Rotary Club of Vancouver Arbutus

Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Vancouver Arbutus

Service Above Self

We meet Fridays at 12:14 PM
Arbutus Club
2001 Nanton Avenue
Vancouver, BC  V6J 4A1
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Home Page Stories

There's one sad truth in life I've found while journeying east and west. The only folks we really wound are those we love the best. We flatter those we scarcely know. We please the fleeting guest. And deal full many a thoughtless blow to those who love us best.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1850-1919 - Author and Poet


Rotary Youth Leadership Awards has been a program for youth that Rotary has provided Internationally since 1971.  This week Ursula and I attended a day at RYLA 5040 which is held in Gibsons at YMCA Camp Elphinstone.  The buildings in this camp were substantially rebuilt in 1963 by the Rotary Club of Vancouver.  This year 97 youth in grades 10 to 12 attended for 4 days.  They learn all kinds of leadership skills like team building, communication, motivation, and conflict resolution.  But most importantly they have fun learning and meet other youth with similar ideals.  Our club sponsored 4 youth this year and they will come to a future meeting to tell us their RYLA experience!

We have decorated a Rotary Christmas tree for Christmas at Hycroft.  Besides the regular lights and ornaments it has plastic business cards that say "Please Take Me" that have information on our club in case people are interested in knowing more about us.  Thanks to Lana we have a Rotary wheel at top and a banner that reads "Help Us Spend $100 Million"- a quote from Hans.


Our speaker, Jennifer Yankanna is the Manager of Community Giving for the CNIB. She gave an overview of the extensive  services and advocacy CNIB provides for blind or partially sited clients, both adults and children. Ninety percent of their funding comes from the community either from donations or foundation giving.The majority of their clients have macular degeneration. Upon referral from an eye care specialist, they provide life skills training in -home and at CNIB offices. They can offer low vision aids that can enlarge and expand peripheral vision as well as mobility and safe and effective daily living devices. Devices are available for sale or loan. Their loan library is extensive and includes the Daisy Payers (book readers) donated by our Rotary club for loan to those who may not afford them.



​PASTA FOR POLIO! Thursday Oct. 22nd, 6 pm at The Blarney Stone. 216 Carrall St. Vancouver.  Simple pasta and salad dinner. $20 ($10 goe to Polio).  Email me if you would like to join.

On Sunday Sept. 27th members volunteered to clean up plastics and other garbage from one of our cities shorelines.  This is part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and our inventory of garbage is sent to the Vancouver Aquarium.  This way they keep an idea on what kind of garbage and how much is on our shorelines every year.  The sunshine was out, members of the community joined us and we were happy to report very little garbage in our section of shoreline.

On Friday instead of our regular lunch meeting we had an evening barbeque at "Off The Grill" at Britannia Center.  We are one of the sponsors of this program that engages youth in the community with healthy food and building relationships with health professionals. The youth do the planning of meals, shopping for groceries, prepping food, serving customers, setting up the space and cleaning up afterwards.  The barbeque is open to all of the community and helps bridge the social gaps between the youth and their neighbors.

Lawrie Duff gave us an excellent presentation on his days in the war as an aerial photographer.  He even brought in an actual camera and explained how it worked.  Five seconds after a bomb exploded the aircraft would take a photo.  The film was fifty feet long and five inches wide and thicker than regular film.  He also explained the process of developing the film and then printing pictures.  These pictures were sent to Intelligence for analyzation.  He was not yet 21 years old!  He volunteered after the war was over to stay in the Army of Occupation in Hamburg, Germany.  They were very hospitable and he met many interesting people.

Leigh had the pleasure of inducting two new members to our club.  Lana Wong who was sponsored by Bill Bourlet and Ursula Henderson who is transferring from the Rotary Club of Cambridge.

This week we had a Club Assembly by Past President Mary.  Projects to date are: Sleep With The Whales $4000 Nov. 14th, RYLA North $425, RYLA South $1700, Nootka Elementary $3000 CALS, $1700 Digital Library, St. John Ambulance $4124, Bus for Inner City schools to visit VanDusen $4800, and we will do 5 school bursaries $5000.  This will leave an approximate balance in our Gaming Account of $22,000.  For social events we did Pasta for Polio in Oct - raised $1000, visited the Honey Bee Center, Christmas Party at Hycroft, Thai Night Out, and Chartered our Prince of Wales Interact Club.  Future events will be a Fireside/Wine Tasting at Bills on May 26th and the Shoreline Clean up on Sept. 27th.  All of our hands on events come from our members ideas so if you see something we should consider please let us know!  Membership: we started at 20 and are still at 20.  Member retention is an area of concern for our club and this could be helped with having a "Sunshine Person" that keeps track of where members are when they don't attend our regular lunch meeting.  It was suggested that a phone call to a missing member would be more effective than an email.  For new members Mary suggested we target those in the 55+ age group - around retirement age.  Retired people don't mind 2 hour weekday lunches, aren't looking for a club to join for networking for future business and have the time, money and willingness to give back to their communities.  We need to consider advertising through Social Media to try to attract this age group.

This was Tom's last official visit to our our club.  After serving the district as Assistant District Governor for three years he will continue next year as District Membership Chair.  Our own Davinder Grewal will replace Tom in July as ADG.  Davinder thanked Tom for all his hard work and acknowledged she had big footprints to follow.  Tom discussed the District Conference where we will have a representative from Rotary International that is from Nepal.  Tom will be collecting cash to give to him at the Conference.  Tom also told us about his own club's Rotary Day which was an Easter Egg hunt for the children in Tsawwassen.  Tom was a last minute stand in for the Easter Bunny and when he got home he realized he couldn't get out of his costume without help.  His wife was not there and the neighbours weren't home.  So after sweating for a while he actually stopped a car on the road and asked the driver to unzip him.  The lady was a little apprehensive but complied with his request.  If she hadn't been from out of town I am sure Tom would have asked her to join his club!
Tom reviewed some of the changes mooted by Rotary for entering a challenging period in the organization's history, at least in North America. A new website is being created, for example, which is designed to encourage clubs to promote themselves, both for what they represent to their communities and where and when they meet. Additionally, the message is changing from "come to ... club" to "come to a rotary meeting ...", and there will be new promotional materials that the various clubs can freely use. Tom also reviewed the changing Lower Mainland situation : there are too many small (substitute 'struggling' if you like) clubs that might benefit by amalgamation with others. Certainly this is a solution to continuing losses in numbers of clubs, though the loss of autonomy will obviously create some issues just by itself.
Tom brought a beautiful light to give to President Shail to thank him for his leadership this past year.


Our contribution of $4,800 will bring 720 children from inner-city schools to explore and study in the most beautiful outdoor classroom in Vancouver during the 2015/2016 school year. (45 children per bus). Since 2002, with the support of various donors, a bursary was established to subsidize educational programming for inner-city children throughout the lower mainland. Support of this program would help provide educational programming for inner-city kids throughout the lower mainland by providing bus transportation to and from VanDusen Gardens for field trips.


We welcomed Dr. Pieter Cullis from the Life Sciences Institute at UBC. His topic was the future of medicine, less succinctly “The New Science of Medicine”, essentially the discipline of precision treatment  of the individual. The science is predicated upon the plain fact that the costs of treatment are simply too high given the current failure to practice preventive medicine. The future lies with molecular characterization, thereby presenting the prospect of current wastage (less than 50% of drugs actually work on the patients for whom they are prescribed) perhaps being eliminated. The drive is to give people the information that they need in their lives to make choices. The concentration in the talk – which, admittedly, was of considerable complexity – was on cancer, which is not only widespread in its effects, but a topic of increasing interest to the general population. Genetics largely account for cancer itself, thus leading to the key for this range of health matters being one’s genetic profile, and over the next few years, one person’s type of protein profile may well dictate the course of one’s life.
This personalized medicine will allow (of course, only in those societies that can afford it) far more effective preventive care than at present and greatly refine the healthcare system. Of course, to a degree it provides for very early determination of one’s life, particularly the pattern of healthcare, and as such has profound economic and philosophical implications for society in general. The uniqueness of each individual’s profile being the key to patient treatment, the accuracy of the individual’s unique molecular makeup should transform the personalized health care system.
Frankly, a challenging talk : chromosome therapy should denote the end of many of mankind’s greatest scourges.
It is always gratifying to receive positive feedback from those whom we endeavor to assist, and today we welcomed Monika and Tyson from Nootka Elementary School. For some years the Club has been providing monies to the school to assist in its Learning Assistance program, and to this point has sent some $51,000 (part of which was a benefactor’s individual donation) to provide material assistance to an immensely necessary benefit to children who struggle with words and structured tuition.
Monika is the school principal, and after an expression of thanks to the Club, she introduced Tyson, the architect and engineer of the ‘course’. He, obviously an enthusiastic and motivated teacher, described how the LAP for grades 3 to 11 actually operates and utilizes the funds that are received. He has generally been involved in these activities for 17 years and part of his dedication is shown by his regime of arising at 4am to prepare individual instruction for each pupil, the target being the obverse of the usual technique of only getting into action on the ‘wait to fail’ basis : this, as he said, is entirely the wrong way around for providing such assistance. Virtually all of his pupils go on to graduate, a target which initially many would not believe to be possible. These are often students whom he characterized as ‘angry and frustrated’, in part because of a complete inability to read by the time they reach grade 4. They are not, he emphasized, of low intelligence, it being a blockage of some sort that is holding back the learning process. It is his job to break that intellectual logjam, which is why his skills are so individualized. 
We were shown two brief films that his students created and in which they appeared. The first, entitled “Welcome to Thrive” was a moving demonstration of practical biodiversity, and indeed of practical film-making : an opportunity to observe a wise-looking barn owl was grasped when it unexpectedly appeared outside the school. It presented a powerful image. The second film was in reality a thanks for the Club’s having provided so much assistance. We were shown some examples of demonstrative mathematics teaching, an example of assistance that could not have been effected without the help of Rotary.
The world’s learning problems are, it would seem, profound. Of all children, Tyson said, 20% are illiterate, and of the balance, 20% are functionally illiterate. These are sobering thoughts.
Gillian Drake.   VanDusen Botanical Garden Director.  Children at need program.
Our Rotary club has provided funds for this program in the past.
It provides funding for inner-city school children to visit the gardens.
The kids pay to come in at the regular rate of $7.50 per student but this program provides the cost of the bus transportation to get them there.
Gardens are such an important past of our education.  Kids learn so much better by being there and seeing the flowers in person.
Think of how you felt this week with all the blossoms surrounding you?  The spring bursting forth.
It lowers your stress level.
We need unstructured time in nature.
It’s a breath of fresh air.  A garden gives you safe time.
To see a squirrel or a duck or a hummingbird or a leaf as big as a table.
Kids get the sensory experience.  Fantastic flowers. 
They run the program from April to June then again in the fall.
This is a Botanical garden not just a park so they also have a research program.
They take in 3,000 children a year.
They also have been assigned the Bloedel conservatory to administer and direct traffic to which has been a great success so far in generating additional visitors to.
Is it time for another club visit to the gardens?
The speaker was thanked by Laurie.
The Honey Bee Centre
On Saturday we had a cub visit to the Honey Bee Centre in Surrey.
Shail chose to drive in his brand new car.  A whole 2 days old.
Hmm, new car smell and Oh so clean.  Shame it was raining!
We wandered round the store then had an instructional visit with the bees by a bee keeper who showed us around the visitor centre.  It was cold and raining out side so the bees seemed happy to be inside attending to their duties.
After the tour we shared lunch with John Gibeau who told us his Bee story, which included everything from using bees in movies to school tours as well as exporting bees allover the world.
Hooray for the hard working Bees.
We came home full of samples of local honey and some jars to take home.

Thanks to our newest member PDG Hans Doge our Interact Club at Prince of Wales is back.  Hans has recruited enough students to charter this club that had not been active in the past few years.
Stand by for exciting things from this new Interact Club.  Well done Hans!

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Darren Bernaerdt Photography Program. Langara.
Herb Addington Scholarship Jayme Dunn.
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Ramona Materi
British Columbia’s New North: How to build your business, respect communities – and prosper.
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Steve Rutledge
Adopt A Village in Laos
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Scholarshiop Bursaries
Our winning students.
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No meeting
Canada Day.
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Marek Sredzki
Water Wall Turbine. Generating electricity by tides.
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Andree Bamforth
Nursing instructor at Langara