(Our club's Past President Michael Taylor delivered his closing speech at our Installation ceremony on Monday, June 22nd at Providence Farm)

Good evening, everyone!

Well, it’s been an interesting year, hasn’t it? (laughter and applause)

Who would have thought, standing here 1 year ago, that we’d be forced to retreat from our comfortable and enjoyable gatherings at the Ramada to the virtual confines of Zoom and the internet!

That we’d be learning new terms and phrases to manage our daily lives... social distancing, go home and stay home, wear a mask and wash your hands... and that we’d be embracing new heroes such as Dr. Bonnie Henry!

Rotary has been affected internationally by this pandemic, no different than any other organization, and while we’ve had to adjust our Rotary lives to the present norm, we here in Duncan Rotary have perhaps fared a bit better than others...

We were very fortunate to have our two major fundraisers completed before the lockdown occurred, our Oktoberfest last fall and our Gala Dinner and Auction in February. Other clubs were not so lucky given their major fundraising events were scheduled for the spring.

The challenge, in order to continue our work in the community this coming year, will be to think of new ways to extract money from people... to develop innovative and entertaining ways of holding fundraising events so we will have the money to keep our support flowing.

This year, we supported the School Orchards Africa Society and their project of building water containment tanks in Tanzania, we continued to support the Pregnancy Food Connection program of Island Health through donation of funds raised at Oktoberfest to the Cowichan Green Community, we continued to support literacy in the Cowichan Valley through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and we again supported local students with scholarships to further their education.

Things we couldn’t enjoy this year due to Covid-19 included our Literacy Pancake Breakfast and Spelling Bee, our Hector McIntosh Public Speaking Contest for youth, and our Duncan Days Pancake Breakfast, along with opportunities for other service in the Valley and opportunities to support youth through student exchanges and Adventures in Citizenship.  It’s also put in doubt Oktoberfest 2020, and caused us to cancel a community event hosting Paul K. Chappell and his message for peace in November, both significant events that highlight the work of Rotary and provide valuable support for our causes.

Therefore, the challenge for President Gregg and the club will be to recover from these setbacks and continue the great work we’ve done in the Valley. I have every confidence that with his leadership, the club will continue to thrive and grow and meet these challenges, but it will require everyone’s energy and initiative to make this happen.

Besides the community support we’ve been able to provide, other things to feel good about include growth in our club, thanks to the membership committee under the leadership of Malte. Through their efforts, we’ve added 10 new members to the club this year!  Unfortunately, we’ve also lost some members this year... most notably our dear friends Scott McIvor and Barry Tepleski, whose contributions and energy within the club will be sorely missed.  We’ve also lost some members from attrition... life just getting too busy to fit it all in, but the net result is that we’ve seen positive growth in the club this year, so that’s something I hope will continue!

Last year, I made the promise that we’ll succeed in receiving a Rotary and Presidential Citation for the club. While those won’t be determined and issued for some time, I am confident that we’ve met the threshold for achieving these, and thanks to all those that worked towards that end.

  • There are some people I’d like to thank who have helped make my year an easy one:

    • Malte... being the chair of the membership committee, you’ve carried the ball of bringing new members into our club which has been a tremendous success.  You organized the Rotary 101 gathering at the Old Firehouse Winebar which I think was a brilliant opportunity to introduce prospective members to the club and from which we gained significantly!

    • Nora, and lately Kim as well…thanks to you for your devotion to maintaining our presence on social media. You’ve done a great job in promoting our work in the community and I’m sure the Cowichan Valley knows a little more about Rotary and our club as a result of your efforts!

    • Barry... thanks for carrying the torch for the Rotary Foundation this year. As a result, and through the generous contributions of members, we’ve exceeded our goal of $12,000 US dollars for the year.

    • Cory... thanks for working behind the scenes to book interesting speakers for our Monday meetings. I know it’s been a challenge of late due to your work load in your day job but I just want you to know that your work has been appreciated.

    • Corrine... thanks for taking over from Cory, at least temporarily! It’s not always an easy job coordinating people so I appreciate the fact that when Cory was snowed under, you jumped in without hesitation to help out.

    • Doyle, thanks for your guidance and support through the year. I know it’s been a busy year for you as well, but you were always there to help me when I asked.

    • To Gregg, thanks for the enthusiasm you brought to the Board, being a new member and stepping into the role of President for not one, but two years after being in the club such a short time. You have my support for the coming years!

    • To rest of the Board and officers... Denise, Sean, Per, Janet, Elizabeth and Leighton for your support, energy, time and guidance... there is so much to know about Rotary and the running of a club, I would have been lost if it hadn’t been for the collective knowledge of this group, so thank you!

    • I’d like to extend my appreciation to those members of last year's Board and executive that are continuing on... Denise as Secretary, Sean as Treasurer, Barry as Foundation Committee Chair, Per in Community Service, Nora under the new title of Membership Chair, Doyle in Vocational Service, Janet and Elizabeth leading our Youth Services initiatives, and Leighton as Youth Protection Officer.

    • To Gay Wise... as Assistant Governor for the area, you brought our 5 clubs together to collaborate and share ideas and challenges, which I found valuable.

    • And lastly to you, the members... thanks for supporting what we’ve done through the year! Please give President Gregg the same support in his coming year!