Joanna Sanders (from left) is the current president of the Rotary Club of Williams Lake and was pleased to welcome district governor Sandra Lewis, district governor Bala Naidoo and his wife Vasi Naidoo to Williams Lake to speak at a meeting held on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Patrick Davies photo.

Rotary Club inspired by district governor’s visit

The Rotary Club of Williams Lake was honoured to host district 5040’s governor Bala Naidoo

The Rotary Club of Williams Lake was honoured to host district 5040’s governor Bala Naidoo at their meeting held on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

The district governor changes every year and for the 2019/20 year Naidoo, who has been in Rotary for over 25 years now serving as a Rotarian, a board member, president and assistant governor, was the man selected and trained for the position. District 5040 stretches from Whistler to the Sunshine Coast, from the Cariboo up to Prince Rupert and includes half of the Lower Mainland, making it a very large district to oversee, Naidoo said, with 50 clubs within it.

Naidoo was visiting Williams Lake as part of his mandate this year, which he shared with the Rotarians after lunch at Mr. Mikes, which includes working closely with all 50 of the clubs in his district. He hopes to help provide leadership, coaching and mentoring for the clubs to help ensure each is servicing their communities in a better and more inclusive way.

Read More: Starfish Pack program looking to fill backpacks for needy children in Williams Lake

“If you tour Williams Lake, you will see rotary signs all over the area. We have been here for 43 years and we have created many legacies, in this community that, as you drive around, you will see,” Naidoo said. “Whether it’s the Stampede grounds, the children’s park or the many non-profits in town, you will see all types of rotary activities we have done.”

Continuous engagement with the community, forming strong strategic partnerships with non-profits and reaching out to local First Nations communities are all important things for Rotary to focus on both locally and internationally, Naidoo said. Reaching out to youth aged 19 to 35 and providing them the opportunities to grow and become the leaders of the future is also a critical component of what they do, he said.

In Williams Lake, he asked Rotarians to specifically think about how they can get more people to engage with the work they do in the community. Naidoo suggests the opening of another chapter of Rotary in Williams Lake that could involve those unable to attend weekly morning or midday meetings and to tailor it to their needs.

“We understand at a global and district level the challenges Williams Lake has had. We’ve played a role in terms of committing district funds during your forest fires to make sure our funds bought fire fighting equipment so that in the future you are better prepared to cope with natural disasters like this,” Naidoo said. “We are very sensitive to your economy, your mill closures, the issues of lumber in the Cariboo and the North. We want to do whatever it takes to recover your economy and protect against the future.”

Read More: Cariboo Rotary clubs receive $64,000 for wildfire recovery projects

The 2019/20 president of the Rotary Club of Williams Lake Joanna Sanders said that Naidoo and his assistant governor, Sandra Lewis’s visit, has inspired them to work more closely with the Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary Club. Sanders said her club is very focused, already, on enriching the lives of the youth of the community, doing work around the community and reaching out to work with international partners.

“(This visit) makes me proud to be a Rotarian. It makes you realize Rotary isn’t just in Williams Lake, it’s international around the world. There are 1.2-million Rotarians who have the same focus that works in our communities and internationally. I’m part of a bigger picture but all around the world we have the same message,” Sanders said.

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