Rotary International District Governor Rebecca MacPherson was in Burns Lake on a three month tour of district 5040, which encompasses all rotary clubs west of the Fraser River, 51 of them in all.
The huge district includes every club from Prince Rupert to Prince George, and down TransCanada Hwy. 16 to the lower mainland, excluding the Fraser Valley but including Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
“One of my responsibilities as district governor is to visit every club in the district at least once a year. I’ll stay in Vancouver for a least two of those months,” she said, “there’s a lot of clubs down there!”
MacPherson said the Rotary International originated in Chicago in 1905 and came to Canada in 1912, before spreading world wide.
“We have one club in our district, a rotary club in Vancouver that will be celebrating their 100 anniversary this year and in Burns Lake they’ll be celebrating 60 years in June of next year,” she said.
Rotary International has traditionally been a community based service club but now finds more opportunities to help at the international level.
“The basic motto of rotary is ‘Service above Self”, said MacPherson, “but we’ve changed that a little bit now to ‘doing good in the world’, and we have many international projects.”
The number one project is the eradication of polio in the world, that’s been our number one project since 1986.”
A country can be classified as ‘polio free,’ MacPherson explained, when there are no cases reported for a period of three years. “We are now 18 months into India being polio free,” she said.
In fact with less than 300 reported cases last year world wide, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria are the last three remaining countries not considered polio free at the present time.
This remarkable record has been achieved through a combination of financial and physical support for organizations like World Health and different world governments.
“Volunteers actually go and do what are called national immunization days where they vaccinate the children with two little drops in the mouth; it costs about 60 cents a child,” said MacPherson.
The Burns Lake Rotary Club invite students of Lakes District Secondary School [LDSS] to join the Rotary Interact Club at the school. The club teaches leadership and hands on community service, both locally and internationally.
Anyone wishing to join please contact teacher and rotarian, Mrs. Dube at LDSS.
The money for the Rotary Club of Burns Lake comes from membership fees or money raised through various fundraisers like the Christmas raffle, sale of calendars, and the Rotary Radio Auction, which runs from Nov. 14 – 15, 2012 at the Heritage Centre.
For every dollar that comes into the organization a dollar goes out to the public. Because every Rotarian is a paying member and a volunteer, there is little or no overhead in the organization, so every dollar earned is available for projects.