Baldeo: Rotarian fellowship brings much good to our community

In recent weeks, we have been reading a lot about our Rotarians involvement in this city.

At the recent very successful International Children’s Games, the Rotarians were responsible for the opening ceremony. An awesome responsibility. 

At the closing ceremony, it was refreshing to hear the president of the ICG expressing such warmth and gratitude for the hospitality of this city.

The Rotarians have received confirmation from the RCAF Snowbirds Aerobatic Team and the City of Kelowna that Aug. 1 will be the city’s inaugural air show, intended to be an annual event. 

This is a high profile community event that will both boost Rotary’s community image and serve as a fundraiser.

Rotary has also just kicked off a Wellness Program on the first of February.

Nine teams with more that 70 participants are counting steps to “travel” from Kelowna to New Orleans, the site of the 2011 Rotary International Convention. Important steps to becoming healthier.

After being a Rotarian for36 years, I choose to reflect and ask myself the question of why I became a Rotarian? 

What was in the Rotary club that attracted my attention? With a full agenda, why would I take on anything further?

However, I was impressed by the opening statements I read, known as the Four Way Test within Rotary.

The four questions asked are:

• Is it the truth? 

• Is it fair to all concerned? 

• Will it build good will and better friendship?

• Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

These questions touched the basic tenets of my Christian faith. 

I felt that here was an organization in which I would feel very comfortable, and for 36 years I still cherish the experience of being a Rotarian.

As a Rotarian, I am not merely a member of a local luncheon club, as pleasant and important as that is, but rather I am part of a vast international fellowship of more that one million men and women in more than 165 countries.

Since these are inevitably leading people in their communities, I am therefore, as a Rotarian, one in a large segment of the leaders of the world.

As a Rotarian, I believe that we will lift our sights and see Rotary as one of the most important influences at work in the world today with its motto: Service above Self.

It transcends national boundaries, religion, politics and national outlook.

Rotary has the potential for being perhaps a chief healing power in a shattered world community. I am happy to wear my Rotary pin on all occasions.

I remember when I was the guest speaker at a Lion’s Convention, and even there (in the Lion’s Den), I chose to wear my Rotary pin. 

I was given some teasing and threats of being thrown to the Lions, but even in the face of the Lions, I was delighted to be identified as a Rotarian.

The more Rotarians one knows, the more comprehensive one becomes. Rotary has meant much to me in getting to know people in various classifications (different professions) and being able to mingle and learn about different callings in life. 

It provides me with an opportunity to get out of the cloister of my own profession and touch base with a wide section of leaders in the community.

This results in the richness of all Rotarians

Rotary is not a political organization, but Rotarians as individuals and citizens of nations, must accept the responsibility to use our influence to enrich this community.

One of the highlights of Rotary is its youth exchange program. One of my daughters was involved in this program, and it changed her life. 

Shortly after graduation, she went to New Zealand for a year and came back a much richer person.

Rotarians have accepted the challenge to eradicate polio from this world and have raised and invested millions of dollars into this program and the results are most encouraging. We are almost there.

We are also involved in helping to eradicate AIDS. This is an awesome challenge and we ask for your prayers.

If we really believe in service above self, Rotary could become the beacon of this decade.

People will rally around the organization and Rotary will leave behind a better world.

Rotary can do it. Rotary must do it.


Reverend Albert Baldeo is a retired United Church minister.