Posted by Paddy Rooney on Feb 13, 2020
By now the superlatives are wearing thin – unprecedented, unique, never seen anything like this and so on. Yet it is clear that we are living in a time which is clearly going to mark all of us for the rest of our lives – whether pre-COVID or post-COVID. And with normal life shut down, we are all struggling to adapt as best with can – for work, for family and for our communities.
 
In the midst of all this turmoil the work of Rotary continues. Indeed, we play an integral role in our communities and throughout the world and that work must continue. And from the top leadership of Rotary International down to the smallest clubs we are seeking ways to ensure that our work does intend go on. District Leadership has been invited to Zone meetings via Zoom. And in our own District, the District Governor line has been meeting regularly in order to address any number of issues. And it is the results of those meetings that I want to share with you now. So here goes:
 
  1. As many of you know the RI Board of Directors made the difficult decision to cancel the Rotary International Convention in Hawaii scheduled for June. This is disappointing but understandable given that some 25,000 Rotarians from all over the world were scheduled to attend. Those who registered will get refunds through Rotary including the 38 who registered from our District.
  2. As noted before our District Conference which would have been held May 1-2 is also canceled.
  3. Because the District Conference is cancelled, the 4 Way Test Speech Contest and the 4 Way Test Essay contest will be conducted in a different manner which ensures recognition of the students involved and the work they did. More details on that will be forthcoming.
  4. We have a number of students from various countries residing here in the US under our Youth Exchange Program. We also have a number of our US students living in other countries around the world. At this point in time, unless either the home District or the parents of the students in the US demand that they return home, our decision is to have them stay here. We currently have four students living abroad and we will also leave them there until the end of the school year unless their parents ask for them to come home.
  5. Rotary International has offered Districts the ability to be more flexible with grant money which can be allocated for fighting COVID-19 or use the funds to support the Foundations Disaster Response Fund. Our Grant Committee will be looking at that issue when it meets on April 6th.
  6. Part of our work at the District Conference was to have been the election of District Representatives to the RI Council on Legislation and the Zone 32 Nominating Committee. Those votes will now be done through the clubs. In the next couple of weeks Club Presidents will receive a notice and instructions on selecting a person in their club to vote and information on what they are voting for.
  7. The Teacher Impact Awards Dinner, which we co-sponsor with WITF is also being postponed. Selection of teachers will take place and winners notified. Brief videos will be done by WITF for showing in the Fall. While there will be no dinner this year, all winners from 2020 will be recognized at the 2021 dinner.
  8. There are a number of other awards that traditionally are given out at the District Conference. These include the Service Above Self Award, the Dogged Pursuit Award, the District Outstanding Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award. Individuals have been chosen for each of these awards and we will present them in their clubs when we are able to meet again in person.
  9. Our wonderful Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program, due to be held at Messiah College under the incomparable leadership of Gary Crissman for these many years, is also canceled. This was not an easy decision for the RYLA Board of Directors to make but there are just too many unknowns and uncertainties and I support their decision.
  10. Staying in Touch. This is a critically important component in the weeks and perhaps months ahead. As I said, RI is keeping in touch with Districts. District 7390 Leadership is trying to keep in touch with each other. We now will plan some Zoom meetings in the next few weeks with Assistant Governors, District Advisory Council and Presidents and Presidents-elect. Notice for all those will be going out shortly. Information will also be sent out about how to conduct Zoom meetings for your clubs. Keep communication going in so many different ways…emails, Zoom or GoToMeeting, notes and so on…not forgetting the really old-fashioned method of actually calling some of your members on the phone to check in with each other! Do not let our clubs go dark or our work will come to a grinding halt and for the sake of the world, we cannot let that happen.
I will be in touch again soon.
 
District Governor Paddy
 
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