Today's meeting saw the return of our South African team and along with several guests they heard a fascinating luncheon speaker on this cloudy, near-spring mid-February day. Team members Marieze, Mike and Anne Marie, Brian and Harold all sported good tans and gave us snippets of their very successful trip to be shared in much more detail at an evening social soon. Carlo, Vaughn, Richard (Times) and a couple visiting from Canmore, Dana and Percy, joined in to make a decent Oh Canada!
Pres Brian introduced our guest speaker Richard Walker. Richard has been a farmer, herbalist and food forester for over 40 years, taking a degraded land site in Grand Forks in 1985 to a the first food forest in Canada. He now lives and practices his art in Osoyoos. He shared his passion about soil health and its link to nutritious, diverse food, human health and sound economics. He has been instrumental in the growth of small and large scale food forests across Canada.
It was fascinating to listen to Richard describe what is possible in our own Town of Osoyoos in the way of planned canopied forests of Chestnuts and Pecans at the top down through several layers of tree nuts and fruits/berries down to ground cover of herbs, vegetables, medicinal plants to even below ground plants. Planned, diverse plantings can be accomplished in small garden lots, boulevards and parks. They can be adapted to taking up CO2, heavy metals and even tackling invasive species. He sowed his ideas and thoughts to the crowd and judging from the response and questions, found fertile ground and maybe even a Rotary sponsored community project? One immediate takeaway is to investigate including some portion of a food forest in our sponsorship of a natural playground near the elementary school.
Richard has published a small paperback book 'Food Forestry North of the 49th' which I can attest to is a great read. I think we will hear more from him.
Cheryle spoke about the recent passing of Vern Neilson, our current District Governor. He will be honoured at the District Conference April 28-29 in Kelowna.
Carlo is off to Revelstoke Friday for 3 days with all of the other inbounds from 5060...a fun time.
Vaughn spoke to the Coyote's winning ways with the playoffs games starting here on Feb 24th and 25th. Think about coming out to help at the beer garden and watching great hockey.
Harold won the 50/50 and is donating the proceeds to the next S. African project that the team will be presenting.
A small but mighty attendance on this day following the last snowfall of the season. Arizona (Ron), impassable roads (Jim and Cheryle) and South Africa (5), kept attendance down but the 12 attending had good fun. Guests included Robert Fisher, Richard (Times) and Joan Wilson and Lynn Welsh from Soroptimists. Robert has been a consistent 'snowbird' guest and soon returns to Saskatchewan but he vows he will return next winter!
Jeff presided and within the updates, he shared that DG Vern Neilson has been admitted to hospice...very saddening to all of us.
Jeff introduced our guest speaker, Joan Wilson, who gave a very informative and entertaining talk and visual presentation on SI Soroptimists, capably assisted by Althea. Soroptimist has a latin origin "soror" meaning sister and "optima" meaning best and is interpreted as 'the best for women'. Soroptimist International is an organization of some 75,000 members in 133 countries and the Osoyoos chapter dates back to 1986 which suggests that they celebrated their 30th anniversary last year. They currently have 25 members including 7 charter members, and meet for dinner on the 3rd Tuesday of each month - their average age is 'retired'. Joan pointed out the similarities between Soroptimists and Rotary which centered on common values and goals in both the community and internationally. We also share Althea as a member and we meet at the same restaurant! The obvious difference between our clubs is no guys!
Fundraising efforts include the Rocking Horse Raffle, Spring and Fall Fashion shows, a bottle drive and garage sales, and the list of community services they support is extensive including Desert Sun, Women's Safe House, bursaries, food bank and others. Joan referenced two youth programs they supported that sounded interesting; Save Teens High School Program and a new 'Dream It, Be It'. All worthy. She challenged Rotary to see it there was a common fundraising venture that we could jointly participate in for common goals.
It was noted that our S Africa expeditionary force will arrive home over the next week and we wish them safe travels back and look forward to reports.
Next weeks speaker will be Richard speaking on the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society.
Gordon and Althea will be assisting Vaughn and Greg at Saturday's Coyote game...thanks guys.
The 50/50 was won by guest Lynn Welsh.
Safe shovelling everyone and believe that spring is imminent.
Jeff opened the meeting in Brian's absence and as usual did an excellent job. Our guests were Nina and Carlos our exchange students as well as Dale Cory from Oliver. Our guest speaker was Sandy Summers giving us a vocational talk which gave us insight into her past. Jeff mentioned that this weekend the exchange students will be in Revelstoke for a fun filled weekend and for the first time all Rotarians are invited.
Global Grants have changed so now we can do construction of shelters and schools.
Jeff introduced Sandy and she proceeded to let us into her past.
Sandy is from St. Catherines, Ontario were she grew up on the old Welland Canal. She has a grown son from her first marriage and beautiful daughter with her husband Rob.
As a single Mom for a few years Sandy needed to find employment so rather than work for someone else she used her entrepreneur skills and started he own coffee bar in the student union building at Brock University. She became the "Java Queen".
She said she was naive about leases and unfortunately her lease was not renewed.
Never a failure, you learn from your experiences is one of her philosophies.
She had the opportunity to meet Donald Ziraldo who started Inniskilin wines and he encouraged her to get into the industry.So Sandy put her resume into wine glasses and went to every winery in the region and dropped them off.
She got a sales position with Cave Springs Cellars in Jordan, Ontario. Guess who the wine maker was Rob of course.
Rob moved on to Peller Estates and came out to BC on a business trip and while he was here he found out that Hester Creek was in receivership and went back to Ontario and told Sandy he loved the location and vineyards of Hester Creek and that they might be able to make arrangements to buy it. NO, NO, NO was her response so it was forgotten for awhile.
After a few years Hester Creek was under new ownership and up and running again when Rob gets a phone call asking him if he would like to move his family out to BC and become the wine maker. Rob had to sell Sandy on the S OK. and coming from a metropolis to Ososyoos was truly a shock in many areas. Sandy said re-inventing herself at "40" was not in her game plan, so in 2009 Osoyoos became their new home.
Since arriving in Osoyoos Sandy has become very involved in the community through her volunteer work specializing in fundraising and Desert Sun Counseling has had the privilege of having Sandy on their Board for 8 years.
She heard of Rotary out East but never entertained the idea in the big city that she might be interested. She heard of club and saw all the community projects we are involved with and of course a sponsor of Desert Sun and admitted it was intriguing.
She met several Rotarians over the past through years and when Marieze invited her to a meeting she said yes. Obviously the rest is history and now Sandy is a valuable and welcomed member of the Rotary Club of Osoyoos.
See you Thursday for lunch.
Jeff very capably presided at today's meeting and will for the next 3 weeks while Pres Brian is doing good deeds in S. Africa. He introduced our 3 'frequent visitor' guests Dale, Robert and Richard and YE inbound Carlo to the 15 members attending. What he did not do was even casually reference his curling victory on the weekend in the Osoyoos Mens Curling Bonspiel!
Giselle LeClaire was introduced as our speaker and she proceeded to thoroughly entertain us with a well prepared, informative summary of her trip to India. Giselle and a good friend spent 29 days travelling this incredible country last fall starting out on October 12th. Lots of travel as they maxed 2-3 days in any one spot. A guide and driver was a requirement in all the cities mainly due to the sometimes overwhelming traffic and congestion and noise and then offsetting those times were the wondrous quieter times such as those in the tea plantations and religious sites.
She was energized when talking about the markets, the artisans, shopping, festivals and some of India's history. It was evident to her that India is an ancient country but a very young Democracy, strongly influenced by religion and family ties. Her slides were amazing as were the stories that went with them - apparently Indian beer and wine are very acceptable too.
Giselle may have prompted more than a few in the room to think about putting India on that bucket list. Well done!
The S. African team should be arriving in Capetown about now and we hope their travels went well...maybe some reports/pictures soon? Ongoing Rotary programs that team members either initiated or support are in good hands. The Backpack for School (Marize) food program is in Sandy's capable hands with Jim always handy and the Rotary After School (Brian) tutoring program is very successful with 19 students regularly attending - 8 teachers are available to instruct.
The Coyote beer garden schedule is full for the remainder of January...thanks Doug,, and this is your reminder!
It was eventually discovered that Roger held the winning 50/50 ticket - can only surmise it will go to his Honduran water project!And the snow is melting!
A full, fun 2nd meeting of the New Year. Pres Brian introduced several guests including regulars Gregor Reid and Richard (Times), honorary member Roger Clinton, Dale Cory of Oliver Rotary and Robert Fisher, a snowbird Rotarian from Saskatchewan....if you ever wondered why we have snowbirds in Osoyoos where today it is -10, it was pointed out that it was -40 something in back in Sask!
The meeting was preceded by a Club Board meeting and I see that the notes from that are already distributed from our secretary...go Jeff! Take note of how the results of almost $30,000 of fundraising efforts is being distributed.
Our luncheon speaker was Paddy Head, who gave us a delightful and informative update on the Desert Park Exhibition Society. Paddy is the VP of the Society and is obviously a passionate proponent given her love of anything horsey...she was an early entrant into horse racing as a jockey early in the '70's and racing in E Canada and the US until 1990. It sounded like there would be a fascinating book from her life!
Paddy was not sure that there would be racing in Osoyoos this year. Evidently we are the only B circuit track left in BC, which underscores the decline of racing in North America. If we have a 1 or 2 day event this year is dependent on the support from the Hasting's A track and raising the purse money.
But they will host the Medieval Fair May 20-21. This was a successful event of jousting and Medieval events last year with some 1200 attendees and will be expanded with a feast and Village/entertainment this year, hoping to attract some 2000 guests, mainly tourists. She is looking to attract vendors, sponsors and volunteers.
Paddy talked about the horse training facilities and shared that there will be 6 trainers here with some 80 horses, down from the ambitious 158 horses of 2016. She will be running tours of the facilities starting at the end of February for the public which should be interesting. Their immediate issue is an aging tractor to support the stable.
In other news...our South African expeditionary force is heading out next week to view our International project underway (school toilets). There are 11 Rotary/partners going led by Marieze and Garnett and the itinerary sounds exciting for them. They go armed with club funds to support local needs as they see them. Safe travels!
Happy Bucks yielded that it was Harold's significant b'day tomorrow and he shared his plans to recognize those that came to his aid some 192 days ago at his hockey game in the morning. Neat!
And finally, Jeff won the 50/50 and was very clear that the proceeds would be directed to the Osoyoos Curling Club bar this weekend at the men's curling championships. I am not sure where Service Above Self came into the decision but I applaud this one!
We were golfing in Osoyoos last year in just over 4 weeks away from today so be hopeful!