This is my last bulletin as District Governor. It has been an amazing year and I feel very privileged that you chose me to be your leader in 2014-2015. I want to thank all those who were a part of the District Council in 2014-2015,and those who have stepped up for next year. A special thanks goes to outgoing AG's Dwight Boyce, Stephanie Battisti, and Fred Carriere, as well as Pat Brown, Rotaract; Jack Prim, membership; Trevor Dagilis, International Service; Sherri Agnew, Youth Exchange; and our co-District Rotaract Representatives Natasha Farrugia and Kaitlynn Almeida
This bulletin is in English only because there has not been enough time to get items translated. The articles address the three main areas that RI asks us to report on, and a few areas that became important during the year. As I was going through the club ratings, I completed any goals or results in Rotary Club Central that I was aware of. Some clubs sent achievements to me but did not record them online.
Use of GoToMeeting
The use of virtual meetings increased sharing of ideas this year within the district. Last year I introduced webinars for Presidents Elect, and this year I tried to keep in touch with them through AG groupings. All in all it has served to have Rotarians look at meetings differently. It is not always necessary to get in a car and drive. Sometimes things can be done from one’s home. GoToMeeting proved especially useful during January and February where I could still be in touch with district members while not having to drive in inclement weather.
Youth Protection Policy
Although this was not originally part of my goal for the year, it became more and more important as the year went on. Many clubs were under the impression that this is a new requirement but a policy has been in effect since 2006. As I mentioned at the DTA, I feel like I am part of the movie “Groundhog Day” since I started with this in the 90’s as a teacher association president, and am still hearing the same arguments against the requirements now from Rotarians. RI has changed what it needed since 2006 and we need to change also. Many thanks to Kevin Laplante who has take on an important role in this process.
With the input of several clubs, we have made changes to the original policy and have now started with a club certification process for any club involved in activities with youth and vulnerable persons. This is in addition to the Youth Exchange certification process and does not replace it. A list of certified clubs is published on the Youth Services page and will be added to as more clubs become certified. Club presidents and organizers of Adventure programs and RYLA have been reminded that their clubs needs to be certified before they can run their program.
The concern about sending Canadian documents to the US has also been addressed with clubs. At this time I am listed as co-Youth Protection Officer along with Kevin Laplante and I will continue in that capacity next year. We need continuity in this process and cannot have the position change every year.
The possibility of having a third party background check has been possible in the US and there is now at least one company that I have been made aware of that can do this in Canada. This may help to alleviate some of the difficulties that members in rural areas have had in obtaining police checks.
The Weekly Bulletin
Clubs do weekly bulletins and it was because of that I decided to do that as well. A weekly bulletin that has a bit of colour, that can be archived, and that can be shared in Facebook seemed to be well accepted. We keep email messages to a minimum so that new club presidents do not get bombarded. Our Communication Policy, approved by the District Council in September is on the district website for anyone to check. We cannot stop RI, but we can keep the ClubRunner communication system for the use of the district.
Clubs and AG’s contributed many articles for the bulletin. I had set up a rough schedule according to the monthly themes and there were times that I was overwhelmed and had to carry articles forward several weeks in order to fit it all in. Thanks to all who contributed.
For many years I have been actively involved in the district. While my role will change now, I am still a part of the district and will continue to be active for all of our members. Thank you for the opportunity that you gave me.