Lisa shared that the Youth Peace in Action initiative was featured at the Naples RI Zone 33/34 Conference. Our very own Boca Raton Community High School represented 300+ Internationally based Youth Groups with their combined voices-a song of peace. #YPAvoices.
It was a great honor to represent Boca Raton Rotary at the Naples Rotary Reunion Leadership Summit for Zones 33/34 held on 30 September – 3 October. District Governor Michael Wallstrom invited three of us from District 6930 to participate in the Emerging Leaders class, including Richard Gessert from the RC Vero Beach Sunrise and Owen Robinson from the RC West Palm Beach. The other 400 or so in attendance are currently serving as District Governors (DG), District Governors-Elect or District Governor-Nominees from the Mid-Atlantic down through Southeast, throughout Florida and into the western Caribbean all the way to Trinidad.
Rotary International (RI) Director, Peter Kyle is the board member assigned to Zones 33/34 and was the summit convenor. In addition, RI Trustee (of the Foundation), Larry Lunsford, attended as well as RI Director, Suzi Howe and numerous past RI Directors, including Past RI Director, Stephanie Urchick. RI Director, Suzi Howe is from Houston and attended our club meeting in May 2020, along with Rotarian Robert Yudkin, to recognize Myron Yudkin for becoming a Major Donor to The Rotary Foundation. PRID Stephanie Urchick organized the “Women in Rotary” Leadership speaker series this past Spring that some of our members attended via Zoom.
Zone leaders serve Districts and Clubs to provide resources and training in the areas of membership, public image and The Rotary Foundation. Sessions during the conference included updates on the polio eradication campaign and end game, HANWASH (Haiti National Clean Water & Sanitation Strategy), innovative club structures, growing and engaging Rotaracters, Youth Peace & Action, hybrid meetings, Rotary Works (career development for Rotarians & Rotaractors) and diversity, equity & inclusion.
Training for the Emerging Leaders class began four weeks prior to the Summit, when all 40 of us were invited to meet by Zoom every Monday evening to meet each other and get briefed on what to expect from our time in Naples. I drove over to Naples on Wednesday the 29th September and our Emerging Leaderships class met all day Thursday. We then joined the rest of the attendees for the regular program Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday night, each class had dinner together and several districts had hospitality suites for socializing into the evening. The summit is referred to as a reunion because all past District Governors (PDG’s) from Zones 33/34 are invited to attend and each class of governors develop strong friendships so there was a lot of camaraderie and competitive spirit on display. When I heard three of my fellow classmates from Lake City and Winter Park mention rugby, it didn’t take them long to sing the praises of our own Dennis Frisch, although I’m not sure I can repeat ALL the stories I heard.
On Saturday, before RI President-Elect, Jennifer Jones zoomed in from Windsor, Ontario, we donned hairnets, gloves and our masks to pack more than 70,000 meals in 2 hours for Meals of Hope to support Feeding America and the local food bank in Naples. We rocked out to disco-themed music while measuring oats, sugar, cinnamon, and dried apples, then weighing, hot sealing and packing bags for someone’s breakfast. Nothing like having a great conversation meeting Rotarians from all over the eastern seaboard while getting something done.
Saturday afternoon, John drove over with Owen & Vera to enjoy the water slide in the hotel pool and attend Saturday’s dinner with me. First though, he was fortunate to attend a Scotch tasting put on by PDG, George Robinson Burnett, a Scottish transplant residing in D6890 near Tampa. Jon Burford and Bill Riddick would have been in heaven!
We finished up on Sunday with lots of encouragement to attend future Zone events including next year’s Summit in September 2022 in Baltimore in addition to the Southland Reception at the Houston International Convention in June 2022. If you are going to Houston, register for the Southland Reception now – it’s traditionally a breakfast for Zone 33/34 but this convention it’ll be a happy hour. A great way to meet other Rotarians in the Zones and make the conference seem a little less overwhelming if it’s your first time attending. There are also several virtual meetings coming up on Polio Eradication Efforts (October 28th @ 12N) and Rotary Works (November 10th @ 5:30pm). All these meetings and events can be found at: rizones33-34.org or by registering via DACdb and searching the calendar for “multi-district” events.
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