Enthusiasm key impression of a first Rotary International convention

May 29, 2011


Enthusiasm for Rotary is rarely in short supply whether at the club, district or international level. Attending an international conference, however ramps it up to new levels.

I suppose I should have expected as much considering that the majority of Rotarians in attendance were incoming or outgoing, club presidents or district governors or held such positions in the past.

What I didn’t realize, however, was the extent to which the organization of the plenary sessions were designed to enhance a sense of enthusiasm and community around the themes of “Service to Others” in Rotary.

Bringing over 20,000 Rotarians together in one room for a mixture of entertainment, inspirational addresses and a bit of business five times over three days was one sure fired way to create a sense of a oneness out of 30,000 plus clubs or 300 plus districts.

But in another way enthusiasm for Rotary was also constantly encountered at the opposite end of the spectrum, that is, at the level of individual Rotarians.  Everyone seemed to have a personal cause or agenda they were promoting and they were not the least bit hesitant to share it with a fellow Rotarian.

Whether it was Rotarians like David and Brenda Newman and Alan Heoft and his wife promoting District 5550’s World Peace Program, Michael Maloney of the Belleville club promoting Amarok Society’s Mothers of Intention literacy program or Ken Dickerson also of Belleville promoting a Cure for AIDS, all demonstrated a talent for selling ideas.

Even commercial venders such as the staff at ClubRunner demonstrated the same kind of enthusiasm.  Maybe it had something to do with Adel Asterbadi’s sixteen years as a Rotarian or the fact that both of his young daughters, Halle and Sarah are currently presidents of their respective clubs.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the enthusiasm with which everyone practiced the key Rotarian principle of fellowship. Being invited to socialize with others over meals is often difficult to achieve for first time attendees. Whether it was eating both deep fried pieces of alligator or tasting turtle soup for the first time, convincing a bartender to put a playoff hockey game on the big screen or listening to an astoundingly accomplished group of high school aged youngsters play jazz at a local eatery/pub during my five days in New Orleans with other Rotarians,; it is an experience I will not soon forget.

About John Borst

John Borst’s career in education spans the years 1960 to 1996. During those 36 years, he spent an equal amount of time working int he English language, Public and Catholic school boards. Borst taught in both elementary and high school environments. Positions of responsibilities held included department head in Geography, curriculum coordinator of Social and Environmental Studies, Principal, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Student Services. Borst retired in 1996 as Director of Education for the legacy Dryden Board of Education. During this time, Borst has lived in the Ontario communities of Brampton, Toronto, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Aurora and Dryden. Currently, Borst splits his time between Dryden and Toronto. Since retirement, Borst has served as a Supervisory Officer with a remote School Authority; been a freelance writer of articles on education in particular for Education Today, the magazine of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA); founded and edited from 2006 - 2010 the Education blog Tomorrow’s Trust: A Review of Catholic Education; and from 2003-2010 was a trustee of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
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1 Response to Enthusiasm key impression of a first Rotary International convention

  1. Peter Peters says:

    Very good write-up. Congratulations, on documenting your impressions. I will include your piece in our Club’s bulletin this week.

    Thank you

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