Rotary Roundup

ROTARY ROUNDUP: Advancement of youth front and centre for Semiahmoo Rotary clubs

SASSY awards handed out to group of exceptional teens

The month of May was focused on the advancement of youth and young adult programs.

During BC Youth Week, the Semiahmoo Rotary Club hosted and sponsored the SASSY Awards. The program awards youth recipients prizes of $1,500, $500 of which is a donation to a registered Canadian charity of their choosing.

This year’s awards were made possible with sponsorships from the White Rock Rotary Club, Coast Capital, McElhanney, Save-On-Foods, and Sources Community Resource Centre.

We have also been supported over the years by our sustaining sponsor, the City of Surrey, and academic sponsor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, as well as through donations through the “Friends of SASSY” fund, to which anyone can donate $10 or more.

The White Rock Rotary Club has provided four $1,500 scholarships to students who live or study in South Surrey/White Rock for many years.

The small, but mighty, South Surrey Club has provided scholarships to the White Rock/South Surrey Learning Centre graduates as well as carpentry and stone sculpture workshops to interested students.

At the district level, Rotary District 5050 hosts the annual Youth Adventures in Leadership (YAIL) for teens aged 15-17 and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Both of these programs usually involve an overnight camp, which, of course, has not been feasible in the face of COVID-19. In any event, all Rotary clubs sponsor local youth, covering all costs for youth to participate in this exciting program.

This year, in response to the pandemic, head YAIL facilitators, Lexie Wynne and Dakota White developed an entirely new virtual program for high school students called AIM to create an Authentic youth learning environment designed to Inspire young leaders to develop a Mindset of adaptation and growth. By all reports, the program was a smashing success in terms of connecting and inspiring the participants.

This coming together for youth reminds me of the African proverb, “it takes a village.” Youth and young adults don’t just need parents, step-parents, grandparents, extended family and teachers – they need all of us to step up in our own way to make a positive difference in the lives of young people.

For more information on our Rotary District Youth programs, visit or send an email to the Semiahmoo Rotary Club Youth Services Chairperson, Sharon Crowson at

Why not check out one of the local clubs yourself and meet some like-minded people who are working to make our community the best it can be? All meetings are available via Zoom:

• Semiahmoo Rotary meets Thursday mornings at 8 a.m.

• White Rock Rotary meets Tuesdays at noon

• Peace Arch Peninsula Rotary alternates Mondays at noon / Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.

• South Surrey Rotary meet Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. (3rd Wednesday is always a social event in the evening at 6 p.m. for now via Zoom.)

• Semiahmoo Peninsula Rotaract Club meets Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Allan Baedak writes on behalf of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s five Rotary clubs. Contact him at


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