ROTARY ROUNDUP: Renewed focus for Rotary

Youth initiatives at home and abroad in the spotlight this month.

  • Sep. 22, 2015 12:00 p.m.

As a new member of Semiahmoo Rotary, I am honoured to accept the role of collaborating with the five Rotary clubs on the Semiahmoo Peninsula to deliver “Rotary Roundup”.

Please join me in thanking Valerie Giles for her many years of loyal service – not only to this column, but to Rotary and the White Rock community as a whole. She’s a fine example of what Rotary stands for, and it is my honour to step into her very large shoes.

Please be patient with me as I grow into them!

With glorious summer memories still vivid in our minds, we’ve turned the calendar to September – a month synonymous with getting back to reality. Renewed focus is on the agenda for adults, and it’s back to school for our youth.

As we re-engage with our priorities, the spotlight is on a number of youth-focused initiatives being taken by Rotary this month.

Last Saturday, youth members of the YMCA Panorama Interact Club participated with Semiahmoo Rotary members in the Amazing Y, an adventure race in downtown Vancouver.  Team members raised funds for vulnerable youth to be able to attend recreation and leadership programs they could otherwise not afford to take part in.

This was the kick-off event for their new Interact year and provides an opportunity to learn more about their community connection.

The first official Interact club meeting for this school year will be Saturday, Sept. 26.  The group will begin with an optional workout together from 10-11 a.m. and the subsequent meeting will run until noon. Interact is a free group to join for participants in Grades 7-12, and the group will be meeting at the Tong Louie Family YMCA, 14988 57 Ave. Surrey every second Saturday.

The purpose of Interact is to provide youth an opportunity to get together, build strong friendships and have a positive impact in the community.

To learn about the application process, please contact Kaylin Dhaliwal at

Meanwhile, across town, the Rotary Club of South Surrey has granted funding to two White Rock elementary schools to assist in their participation in the RCMP-endorsed DARE and WITS programs.

The DARE program is based on drug awareness resistance education, while the WITS program is aimed at addressing bullying through a “walk away, ignore, talk about and seek help” initiative.

Additionally, support has been extended to the South Surrey Learning Centre through high school student participation in Youth Adventures in Leadership (YAIL) and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA).

The Rotary Club of South Surrey has also re-established an annual $500 scholarship and will be assisting students in preparing for job interviews.

Internationally, the club is involved in the renovation and improvement of an orphanage in Battambang, Cambodia.

With the kids settled into a new grade at school, why not turn over a new leaf yourself and check out a local Rotary club?

I guarantee you’ll enjoy a warm welcome and meet plenty of great people – just like I did.

Brenda Gibson writes monthly on behalf of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s five Rotary Clubs –