Ted Gillespie, President, Wetaskiwin Rotary.
The Rotary Club of Wetaskiwin was proud to host Rotary International District Governor Kevin Hilgers at a Governor’s Dinner on Tuesday, November 27th 2012. The visit was described by local Club President Ted Gillespie. “It gives us a chance to show off the hard work local Rotarians are doing, projects locally and internationally. It’s also a chance for us to get together to learn, to see how we can do more in our community, to see the ‘bigger picture’ of what Rotary is and what Rotary can achieve.” Gillespie is the City Manager, City of Wetaskiwin.
The Executive of the local club met with the Governor during the afternoon preceding the Dinner to review of the past, current and future activities of the local Club. “One of the duties of the District Governor is to visit every club in the District, encourage them and give them help when they ask”, explained Governor Hilgers. “We like to capture the excitement of the local clubs and what they are doing in their community and internationally.” The Wetaskiwin Rotary Club is the 56th of 61 clubs Kilgers is slated to visit. Kevin Hilgers holds the office from July 1, 2012 to June 30th, 2013.
Gillespie describes the structure of Rotary.
“Rotary is like any organization. We have our local clubs of course; we also have ‘Districts’ that assist clubs to achieve more. Our District (5370) includes Northern Alberta, Northeast BC, Northwest Saskatchewan and a part of the Northwest Territories. There are 61 Rotary Clubs in the district with 2350 members. There are also Interact Clubs and Rotaract Clubs; Rotary Clubs for youth.”
The local club has recently undertaken an international project. They are raising funds for the ‘Mango Advancement Project’ to help build a school in a small rural region in Malawi, Africa. With the help of the Rotary, a kindergarten classroom has been built and the plan is to add more rooms and grades each year.
Governor Hilgers inspirational address to the Rotary and guests
The future growth and development of the Wetaskiwin Rotary will be spurred on by the inspirational words offered by Hilgers. “This is a club with pride, a club that is growing and a club that is always looking for new members. But they are on the right track.” During his address to the Rotary members and guests, Hilgers challenged the local Club. His observation was, “This is a club where you can make friends, do community service and you can get great skills but you can network. It’s a great place to network. Your business. That type of thing. You can work internationally as well, like you are doing with the Mango Project. You can do so much more as a group than one.
We also share ideas and network to improve… Rotary is many things to many people. To some it’s all about community service. To others it’s about business networking, to others its friendships and fun, to others it’s about developing leadership skills. To most it’s all of the above”.
“You are a club that is ready to get to the next level real soon with a major project in Wetaskiwin. And I think you should do that. Spray park, that sort of thing. A major project. Look down the road at Wainwright. They did a half million dollar spray park and did the fundraising themselves. It can be done. You (Rotary Club) can take the first step and the community rallys around you to get the project done.
This Club can feel very good with what you do. You are making a difference in Wetaskiwin and in the World with their project in Malawi. We’re always looking to grow membership. Rotary is by invitation and the clubs each look for particular community members for potential future Rotarians. An exciting challenge to this club is to get a Rotary Interact going. Interact is Rotary in High School.
President Guillespie explained that the Rotary is attracting new members. “We are inducting three new members tonight.” But they also lose members each year, “who move away or for whatever other reason”, so retention is another important challenge.
Rotary roots extend back to 1905 when a handful of businessmen gathered in an office in Chicago and began a club that would provide an opportunity to meet regularly to exchange ideas and enhance common causes. The stated purpose of the organization is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. It is a secular organization open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or political preference.