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Florida's Crown District
We are Florida's Crown District where Rotary has served for more than 100 years. Today we are 59 clubs strong serving 30 communities in 12 counties of Northeast Florida.
Our district's more than 3,100 Rotary members are active, involved and accomplishing service and humanitarian goals on behalf of our neighborhoods, towns,and cities as well as being involved in international service.
We are proud of the national and international Rotary leaders who have come from our ranks.
For more than a century Rotary's presence and involvement in our region have been positive forces to improve the well being of the people in our communities.
District 6970 looks forward to its next 100 years of service and living up to our commitment to all that Rotary stands for by placing Service Above Self.
PE Al Hon
WEEK 39. What great news this week! Last month India celebrated the three year anniversary of its last case of polio, setting the stage for the entire World Health Organization Southeast Asia region to be declared polio-free in March! Many years ago, when we first started the polio campaign, it seemed only a dream that we would see this day. Now we fight the last few cases, in order to celebrate in 2018 the end of polio world wide. Please continue to carry on the fight.
Last chance, last note, last time I’ll bug you about it, Club Presidents and Awards Chairs, keep those awards applications coming in!
Another last chance, last note and last reminder, District Assembly is this coming Saturday. Please get your estimated attendance to District Executive Secretary Patti!
Please remember, don’t recruit members for your club. Invite someone to breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee with your Rotary friends. You can also invite them to participate in one of your many projects. They just might want to be a part of the wonderful things you do, and the great people that you are. Keep doing those wonderful things you do!
Club presidents and awards chairs, keep those applications coming in! Remember, there are zone awards for both Interact and Rotaract clubs too, but they need to apply and they need your support. Help those clubs you sponsor...get 'er done!
District Assembly coming up, March 29th. Everyone is invited, there is something to gain for all Rotarians in this day of information and fellowship.
Have a Great Week, and thanks for all you do!
Engage Rotary, Change Lives
EVANSTON, Ill., USA — K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, a business leader from Colombo, Sri Lanka, will be the 105th president of Rotary International – a global network of 1.2 million volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges.
Ravindran, a member of the Rotary Club of Colombo, will begin his one-year term on 1 July 2015 as the first Sri Lankan to hold Rotary’s highest office. Ravindran says a top priority will be to strengthen clubs by attracting men and women committed to improving communities worldwide through volunteer service.
From supporting local food pantries to providing clean water in remote villages, Rotary clubs join forces to carry out impactful and sustainable projects at home and abroad. And Rotary members often are both first-responders and re-builders when major disasters strike, because Rotary clubs are present in every corner of the world.
After the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Ravindran led Rotary’s recovery efforts by helping to raise US$12 million to rebuild 22 schools, enabling nearly 15,000 children to resume their studies. “The tsunami could take away schools, homes, possessions, and even loved-ones, but it would never be allowed to take away the spirit of children,” said Ravindran.
Ravindran was also involved in many other tsunami-related projects in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, and Thailand that were supported by Rotary’s Solidarity in South Asia Fund for long term recovery. Rotary clubs around the world contributed nearly US$6 million to the fund. The projects include housing developments, orphanages, water and sanitation systems, solar oven technology, community-based credit unions, health centers, and the replacement of destroyed fishing trawlers.
As president, Ravindran will oversee Rotary’s top humanitarian goal of eradicating the paralyzing infectious disease polio. In 1988, Rotary helped launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the polio eradication effort.
Overall, the annual number of new polio cases has plummeted by more than 99 percent since the 1980s, when polio infected about 350,000 children a year. Only 223 new cases were recorded for all of 2012. More than two billion children have been immunized in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 deaths. Polio today remains endemic in only three countries, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, although "imported" cases in previously polio-free areas – such as the Horn of Africa -- will continue to occur until the virus is finally stopped in the endemic countries.
As Sri Lanka’s chair of Rotary’s polio eradication efforts, Ravindran led efforts to eradicate polio from Sri Lanka. His country became one of the first in Asia to become polio-free in Asia. The PolioPlus task force which he headed consisted of representatives from Rotary, UNICEF and the Sri Lankan government. The partnership successfully negotiated a ceasefire with the northern militants to allow polio immunizations to continue during scheduled National Immunization Days.
Ravindran is founder and CEO of Printcare PLC, a publicly listed company and global leader in the tea packaging industry. He also serves on the board of several other companies and charitable trusts. He is the founding president of the Sri Lanka Anti-Narcotics Association, the largest antinarcotics organization in Sri Lanka.
A Rotarian since 1974, Ravindran has served Rotary as a director and treasurer of Rotary International and as a trustee of The Rotary Foundation. He has been awarded The Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Award and the Service Award for a Polio-Free World.
Culture: What Price Experience?
Writer Frank Bures believes that to live a rich life, we should invest in memories.
It was after 17 hours – in no fewer than 10 vehicles – along a jolting, washed-out road between Thailand and Cambodia that I first appreciated some basic things about air travel. In a plane, there is no rain. There are no bags of fruit leaking unknown juices onto your backpack. There are no bruised tailbones from an entire day spent hammering over rocks and potholes. And on a plane, when you cross an international border, drinks are on the house.
I ran over this list of perks as I hung off the back of a pickup truck, watching my right foot disappear under layers of mud. My other leg was twisted underneath me, with no feeling left in it. My arms ached as I gripped a leaky plastic tarp that looked like it had been used for target practice by the Khmer Rouge. Periodically, the tarp pressed down in an inverted parachute that threatened to smother us all. Bridgit, my wife, was perched next to me, holding onto nothing but my pant leg.
Eventually we arrived in Cambodia, where our $3 room with a ceiling fan and a cold shower felt like the Ritz-Carlton on Maui. The next day, we walked around the ruins of the Angkor Kingdom.
I thought about that trip recently as Bridgit and I (now with a house in Minnesota and two daughters) sat down to look at our retirement planning. If you were an investment adviser, you would have been clicking your tongue and shaking your head. Bridgit, an accountant, clicked her tongue and shook her head.
“Look,” I said, trying to cheer her up, “if we’d done what everyone says you should do – if we’d gotten jobs straight out of college, kept our heads down and worked till we retired – we might have ended up like those people on the boat.”
Those people on the boat were a retired couple I’d read about in the local newspaper. They’d worked hard their whole lives and were excited about their first trip overseas, a 16-day Mediterranean cruise. Two hours after setting sail, their ship – the Costa Concordia – hit a rock. All but 32 of the 3,229 passengers escaped. The retirees weren’t among them.
That’s not to say they lived their lives badly. But their story filled me with gratitude for the things we’d done. Instead of investing in a 401(k), we’d invested in memories.
“True,” Bridgit said. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to get saving, unless you want to be working until you’re 80.”
This was a fair point. I understand the wisdom of saving, of investing and of being careful with money. But how do you strike a balance between seizing the day and saving up for it?
I came across a new book called Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, by Elizabeth Dunn, who teaches psychology at the University of British Columbia, and Michael Norton, a professor of marketing at Harvard. They explore this question scientifically.
For several centuries, classic economic theory has held that more money is better: the higher people’s salaries, the happier they will be. But economists have started to realize that this isn’t true. For example, they’ve discovered that people who earn $55,000 are not twice as happy as people who earn $25,000. They are only 9 percent happier. And once people reach $75,000 in income, more money has no impact at all.
This was the starting point for Dunn and Norton, who asked: If more money doesn’t matter, what does? Among their conclusions is that “experiences” are a better value than “things.” Fifty-seven percent of people said an “experiential purchase” made them happier, while only 34 percent said a material purchase did. Among Americans over age 50, only one spending category made a measurable difference in satisfaction: leisure, such as trips, movies, and sporting events. Even owning a house has no effect on overall satisfaction. And when asked to look back on past purchases, 83 percent of people said their biggest regret was passing up an experience they could have had. With material purchases, the biggest regret was buying something they later realized they didn’t want.
One reason for this, Dunn and Norton write, is that “experiences are more likely to make us feel connected to others.” Another is that after buying something, our satisfaction with it declines, while the opposite seems true for experiences. When researchers followed students on a three-week cycling trip replete with rain and mosquitoes and sore muscles, 61 percent of the riders reported feeling disappointed with the journey while they were on it. But afterward, only 11 percent did.
Part of this difference has to do with how purchases affect our use of time. Dunn and Norton say this should be our primary concern in financial decisions: Buying a giant flat-screen TV may make you happy as you walk out of the store, but “what we are buying is an implicit commitment to plunking ourselves in front of it – often alone – for one-sixth of the next year.” And in every study, people who watch more television are less satisfied with their lives than people who watch less.
This is mainly because TV takes us away from other people, according to Dunn and Norton. Social relationships are emerging as the foundation of happiness. In one study, when people received a gift certificate with instructions to spend it on either themselves or someone else, people who’d spent the money on others were measurably happier than those who hadn’t. The ones who were happiest were those who bought a coffee for someone and spent time with that person.
When I pushed Bridgit to read the book, she told me I was trying to justify my purchase of a kayak. (“It’s not a kayak, it’s the experience of kayaking!” I said.)
Maybe I was grasping at straws, trying to justify not only my kayak but my whole life. Still, I couldn’t help feeling a little better about the time I’d spent out in the world. I couldn’t think of a place I regretted visiting.
Even though our road trip to Cambodia was torturous and exhausting, somehow its value accrued over time. Taking a plane would have been faster. Staying home and working would have been more lucrative. But would we have remembered any of that? I knew how those cyclists felt. As the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember.”
At least we have that much in the bank. – Frank Bures
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Yours in Rotary Service,
Rotary Club of Orange Park Sunrise