The Rotary flag was raised at the Innisfil Town Hall early on Wednesday morning, marking Rotary Day in the municipality.
Ten years ago, the Rotary was introduced in Innisfil, although it took another year before the new club earned its charter.
With Mayor Lynn Dollin and members of council in attendance, special guests from the community, and from Rotary’s executive – including District 7010 Governor Susan Davidson – Innisfil Rotarians raised the flag, then celebrated with a breakfast and awards ceremony honouring its community partners.
Receiving Paul Harris Fellowships, named for the founder of Rotary, were Beulah Courtney, for her work with the Innisfil Food Bank and the Clothing Depot at Innisfil Community Church; Rev. Glen Eagle, for his work with Christmas for Kids, the food bank, counselling and support; and Gloria Noseworthy, founder of CrossRoads community centre, a drop-in program for young adults with special needs.
Noseworthy explained that while there are supports for special-needs children within the school system, “when they turn 21 and are out of the school system, there is no program anywhere in the rural area… No programming for them to go to, to encourage continuing education, to work on social skills.”
Where programs are available, there are lengthy waiting lists. CrossRoads provides a drop-in on Monday nights for 33 special-needs adults, from Newmarket to Orillia – “a fun night, learning life skills.”
There was also a donation to KOA Care Camps, for kids with cancer, of $402 raised through local sales of the Rotary Ca$h Calendar.
Established by the owners of KOA Campgrounds, the care camps send young cancer patients, their siblings and their doctors to summer camp, allowing them to have fun and be kids, while still receiving the care they need.
Matt Stovold, of the Cookstown KOA, accepted the cheque and thanked the club for its 10 years of support, raising more than $10,000 in total for “kids battling cancer.”
There was even a mystery solved at the event.
Past president and charter member Barb Baguley had been given a box that was found in an office and had been gathering dust for years. Inside were a Paul Harris Fellow pin, and an award inscribed with the name of Innisfil Rotary President Grace Doiron.
Davidson explained that for every US$1,000 donated to the Rotary International Foundation, a Paul Harris Fellowship is awarded. Doiron has received eight of the awards, but “in addition to that, she also left a bequest in her will… at least US$10,000 to the Rotary Foundation,” Davidson said. The rediscovered award recognized that bequest.
Speeches from Rotarians emphasized the connections and positivity of Rotary, and its motto: Service Above Self.
Davidson noted this year’s Rotary International President’s theme is "Be the Inspiration."
She told club members: "For the last 10 years, this club has certainly been the inspiration” – not only in the community, but globally, through its support of Shelterbox, and service work in Dominica.
“The impact of this club is so far-reaching,” she said. “Thank you for the difference you make. Thank you for the fellowship.”
“They say, if you want something done, ask a busy person,” said Innisfil Mayor Dollin. “I say, if you want something done, ask a Rotarian… We’re proud of everything you’ve done for the town.”
That includes contributions to Pitch-In Day community clean-up, the Santa Claus Parade, food bank, library, Rotary Trail and other community projects.
The mayor proclaimed June 12 as Rotary Day in the Town of Innisfil, and June as Rotary month.
There are currently more than 33,000 Rotary Clubs around the world, in more than 200 countries and regions – “a global network of 1.2 million leaders,” said Dollin. “We’re so lucky to have you in our community.”
President Grace Doiron thanked everyone, “for helping us celebrate this amazing day.”
Doiron added, “I am so proud to be a Rotarian… Service Above Self – it is our motto, and Rotarians live that every day, not only here but around the world,” promoting peace, providing clean water, fighting disease, encouraging education and maternal health, and supporting economic prosperity.
“A lot of people thought that we were a BNI (Business Networking International), but we’re not," said Baguley. "We’re a service organization.”
The Rotary Club, which meets at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday mornings at the Lakeshore Library in Innisfil, is open to both men and women, and currently has 35 regular members, five honorary members, and at least two corporate members – the Town of Innisfil and South Simcoe Police Service.
“We are an organization dedicated to helping others,” said incoming club president Anne Kell. “We find working together we can make a bigger difference than working alone.”
And, she said, just wait until next year – when the club holds its official 10th anniversary of receiving its charter.