Greetings again fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors.  As we enter our 11th month of the Rotary year, we mark and celebrate Youth Service Month. The areas we celebrate this month include Interact, RYLA and the Youth Exchange Program. In this Pandemic year, the RYLA program and the youth exchange programs are on hold, but there are enthusiastic and robust activities at the Interact level. 
The Milton Rotary Youth Summit took place on April 10th and had over 150 participants comprising a few Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors, and a lot of students not yet under our umbrella.  Congratulations go to Romeo Mitchell and Sohail Naseer for their leadership. I had the honour of taking part in a panel discussion on careers in the health sector and contributed closing remarks for the event. It was a great day for Milton Rotary and there was a strong desire to develop additional programs in the future.
April 22nd was Earth Day. Unfortunately, the plans made for the first cross-border Great Lakes Watershed Clean Up had to be postponed due to the provincial ‘stay- at-home’ order. Local municipalities would not agree to support the venture. Officially, things have been postponed until at least June 1st.  Not to be subversive or to encourage illegal activities, I suggest unofficially that very small groups could still pick-up littler on trails, roadsides, parks and watersides. My wife, Louise, and I headed out several times this past week; we collected close to 20 bags of litter, including car parts and scrap metal along a regional road near our home. Our District Environment Committee and individual clubs might also be planning to be active in their local communities. Stay tuned for update and keep June 1st in mind.
This past month, District Governor Elect, Rudy Habesch, completed the training program for the new group of Club Presidents to take charge on July 1st. With the upcoming theme of “Serve to Change Lives” and incoming RI President, Shekhar Mehta from India, it promises to be an exciting year for us in District 7080 and for Rotary around the world. Our seventh Area of Focus, the Environment, becomes official and this should bring many exciting and challenging new opportunities. The April issue of Rotary might be one of the best ever. I encourage you to curl up in comfy chair and go through it for both individual and group actions that can change the world. I highly recommend  ‘A History of Vaccination’ on page 40.
My personal Rotary story this month harkens back to February 1987 when my club president, Norm, pulled me aside for “the ask”.  “Mike, I understand that you’re a runner and the club needs a member to be part of a 3 -club initiative to organize a fun run/race to raise money for the Rotary Centre.”  The Rotary Centre would eventual become KidsAbility.  The run already had a sponsor, The Cambridge Times, who had invited the Rotary Clubs to join in. What evolved from this request was an annual event that continues to be supported by the 3 Cambridge Clubs. It’s now known as The Superhero KidsAbility Challenge and has a very different format this year. Various activities and programs are being organized by KidsAbility in Guelph, with their staff handling the registrations and donations. Supporters and participants are encouraged to identify a challenge or activity,  and then get others to join or sponsor them. I have been part of this event ever since, and spent over 10 years as Committee Chair. I’ve been a member on the organizing committee over most of those 34 years and have only missed the event 4 times (travel or on call commitments). So, on May 30th, I will lace up my shoes and do a 5 km run, perhaps in costume, but maybe just wearing my shorts and the event T shirt. Through corporate sponsors, the Challenge has already raised over $40,000 for this year.
Coming Events:
Virtual Foundation Gala - May 12th:  To respond to the needs of our Foundation, with doubling of the grant applications, all Rotarians are invited to provide additional support. Join Director, Valarie Wafer, and Dean Rohrs, Trustee of The Rotary Foundation, our hosts for this 2021 virtual Gala fundraiser for The Rotary Foundation.  The program begins with our special guest, Rotary International President Nominee, Jennifer Jones, who is hosting the "Red Carpet" opening for the show! This is an initiative of our Zone 28 and Zone 32. Registration is $100 USD with a $100 tax receipt. Click here to connect. I am planning a short post-event virtual gathering for 7080 Rotarians who attend this Gala.
District Conference May 29th: Every year our District hosts a Conference for all Rotarians to enjoy friendship, learn more about our great organization and to hear outstanding speakers. This is an event that used to run for an entire weekend but has morphed into a one-day event. Due to the pandemic, our gathering will be virtual this year. In line with our new Area of Focus, the Environment will be the main theme and we will feature Past RI President, Ian Riseley, RI Director Valarie Wafer and RI President Nominee, Canadian Jennifer Jones. Motivational-hypnotist, Boris Cherniak will educate and train you with a  self-guided meditation routine. We will have break-out rooms with themes of the Environment, Diversity-Equity-Inclusion, the Foundation, Interact and Peace.  Please see the website for details. Registration is $20 per household.
RI Virtual Convention June 6-12 – Taiwan. See website for more information.
District Change Over and Awards June 23 @ 7 pm via Zoom. Mark your calendar!
Look for opportunities to serve
Take care of self, each other and the planet
DG Mike