This week we hear from Erhard Pinno and the effort of the committee of churches working to help relocated Syrian refugees to Camrose.
The Buzz – January 25, 2016

President Tony opened the meeting at 1215 pm and welcomed guests Ashely White (outbound exchange student),  and Erhard Pinno (Guest speaker)
 Dan M helped Membership Chair Jenn S with the induction of John McShane into the Rotary Family.  Club members individually congratulated John on his membership.

Health of the Club – Paul reported that Al R. will be going for surgery soon.

Happy bucks – from new memberships and signs of spring to plenty of travel and the completion of home improvement projects, we’re quite a happy bunch.

Ashley’s Report
Ashley thanked Sheila and Donna for their help to prepare her for the exchange. She will be going to Austria, and this will give her the  chance to experience where her great grandparents came from. Ashley is 15 years old and a student at Our Lady of Mount Pleasant – she is active in Air Cadets, playing piano and hiking. She looks forward to attending our weekly meetings and providing regular updates leading up to her exchange.

Rotary Cares Raffle Draw – the first winner for 2016 is Robbie O’Rioridan – sold by Dan.

Guest Speaker – Erhard Pinno – Camrose Refugee Committee
                Erhard first explained that the difference between a refugee and an immigrant is that a refugee is fleeing a country to save their life, while an immigrant is leaving a country to improve their life…and every conflict leaves refugees – leaving millions of people displaced.
                Pinno is himself a refugee – as his family fled Europe following the Second World War when he was a young child. As a result, he has a passion to help with the plight of people fleeing their homeland.
                In Camrose, Messia Luthern Church, St. Francis Catholic Church and the Camrose United Church are working together to sponsor families There have been some delays in the processing of refugee families. There is some challenges between community sponsored families (Camrose model) and government sponsored families (Federal Government plan). There is a push for public/private sponsorship of refugee families, but it is a slow process. While only five communities in Alberta are targeted for  government-sponsored, although the Camrose committee is willing to bring 10 families to Camrose.
                There have been some challenges for refugee families coming to Canada, as their supplemental housing income has not been enough in some cases, causing them to use their food supplement for rent.  In Camrose, Catholic Social Services and the Bethany Group are working together  - indications are that the currently mothballed Stony Creek Lodge could be made available for refugee families in short order.
                Two families have arrived in Camrose already – sponsored by St. Francis Catholic Church.
                Erhard concluded his presentation by reading from a family memoir recounting when he was reunited with his family prior to making the voyage to Canada and a new country.
                Past President David Samm presented Erhard with a Polio Plus certificate and thanked him for bringing to light the plight of the Syrian refugees and Camrose’s response.
50/50 draw – David Samm’s ticket was drawn, however, his 4 of Spades wasn’t enough to win the $147 pot. Better luck next week folks.
NEXT MEETING – Monday February 1, 2016 in the Harvest Boardroom of the Best Western Plus Camrose Resort Casino.
Greeters – Dawn Anderson and Jerome Stetar
Guest Speaker – Ashley White – outbound exchange student.