As I write this, I have just come off a two-day, three club visit where at each meeting new members were being inducted.  When this happens in a club meeting, the energy level goes up, for sure.  It means more hands-on-deck, it means new energy and life, it means more talent and passion for “Doing Good in the World!”  So, how are we doing overall?
Equality is a fundamental human right. It’s also critical for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world. But girls and women worldwide face inequities in areas such as health and education, and they experience disproportionate rates of violence and poverty. As part of his initiatives for 2021-22, RI President Shekhar Mehta is encouraging Rotary members to develop a club-based initiative or a district or global grant project that engages members of your community in a project focused on protecting and empowering girls.

Post your service activities, projects, and programs that empower girls on Rotary Showcase using the tags EmpoweringGirls2021 or EG2021.
Our hearts continue to break for the people of Ukraine and our fellow Rotarians in that country who are suffering greatly from this tragic, devastating war that has been unleashed upon them.  Our Rotary Foundation immediately responded by setting up a special disaster relief fund (click here), and our fellow Rotarians and clubs kicked into to gear to find ways to show solidarity and help.  With this in mind, I emailed our Club Presidents and asked them to share what their members and clubs have been doing.  Here is their reply.  
Have you been asked to lead a committee next year or, as an existing committee chair, would you like expand your knowledge and add to your leadership skills?  Will you be entering the office of President, Secretary, or Treasurer, or continuing in service and are looking to up your game?  Are you wanting to know more about how you can serve your club and what is involved in taking on these various leadership roles?  If your answer to any of the above is Yes, Maybe, or even Not Sure, then do we have an opportunity for you!
 
District Virtual Spring Training (register here) will be held on Saturday, April 23rd from 9-10:30 am.  The morning is being planned to provide important training for your club’s entire Leadership Team and club members who want to know more about leadership opportunities in their club. Here’s what you need to know.
According to the Rotary International website, “an estimated 5.9 children under the age of five die each year because of malnutrition, inadequate health care, and poor sanitation – all of which can be prevented.”  Rotarians mobilize in a variety of ways to make mothers and children safer.  In some communities, Rotarians assemble safe birth kits.  In others, Rotarians train healthcare workers in safe delivery of babies.  We also teach mothers how to breast feed & obtain immunization and regular checkups for their babies.  Rotarians have used global grants to purchase neonatal lifesaving equipment in certain regions of the world. 
Serve to Change Lives has been our call this year from RI President Shekhar Mehta.  Our Newsletter Team thought it might be a good idea to just check in with clubs and see how we’ve been doing so far.  (Yes, the year isn’t over yet, so there is still plenty of life-changing time left!)  Here’s what I got from Kelly Drew in N. Conway.
The Rotary Foundation is changing the world by providing grants for projects and activities around the globe and in your own backyard, and here is some more Good News.  The Vergennes Rotary Club is in the thick of this activity!
 
WASH Global Grant Projects: Since 2013, The Rotary Foundation has invested in more than $130 million in over 2000 projects worldwide. Through this investment, our volunteers of action have improved access to safely managed and basic WASH services to communities, schools and healthcare facilities, while protecting and conserving water resources.
 
Lee todos Los detailes!!!/Read all about it!!!
Have you been asked to lead a committee next year or, as an existing committee chair, would you like expand your knowledge and add to your leadership skills?  Will you be entering the office of President, Secretary, or Treasurer, or continuing in service and are looking to up your game?  Are you wanting to know more about how you can serve your club and what is involved in taking on these various leadership roles?  If your answer to any of the above is Yes, Maybe, or even Not Sure, then do we have an opportunity for you!
With a few ideas from me, above is the logo created for us by Betsy McAshley, Chief Visionary Officer at The Little Pressroom and Past President of the Middlebury Rotary Club, that I originally planned to use for our District Conference up at Jay Peak, VT, in early May. Because of the continuing concerns and risks related to the pandemic, we have once again made the difficult decision that a large in-person gathering indoors for three days would not be advisable.  However, there is more to this story!
If you take a moment to read The Object of Rotary in our Guiding Principles, you realize it is a philosophical statement of Rotary’s purpose and the responsibilities of Rotarians. The concept of vocational service, this month’s theme, is rooted in the second object, which calls on Rotarians to encourage and foster:
  • High ethical standards in business and professions
  • The recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations
  • The dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society
And there’s more!
During our November Zoom call, I listened to our Club Presidents describe all that their clubs are up to during this holiday season during our November Zoom Call made me appreciate the IMPACT our clubs have on their communities.  We are as busy as ever collecting coats, scarves, gloves, and hats; putting together food baskets and stocking pantry shelves; volunteering with Toys-for-Tots and other like-minded organizations; hosting community events and fundraisers that expand our reach and allow us to connect with one another in ways that engage our continuing efforts to Serve to Change Lives.
As I talk with Rotarians across our District, the most frequent question on many of their minds is “What is the prognosis for eradicating polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially since the United States has departed Afghanistan and the Taliban has taken over?” In response to this interest, I’d like to talk a bit about the situation in these countries.
Since our ability as a District to fund grant requests from our clubs is tied to how much we give to the Foundation each year, I asked PDG Louisa Tripp, our Foundation Committee Chair, to write something up for us that describes ways in which you and I can support our Foundation.  Here is her creative response!
In the Fall of 2020, Vergennes Rotary Members Scott Gaines and Fr. Yvon Royer started an application for a Rotary International Global Grant with support from District 7850.
Members of the St. Peter’s and St. Ambrose Catholic Church Migrant Outreach team, of which Fr. Royer is Pastor, connected with some leaders of the Addison Allies, a group that supports our local migrant workers. This contact led to the committee’s getting to know members of the San Jose Monteverde Community, Mexico, who are presently working on farms in the Addison County.
On World Polio Day, October 24th, I had the honor of gathering with Morrisville Rotarians in Stowe, VT, at the March of Dimes Monument “remembering those afflicted with polio, and those who cared for the afflicted and the success of the polio vaccine.”   The first cases of polio in the United States were recorded in the Otter Creek Valley in 1894.  Severe paralysis developed in 110 cases, and 10 people died.  In 1914 there was a major outbreak of this viral disease in New York City, infecting 9,000 people.  When another outbreak occurred in 1921, taking the lives of 2,000 New Yorkers, polio presented an urgent challenge to medical science.
Registration is now open for  our VIRTUAL District training event on Saturday, November 13th from 9:00 am to noon! 
There are two registration forms:  1) User your ClubRunner login for FastTrack registration, or 2) if you don't use ClubRunner or can't remember your login, just fill in your info in the full registration form. 
 
View the agenda and find links to register HERE
During DGE Caroline Earle’s Graduation Ceremony at a Zones 28 & 32 gathering on September 23rd, our Rotary International Director Valarie Wafer noted that Autumn signifies change through the changing colors all around us.  It’s a vivid reminder of our call to Serve to Change Lives!
 
Following a recent visit with the Barre Rotary Club, AG Nicole DiDomenico shared with me the latest developments with the Tanzania Project, a wonderful example of Serving to Change Lives, that the Norwich Rotaract Club initiated almost 10 years ago, and the immediate hope for making this a truly sustainable school and economic engine in the region. 
Yep, I’m standing in a sea of “back to school” backpacks which is where my mind went when I looked up our RI Theme for this month: “Basic Education and Literacy.”  Because I’m hoping that my club (Plymouth, NH) will get involved in a literacy project with our new Children’s Learning Center in town, and remembering years past when other clubs I have been a part of did different things to help kids get off to a great start in the new school year, I thought I’d reach out to our current club presidents and ask what kinds of things their clubs are involved in to support education and literacy.  And the response I got (which also included some photographs) made me so proud of what Rotarians are doing locally and globally as we Serve to Change Lives!
“On the road again…”  Yes, the GovMobile is ready to hit the road and bring me to your club meeting, project, or special event!  And I am so looking forward to connecting in-person with our 7850 Rotarians once again.  To say the least, finding our way out of all the challenges COVID brought us these past 18 months, and still presents to our communities, building out my travel calendar is a work-in-progress.  And, as I think we all know, things can change in a heartbeat. 
The Rotary theme for this month puts the spotlight on membership and new club development.  Certainly, growing membership and starting new clubs is a continuing challenge for all of us in North America.  However, I want us to never forget about our existing members in the desire to make our organization strong and effective as we Serve to Change Lives.  So, here is a challenge to all 40 of our clubs this month…. 

Introducing Our First District Polio Plus Advocate

I’m Paul Brochu, a member of the Plymouth, NH club and DG Mike Carrier has asked me to serve our District 7850 as our first PolioPlus Advocate.  As the PolioPlus Advocate, I’ll help keep Rotary’s commitment to the eradication of polio in the public eye, to provide any assistance that I can to District 7850 clubs as they help with Rotary’s polio eradication effort, and to help raise funds for Rotary’s End Polio campaign.
Our now Past District Governor, Jamie Milne, certainly showed us how to maneuver through the choppy waters of a global pandemic last year to remain a vibrant and innovative District that didn’t skip a beat in “Doing Good in the World.”  During the June 24th President’s Celebration/Changeover on Zoom, Jamie, along with several Club Presidents, shared highlights of the year and how many of our clubs discovered new and exciting opportunities for service, grew membership, took advantage of virtual platforms to host speakers from around the world, revamped fundraisers, and most importantly continued to stay connected and care for one another.
Wilkins Harley-Davidson interviewed Karl Rinker who gave us a video rundown on what's going on in Barre! The Rotary Club of Barre is hosting an event called the "Barre Art Splash".
As we begin to build out our training schedule for this year, we want to make sure we are responsive to those areas of club life where you feel a course or seminar would be helpful in building your skills and knowledge.  Your input will be really helpful as we put together our training modules for Lyndonville in November and the District Conference in May.  During the winter and spring of this past year we offered a number of Zoom seminars on various topics that were very well received including, District Grants Training, ClubRunner, My Rotary, how to conduct a Zoom meeting, etc.  At any time throughout the year, please send me your course/seminar ideas.