This week we welcome our newest Rotarian - Les Parsons.
The Buzz – February 29th, 2016
President Tony opened the meeting at 1215. There were no guests in attendance at today’s meeting.
Health of the Club -  no report, although Paul has distributed a number of Rotarian magazines (among others) around Camrose to places where they can be read (nursing homes and waiting rooms.)
Rotary Gala meeting - Tuesday March 8th at 12 noon at the Camrose Resort Casino.
Stop Hunger Now Raffle – Dawn explained that 500 tickets have been printed for the Stop Hunger Now raffle which will be drawn on March 11th. There are $1,100 in prizes, including three pairs of Edmonton Oiler tickets. Proceeds will go toward the $20,000 Stop Hunger Now project. Tickets are available in books of 10 – please see Dawn for tickets to sell and ensure they are returned to her by March 11th.
Notice of motion – waiving of annual dues for members in financial difficulties. Following the recent downturn in the economy, the executive felt there may be prospective Rotarians who may be unable to join the Rotary Club of Camrose due to its high cost of the annual dues (RI and Club). Therefore, the following notice of motion has been put forth:
“That the Rotary Club of Camrose waive the annual dues for up to two new members in any Rotary International year (July 1 to June 30), who may be experiencing financial pressures preventing them from joining the club. Only the first year’s dues would be waived, and the new Rotarian would continue to be responsible for the weekly meeting fee. To protect the privacy of such members, the approval would be at the discretion of the president, treasurer and membership chairperson – and all discussions would remain confidential.”
Motion by Tony Hladun
Seconded by Jenn Stone
Induction of new member – Les Parsons
                Membership Chair Jenn Stone – with the help of President-elect Dan Macpherson – welcomed Les Parsons (proposed by Don Rebus) into the Rotary Club of Camrose as its newest member with the classification of Coaching
Employer Augustana University of Alberta – Coach
Experiences and skills- leadership, organization, comedy entertainment, public speaking, MC ing.
Committee work that interests you: leadership coaching youth in sports.  Wilderness adventure expeditions are something I already participate in.  International and national humanitarian and environmental projects also interests me. Music and voice instruments. First Nations and aboriginal projects. Poverty and alleviation of poverty.
Bio: Les Parsons was born and raised on the family farm near Lacombe. He was educated at the U of A and went on to teach for 15 years at Lakeland College in Vermilion as the outdoor adventure leadership professor and sports coach. He moved to Quebec City for seven years to coach cross country skiing. He
moved back to Alberta and continued to coach Cross country skiing in Edmonton for seven more years  and Camrose for four years.  Les coached at 5 winter Olympic Games. Les has also been a river canoe expedition guide for over 30 years with Nahanni River Adventures in Northern Canada and Alaska.
Les sees serving and protecting the environment as his and others key responsibility. 
Following the reading of the Rotary Charge, club members welcomed Les as the Rotary Club of Camrose’s newest member.
Guest Speaker – Les Parsons
                In addition to the biographical info (above), Les explained that he became actively involved with MP Don Mazankowski, joining him around the world at a number of high level meetings – being exposed to international politics and negotiations. This fed his desire to learn more about the world, but he started small by spending 7 years in Quebec learning and immersing himself in a new culture...and the Alberta propaganda about Quebec is completely wrong. He also spent six months in rural Mexico, reaching and living with the poorer side of the Mexican people. This triggered his desire to help the poor and launched four trips (Central America, Turkey/Iran, Japan, Russia) around the world where he could help the poor and work with environmental protection. He has also toured India, Nepal,  Tibet and Afghanistan (he was actually in Kabul with the Taliban on 9/11).
                Les then shared images and stories about his exploration of Syria in 1997, where he not only explored some historic sites, but he lived with the Bedouin nomads in the desert. He said that the west has been brainwashed into believing that the middle east people are bad – and they were very welcoming to him, sharing their tents, food and culture.
                It is by knowing the people (many of who he can still communicate with by emails delivered by the travelling Imam who visits the nomads), that encouraged Les to get involved with the Camrose refugee committee that is working to bring 10 Syrian families to Camrose. He also noted that the struggle and strive in the Middle East is purely the result of failed western foreign policy.
50/50 Draw - we are now on the hunt for the Ace of Spades! Ken Drever's ticket was drawn, but he missed the Ace. Better luck next time.

Next meeting - Monday March 7th, 2016 at 1145am in the Regal Ballroom of the Best Western Plus Camrose Resort Casino.

Guest Speaker - Ralph Young, Chancellor of University of Alberta - Work of the U of A Senate and 100th Anniversary of Rotary Club of Edmonton
Greeters -Sheila Herle and Randal Nickel