Rotary Club of Quesnel contributes to many community projects and events and supports youth programs

Rotary’s work has impacted the community in many ways since 1955

Lindsay Chung

Observer Contributor

It doesn’t take very long to find a place in our community that Rotary Club of Quesnel has touched in some way.

It could be a playground, a health care facility, a sports field or a park. Rotary Club of Quesnel has supported a wide variety of projects and events since it formed in 1955, and the club is showing no signs of slowing down.

Rotary Club of Quesnel recently installed its president, officers and directors for 2018-19. Petrie Neave is the new president, and he is looking forward to a busy year.

“Rotary International is an international club of volunteers, and the big thing is to make life a better place, peace, and helping where it is needed, in communities and around the world,” says Neave, who joined the club in 2001. “There’s a good, long history in our club.”

When it comes to community, Rotary Club of Quesnel has supported countless groups, projects and events over the years, investing in everything from seniors’ care and health care to sports clubs and breakfast programs for students.

“There are so many different areas we have helped out in the past,” says Neave.

Just some examples of this include helping fund the new paramill at the Quesnel and District Recreation Centre, among other projects at the centre; several projects at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital; $100,000 to the capital costs of the palliative care wing of Dunrovin Lodge; $20,000 funding for the Quesnel Search and Rescue mobile command centre; $20,000 seed money for Quesnel Youth Soccer’s indoor sports facility; and local landmarks, such as the Rotary Little League Ball Park, Rotary RV sani-station and the club’s very first auction project in 1957, the Quesnel Civic Arena. This year, Rotary Club of Quesnel planted 100 trees in Kersley to contribute to the Baker Creek Enhancement Society’s project to restore the salmon habitat on Kersley Creek.

Neave says Rotary Club of Quesnel is quite involved with youth programs. A Quesnel student will be leaving on a youth exchange to Germany soon, and Rotary Club of Quesnel will host a student from Italy this year.

“The requirement is if you are sending a student out, you have to host a student, or vice versa,” says Neave, noting the club has been doing Rotary youth exchanges since the late 1970s. “It’s a whole school-year exchange, so they attend school and attend Rotary functions.”

Rotary Club of Quesnel sponsors the Interact Club at Correlieu Secondary School for youth aged 12-18, which chooses to support one local project and one international project.

“They do various fundraising activities to help out the two projects they’ve chosen themselves,” says Neave.

The next level is Rotaract, a club for young people aged 18-30. Neave says we do not have a Rotaract Club in town, but they are hoping to start one.

“That’s one of our goals,” he says. “There are a couple people in our club who are interested in looking into that.”

There are other programs on which Rotary Club of Quesnel likes to send young people, including Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, a leadership development program. Young people can also participate in short-term Adventures programs.

“Adventures in Health Care in Prince George is a recent one, and it has proven to be very popular,” says Neave.

At the other end of the age spectrum, seniors are a focus for Rotary Club of Quesnel as well.

“One of the things coming up in September is the senior trip to Barkerville,” says Neave. “This has been going on for a long time. We take usually around 100 seniors. Usually, there’s a big demand, a waiting list and everything else. That’s to recognize all the things seniors have contributed to the community over the years. They seem to enjoy it, and they look forward to it.”

Rotary Club of Quesnel also provides grants to community groups and organizations, having recently presented funding to the Quesnel Tillicum Society and the Quesnel Friends of Hope Air. Application forms are available online at quesnelrotary.com, and there is no deadline or particular intake period for funding applications.

To support all this community work and investment, Rotary Club of Quesnel holds a number of fundraisers throughout the year, including fashion shows, regular bingos and its two largest fundraisers, the Diamond Calcutta and the Cariboo Craft Beer Festival.

In his year as president, Neave would like to do more hands-on projects. He says he enjoyed when they did hands-on work helping put in a garden at Dunrovin and would like to see the club do projects where members are part of the work they support. For example, he says the club will be putting some money toward the construction of an outdoor rink on the west side, and he is hoping there will be some work with which Rotary members could help.

Looking ahead, in the near future, Neave is getting ready to host the District Governor in August. She will attend the Rotary Club of Quesnel’s meeting on Aug. 17 and learn more about all the work the club does in the community.

“One of her duties is to visit all the clubs in the district,” says Neave. “She likes to see what the club has been doing, so I’ll probably show her the sights.”

Rotary Club of Quesnel has about 42 members right now and meets Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. in the banquet room at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 at 262 Kinchant St. To learn more about Rotary Club of Quesnel, visit quesnelrotary.com.

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