District Governor Larry Vars
District Governor Larry Vars
Our program today was District Governor Larry Vars, a member of the Rotary Club of Lancaster, NH, USA.  Governor Larry spoke about the importance RI President-elect Barry Rassin’s theme for 2018-19, Be the Inspiration, President Barry is asking Rotarians to inspire change in the world and in each other. “I ask all of you to Be the Inspiration to help Rotary move from reaction to action — to take a hard look at the environmental issues that affect health and welfare around the world and do what we can to help.”  Governor Larry's believes that if we can find our own Rotary Passion, we can Be the Inspiration.  
District Governor Larry Vars presented Co-president Michelle Buck a theme scarf, and left a theme tie for Co-President  Steve Christy.
"Larry Vars was selected to be the District Governor three years ago.
Our District has forty-one clubs and spans from the upper half of Vermont and New Hampshire up through Quebec.
He has been a member of the Lancaster Rotary Club for over 27 years.His first project in Rotary was shoveling out horse stalls after a horse show. He joined anyways.”
He grew up in Connecticut, near Fishers Island Sound and his first service organization was with the Coast Guard Auxiliary whose focus was supporting the US Coast Guard. They did vessel examination, safe boating courses, and patrols.
He went on to account: “One weekend, while on patrol in Fishers Island Sound, a call came in to the CG Station about debris in a channel off Block Island Sound. We were sent to remove the large item from the channel. We found it, it was floating about 4” exposed above the water and about 20” wide metal can. We tied onto it and started pulling it. As we gained speed, the can began to ride on the surface of the water. It was over 15’ long. From what we were told, it was a practice torpedo. Many 25 + foot pleasure crafts use this channel and could have hit this torpedo, which was about 4” of it was visible. It was turned over to a 41 foot CG vessel for disposal. If someone had hit that torpedo, they would have sunk. Who knows if anyone would have been injured? What we did made a difference.” 
With that anecdote, Larry developed a theme of what he and we have done in Rotary makes a difference. He pointed out the following;
  • Rotary Youth Leadership Award: Enrolling an incoming high school junior in a leadership program when they are headed into a life-determining portion of their life. This program helps them look at goals and understand what is needed to achieve these goals. They process situations to determine the best way to solve problems. They have fun doing it.
  • Youth Exchange: Combat the national news with a prolonged stay in a foreign country. Other youth get to see that Americans have the same issues as in their home country and American youth get to see what they take for granted.
  • Speech Contest: Gets youth to think about and repeat to themselves the four-way test and how it relates to their passion. In addition, they get to participate in a contest that has a financial gain to encourage them to do their best.
  • Interact, Rotaract, Earlyact: They get the opportunity to serve others.  They plan fund raisers, a local project and an international project. Service above Self.
“How about your Club: What projects have you physically done. River cleanups? Community projects? They make a difference in your community, making it a cleaner more inviting place to live and work. Maybe you have physically helped a neighbor. Many clubs have partnered with other organizations to help them make a difference in their focus. This is all about Service above Self.”
Larry reported that Rotary International surveyed members and the top two reasons for joining are the opportunity to perform service projects and networking. Doing projects will meet both of these reasons for joining.
He informed us that he had added a list of in-meeting projects on the District website, under “Membership” to share ideas of what other clubs are doing. He encouraged us to apply for a District Grant to help fund a community project which we did and received for the mural project.
He referred us to a pull display which showed the focus of the grants funded by The Rotary Foundation:
  • The lower level is base needs. Included are: disease prevention, clean water and sanitation and maternal and child health. Clubs in our District have supported many projects at this level. Without these basic human needs being fulfilled, literacy and community are not attainable. When you are sick and do not feel well, you do not reach out to improve yourself or others.
  • The second level is focused on literacy and community development. Many local projects are based on this second level of need. Building the mind with aspirations of what is possible, supporting communities where small businesses can thrive, making a place where you can be proud to call home are all based on a literate culture and a sense of security.
  • The top level is peace and conflict resolution. We support post graduate studies for individuals to be experts in this field. There is a need for mastering this focus. Meeting base needs will help reduce conflicts.
He illustrated these foci with anecdotes and statistics and asked us:
  • “Are you a club of people who see a problem, evaluate it, and then take action?
  • Is your club a People of Action?
  • As Rotarians, we should contribute one of the “Three “T”s”: your Time, your Talent and your Treasury.
  • This is how networking is done.”
He encouraged us to: “Engage your club in the passions of your club members. Have back-up a plan in case your speaker has to cancel at the last minute. What does that involve? YouTube has many interesting subjects, like Ted Talks. I encourage your leadership and members to think how to make your meetings a value to all. I have added a list of in-meeting projects that can be done in 20 to 30 minutes. I would love to hear other types of projects that can be done in your meeting. Make it Fun.”
In conclusion, Larry mused: “As I pondered my theme for this year, I focused on passions. We all have passions, whether for helping the youth to become good citizens, making our communities a better, more vibrant place to live, or giving a helping hand to those who were not born with the same privileges as we are (clean water, health care, immunizations). I hope to encourage you to ‘Ignite your Passions,’ make a difference locally and internationally. As RI President said, ‘together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.’ Be the Inspiration.”

“Thank you for all you are doing as Rotarians.”
***End Synopsis from the Rotary Club of Barre, VT Newsletter (Thanks)***
After his presentation, District Governor Vars asked member to share their passions:
Sue Donnelly - Rotary Youth Leadership Award Conference 
Joy Gobin - Interact
Marilyn Bedell - The Rotary Foundation
Ron Bedell - Fund development of the Rotary Foundation
Bill Secords - Rotary Foundation Grants
Bruce Pacht, Tim Gauraldi and Phil Renz - Polio, and the Great American Pie Buffet
Bruce Bergeron - Community Service and our fund raiserers, Golf and the Brew Fest.
Paul Tierney - his appreciations for what our members do for the club big or small.