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  • Peter Merkley


What a year this has been! Rotarians are people of action and looking back over this year, and the last 100 years, we are very proud of the contributions we have made to Kingston and other parts of the world.

Like all of you, the plans we made to celebrate our Centennial year were shattered by Covid. But we quickly pivoted to meet the new needs apparent to us all. We focused on working with other agencies in providing food to vulnerable families: packing, phoning and delivering to over 400 families every other week for over a year. We also provided many volunteers to the Mass Vaccination Clinic and helped businesses acquire Rapid Testing Kits. But we also completed our multiple Centennial projects.

For our Centennial Year, the four clubs had decided on many smaller, sustainable projects rather than one showpiece and, in our 2nd Reflection back in January, we listed them. So what happened by the end of our year?

  1. Transitioning Pathways to Education graduates from high school to postsecondary through mentorship under the Facilitator of Alumni Relations (FAR) program.

  2. Supporting students at St. Lawrence College with scholarships and funding facilities.

  3. Promoting Youth Mental Health and Safety, passing out 300 PASS kits for secondary students who could benefit.

  4. Partnering with Loughborough Public School to build a greenhouse and teaching kitchen.

  5. Sustaining our environment by planting 100 trees in Rotary Park and at No. 9 Gardens.

  6. Connecting New Canadians to employment opportunities, services and fellowship.

  7. Constructing a new accessible “fire pit” at Easter Seals’ Camp Merrywood.

  8. Purchasing and installing new dock facilities at RKY Camp.

  9. Dedicating the Rotary Reading Room as part of the Reg Shadbolt Learning Center at the Boys and Girls Club. This facility primarily provides professionals and volunteers to enhance the reading skills in identified students.

  10. Supporting Hospice Kingston in developing its new facilities.

  11. Building a Monarch Butterfly Garden at Rotary Park.

  12. 52 Rotary Reflections are being published in local newspapers detailing Rotary’s contributions to the community and the world. These will be preserved in a commemorative coffee-table book with all these Reflections, a table of contents and an index.

  13. Participating in Rotary’s Great Lakes Cleanup project in our area. All US and Canadian Rotary clubs bordering on the Great Lakes have taken on this project this year.

And we have squeezed in a few celebratory events as well. We installed a Centennial plaque on the building on Ontario St. where Rotary first met in 1921: the Frontenac Hotel. We raised banners on downtown streetlamps to draw attention to our Centennial. We worked with the city and other service clubs in Kingston to install new “Welcome to Kingston” signs at entrances to the city. The end of June, we had our Centennial “dinner”, actually a ZOOM meeting of over 100 participants featuring guest appearances by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President-Elect for Rotary International Jennifer Jones (Windsor ON), our mayor Bryan Patterson, and our keynote speaker, Valarie Wafer, Vice President of Rotary International (Collingwood ON).

It's been quite a year!

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