Usually we just paraphrase the Rotary Moment, no so with Taylor Stephen... Here's what he said Tuesday morning.
"I am perhaps a bit green to give a truly deep Rotary Moment. Needless to say, I have not been involved long enough to have an anecdote about taking in a meeting of a local Rotary club in an exotic locale. Or talk about the satisfaction in seeing the project I spearheaded coming to fruition and delivering on its promise. My Rotary Moment is a rather small one.
As you may know, I'm relatively new in town. I have only lived here a year, and did not know anyone really when I turned up in Campbell River. But I have moved to new cities before, like Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton... Courtenay. There can be something very dreamy-like about moving somewhere new. The unfamiliarity can make the space of the city smooth, continuous, impenetrable, featureless. The people may seem like listening to a radio station in a language you don't speak - present, but distant, an obscurity blending in the background.
When I first attended Rotary meetings last autumn, the number of people and projects, activities, events and causes can be quite daunting. All the people, engaged in so much, the energy passing through this room and out in the community. It was hard to imagine myself as aspiring to be a part of this. Like going down to a river bank to help move the water downstream - how could I hope to do anything meaningful to add to that river pushing forward.
At that time of the year, in early December, Craig Gillis was seeking out people to support the Salvation Army as kettle ringers. Willing the river forward is hard, but I thought I could manage a kettle ringing. So I emailed Craig back and said put me down for Friday night.
I didn't really know what to do - stand there and ring the bell was obvious enough. Perhaps it is just like a lawyer to figure there must be more to this, how can I drill down and get at the real nuance of it? I just smiled politely, said hello, occasionally asked if people were interested in donating, and assuring those that could not or would not donate, that they were not bad people, they did not owe me an apology.
I started to recognize people coming and going from the grocery store. That guys works at that place. I see her on the sidewalk when I am out walking. And with that, faces start to become a little more familiar. I see the person who dropped the $5 bill in the kettle at the gas station.
I took another opportunity this spring to chip away a little more at that smooth, continuous space, but now it happens to have the odd feature popping up here and there. I was out a bright Saturday morning to put up posters for the Wine and Blues festival. As I got the route covered, popping in to ask if people would be so kind, I got the odd question of 'you're that guy I see walking to work in the morning, right?' and 'what exactly is Rotary anyway?' I popped in to one of those spots later that weekend to hear, 'hey you're that Rotary guy'. And as I get more involved, come to know more people, the city loses its smooth, clean exterior. The voices are not so foreign, words on the radio start to stand out more, I can listen and understand. I'm not a stranger, and neither is the city. That is my Rotary Moment.
- Since joining Rotary, Taylor has stepped up and is now the Vocational Service Director.