Posted on Dec 01, 2020
My Fellow Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors, friends and all those who have taken the time to read this month’s message, Maggie joins me in wishing you many blessings as we approach the end of the first half of this Rotary year. Maggie and I have much to give thanks for as 2020 draws to a close and we will do so quietly this year as we observe the safety protocols that will keep us all as safe as possible. 

There is no doubt that this will go down in history as a Rotary year with a difference! Hold fast to your Rotary family, embrace them (virtually) and reach out to support each other. We all need each other now as this pandemic is biting deeper into our psyche. Some of our family may become lonely due to separation...So let us all be sensitive, be observant and above all, be kind as kindness is transformational. Members are our greatest asset, so let us not lose a single one because they felt neglected, or became disenchanted, or because of financial strain brought on by COVID-19. 

I have completed my club visits and I am truly humbled by the generosity of spirit of our Rotarians. I have formed bonds with so many outstanding humanitarians, that I could never have dreamed possible through the virtual platform that has become a substantial part of my Rotary life. Maggie and I have been embraced by many Rotarians and made to feel so incredibly special. I want you all to know that I will never forget you and will always cherish your friendship, support, and advice. I am so proud of our District as I have seen the stuff that our members are made of and stand in awe of it. There is quiet resilience as we adapt and carry out projects and take care of the less fortunate. We are raising funds in innovative ways and we have dug deep and focused on our core values.

Membership in the District has grown by about 2.8% or 44 members since the commencement of the year. Of note: the creation of the Satellite Club of Diego Martin with 14 members; the charter of the Rotary Club of Garden City (Guyana) with 33 members; and those clubs where multiple new members have been inducted – 9 into RC Demerara for example, and 5 past Rotaractors inducted into RC Aruba which is particularly pleasing. But there is a decline in membership in some clubs which needs to be addressed if we are to continue progressing toward our membership goals set by the individual clubs at the beginning of the year.

Our Rotaractors have been extraordinarily active under the guidance of the dynamic District Rotaract Committee where every Rotary District 7030 Committee now has a Rotaractor as a member. There is a buzz and vibrancy among Rotaractors as they build on the foundation from years past but with more so now with the theme of Elevate Rotaract guiding the future.

Last month, we gave our support to Rotary’s quest to End Polio Now and we made contributions to Our Rotary Foundation. We joined forces with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition to produce a successful webinar on the relationship between what and how we eat, and the incidence of non-communicable diseases, as well as, the issue of food insecurity in our region. Clubs have embarked on projects that teach children the value of food groups and the importance of drinking water and routine exercise, and we have embarked on planting nutritious crops in school gardens. Taken together, these add up to the initiation of our District wide Childhood Obesity Prevention Program. 

Our District Foundation and Grants team hosted an informative online session with Past RI President John Germ and an entertaining appearance by PP Owen Standley from Pennsylvania who will hike the Appalachian trail (2,168 miles) to raise funds for Polio.

Our District now has three (3) Peace-Builder clubs, while also now recognized as a Peace-Builder District. Our intended Positive Peace Activation program has been shelved due to the cost, but we have regrouped and expect to have alternative Peace-Builder programs in play early in the second half of the Rotary year. We will continue to promote the Peace Fellows program as we are determined to have more Peace Fellows from District 7030. Applications will be solicited for Peace Fellowships commencing February 2021, so be on the lookout.

In the month of December, we turn our attention to “Disease Prevention & Treatment”. It is also the “Holiday Season” and the “Holy Season”. While it is the season for giving, it is also a season of loneliness for many. My family, I ask you to be more generous with your giving this year than you have ever been, particularly in giving of your time. Whether you make the time to just pop-in next door to the neighbour who lives alone, even if it means standing at a safe physical distance while you chat; or, find some time to visit the elderly who may have no family nearby and just need a friendly face to keep them company if even for a short while; or, contribute to your local food bank or distribution centre if you can, even if such contribution is to cook yourself, or pack and share a meal, or simply offer to help in so many other ways – every action, every contribution, every effort, not matter how big or small can make a difference! And, as mentioned earlier, look out for your Rotary family. 

Depression and mental illness are high on our agenda this month.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our Rotary family who may have suffered loss over the course of this year and those who have been hit hard by this pandemic. We remember fondly PP Keith Scotland from RC Saint Lucia who died suddenly last month and hold his wife Diane and her family in our thoughts. We also lost much loved PP Ivan Sobesky from RC Fort-de-France and we hold his wife Laurence and sons in our thoughts also. Known and loved dearly by many older members, wife of PDG Rupert Cheeks, Mary Cheeks, recently passed away also and our hearts and support are with PDG Rupert who is now a centurion.

Looking to the future, we can now confirm that the District 7030 P.E.T.S. & Assembly will take place virtually over the weekend of April 16th to 18th next year and that our District Conference will open on the evening of Friday April 23rd. While we will provide a "hybrid conference experience" that allows all club members in the District to attend online, the opportunity to attend the conference in-person is still a possibility, but depends of course, on the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. With the likelihood of a vaccine, I remain positive. But rest assured, your conference team is working to ensure that the conference experience will be awesome!

As we close out the calendar year, I thank you all for your commitment to our Rotary way of life: for your leadership; for your friendship; for your integrity; for your commitment to diversity and for your service to humanity. 
“Rotary stands; though the tempest roars about – Rotary still stands. Why and how? Because it is grounded not on fear, rivalry, and /or suspicion, but the eternal and indestructible rocks of friendliness, tolerance, and usefulness.” - Paul Harris 
Blessings my family, stay strong.
D. Lisle Chase
District 7030 Team Leader 2020/2021