2017-12-11 Rotary Buzz - Evening Meeting
Speaker - Ashley White
Topic - A Year In Vienna

Dan opened the meeting at 6:00 pm.
  • Paul Stone
  • Daron Yarbrough
  • Spencer Walker
  • Pastor Julianna Wehrfritz-Hanson
  • Garth Hanson
  • Leslie Stoddard
  • Elaine Hook
  • Marni Roberts
  • Elaine Taylor
  • Lorna Bailey
  • Peter Leblanc
  • Mandy White
  • Anna White
  • Liz Rolf
  • Sue Forstier
  • Ken Rostad
  • Louise Gillespie
  • Pat Stetar
  • Marjorie Gaete
  • Ashley's boyfriend,  William
  • Roberts' Christmas Cheer party 7 pm until Marnie kicks you out.
  • Patrice Johnson holding a Traditions Party Thursday, Dec. 21, 6:30 pm at their house.  Bring a dish from your traditional Christmas background, or if that's too much trouble, buy something from the store.  Please let Patrice know by Wednesday, December 20. All are welcome, including children.
  • Kim Boyco is looking for one volunteer for the Rotary Casino for Feb. 17,  Saturday night shift.  Please contact her if you are available.
  • Elaine Hook sold some of her excess crafts at a few markets and said she would donate all proceeds to Polio Plus.  The total she will be donating is $1045.00.
  • 20% of Rotary Cares Raffle tickets still need to go out. 
  • Information on Adopt a Village is available.  Ron Grue is down there and helping to build and says it is the largest he's worked on since the Youth Centre, except in Honduras there is no electricity and it's on an island.  People to come down would be of great help, but if not, a donation to the project would be much appreciated.
  • Daybreak is entertaining nominations for their Board.  Noon club is looking for President-Elect and Community Vocational.  It will be brought forward on Monday's AGM.
  • Food Bank donations $600 and food donations.
Paul Harris Award
John Stoddard's daughter, Katie, lives in Texas and was caught in Hurricane Harvey.  Her friends took her in and went above and beyond to take care of her.  John didn't know how to thank them, and with the suggestion of Ray Hook, John went on RI Foundation where he found you can make donations on behalf of people and groups.  With John's brother in Scotland, they made a $4000 contribution on behalf of these 30 or so friends of Katie's in thanks to their great care of her.
Christmas blessing by Pastor Julianna Wehrfritz-Hanson
Lutheran Pastor for Edberg, New Norway, and Bashaw
Pastor Julianna read a passage from 1John. In deepest winter, we are receiving a clear expression of God's love as we celebrate the birth of Christ.  The birth and death of Christ is the ultimate expression of His love.  As we reflect on this reality and let it saturate our consciousness, we are equipped in turn to give of ourselves, our time and investment in other people as God has done for us.
Ashley White, Year in Vienna
Ashley first began by thanking Rotary for affording her this opportunity.  She left Camrose August 8, 2016, and spent the last year in Vienna, Austria as the Rotary Exchange Student.  Austria was her number one pick of countries to go to as her grandparents are from there.  Her grandparents lovingly told Ashley if she didn't learn the Viennese Waltz, she wasn't to come home.  Ashley is obviously back, so she did learn the waltz.
She says she had a limited worldview.  Ashley believed everyone had the same values and ideas as she did.  What she learned was the through her deep friendships she made with her fellow exchange students, everyone was different and had different expectations of things.  Ashley explains that though these values are different, they are neither good nor bad just different.  She can now say she has friends around the world and through these international friendships world peace is achievable.
Ashley explains the school she attended was very academic.  It had the atmosphere of a university with lectures with thirteen core subjects.  Classroom discussion was discouraged which she quickly learned when she raised her hand to discuss dogma in her religion class.  She explains the academia nature as the reason why she made colleagues and not friends in school.  Students spent eight hours a day in class or studying and then 6 hours of homework at night leaving only weekends for socializing in which she was engaged with Rotary functions.
Ashley tells us learning German before she left was an advantage but being immersed as she was in Austria, you soon learn knowing your colors and numbers isn't very helpful in day to day conversations.  She ended up taking German as a second language class which helped her interact more comfortably with people.  
Some of the traditions Austria celebrates did have Ashley a little confused.  New Year's she went skiing and there she witnessed the burning a straw witch with skiers jumping over it.  The burning of the straw witch, she learned, was symbolic of burning away the harmful energies of the year before.
Also at Easter, there were bonfires lit and men would come and burn crosses.  That one Ashley never explained other than south Austria like to burn things.
Another culture shock for Ashley was learning the transportation system.  She admittedly got lost about five times which she says, was on the lower end of the spectrum considering the results of the other exchange students.
She is in awe of the architecture there.  Ashley was taken aback seeing a plaque on a building dating back to the 1200's.
Ashley was busy and experienced her time abroad to its fullest.  She went hiking, swimming, skied in the Alps attended balls, went to Salzburg, took city tours of Berlin went to the opera house and took a Euro Tour with Rotary Exchange students to France, Monaco, Italy, Vatican City and Croatia.  One of her host families even took her to Spain.
Take Away
Ashley couldn't prepare for the way she felt when she went to bed that first night in Vienna and realized you wouldn't be going home for another 350 days.  She had to learn how to deal with the fact that this was her reality and life now and you have to make the most of it.  She was homesick, and she had her off days.  She made it through by focusing on the positive, the help of her host families and chocolate cake, lots of chocolate cake.  
Everything wasn't easy for her, but Ashley realized that not being easy doesn't make it any less worthwhile.  She struggled with the idea of does she belong here, meaning Austria.  When her last host family took her to Spain and Ashley thanked them for taking her on their vacation, the looked offended.  Ashley thought she made a translation gaffe.  Her host family told her, "We did this for you."  It was then that Ashley realized she did belong there and she made the right decision.
Christmas Trivia
President Lou Henderson and Daybreak President Lisa Rohr thought with the holidays upon us; it would be fun to play a Christmas trivia game.  The first table with the correct answers would win stockings filled with goodies.  The winners were: Paul and Jen Stone, Spencer and Glenda Walker, Daron and Tina Yarbrough, Dawn Phillips and Lisa Rohr.
50/50 Draw - Ray and Elaine Hook donated two bottles of wine to be won instead of money.  The winners were: Glenda Walker and Tina Yarbrough.
Greeters - Tina Yarbrough, Dan MacPherson
Meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.
Next meeting - Noon Meeting, December 18, 2017,  11:45 am.
Annual General Meeting
Camrose Resort and Casino