I’d like to start by acknowledging the situation in Europe.  As per the statement issued by Rotary International regarding the Ukraine conflict, we join the International Community in calling for an immediate cease fire, withdrawal of Russian forces, and a restoration of diplomatic efforts to resolve this conflict through dialogue. Our thoughts are with our fellow Rotary members and everyone in The Ukraine going through these overwhelming times. As Rotarians, with peace being the cornerstone of our global mission, we shall do everything in our power to bring aid, support, and peace to the region. I encourage you all to take steps to help the people of Ukraine. It's worth noting that Shelter Box is currently seeking donations to support relief efforts. For more information and / or to donate to their program please click here.   
We have chosen “Together” as the theme for this year's District Conference.   As we enter the third COVID year, we want this event on May 28, to be a time when we are finally able to reconnect with one another, build friendships and look at ways to work together, because together we are strong.   So yes, there will be some information sharing, but the emphasis will be on connections and fellowship.  We are also inviting leaders from other community groups and service clubs to join us.   It would be good explore ways that we can all work together.
I’ve been participating in the current PETS training sessions, and we have a great group of Rotarians ready to lead.   However, it is worrisome that there is a reluctance on the part of some Rotarians to step up and take a leadership role.  This leads me to think that perhaps we make the roles too complex and cumbersome, especially for the smaller clubs, where the pool of people is limited.
I encourage you to step back, look at the expectations and number of committees, and perhaps streamline what you are doing.   Perhaps the International and Community Allocations could be combined for example.   For new Presidents, ask for help.  Learn to delegate and lighten your load.   This is meant to be a fun learning experience for you.
As clubs open-up and go back to meeting in-person, be careful.  Like they say a deal is never a deal until it’s done, it feels the same with the pandemic.  Just when we think it’s over and we can get back to life as it was, something happens.  So don’t put away your mask just yet.
I am now on the final lap of my leadership as District Governor, and my goal over the next few months is to get out and visit you all.  Please let me know when you have events you’d like me to attend, and if I can, I will.  
As we enter March, which is Water and Sanitation month, I wanted to acknowledge the important work being done through the Water First project which works with indigenous communities to address clean water issues.  You will read their update in this newsletter. 
Yours in Rotary.