President's Message February 2018
February is Rotary’s Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution Month.  Peace through Service was the Rotary International Theme for 2012-2013 and while Chiang Mai International Rotary Club’s signature theme is Child Safety, Health and Education the ideas are embodied in what we are doing and will be doing over the coming months.
Our current effort to support the Mae Tao Clinic is a fundraising campaign to allow students at their Child Development Center to take the American G.E.D. test allowing qualifying them to apply for university study.  Given the opportunity, many of these students will attend university and return to their community with skills necessary to make a positive impact on the future.
CMIRC is in the process of establishing an English Language Cultural Club where participants will be able to learn about each other’s cultures.   Understanding is perhaps the most critical element to finding Peace and avoiding conflict.
We are also working on establishing Children’s Vision Screening Project and establishing a Rotary Community Corps in the 11 Tessaban (government) schools in Chiang Mai district which may become an avenue for the English Language Cultural Clubs to take hold.
CMIRC is in the process of establishing an Interact Club and a Rotaract Club.  
Perhaps the very best thing about our club is the great service opportunities we provide; service is our greatest membership benefit!!   The coming additions of the English Language Cultural Exchange Club, the Rotary Community Corps, the Interact Club and the Rotaract Club will require effort from our members and will certainly contribute to the betterment of our community.  If you are a Chiang Mai resident or soon may be, and you are looking for an opportunity to give back to the community please contact us.  One of my favorite things to do is have lunch with prospective members.  Would that be you?

Opening of Burma Children Medical Fund's New Clinic
The founder of Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), Kanchana Thornton wasted no time in putting her $50,000 “The One” award to good use. After coming in second place last year in the prestigious Rotary-sponsored international humanitarian project competition, K. Kanchana and her Mae Sot team began working with local officials on a new health clinic in a remote village in Myawwady, Burma.
The village, Ker Gaw, located about two hours northwest of Myawwady, had a small clinic with no running water or electricity before the BCMF, with CMIRC’s help, brought a well, generator, and solar panels to the grateful community.
“It’s like a wedding celebration,” new clinic coordinator Khiang Soe said. “everyone is so happy.”
Khiang Soe will work with two interns to help care for up to 400 patients a month. Women’s reproductive health and child care will be the focus of the clinic, but the staff will treat accident victims, screen for diseases and refer serious cases to the BCMF office in Mae Sot. Khiang Soe is also trained in dentistry.
“Thank you, Khiang Soe for pestering me to open this clinic,” K. Kanchana told the villagers at the festive opening ceremony. “Maternal healthcare is our aim, so keep us busy.”
Through early detection of problems, K. Kanchana hopes the Ker Gaw clinic staff can help patients before their problems require hospitalization in Chiang Mai. She encouraged villagers to help take care of the clinic and noted that by using the facility, patients will help the staff improve their skills.
The new building consists of a large reception area, seven bed inpatient room, staff room, examination room, and “birth” room. Equipment and furnishings are still to come. New solar panels will supply electricity to the clinic and to the pump for the well. Ker Gaw and the surrounding villages still have no electricity, but with its own power source, the clinic will provide a healthcare haven for thousands of patients a year.
CMIRC president Jerry Nelson helped K. Kanchana cut the ribbon to officially open the clinic at 10 a.m. Friday, January 26th. Also representing CMIRC at the event were Mike Lake and Imelda Tibbott. Guest speakers included 85-year-old Bu Nah U, who recounted his time growing up with little help from outside the village, and Ker Gaw headman Pah Sho, who also thanked CMIRC and invited everyone to the huge lunch prepared for the guests.
CMIRC has been helping the BCMF B. K. Kee patient house in Chiang Mai for more than two years, and we hope to continue supporting this worthy endeavor in the future.
Aided by BCMF staff in dressed in traditional Karen outfits, octogenarian Bu Nah U, BCMF director Kanchana Thornton, and CMIRC president Jerry Nelson cut the ribbon to open the new clinic in Ker Gaw.
CMIRC distributed hand Trekker Ted dolls to children at the Ker Gaw clinic’s grand opening.  See the article, below for more about these dolls.

The Origin of the Trekker Ted dolls
What is a Trekker Ted you ask?  Well, Trekker Teds are hand made little dolls that come to us from Australia.  About 3 years ago I met two marvelous women, Sally Piper and Nel de Blue who gave us several Trekker Teds for delivery to sick children.   Since then we have received two more deliveries.
The dolls are handmade by volunteers in Australia, many of whom are retired ladies.  Nel de Blue tells me that a wonderful lady by the name of Annie Hoogeboom from Lilydale Australia is organizing the knitting in retirement villages and among her friends.   I’m told that making the Trekker Teds give them a sense of accomplishment and knowledge that they are contributing to needy children in a very important way.
I recently met with Eileen Murphy and Jovo Cirkovic, the co founders of Happy Hands Foundation. They had been asked by Nel to deliver Trekker Teds to me for use by Chiang Mai International Rotary Club.   We had coffee here in Chiang Mai and they gave me two bags full of these marvelous dolls.  I didn’t count them but I’m guessing there were about 100.  The very next day I took one bag with me to Mae Sot and then on to Ker Gaw village in Karen State, Myanmar where we were going to celebrate the opening of a health clinic sponsored by BCMF.   We gave out all of the dolls to the children, starting with the youngest.
I don’t know for certain, but it’s easy to surmise that the Trekker Ted may be the only toy that belongs to any number of these children.  My heart-felt thanks to the Trekker Ted ladies and supporters who make this sort of thing possible.
The remaining Trekker Teds are designated for the BCMF B.K.Kee patient house to be distributed to the young children who come to receive treatment in the Chiang Mai University hospital because their condition is too severe to be treated in Mae Tao Clinic or Mae Sot Hospital. 


Reasons to Sell Golf Ball Drop Tickets
The Thailand International Balloon Festival is less than 30 days away!  The Golf Ball Drop, on the second day of the festival, at dusk, is our club's biggest fund-raiser.  We need for ALL club members to sell tickets, yet only about half have taken tickets.  You might say you don't like to "sell stuff".  Well, as someone who made a living "selling stuff", I never considered what I did as forcing something unwanted on someone.  My role, as a sales/marketing professional, was to identity and fulfill unmet needs.  In many cases, needs that people didn't even know they had.
So, what "needs" do you "fulfill" when you approach a friend or acquaintance about buying a ticket for a CMIRC numbered golf ball?
1.  Some people like the idea of getting "something for nothing" and the odds of winning are quite good.   With just 300 tickets being sold and three prizes (30,000 baht, 10,000 baht and 5,000 baht), someone has a 1-in-100 chance of winning a substantial prize.
2.  Some people like the activities of CMIRC and would be interested in knowing that the funds raised go toward our children's projects.  This gives you a great opportunity to talk about our club's service projects, how much you enjoy participating in them and perhaps even recruit a new member.
3.  Some people would like to know more about the Thailand International Balloon Festival.  Please plan to attend on March 2nd and 3rd if you are in town.  We'll sell more GBD tickets at the Festival in the run-up to the drop.  Each ticket comes with free entry to the Festival on the day of the drop, March 3rd.  The evening "Night Glows" are spectacular -- very beautiful, with local five star hotels offering reasonably priced cocktails and small plate foods, with nice musical entertainment.  All against a beautiful mountain backdrop.  It's a magical setting. 
4.  Consider buying GDB tickets as presents for friends and family.  The winner of our first GBD in 2015 was the father a member, who purchased a ticket with his father's "lucky number". 
5.  Approach all your friends and acquaintances who have asked you to support their favorite charities in the past.  If you've been supportive of other's charitable activities, then they'll probably support yours.
Be sure to promote the GBD by "sharing" the club's Facebook post about the event.  Click Here to see the post on the club's Facebook (scroll the FB page to find it; the post was added on January 23rd).  I shared the club's Facebook post to my Facebook timeline with the following comment; feel free to use this same text for your Facebook post:
All proceeds go toward Chiang Mai International Rotary Club's children's projects. For just 1000 baht (U.S.$32) you can purchase a numbered golf ball that will be dropped from a tethered hot air balloon at dusk on 3rd March during the Thailand International Balloon Festival. Closest balls to the hole win. Only 300 balls will be sold, so your odds of winning are great 1-in-100. You need not be present to win, but your ticket is also good for free entry to the Festival on March 3rd. See me or any CMI Rotary Club member for tickets. Overseas purchase encouraged via Paypal, also.

Children's Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Program
The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC)-Kru Payu Swim Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program is working to address the leading cause of death for children in Thailand: Drowning!  Over 1,000 children drown in Thailand each year.  (Source: 2014 World Health Organization and Thai Ministry of Public Health).
We are happy to report that by early February of this 2017-2018 school year, our water safety and drowning prevention program will have taught almost 300 Chiang Mai municipal school 4th graders basic survival swimming and water safety.  Once again, this year all 11 Chiang Mai municipal school 4th graders will have had the opportunity to receive 15 hours of water safety and swimming instruction. 
These are poor children, so the instruction, the swimsuits, towels, goggles, and caps are all completely free for participants.  The program in Chiang Mai is fully funded by the CMIRC. We are aided by the generosity of our swim instructors at Kru Pay Swim, our pool at Bronco Kids Sport Center, and the Chiang Mai Municipality.  All of these people and organizations make substantial contributions of time, effort and money to make our program possible.
During the past 18 months our program has taught over 500 9-year old fourth graders survival swimming and water safety.  Beginning next year, almost every graduate of a Chiang Mai Municipality Public Schools will have received our training!  Our club is committed to making this a part of every municipal school child’s elementary school experience far into the future! Our club's focus is children’s safety, health, and education and our CWSDPP is an important part of that effort.
Would you like to help?  We have refined and revised our program, so that we can now provide 15 hours of swim and water safety instruction for about 500 Baht (US$16) per 4th grade child. One entire 4th grade at a school can be taught for about 17,000 Baht (US$550). Feel free to contact me at , if you have questions or wish to provide assistance for our project.
Project champion John Schorr, left, with happy graduates and their teachers and water safety instructors.

What Happened at the Rotary International Assembly?
The annual International Assembly occurred 14-20 January at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, California USA.
The International Assembly provides training for all District Governors Elect (DGE) who will lead their districts beginning the 1st of July 2018. Their spouses also attend the Assembly and participate in a number of activities.
The DGE’s are introduced to Rotary International’s  priorities for the coming Rotary Year. They have the opportunity to network with other DGE’s from around the world. They participate in a number of break out sessions devoted to the role of the DG and challenges faced by the DG. They also have the opportunity to hear from and interact with the Rotary International President Elect.
Here is a link that will take you to videos of various presentations made at this year’s assembly:

What is a Rotary Interact Club?
As Chiang Mai International Rotary Club is working on sponsoring an Interact club at the Chiang Mai International School, it might be helpful for our members to have a better understanding of what Interact is.

Interact is Rotary International's service club for young people ages 12 to 18. Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but each Interact club is self-governing and self-supporting. As with Rotary Clubs, they have a standard constitution and by-laws they must adopt for their chartering and operation.
Club membership varies greatly. Clubs can be single gender or mixed, large or small. They can draw from the student body of a single high school or from two or more high schools in the same community.
Each year, Interact clubs complete at least two community service projects, one of which furthers international understanding and goodwill. Through these efforts, Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs and learn the importance of - Developing leadership skills and personal integrity - Demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others - Understanding the value of individual responsibility and hard work - Advancing international understanding and goodwill.
As one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of Rotary service, with more than 10,700 clubs in 109 countries and geographical areas, Interact has become a worldwide phenomenon. Almost 200,000 young people are involved in Interact.

What You May Have Missed in January
Our club did not meet on the 2nd of January due to Thailand New Years activities and travel.

There was a committee meeting on the 9th of January to discuss the need/desirability of having a club administration committee to coordinate the various interrelated activities that regularly occur for effective club operation, such as: meeting sign in, visitor greeting, publicity materials, club representation at regular non-club events, public information , etc. This committee meeting offered the chance for regular meeting make-up.

There was a regular meeting of our club on the 16th of January where the program was presented by Patrick Keeney, a visiting professor at Chiang Mai University. Patrick  shared information on several efforts in Thailand, including The Petchabun Project to assist children who have been abandoned, abused, or orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. Also at this meeting Rotarian Wendy explained opportunities for members to participate in the Asia Justice Marathon and represent club at the club's display and drowning prevention demonstration.
On the 20th of January, a number of club members were up and out early to the Access to Justice Asia Marathon. Some helped with the marathon and others with the club’s display area and drowning prevention demonstration.
On the 22nd of January, the Service Project/Fundraising Committee met to do project review including: B.K. Kee House, Mae Tao Clinic, Children’s Winter Clothing Appeal, Children’s Water Safety and Drown Proofing Project. The clothing appeal was judged as an overwhelming effort both from amount of clothing collected but also the amount of work with a very small number of club members participating. Mae Tao Clinic will change from being classed as a club project to an organization being supported by our club. There was discussion about the return of Yale University woman singers Whim 'n’ Rhythm to Chiang Mai being sponsored  by our club and doing public charity performance and fundraising concert. Also, discussed were the ticket sales by club members for the 3rd of March Charity Golf Ball Drop Fundraiser.
Also, on the 22nd of January there was a regular Board Meeting which also offered make-up meeting credit for a missed regular meeting. The minutes of this meeting, as are all meetings, can be accessed by members in the members section of
On the 30th of January the club enjoyed a Social Night at The Dukes at Maya Mall from 7-9 pm. All club members were encouraged to attend and to invite a guest.  A new member, Craig Clark, was inducted as part of the evening event.  
Happy members & guests socializing January 30th.  New member Craig Clark with Rotarian wife Ann.

Save the Dates, February - June 2018
Here are a few of the important dates for Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC). These are opportunities to meet some of us and learn more about what we are doing in our community.
6 February, Tuesday -- CMIRC Regular Club meeting, 7 pm, Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant, 5/8 Soi 7, Ratchadamnoen (Soi 7 is opposite the big police station)  Click Here for Map  Speaker:  Past District Governor David Kennedy, from Rotary District 9700, New South Wales, Australia.
20 February, Tuesday, 7 pm – CMIRC Birthday Party Meeting (   This will be a regular Rotary Meeting open to all current Rotarians and invited guests.
03 March, Saturday – CMIRC Golf Ball Drop, Cowboy Army Riding Club, Chiang Mai (  This is CMIRC's largest fundraiser; all money goes to support our efforts to improve Child Safety, Health and Education.   Tickets are on sale now!  See Article Above for details. 
17 – 18 March, Saturday & Sunday – Rotary District 3360 Conference, Empress Hotel, Chiang Mai
20 March, Tuesday -- CMIRC Regular Club meeting, 7 pm, Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant, 5/8 Soi 7, Ratchadamnoen (Soi 7 is opposite the big police station)  Click Here for Map  Speaker:  Victoria Vorreiter, speaking on Hmong culture. 
29 May, Tuesday – CMIRC Thank you night, Chiang Mai , details to follow
23 – 27 June 2018 – Rotary International Convention, Toronto Canada, (