.
 
The meeting had two components, as the first half was related to Gails presentation and the second PP Chris Perret spoke about issues with our Club 500 draw, and the need to think carefully about our fundraising activities and how we can work together with the Music Festival Society to improve our ability to fundraise.
 
A number of questions and suggestions were put forward by Rotarians on both topics and the budget was ultimately approved.  A copy of the budget can be found under "Club Documents" in Clubrunner.
 
 
2019 - 2020 Club Budget Dave Panabaker 2019-07-08 06:00:00Z 0

Introduction of Katerina Braess, NGSE student 

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jul 08, 2019
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The Rotary Club welcomed Katarina to the meeting and our club on Canada Day.  There was a welcome party at Skinny's Smokehouse, which was attended by host families and other Rotarians.  Great food and wonderful to see so many folks out to introduce themselves and visit with our first New Generations Service Exchange student
 
 
 
Katarina was also put to work at the Salvation Army Hot Meal program on Wednesday evening.
 
Introduction of Katerina Braess, NGSE student Dave Panabaker 2019-07-08 06:00:00Z 0

Induction of 2019 - 2020 Rotary Executive

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jun 24, 2019
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The annual Executive changeover was completed at the meeting, with the installation of Margie Booyens as President, and the induction of the 2019 - 2020 Board of Directors.
 
 
PP Karen Blewett, who has been working on our Strategic Plan update, spent some time speaking about the "experiment" we are undertaking with this board, developing revised member roles and creating several "at large" Directorships, to allow us to be more flexible and nimble.
 
We all wish the Board success and the changes will be reviewed in December at the AGM.
 
 
 
 
Induction of 2019 - 2020 Rotary Executive Dave Panabaker 2019-06-24 06:00:00Z 0

Welcome to New Member - Rod Dal Collo

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jun 24, 2019
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It's a great privilege of Past President's to induct new members to the club, and today PP Mike Christie read the induction for Rod Dal Collo.  Rod is a former Rotarian, with previous service at both Calgary Olympic and the Hinton Rotary Clubs, but has been away from Rotary for a few years.  Rod is a native of Redcliff, and has returned to this area in his profession as a lawyer with Stringam LLP.
 
 
Rod's sponsor was PP Dave Panabaker, who told the club a little about Rod and who worked with Rod's father at the City of Medicine Hat Gas Utility.  President Chris Perret presented Rod with his member pin and the certificate of membership
 
We all welcome Rod to the club and look forward to his contribution to the club and to the community.
Welcome to New Member - Rod Dal Collo Dave Panabaker 2019-06-24 06:00:00Z 0

Presentation of Paul Harris Fellowships

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jun 19, 2019
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PDG Sandy Mackay was pleased to present two Rotarians with recognition of contributions to the Rotary Foundation, with Paul Harris Fellowships.
 
First, because the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat is a 100% PHF club, Sandy presented Lisa DesRouches with her first PHF, as a new member and for her enthusiastic participation in the club since joining this year.  Great work and thank you.
 
 
Sandy then presented Honorary Rotarian Sieg Kappler with a Paul Harris pin with 5 sapphires, to recognize his continuing contribution to the Rotary Foundation.  We all benefit from these contributions with funds returned through the District and Global grant programs that allow Rotary to "do good" in the world.  Thanks Sieg!
 
Presentation of Paul Harris Fellowships Dave Panabaker 2019-06-19 06:00:00Z 0

Honorary Paul Harris Fellowships

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jun 10, 2019
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Marg Mazerolle took the podium and presented the work of a small committee which has been tasked with selecting community members for Honorary Paul Harris Fellowships.  This form of Paul Harris Fellowship (PHF) is an honorary recognition by Rotary as a way to say "thank you" to an individual for their contributions to improving the quality of the life in the community.
 
 
The committee recommended two names, which were voted on by the members present and approved unanimously.
 
Because this award is done confidentially, the two individuals will now be approached and arrangements made to make the presentations.  Thanks to the committee for their work, they have come up with two worthy recipients.  Names to be announce once confirmed.
Honorary Paul Harris Fellowships Dave Panabaker 2019-06-10 06:00:00Z 0

Induction of Neil Mardian

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jun 10, 2019
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The club is always thrilled to welcome a new member to the Family of Rotary, so Past President Doug Fleming and sponsor Mark Sorenson were pleased to induct Neil Mardian into the club, and present him with the pin and membership certificate of a Rotarian.
 
Neil is a co-worker of Mark's at TD Canada Trust in their financial planning group.
 
We welcome Neil to the club, and look forward to helping him contribute to the life and vibrancy of this community and the world.
Induction of Neil Mardian Dave Panabaker 2019-06-10 06:00:00Z 0

Humboldt Strong - D5550 Scholarship winner

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jun 10, 2019
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The club was very proud to welcome Michael Clark, this years winner of the Rotary District 5550 scholarship in honor of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.
 
  
 
The purpose of the Rotary District 5550 scholarship is to honor the Humboldt Broncos who lost their lives or were injured in the April 2018 bus accident, and to recognize a Humboldt Broncos player who shows caring for others and demonstrates an attitude of "Service above Self".In order to be eligible for the award, three criteria are in place.
 
  1. A player must be playing with the Humboldt Broncos in his final year of junior eligibility.
  2. A player must demonstrate a commitment to his academic pursuits with a Grade 12 average above 70% or have completed a minimum of 2 post-secondary courses.
  3. A player must have contributed a significant number of volunteer hours in the community while playing for the Humboldt Broncos.
Michael was born in Medicine Hat in August of 1998, and soon moved to Newfoundland where the majority of his family are from. He has a life long love of hockey, playing on a frozen pond in Terrenceville, NFLD when he was just walking and has been at a rink one way or the other for most of his 20 years.
 
 
Michael spoke about winning the award, his community involvement and the lessons this hard year has taught him.
 
All of us wish him the absolute best, as he pursues a degree in Finance at the University of Lethbridge beginning in the fall.  He is a worthy recipient of the scholarship and we are sure he'll do great things in the future.
Humboldt Strong - D5550 Scholarship winner Dave Panabaker 2019-06-10 06:00:00Z 0

Strategic Discussion - Pillars of the Club

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jun 03, 2019
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The meeting of the club was spent discussing a key strategic decision for the club go forward, that of our key focus areas.
 
 
The club is in the midst of a number of discussions about sustainability and modernization, and for the short term future it is advisable to establish some "Pillars of the Club", which will help define the club both internally and within the community.
 
Chris Perret, Karen Blewett and Heather Bach led a discussion of those pillars.
 
A questionnaire is going out to all club members this week and the intention is to integrate whatever pillars are approved more intentionally into the work of the Rotary Club.
Strategic Discussion - Pillars of the Club Dave Panabaker 2019-06-03 06:00:00Z 0

Interact Meeting

Posted by Doug Fleming on May 29, 2019
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The May 27th Rotary meeting was an evening meeting held at Medicine Hat High School with the MHHS Interact Club.  25 Rotarians; 7 Spouses/Partners; 8 Interact Students and 6 guests were in attendance. The Interact students ran the meeting with some help from President Chris and Sergeant-at-Arms Adolf.
 
 
 
The meeting was opened by Interact Co-Presidents Azin and Michael. Following the singing of O'Canada lead by vocalist Miranda and Noah on piano, a lovely supper was served by the cafeteria staff.  Following supper, Presidents Azin and Michael then explained the proceeding for the evening.  They highlighted the silent auction items and reminded those present to buy raffle tickets for the 10 table succulent plant centre pieces which were made and donated by President Azin's mother.
 
Azim and Sergeant at Arms Adolf then went around putting the touch on all Rotarians in attendance. The proceeds when to the Interact Club's hospital project so no one objected too much to being fined.
 
Interact members Azin, Iqmat and Micheal then presented a Power Point overview of the Hat High Interact Club. The Club has 18 active members and have been raising funds through bake sales and various other activities. They then presented an impressive list of the Club's projects and activities.
 
  • Renovating a room in the Pediatric Ward at the hospital (Main project for the past 2 years.)
  • Helping our Club serve Hot Meals at the Salvation Army.
  • Purple Pinkies for Polio.
  • Bake Sales.
  • Canada Day PopCorn Concession.
Two members of the Interact Club attended RYLA as participants while one went as a Junior Leader. Two Club members also went to Ottawa for the Adventures in Citizenship program. 
 
The Interact Club received funds from the Community Foundation's 'Youth in Philanthropy', to donate to organizations of their choice. They decided to donate funds to Saamis Immigration ($1500) and The  Medicine Hat Health Foundation ($1500).  Cheques were then presented to representative from these organizations.
 
 
Following the cheque presentations, the Interactors showed a short video on their Pediatric room project and the formal part of the meeting came to a conclusion as the winners of the silent auction were announce. Members in attendance then had an opportunity to mix and mingle with these active and enthusiastic Interactor before heading home.
 
During the evening, a number of comments were made to the effect that these Interactors are the future of Rotary and judging from the actions of these students, the future looks bright.
Interact Meeting Doug Fleming 2019-05-29 06:00:00Z 0

2019 Rosebowl Evening

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Apr 29, 2019
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On Monday evening, April 25th, The Rotary Club was very happy to welcome the Lorentzen family to our evening meeting, and hear an amazing performance by the 2019 Winner of the Rotary Rosebowl, Laec Lorentzen.  Laec played two pieces on the cello and was accompanied by Con Shandro.
 
 
Laec was introduced by the 2019 Chairman of the Festival Committee, Milan Vujovic who did a review of the Festival history and talked about recent events.  Laec performed Haydn's Cello Concerto in C and by the modern composer Martinu, "Variations on a Theme of Rossini by Paganini".
 
 
The room was pretty full for the performance and we all wish Laec the best at Provincials.
 
 
 
 
2019 Rosebowl Evening Dave Panabaker 2019-04-29 06:00:00Z 0

TED talk, by Mayor Ted Clugston

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Apr 08, 2019
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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat welcomed honorary member, Mayor Ted Clugston to the meeting today and enjoyed a quick review of the State of the City.  Mayor Ted is in his second term as Mayor and has now been on City Council for over 10 years.  He started by introducing the current council, and by talking about making Medicine Hat a municipal environment where people want to "Live/Work/Play".  Mayor Ted spoke about the transition from huge capital projects, such as the river flood berms and the Canalta Center to seeing those projects augmented with Private Developments that complement that work.
 
 
Ted spoke about the development of large scale commercial in the City's SE quadrant and the massive new industries such as HUT8, Aurora and Folium.  He also spoke about the "patient" money being invested by the private sector, who see it as a good time to build for a future which is much brighter.
 
 
He talked about the Financially Fit program, which adjusted City revenues for the loss of the large Energy Dividend, and touched on a number of other timely issues.
 
He was asked about Supervised Consumption site, about Utility Bill charges and for an update on the Energy Division exploration program.  Certainly it could have gone on a long time, but Ted had to run to take part in the announcement on a Ronald MacDonald house adjacent to the hospital (a blessing for families dealing with illness).  He was thanked by President Chris for a great talk.
TED talk, by Mayor Ted Clugston Dave Panabaker 2019-04-08 06:00:00Z 0

Folium Bioscience Presentation

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Apr 01, 2019
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The Rotary Club welcomed Ryan Jackson, General Manager of the new Folium Bioscience plant currently under development in Medicine Hat.  Ryan has spent the last four years at the helm of Invest Medicine Hat and been very successful at diversifying the local economy with new industries and many new jobs.  Folium Bioscience was created in 2013, and headquartered in Colorado Springs.
 
 
They are the largest vertically integrated producer, manufacturer and distributor of hemp derived phytocannabinoids in the USA.  They intend to supply their unique 0.0% THC phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil to 32 countries, to diverse industries including the supplement, cosmetic, personal care and animal heath industries.
 
They employ in excess of 200 people, and will add approximately 200 jobs with the startup of the Medicine Hat facility.  "Not all hemp is created equal" is their slogan and they will be working to develop markets in South America from the local plant.  They will be building a 100,00 sq ft extraction/purification plant and a 70,000 sq foot finished goods facility.
 
Several questions were asked and answered, the audience learned a lot and Ryan was thanked by Mark.
Folium Bioscience Presentation Dave Panabaker 2019-04-01 06:00:00Z 0

Aurora Sun - The "Grass City"

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Mar 25, 2019
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The Rotary Club welcomed Bernard McGillivray, General Manager of the new Aurora Sun plant being constructed in the Box Springs Business Park.  The facility is a huge building, in excess of one and a half million sq ft and when it is fully operational in the second quarter of 2020, will produce approximately 150,000 kg of medical quality marijuana every year.  Bernard shared that weight of product was approximately three and a half million "joints".  He talked about the business environment, which is a transition from a "black market" product to a legal one.
 
 
Bernard spoke about the scope and extent of Aurora, it is positioning itself to be a worldwide force in the cannabis business, and is  focusing on Product R&D to help legitimize the value of their products in the medical marketplace.  The estimated worldwide size of that market is in excess of $70B, so worth going after.  He spoke about the timelines for this plant, with approximately 400 local jobs and touched on the difference between hemp and cannabis.
 
He answered a number of audience questions and was thanked for his informative talk by Gail Halderman.
Aurora Sun - The "Grass City" Dave Panabaker 2019-03-25 06:00:00Z 0

Food Bank, Caring and Sharing

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Mar 18, 2019
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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.
 
 
Food Bank, Caring and Sharing Dave Panabaker 2019-03-18 06:00:00Z 0

Cypress County update

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Mar 04, 2019
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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.
Cypress County update Dave Panabaker 2019-03-04 07:00:00Z 0

New Generations Service Exchange

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Feb 25, 2019
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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.
 
New Generations Service Exchange Dave Panabaker 2019-02-25 07:00:00Z 0

Medicine Hat Recovery Centre

Tracey Jangula of the Medicine Hat Recovery Centre was the speaker on Monday and was introduced by Heather Bach. Tracey, an addictions counsellor and  manager with the centre started her talk by reporting that this spring, the centre will be celebrating its 3rd year of operation in Medicine Hat. Tracey advised the need for such a facility was identified a number of years ago, but it took time to find a suitable site and come up with the facility design. Tracey reported the facility on Kipling street was designed to serve the needs of their program.
 
The Medicine Hat Recovery Centre operates 24 hours a day, with an  interdisciplinary teams of professionals.  The facility houses two programs. First there are 18 beds for the Detox Stabilization Program, where clients spent from 3 to 14 days at the centre going through a program to medically manage withdrawal symptoms from the withdrawal of alcohol and other substances. The second are 12 beds for  the Intensive Addiction Treatment Program where patients can spend 4 to 6 weeks in a recovery program. 
 
In addition to the in-house support, the centre provides Outreach support, in the form of a social worker and Addictions Counsellor for people who have left the facility. Tracey advised that the centre operates on a "Reduction of Care Model" and have had good support from the Medical Community.  When asked if she though the program was a success, Tracey replied that she felt it was very successful, not only helping people with their addictions, but also with other aspects of their lives.  She went on to say that people with addictions often suffer from other mental and physical issues and the program has been successful in helping some connect with family, friends and other services in the community, all of which which can go along way to reduce addictions.
 
Tracey then held a question and answer session which generated more interesting discussion and information. Our guest was then thanked by Sergeant at Arms Don Davis who presented Tracey with a Rotary Mug. 
 
 
Medicine Hat Recovery Centre Doug Fleming 2019-02-04 07:00:00Z 0

Introduction to Clubrunner

Posted by Dave Panabaker
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President Chris Perret presented a short introduction to Clubrunner, the software program that Rotary in this District (and many others) use to run their administration, their websites and provide event planning and attendance management.  As well as the PC based program, a new addition to the options available is the clubrunner "app", which is available for download on most major smartphone platforms.
 
 
Clubrunner has a "public" face, as well as a confidential side that is available only to Rotary members.
 
Chris went through the login information, and if any member of the club is having trouble with that, please contact Doug Fleming who can provide your login name and password.
 
President Chris showed the members present the public club documents, as well as the location of the private paperwork, such as member lists, Board agendas and minutes and other Rotary documentation.  He also spent some time showing members the advantages of using the Clubrunner app, which provides contact information for all members.
 
Clubrunner has a great number of valuable features, today highlighted just a few and more will be explained in the near future.  As displayed at the meeting the "Club Hub" button at the top of the website, now contains President Chris's presentation and the information on downloading the app.
Introduction to Clubrunner Dave Panabaker 2019-01-28 07:00:00Z 0

BBB - Top 10 Scams Presentation

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Jan 14, 2019
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The Rotary Club welcomed Ron Riemann, an accredited Business Service Consultant with the Better Business Bureau (serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay).  Ron took some time to explain the origins, funding and purpose of BBB.  The BBB was created in 1912 and now has a total of 113 Bureau's across North America.
 
 
He took some time to speak about the Mission and Values of BBB, which is NOT a gov't agency, gets NO funding from any level of gov't, is NOT a "for profit" business or a regulatory agency.  They are really in the knowledge and education business, for consumers and service providers.  Much more information is available on their website at http://bbb.org/calgary 
 
He outlined the Top 10 Scams of 2017, spoke about how technology is changing the nature of scams and cons, and that law enforcement is likely not to get involved.  He spoke about the $95 Million dollars lost to scammers in 2017 just in Canada, and that they tend to prey specifically on teens and seniors.
 
The top three scams were
  1. Online purchases
  2. Wire Fraud/Spearphishing
  3. Online Dating scams
A great presentation from an authority in the field.  His parting advise, "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!"  Beware.
 
BBB - Top 10 Scams Presentation Dave Panabaker 2019-01-14 07:00:00Z 0

Medicine Hat Women's Shelter Society presentation

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Dec 10, 2018
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The Rotary Club welcomed Peggy Revell, Community Education Coordinator for the Medicine Hat Women's Shelter Society to the meeting today.  Peggy is a former reporter for the Medicine Hat News, and has recently taken on the role with the MHWSS to help support their out-reach and support programs for victims of family violence in this community and surrounding area.
 
 
Peggy reviewed the definition of family violence, which is "violence or abuse of power within a relationship where there's trust, dependency and family".   There was a good size crowd at the meeting today, which filled the room and was nice to see so close to the Christmas season.
 
 
She spoke about familiar programs, such as Phoenix Safe House and the 24/7 help line (1-800-661-7949).  She also talked about the "Housing First" initiative, Musasa Second Stage Housing and their outreach programs.  A wonderful presentation, a lot of information and a number of subsequent questions asked and answered.  Great presentation about an unfortunately necessary service in the community.
Medicine Hat Women's Shelter Society presentation Dave Panabaker 2018-12-10 07:00:00Z 0

Christmas  Stockings for Seniors

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Dec 03, 2018
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The Rotary Club took on a challenge to supply 150 Christmas stockings to the seniors at Masterpiece - Southlands.  Led by Heather Bach, the club purchased a number of fun things and at our meeting on Dec 3rd, did an assembly line of "stocking stuffing", to prepare the gifts for delivery later in the week.
 
Sometimes this group can be forgotten at the Christmas season, so hopefully this will brighten many spirits.  Great work all!
 
 
 
Christmas Stockings for Seniors Dave Panabaker 2018-12-03 07:00:00Z 0

Rotary Foundation Presentation

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Nov 19, 2018
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Past District Governor, Sandy Mackay gave a comprehensive and informative presentation to the club on the Rotary Foundation.  The foundation is the charitable arm of Rotary, which has a mission to "do good in the world".  The Foundation was created in 1917, by the 6th Rotary International President, Arch Klumph, with the "profit" from the convention that year.  The Rotary Club of Kansas provided him with $26.50.  Today the Foundation administers an endowment of over $3 Billion US dollars and provides in excess of $100 Million dollars every year in grants.
 
 
PDG Sandy went through a number of important Objects of Rotary and how they relate to the Foundation, the Foundations "areas of focus" and some of the efforts to promote peace in the world, including Peace Scholarships, Ambassadorial Scholarships, Polio-plus and the Global Grant process.
 
A great presentation, several questions were addressed and Sandy encouraged all Rotarians to check out the Foundation, through https://my.rotary.org/en . Please sign up and if you wish contribute.  It is the Foundation that we are all a part of, as Rotarians and the funds come back to Rotarians for the decisions on what/where to support.
 
Rotary Foundation Presentation Dave Panabaker 2018-11-19 07:00:00Z 0

Presentation on Prairie Gleaners

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Nov 05, 2018
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The Rotary Club welcomed James Smith, Board chair of Prairie Gleaners to the meeting.
 
 
James spoke about the history of Prairie Gleaners, about their particular inspiration, a passage in James 6:12 which said "Let nothing go to waste", and that approximately 45% of the fruits and vegetables grown around the world go to waste.  He showed some slides of the carrots, tomatoes, beans, lentils and cabbage that they collect with the truck donated by the Rotary Clubs of Medicine Hat.
 
 
He spoke about their immediate needs, the use of volunteers to prepare about tons of vegetables, to dehydrate the produce and package it for shipment around the world.  They reduce the size of the product by a factor of five and the weight by a factor of eight, without losing the nutrition value.
 
A great presentation about a wonderful ongoing project to capture lost product for the benefit of everyone.
Presentation on Prairie Gleaners Dave Panabaker 2018-11-05 07:00:00Z 0

End Polio Presentation to Interact club

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Oct 23, 2018
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On Wednesday October 17, PDG Sandy Mackay attended the Medicine Hat High School Interact club and presented a slideshow on polio, on the disease itself because all of the students are too young to remember polio as a feared disease, on the Rotary program to end polio around the world and an update on the status of that endeavor.
 
 
The presentation was well received and the suggestion was made that Sandy's talk be delivered to the club at some point in the future.
 
 
The Medicine Hat High School Interact students will be holding a "Purple Pinkie's" fundraiser for End Polio starting on Wednesday October 24, in the common room from 11:45 am to 12:20 pm
 
 
Please come out one of these three noon hours, and support both the Interact students and the Rotary End Polio campaign.
End Polio Presentation to Interact club Dave Panabaker 2018-10-23 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Music Festival Society - AGM

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Oct 22, 2018
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The main program for this Monday's Rotary meeting was a meeting of the "Rotary Club of Medicine Hat Music Festival Society", the separate, charitable society that is operated by the Rotary Club.
 
Rotarian Allan O'Byrne was President of the Music Festival Society this year and presented the reports, and matters for votes by Rotarians.
 
 
Rotarian Don Davis was Chairman of the  2018 Music Festival, and will be succeeded this year by Milan Vujovic.  
 
Special thanks were made to Don Davis, for his role in Festival operations the last 5 years and to Cathie Catalano, who has had to resign from the society for health reasons.  The club appreciates the great work of these and all the Rotarians who volunteer to manage and operate the Festival.
Rotary Music Festival Society - AGM Dave Panabaker 2018-10-22 06:00:00Z 0

Honorary Paul Harris Fellowship presentation to Bill Yuill

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Oct 15, 2018
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The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat was delighted to recognize the professional and philanthropic achievements of Bill Yuill, with the presentation of an honorary Paul Harris Fellowship.
 
Past President Karen Blewett provided a short history of the Paul Harris Fellowship and some "fun facts" about Paul Harris himself.
 
 
Bill's work at the local YMCA, his involvement in the local hospital Foundation and Cancer Center and his support of the Medalta arts community are all activities that Rotarians admire.  His many decades of philanthropic work in the community as a whole is a wonderful legacy. We all congratulate Bill on his many years of service.  The PHF was presented to Bill by President Chris Perret and AG Dave Panabaker.
 
 
 
Honorary Paul Harris Fellowship presentation to Bill Yuill Dave Panabaker 2018-10-15 06:00:00Z 0

NAV Canada in the Global Air Navigation System 

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Gary Busch, Medicine Hat FSS Team Supervisor provided the Medicine Hat Rotary Club with and educational presentation.  NAV Canada is a private company incorporated under the Not-for- profit Corporate Act.  It was purchased from the federal government in 1996 for 1.5 billion dollars. They support 12 million aircraft movements annually and manage 18 million square kilometers of airspace. They are regulated by federal government on safety performance. 
  • They employee 4,800 across Canada
  • Support 40,000 plus customers
  • Have invested  2 Billion in new technology since 1996
  • They will invest 500 Million over the next 3 years into new technology
Not to mention the environmental impact they are making.  It was a great presentation Thank you Gary!
 
NAV Canada in the Global Air Navigation System Heather Bach 2018-10-02 06:00:00Z 0

Update on YEX outbound from Saamis Rotary Club

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Oct 01, 2018
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Many of the club members will remember Katie Caparini, who was an outbound student to Austria about 3 years ago.  This year, the Saamis Rotary Club has an outbound student, who is Katie's sister Maddy.  Maddy was one of the co-presidents of the MH High School Interact program last year and will spend this school year in Trebic, Czech Republic.
 
She has been gradually learning Czech and will be sending regular monthly updates which will be passed along to our club.  Attached are several photos of Maddy, with her host Mom, at the orientation and with the other Canadians in her area.
 
 
 
 
Here Facebook persona and email address are in the note that went out to the club, please "friend" her if you want to watch her adventures.  She is not doing a blog.
 
We wish her all the best in this life changing experience.
Update on YEX outbound from Saamis Rotary Club Dave Panabaker 2018-10-01 06:00:00Z 0

Interact meeting - Sept 27

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Oct 01, 2018
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Most of the 25 students, our MH High School teacher liaison Sue Withers, and Rotarians Theresa Eisenbarth and Anne Carrier (photo credit to Anne) met last Thursday and there was much enthusiasm in the room.  Two of the students are set up to assist Rotarians at the Hot Meal program and the Interact students will hold a bake sale on Oct 16 and 17.
 
 
Rotarian Sandy Mackay will be speaking to the students on Oct 18 about Rotary International and the polio eradication efforts.
 
The students will be holding a "purple pinkies" fundraiser on Oct 24, World Polio Day.
Interact meeting - Sept 27 Dave Panabaker 2018-10-01 06:00:00Z 0

Update on MH High Interact Club

Posted by Dave Panabaker on Sep 24, 2018
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Theresa Eisenbarth, the Rotary Club liaison with the Medicine Hat High School Interact Club provided an update on the club for 2018 - 2019 with the start of the school year behind us and with some time for the students to begin the organization process.  Theresa and Anne Carrier have been helping get the club organized this year, and they have 15 - 16 diverse and enthusiastic members this year.
 
Currently the selection of Executive is taking place and they have a couple of fundraisers already planned.
 
  • They are running a 3 day bake sale, to coincide with Parent-Teacher interviews.  The dates are October 17th and 18th. Donations of baked goods from Rotarians would be