Rotary Club of Nanaimo is proud to be involved with youth services including Interact and Rotary Youth Exchange. 
Rotary Club of Nanaimo
Youth Services Month

Rotary Youth Exchange

Rotary Youth Exchange builds peace one young person at a time. Students learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens. Exchanges for students ages 15-19 are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries. Students who have been on exchanges describe it as “Unbelievable, Amazing, Awesome, Unforgettable, life-changing and gained so much confidence”  says Jason Bradley, club member and Nanaimo 5 Club Youth Exchange Chair.  

This program not only impacts the students' lives but the lives of the Rotarians and host families as well. Learn more about Rotary Youth Exchange in District 5020 at


Interact clubs bring together young people ages 12-18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self. Find out how serious leadership can be seriously fun. Interact clubs organize at least two projects every year, one that helps their school or community and one that promotes international understanding. 

Interactor Nanaimo member Declan Keddy finds it a wonderful way to meet people in the community and gain volunteer hours. Plus you get to help out in the community, or even broader depending on the project. “It’s really great for gaining experience planning projects, organizing meetings and working on a committee.” This year the Nanaimo Interact Club is preparing to install a little library at Anglican Church in Cedar, planning a summer clean-up project and has raised funds to support Sunyani Ghana - An International Rotary Service Project.

Member Profile
Debbie Narver, Rotary Club of Nanaimo Past President (2016-17), began her path to Rotary when she switched from working in a large organization to being self-employed in a home office. After a while of being a team of one, a feeling of isolation set in and she realized that deeper relationships and connections were needed in her new way of life. Debbie tried various networking groups but they weren’t quite right. After attending just a few Rotary meetings, however, she soon felt right at home.

She finds Rotary provides a sense of family and lots of support in a caring, supportive environment. And let’s not forget the fun and laughter! Debbie shared that the biggest benefit of being a Rotarian is a feeling of shared purpose; of being part of a team that makes a difference to people in need. Being out in our community and beyond inspires Debbie and enables her to make a personal contribution along with her fellow Rotarians who give generously with their time, talent and resources. It is so important to recognize that we all have different strengths and can contribute in different ways. That’s what makes Rotary so successful!

Debbie feels that she can contribute best by leveraging her experience in organizational development. One of the outcomes of our club’s strategic planning process, while she was President, was an opportunity to have a greater impact in our community through strategic partnerships. Thanks to Debbie’s efforts, we now have a successful Community Partnerships committee that collaborates with local organizations on exciting projects in our community. Debbie continues to use her skills to help grow these relationships, particularly through the District 5020 grant program.
Virtual Journey Update
Participants are adding up the Virtual Journey miles with a collective total of 17,462km travelled so far! Team B is in the lead at 4,576 km and Team B and C not far behind at 4,378km and 4,023km respectively. Team D continues to be strong at 3,272km and Team L, a late addition to the journey, is at 1,212km, just past Banff. Keep up the great effort everyone!
Organization Spotlight
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the Nanaimo Brain Injury Society (NBIS) was given notice by the City of Nanaimo to vacate their location because it was needed as a COVID Emergency Response Center. With the support of NBIS Board member, Wendy Pratt and help from club member John Hankins who is a commercial realtor, NBIS found a new location and moved their offices in the middle of the pandemic. Rotary provided $5,000 to support NBIS with the move. This funding paid for installing phones, computers and new signage for the front of the building.
They are very happy in their bright, beautiful new location which provides a large meeting space, level entry and accessible washrooms. They are fundraising to improve accessibility with automatic door openers to ensure that their clients who have mobility challenges experience a barrier-free environment. The majority of their clients, experience physical effects of brain injury, which includes mobility, balance and visual disabilities. Click here for a virtual office tour with Executive Director, Kix Citton.
Rotary Meeting Notes April 30, 2021
President Bob Janes called the Zoom meeting to order and introduced Amber White, our club's guest for the meeting.
President-Elect Laurie Bienert presented ‘O’ Canada with an orchestral rendition of our national anthem and a wonderful pictorial of some of the provincial capitals and major cities in Canada.


Samantha Letourneau provided the Inspiration for the meeting. It was a wonderful message from her favourite author, Richard Wagamese and his book, One Story One Song. ‘From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spiritual journey; we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we are here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time.’


President Bob asked all members to check page 21 in the latest Rotary magazine. Under Canada you will see an article about the wall mural the club painted at Eden Gardens. Bob thanked Denise Wittkofski for this submission.
Rebecca Taylor shared that she submitted an article about the club's Virtual Journey and Denise submitted one about our book sale to the D5020 magazine.
Joyce Smith stated that there are 81 participants in the Journey to date. The order for t-shirts will be submitted on Monday, May 3, with one included for our special guest Jennifer Jones, Rotary International PE designate. Team ‘A’ is in the lead and they are well into Ontario. Denise commented that as a new person living in Canada, she is really appreciating the photos that are included with updates of the Journey’s progress.
Brent Stetar shared that the latest book sale raised $35,000, with a combined total of $93,000 gross for this year. President Bob thanked Brent for all the work he has done and continues to do and all the volunteers who helped make it happen.
The next Social is a Wine Tasting on May 14. Dawn Hankins asked for your wine orders to be submitted to her by May 8.

Guest Speakers

Tracy Makarenko introduced two of our newest members, Mila Skeeles and Roy Bennet, who are giving their classification (BABY) talks for today’s program.
Mila started, and in conjunction with a power point presentation sharing her screen she described her work as a psychotherapist using music for therapy. She taught piano for 35 years prior to starting this new career.
In order to keep herself balanced she belongs to a choir, the A cappella Plus. The director of the choir is Patricia Plumley, and they give spring and fall concerts as well as for special events. The benefits of belonging to a choir is that it is a creative outlet. You get to socialize with other members and there are physical and mental benefits.
The physical benefits are stress reduction, they boost the immune system, help lung function, assist memory and improve posture and muscle tone. The phycological benefits are an increase in endorphins while performing, heart beats are synchronized with other members, and your self-confidence increases. Perfect harmony by the choir gives you "chills."
Secondary benefits of belonging to a choir; it’s cost effective, and Nanaimo accepts every level of ability. There can be travel opportunities and Mila who also belongs to the VI choir has gone to Shanghai, China where they performed in a 1200 seat theatre. When they performed a traditional Chinese folk song the entire audience sang along with them. In 2019 they went to Zagreb, Croatia and they performed in Sterling Castle in Scotland.
During Covid they have used Zoom for rehearsals. They are experimenting with using FM radio to be able to rehearse in their cars and they have booked the Port Theatre for a rehearsal.
If interested one can go to Nanaimo Sings website or Attend concerts and talk to the choir members.
Roy Bennett also shared his screen. Roy’s parents met at the Banff Springs Resort in AB. He was born in Melbourne, Australia and because of a grandfather they moved to Winnipeg in Canada when he was 8 months old. From Winnipeg the family moved to Edmonton and then Deep Cove, B.C. where Roy completed his grade 12.
Roy said he was a charter student for the opening of Simon Fraser U where he completed a BSc and an MSc. At the University of London in the UK he completed a second MSc degree in entomology, the study of insects.
Roy worked for the World Health Organization in West Africa where they used science to resolve a blackfly problem, the same species of blackfly we have here. After this he returned to CA to start his own business in financial planning. Roy sold this business and moved to Scottsdale, AZ as the president of a US Public Co.
They were there for 10 years and because of that his children completed their post-secondary education in the US. Roy explained that Thomas the dog, who could be seen in one of his slides, was a pet who they got from a Navajo Indian Reservation. Thomas came with them when they moved back to Vancouver and has since died.
Roy has been president of Antenna Management Corp for the last 11 years. They work with building owners and antenna companies resolving issues such as compensation for building owners who install 3G or 4G antenna on their building roofs.
Roy gave us a snapshot of what is coming with 5G networks. Due to the limited range of 5G signal transmission micro antenna will have to be installed on hydro poles and rooftops. Freedom Mobile is being bought by Rogers. Roy stated that from one antenna site Rogers or Telus could earn up to $ 8,000,000 but the building owner does not get anywhere near this amount of money for leasing out rooftop space.  
Before 5G networks become a reality there are many hurdles to overcome such as signal range, absorption of the signal by building walls, etc. which means that fibreoptics will play a major role in a 5G network. Roy stated that the cost to deploy the 5G networks will be in the order of $5.8 billion. It will be 3-4 years before we see 5G in Nanaimo.


Kathy Smith asked Roy and Mila to tell us three hobbies they have and why they joined Rotary. Mila stated that she enjoys music, travel and reading. She joined Rotary to gain a broader sense of community. Roy stated that his hobbies are photography, travel and flying. Roy’s dad was a ‘Lion,’ and through Rotary he is looking forward to visiting Rotary clubs wherever he travels, he likes make-up meetings.
Tracy Makarenko asked about the physical effects the signal transmission might have on a human body. Roy stated that to date the data from various studies shows that there are no ill effects to humans. Paul Manly added that there is information both ways.
President Bob asked how the building sites were selected and Roy responded that it was mostly identifying dead spots and choosing a location to fill the gap in service.
Mila asked if she would have to change phones with 5G and Roy stated that the current 4G networks would be in service for a long time.
Denise thanked the speakers, she liked the joy she heard in Mila’s voice, liked the amazing adventures Roy has had to-date and gave Roy extra kudos for wearing his name badge.
President Bob asked Debbie Narver about her potential notice of motion. Debbie explained that the District had some monies still available from last 'allotment and the club has put in an application for a community grant to assist Nanaimo Foodshare with their programs. About $10,000 CA has to be spent by the club up-front and the club would receive about $5,000 CA back from the District if the grant is approved. More to follow.


SAA Dave Hammond immediately fined John Hankins for being a major distraction to his wife who was trying to update the club on the latest social event.
He also commented that all of the member badges are still at the Coast and that is why he wasn’t wearing his. Dave commented that if you took the total kilometers that all of the teams have posted we would have crossed all of Canada and would be 40% of the way back.

Happy Bucks

Kathy Smith has hosted 14 exchange students and she hopes they are all okay during this pandemic. She is also happy and proud that her daughter has just moved into her new house which is close to her house.
Douglas and Brenda had a happy buck for the club’s 101st anniversary.
Joyce Smith had $10 happy bucks for Dave Hammond who announced that he is retiring his real estate licence.
President Bob had a inspiration buck and asked Dave to pickup the badges at the hotel now that he has some extra time.
Ross White likes the photos Ron and Joyce are posting with the Journey. He liked seeing Montreal during O Canada, it reminded him about the birth of their youngest son and how he got to visit EXPO before his wife Pam.
Janeane Coutu commented to Roy that her son also met his significant other while they worded at the Banff Springs resort. Janeane is also proud and happy that her daughter now has a permanent nursing position.
Dawn Hankins congratulated Dave H and thanked Rebecca and Jason for taking her on the hike to the Falls.
Leslie Sundby had 5 happy bucks, both her kids have new jobs, her daughter has a permanent job nursing in palliative care and her son is timber framing.
Brent Stetar thanked our speakers today for their talks. He said he has just had a birthday and in keeping with the club tradition donated to the Foundation.
Paul Manly also thanked the speakers; he had a recent birthday, and he will donate to the Foundation. He also commented that there is ongoing research about the effects of signal transmission on human health.
Jason Bradley had a regretful buck that they did not leave Dawn at he Falls because she is on team A which is leading the race in the Journey and Rebecca and Jason are on team B which is close behind.
Wendy Pratt had a congrats buck to Dave H for his 43 years of service to the real estate industry.
President Bob asked guest Amber White for her comments. She said she enjoyed the meeting and is looking to join a Rotary club; she has been visiting the clubs in the area. President Bob thanked Amber for attending and said an application form for membership would be in the mail.

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Spouse birthdays: Holly Wright spouse of Carlene Shaw.
Anniversaries: Ken and Wendy Connolly 16 years. Jason and Kari Bradley 23 years. Mike and Sandy Herold 50(?) years. Keith and Wendy McFarlane 42 years. Congratulations to all the happy couples.
According to Club Runner, President Bob stated that the record shows that Keith McFarlane is celebrating 101 years with our club on May 1 and apparently it isn’t any wonder that Wendy thinks he is getting old. (Actually according to the roster he has been a member since 1982, wow, 39 years congratulations Keith)
Rotary Club Links
There are a number of ways to keep up to date with all the happenings within our Rotary Club. Click on the following links to view photo albums, read about some of our latest projects and to connect socially through Facebook and Instagram! And remember that ClubRunner is also a great resource for members to view a wide variety of club information.
If you have Rotary Club news, photos or videos to share, please email the details to Rebecca Taylor and Denise Wittkofski so they can share through our multiple online channels.
Upcoming Speakers
May 07, 2021
Hikes/Walks/Trails and How to do it all Safely
May 21, 2021
Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society
May 28, 2021
The Club's Transformation in 39 Years
View entire list
Upcoming Events (Click each for info)
Emandare Virtual Wine Tasting
May 14, 2021
5:45 PM – 7:30 PM
View entire list
Meeting's Responsibilities
May 7, 2021
White, Ross
Sergeant at Arms
Hammond, Dave
Introduce Speaker
Hankins, Dawn
Thank Speaker
Hankins, John
Meeting Notes
Shillabeer, John
May 21, 2021
Pratt, Wendy
Sergeant at Arms
Hammond, Dave
Introduce Speaker
Skeeles, Mila
Thank Speaker
Makarenko, Tracy
Meeting Notes
Anderson, Wayne
May 28, 2021
Sergeant at Arms
Hammond, Dave
Introduce Speaker
White, Ross
Thank Speaker
Gosselin, Yvan
Meeting Notes
Currie, Jane
Russell Hampton
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