“Just take baby steps and make a difference,” and with that vision, the Rotary Club of Nanaimo North laid down the catalyst for a new club five decades ago.
The Rotary Club of North Nanaimo started as an offshoot of the original club in Nanaimo and, over the years, has grown and helped sponsor two other clubs to the area.
It has also raised more than $1.5 million dollars for community and international projects, delivered more than 150 Paul Harris Fellowships, and watched scores of members become outstanding local leaders.
One of the key focal points of the club has always been ‘community’ with a strong emphasis on youth engagement, involvement, support of exchange students and RYLA. In addition, a passionate commitment to projects in third world and emerging countries and with/for persecuted and impoverished people have been pillars for the club.
Perry Williams, club president, explained, “over the years, this club has evolved from taking small steps to now looking at major projects both locally and internationally. For us, it’s how we can work together with our neighbours, our community, and other clubs to deliver change and improve the quality of life for people on the broadest scale. We’ve internalized the motto , ‘service above self,’ and proudly promote it in everything we get involved with.”
Celebrations for the big 50th event were held at the Nanaimo Golf club, and more than 80 people attended, including local politicians and members from other clubs. Memorabilia from over the decades, a tribute show detailing the history of the club, and an oversized mosaic print with more than 1200 images from the last 50 years was on display.
The North club is an integral part of the five-club group in Nanaimo and, over the years has introduced the singing of Happy Birthday ‘off-key’ for members on their special day. As well, adding ‘Happy/Sad’ recognition at the end of each meeting has become a huge hit. It’s where members can contribute dollars to talk about good, exciting, happy, and …. sad moments they are going through or are/have been experiencing. This little event has not only added to the club’s fundraising but it’s brought club members closer together – as friends and family.
Larry Rumming, the 50th Anniversary chair, commented, “over the years, we’ve seen an incredible number of individuals from so many walks of life pass through our club. Each one has brought his/her own strengths, but the most incredible thing is: we’ve had fun, supported each other, and watched as individuals became more confident leaders. The success of Rotary and members is because we go the extra mile and we believe we can and do make a difference. Here’s to the next 50 years years.”