ROTARY ROUNDUP: Putting the focus on youth

One of Rotary’s five “avenues of service” focuses on youth.

To this end, all local clubs are involved with youth-related projects.

On April 26, Semiahmoo, Central City and Surrey Rotary clubs held their annual Earth Day project at Quibble Creek behind Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Rotary youth participants stocked the creek with 5,000 Chinook salmon smolts, planted cedar trees, mulched and weeded the area and removed garbage. A barbecue followed.

The Rotary Club of South Surrey has two local initiatives, plus an international project in Cambodia.

Two White Rock elementary schools are participating, with Rotary funding, in the RCMP-endorsed DARE and WITS programs. DARE focuses on drug awareness resistance education, while WITS addresses bullying.

The club also re-established an annual $500 scholarship and assists students in preparing for job interviews.

Their international project of renovating and improving an orphanage in Battambang is jointly funded by the Rotary Clubs of Bangkok South, Battambang, Amsterdam Minerva, South Surrey and the FLOAT foundation.

The Panorama Secondary Interact Club helped with the recent White Rock Rotary book sale, purchasing $1,000 worth of children’s books to send to the Philippines.

Local clubs support student participation, aged 18-30 years, in Youth Adventures in Leadership. This is held each spring in Ottawa, where they participate in a four-day leadership camp, and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards were enjoyed earlier this spring. Both programs help youth learn leadership-development skills, grow as a person and have fun.

Some of Surrey’s top young leaders made history in March by chartering one of the first young professional Rotary Clubs in North America, the Surrey Central Rotary Club. Semiahmoo Rotary supports the new club.

The organization has grown exponentially and has already engaged in several projects in Tanzania and the support of KEYS housing in Central City. They have taken a keen focus to youth leadership and development programs, as well as homeless and housing solutions.

The group also supports the professional, personal and social development of its members by creating opportunities for them to meet other professionals, travel, hear from engaging speakers and champion projects in their own communities.

“I envision our organization being the source of positive influence and change from our young leaders in Surrey,” said founding president Denny Hollick. “With the level of talent and ambition our group has, I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish.”

The group is made up of some of Surrey’s most talented and visible young professionals. Several have been recognized by the Surrey Board of Trade as the “Top 25 Under 25.”

They connect every Monday. If you wish to learn more, visit

Valerie Giles writes monthly on behalf of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s five Rotary Clubs –


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