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Rotary Club of Okotoks and Pub Club
Meeting Dates/Locations
Wednesdays @6:30  
Crystal Ridge GC  
8 Crystal Grn Lane
Mailing Address:
PO Box 84, Okotoks AB T1S 1A4

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Home Page Stories
I recived this picture from the youth exchange committee in the Netherlands. Abbi has arrived!
Our inbound exchange student from the Netherlands has arrived. After two hours getting through customs and immigration she has gone home with her counselor Trish.
Come out to the meeting on Wednesday to meet her!
Our August 23rd meeting was held at The Ridge as was a special night for Youth Exchange.
Our incoming exchange student has sent me an email with some information about her and pictures.
The Western Wheel announced last week that our Soap Box Derby won bronze in the Best Community Event category of the Readers' Choice Awards!
The event, which was held in early June, is a major fundraiser for our club with the proceeds used to support our youth programs. Thanks to the community's support we are able to have Okotoks kids participate in 
- Adventures in Citizenship in Ottawa
- Adventures in Technology in Saskatoon
- Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp in the Cypress Hills
- the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
- the Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment
- Rotary Youth Exchange
Thanks to everyone who voted for the Soap Box Derby
At our meeting this week, Chad was the greeter and was helped out by Jim who arrived early and got everything set up. Thanks guys.
We had a couple of guests: former member Matt has returned from Australia and will be rejoining the club. Quasi-member Robert from Fort McMurray was with us again.
There will be a few birthdays this week: Rodney, Davis and Udo will all turn a year older.
Matt R and his wife Cory will celebrate their 14th anniversary.
Maartje (Matt V tells me it is pronounced Marcha) who is our inbound exchange student from the Netherlands fell down the stairs this week and broke her collar bone. Hopefully she will be mostly healed when she arrives on August 26th.
Stu has been approached about co-hosting a Robbie Burns event with the Highland Games Association. The board will have to discuss whether or not we wish to proceed.
Chad was looking for some volunteers to help out at a Save On Foods BBQ on August 1st. Thanks to those who filled his list.
Agi lead our program Two Truths and a Lie. Everybody in attendance stood to say three things about themselves. We had to determine which two were true and which was not. Ryan from Crystal Ridge walked in at the wrong time so we made him participate. (He is not a Libra.) Chad won the prize for the best lie...something about owning a body sugaring business.
Leona won the 50/50 draw. 
Next week John will talk about Club Service. Check the calendar in Club runner for other meetings and events. 
Our July 19th meeting was reserved fro the farewell speech of our inbound student Ilona. 
Going on exchange...well I think it's a funny way to describe this experience. Firstly, because we don't exchange. I'm not taking the life of anybody and nobody is taking mine...I'd rather say "going on a big change"! And secondly, it's such a simple word for such a big experience of life.
So, who could imagine that? The little Ilona so close to her family, especially her mom, would want to go away during 11 months. I think if you would have told me that years ago, I would not have believed you! I guess it was a surprise for everybody!
You maybe wanna know why all these kids want to take this big risk. I might not have the right answer but at least you have my version of the story. Former exchange students or Rotarians would tell you that it's the chance of your life. That you're gonna get more mature and independent. That you're gonna make new friendships with other people and that you're gonna learn a new culture. And that is true. It's what you hear and it's what makes you wanna go on "exchange" and I guess that's the easiest way to explain what it is and it's fine but actually, it's so much more. 
You cry so much leaving your family and going in another country where you barely know the language and the people who're gonna host you.  Some people call that "courage", I just call it "motivation". There starts the adventure... The first couple of months, it was tough.. I had to push myself, to surpass myself in an unknown environment. I have a funny little example: I started band class and I was so scared! In Belgium, I used to play by myself with a teacher and her I had to play with tons of instruments and people and I was stressed to mess up everything so the first day of band class, I sat on my chair and didn't do anything. Then I came home and I took a look at myself and I found myself ridiculous. I had to push myself to play the next day because no parents were there to tell me that everything was going to be ok. And I actually saw the first challenge of an "exchange" PUSHING YOURSELF AND YOUR BOUNDARIES! 
I had to persevere over and over either to make friends at school and (heck ya, it's not that easy) or to fir in the family (at least, to do my best to understand their way of living and their expectations) and also with my English. As a result, I got way more patience! I understood that even if you give the best of yourself, everything doesn't come as fast as we want it to. In another hand, I became less patient for stuff that I  should have given up a long time ago (change friends as soon as I feel uncomfortable, following my values and not be patient when people don't respect me or at least the way I want to be respected). 
This experience also made me wiser. I feel like I look at situations with another way of thinking. All the things which had so much importance in the past, in my Belgian life, now seem so meaningless. Today, it's not the marks that you have at school or the fact that your job is taking all your time or that your friends have disappointed you which are the most important but rather the fact of how you can change it and how when you look at other people's life, your is actually not that bad. 
My independence has changed as well. In Belgium, my independence was how to organize myself to study for school or for my hobbies or to help my mom cook or cleaning the house maybe just take the train to visit my friends or to work (of course I did a little bit more but it's in general) but here, I had to take real responsibilities for myself. I had to make choices by myself. By living in another country, with other people from another culture, I became more aware of disparity between each of us and I learned so much, I leaned so many things.  
Firstly, I learn from other people (anecdotes, cultural things, way of thinking...) but eventually, I also learn so much about myself. When you live at the same place for all your life, in the same comfort zone, you just assume that the way of behaving is just the only one that you have because you're interacting with pretty much the same people, you're dealing with pretty much the same troubles (at least when you are 17) and the same culture. But actually, when you leave this whole bubble and you change your environment you discover a new aspect of your personality. Sometimes it's not always good. You realize that maybe you're not as sociable as you thought or as smart and sometimes you're just really surprised by how your character can be really strong. 
I have a few points left...and then I promise, I'll stop talking.
I should talk now about my confidence. I think it's the one I'm most proud of. Even if in my old life I always loved giving speeches and talking to people even meeting new people or performing drama plays, I wasn't confident. Not really sure of myself, not really proud of myself, didn't really know what I was capable of. Here, I had no choice. I had to prove and to show by myself who I am. Nobody could talk to you about me because it was me and my poor English and my non-confidence to make you guys know me or discover in one year the best person that I wanted to be. This confidence allowed me to meet people and to know them more. I'm so blessed for all the people that I have met. You guys were so different. Each of you brought something in my life and I'll remember that forever.
So thank you for giving me the chance to do it. Thank you for giving all the love that I have received. Few of you guys actually said the word but I can feel that love is not about one word but how you act and I can also feel that there is so much love around here. 
The last one but not the least is how you realize that your family and friends and way of life and country are actually really good. And how you should enjoy every single moment even of it's to watch tv with your parents or going for lunch every Sunday at your grandma's. At that time, it felt so annoying and useless but everybody knows... you always miss things when you don't have them anymore.
Thank you again. Each of you is incredible and I'm gonna remember all of you forever and I can say that my exchange in Canada is actually my life with my Canadian family and my Canadian friends. By the way, I consider you as my family of course.
Someone told me one day "With this Rotary Club, you now have 30 uncles and aunties". This person was right.... An exchange is not a year in a life but a life in a year!!
The Rotary Club of Okotoks will be hosting a steak dinner in support of the Foothills Regional Search and Rescue Society at the Crescent Point Regional Field House on Saturday May 27, 2017. Our special guest will be Terry Grant from the television series Mantracker.
Proceeds from the dinner will go toward the purchase of a new mobile search and rescue command centre.
Tickets are $100 each or $950 for a table of ten.
To purchase tickets please call Chad at 403-988-9930 or Leah at 403-554-4409.
Thanks again to Rotarian Sandi Kennedy and her team for organizing another successful Mac N' Cheese Luncheon. While final numbers are still being determined, thousands of dollars were raised for the purchase of fresh meat for the Okotoks Food Bank. Congratulations. All in attendance appreciated the different kinds of Mac N' Cheese dishes cooked by chef Will at Crystal Ridge GC and for the wonderful deserts decorated and brought in by Rotarians.
How does the Okotoks Food Bank keep up with the demand for fresh meat? Answer: With a little Mac and Cheese.
Once again on Administrative Professionals Day, organizer and Rotarian Sandi Kennedy has arranged for a Mac and Cheese luncheon, benefiting the Okotoks Food Bank. With money raised from this annually sold-out event, the Rotary Club of Okotoks will purchase hundreds of pounds of fresh ground beef to fill the Food Bank's freezers.
This is a great opportunity to recognize your staff and help the Food Bank at the same time.
Sponsors are welcome and they should contact Sandi at 403-710-4200. Tickets are available online at okotoksrotary.ca or from any Rotarian.
Enjoy a great night out and support our youth programs!
Tickets at Community Futures Highwood at 403-995-4151.
Get your tickets now to avoid disappointment.
Thanks to the leadership of Membership Chair Sandi Kennedy, the trade fair booth this past weekend at the Okotoks Recreation Centre was a big success. On hand to promote Rotary in Okotoks were Sandi, Bob Buchanan, Larry Logan, Trish Henderson, Cindy Kruschel and President Jeff Foss. Numerous community members came by to chat and find out a little more about Rotary. It was also great to see District Governor-elect Martin Harvey stop to offer his greetings and encouragement. The Soap Box derby race car was of great interest to youngsters of all ages.

Please contact any member of the Rotary Club of Okotoks for your Poinsettia needs this Holiday season. Proceeds from Poinsettia sales support the eradication of this dreadful disease through the Rotary Polio Plus program. Funds raised are double matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

Please place your order by November 9th for pick up on Friday afternoon November 21st (between 3 and 5 pm) and also Saturday morning November 22 between 10 & 12  noon)

For more information, please contact Poinsettia sales chair, Sandi Kennedy at sandi@sandikennedy.ca.


The 25th Annual Soapbox Derby was a success, thanks to the hard work of volunteer Rotarians and community sponsors. Special thanks to co-chairs Mark Kharfan and Andrew Northrup for organizing this event once again.





ImageIn a little Town in South West Mexico 6 Okotoks Rotarians along with 4 spouses partnered with members of the Sylvan Lake and Red Deer Rotary Clubs to bring over 300 Wheel Chairs to needed people in the southern parts of Mexico around Huatalco. The clubs raised the money, purchased the chairs, shipped them off to Mexico and then travelled to Mexico to unpack and assemble the Chairs. They ten did work days helping people get a chair and teaching them how to manage them.

The picturse show our Rotarians at work helping...

  • 80-yr-old Nicolesa Bta Diaz took a four hour bus ride to get her wheelchair
  • President Kino of the Huatalco Rotary shows parents how to take their son up and down stairs

  • Neil Swenrude, 10 year veteran of the wheelchair program from Sylvan Lake left, with Lynn Peterson, first time wheelchair volunteer with the Okotoks Rotary lift a recipient into her new chair



Did you know that Rotary International has made it a mission to eradicate polio from the entire world?  And that there are only three countries left in which polio exists? The last country to capitulate was India, after many years of delivering the vaccine. In February, 2012, the country celebrated one full year polio free. 


In today’s world, many of us don’t understand the crippling effects of polio.  The virus attacks the intestinal tract, causing general illness and flu-like symptoms, but in its worst form, the virus migrates from the intestine and may affect the nerves governing the muscles in the limbs and the muscles necessary for breathing, causing respiratory difficulty and paralysis of the arms and legs. It can even cause death.


In the Western Hemisphere we began to use the vaccine as soon as it became available in the mid-fifties, and for many years we’ve not seen anyone with the disease. The rest of the world was not as fortunate, but with concerted efforts, only a few countries remain a challenge. Although immunization efforts continue, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are still infected.  Change in these countries is difficult due to cultural or religious barriers and/or civil unrest.  But when compared to the entire world, we have almost reached our goal. You will see evidence of the current campaign, which states, “We are ‘this close’ to ending polio.


One of the faces you will see in these ads is that of Bill Gates. He donated $350 million to the cause, and challenged Rotary International to match it.  Rotary’s initial pledge, set in 2009, was to raise $200 million for polio eradication. To date, Rotary has contributed $164.5 million to the cause in India, and more than $1 billion worldwide.


This money comes from fundraisers in individual clubs all over the world.

Here in Okotoks, the Rotary club is selling poinsettias to brighten your holiday season.  Why not celebrate World Polio Day on October 24th by ordering your plants? All of the proceeds will go toward this global initiative. We are using a local supplier, and offering two sizes of the plant. For $15, a stunning poinsettia, and for $20, a beautiful plant laced with tropicals.  To place your order, call (403) 938-9951 or e-mail jefffoss@telusplanet.net.   

As part of an international experiment, a satellite meeting has been created for young professionals, bringing the current membership to 52. Our local Rotarians are the only club in Canada participating in this unique pilot program.

Rotary generates funding for community projects and charitable organizations, and you’d be surprised at the variety of ways we do it.

Last month, we held the 23rd Annual Soap Box Derby on the Crystal Ridge hill, with a whopping 92 participants. This successful event sparks amazing community participation with parents and businesses alike sponsoring the homemade cars.  This year’s race brought in $7,500.  

This month, we ran our annual golf tournament with hot sunny weather, and a lot of fun.  The results? Ten thousand dollars was given to KidSport, an organization dedicated to financially helping families register their children in sports programs.  An additional ten thousand went to Rowan House, an emergency shelter for women in the Foothills area.

These are events you read about in the paper, but what about the work you may not know about?  Here’s what happened. Some Rotary reps went to a cattle auction. They bought a steer and sold the best cuts.  The rest went into hamburger, as did the money they made on the better cuts, and the Okotoks Food Bank benefitted by 400 pounds of fresh ground meat.

Next month we look forward to providing food at the Highland Games, and any proceeds from that gargantuan endeavour will be donated back to this high profile event.

Rotary is an international organization that believes in Service First.  If you’d like to visit a meeting, you’re welcome anytime. Wednesday’s meeting begins at 6:30 at Crystal Ridge Golf Club and includes dinner for $20.  The young professionals meet Thursdays at 5:15 at Rylie’s Cattle Barn for appetizers at five dollars. Find more information at okotoksrotary.ca

Peg Ainsley is a Rotarian and a freelance writer in Okotoks.

The Rotary Club of Okotoks now has fifty members.

With the induction of 8 new members into the Satellite Club last week the total membership of the Rotary club of Okotoks is 50! (42 active and 8 honorary members)

Congratulations to all the new members and the membership committee.

Canadian Rotarian and polio survivor Ramesh Ferris met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Gilani, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard immediately following an announcement of a $90 million contribution to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Throughout the world of Rotary Clubs; 200 Clubs were granted the ability to organize a “Rotary Satellite Program”.  In this 3 year pilot program, the Okotoks Rotary Club is working through the process to create a special “Satellite Club” geared to meet the volunteer needs of its region’s young professionals.  The new group will meet on a different day, likely an early evening 5-6 pm or morning 7-8am.  The Satellite Club will work along with the existing Chartered Okotoks Rotary Club; also within the guide lines that all Rotary Clubs follow. 


Join in the celebrations as Alberta honours its small businesses in and around the week of October 16 to 22, 2011 – recognized nation-wide as Small Business Week. Every year, The Business Link and the Alberta Chambers of Commerce work together to promote Small Business Week events in Alberta.

Small Business Week is a national annual celebration organized by the Business Development Bank of Canada in cooperation with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce during the latter part of October.

It pays tribute to the significant contribution that small and medium-sized business owners make to our economy and gives them an opportunity to network with those interested in small business and dedicated to its development.  

This news story was taken from www.canadabusiness.ab.ca

The Rotary Club of Okotoks has traditionally supported one to four students to attend Entrepreneurial Camp at Eagles Nest Ranch in the Cypress Hills of Southern Alberta.  Students returned from Camp and many did presentations to the club,  We all got a sense that this was an intense team building exercise while learning what it takes to build a business.   Students always expressed appreciation at having been given this opportunity to learn and grow – using words like awesome,  best ever camp, made so many friends, gained so much confidence, etc .  As there was a young man close to us, Udo and I decided that we would make the trek to the closing ceremonies, and try and discover what turned these “kids” on.
Okotoks student Taylor Ardiel spoke to the Okotoks Rotary Club about local youth curling and about his experiences and commitments as a rising young Alberta curler representing his Region and his Province at various levels of youth curling tournaments.
Kirianna Crowe walks along a path with some of the kids she worked with this past September through December. Kirianna spoke to Rotary on Jan 5, 2011 to thank Rotarians for their donations to aid her in her work teaching these street kids english and helping to supply books, pencils, and food along with building classroom benches for them to sit on, painting walls, cementing a floor, and many other necessary steps to remove hunger and literacy problems.
Representing the Okotoks Rotary Club's Secret Santa Program, Past President Bill McAlpine presents a donation of $3,200.00 to Krista Aiello of the Okotoks Healthy Family Resourse Centre.
President Ted Shacklady presents The Okotoks Food Bank Executive Director Lea Carter with acheque for $1,500 to assist in taking care of the needy families over the holiday season.
Okotoks Rotary President John Lockhart and Rotarian Norm Castiglione presented Rowan House Executive Director Sherrie Botten with cheques of $25,000 and $1,500 at their regular club meeting on September 1st.
The Rotary Club of Okotoks was pleased to present the Seaman Stadium Field House Building Fund with a cheque for $50,000. The Okotoks Dawgs made the transition to Okotoks and in the last two years have taken the Championship Title - last year in front of the home crowd!The youth of Okotoks have responded and there are now many minor teams playing and learning baseball. The enclosure of the field house will allow for year round training in batting and the basics of baseball. Another rewarding donation to the community.
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