Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg MCs the live auction at Peace Arch Rotary club’s Rotary Noel fundraiser.

Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg MCs the live auction at Peace Arch Rotary club’s Rotary Noel fundraiser.

ROTARY ROUNDUP: Rotary clubs busy in 2016

Rotary clubs across the Peninsula have been busy all year – and 2017 will be no different, writes columnist Brenda Gibson

By Brenda Gibson

December – the most wonderful time of the year to foster the spirit of giving, unite with others to serve our community and reflect on the year’s many successes.

And it allows us to set our sights on what the new year will bring.

Rotary clubs across the Peninsula are busy doing all this and more.

Looking back

On Remembrance Day, the White Rock club donated two wreaths; one at the White Rock Cenotaph, laid by Mayor Wayne Baldwin, and the second at the Crescent Beach Legion, placed by Jack Rae.

At the District Foundation dinner in Bellingham, the club was presented with two awards: a plaque for reaching their annual club donation goal, and a banner for “Every Rotarian, Every Year” which means that every member contributed a minimum of US$100 to the Rotary Foundation this past year. Outstanding!

The Peace Arch club’s Rotary Noel fundraiser last month was a tremendous success. Held at Washington Avenue Grill, the event sold out and raised more than $40,000 for hospice and other community projects. Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg was the MC of the evening, resplendent in a gold dinner jacket and matching shiny shoes.

Another recent roaring success was the second annual Sip and Savour event held at the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre on Nov 5.

A joint venture between the Semiahmoo and South Surrey clubs, 36 Rotarians volunteered throughout the evening, which featured 29 B.C. wineries, two breweries and 21 food vendors.

Drawing a broad demographic of 350 food-and-wine aficionados, the event raised $42,000; half in support of Shine the Light Initiative and $12,000 supporting the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society. The remaining funds will be fed back into community projects.

Kudos to the organizing committee made up of community members and local businesses, and a huge thank you to the sponsors.

An encore for this sell-out event is planned for next November…mark your calendar.

Looking forward

Eager to greet 2017 with guts and glory? Join us at the 47th annual Polar Bear Swim.

Presented by the five Peninsula Rotary Clubs, in co-operation with the City of White Rock, registration opens at 11 a.m. with the swim set for noon sharp.

Look for the giant Rotary wheel and inflatable bear at the foot of the pier. Amble down the promenade to the shore party at the white rock just east of the pier.

The Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue Unit 5 will be on hand to provide on-the-beach and on-the-water rescue capability as well as the coveted warming tent.

For those who dare to dip, White Rock Youth Ambassadors will distribute “I Took the Plunge” certificates from Minuteman Press South Surrey on behalf of Rocky the SAR Bear.

There will be plenty of fun photo-ops with Rocky, Frosty and Flurry (the two SAR snowmen, complete with floating icebergs) and the ambassadors. Wear a costume, if you want to get even more attention.

This fun community event will include local dignitaries and celebrities to keep the shore party going. Food and drink for purchase will be provided by Sources Community Resource Centres.

Other things to know: Polar Plunge tide will be medium-high at about 12 feet. Last year’s event attracted about 2,500 people, 650 of whom took the plunge. And the event promises to be a splendid and gutsy way to kick off 2017 – you won’t want to miss it.

Brenda Gibson writes monthly on behalf of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s five Rotary Clubs – brenda_gibson@shaw.ca