Houlton Pioneer Times

Hines attends Rotary International Convention

HOULTON, Maine — The 109th Rotary International Convention took place in Toronto, Canada from June 22-27 with local Rotarian Diane Hines attending the event.

Hines spoke on her trip during the Aug. 13 lunch meeting. Many guests were present at this meeting. Rotarian Fred Grant hosted Ted and Iva Sussman.

Rotarian Nate Bodenstab hosted Ruba Haddad, Lynn Callnan and Cindy Callnan. Clarissa Sabattus was a guest of Rotarian Leigh Cummings. Two new members were inducted and they were Laura Geiger, sponsored by Hines and Cameron Clark, sponsored by Grant.

Hines reported that 25,188 Rotarians from 126 countries attended the convention. Toronto is known as the “Capital of Nice.” The convention centered downtown in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Air Canada Centre.

A princess, three prime ministers, a former first lady and other guest speakers celebrated the work of Rotary International. General Assembly sessions were held at the hockey arena to enable thousands to attend.

“These sessions were incredibly inspiring with fantastic entertainment by dancers, gymnasts, musical ensembles and even a magician,” Hine said. She shared her experience along with a slideshow. New Rotary friends were made, one born in Houlton, one from Newfoundland who Hines crossed paths with three times, a couple from Virginia and a couple from Pennsylvania.

The Metro Toronto Convention Center held the “House of Friendship” workshop and many breakout sessions of various focuses. The House of Friendship was comprised of over 300 exhibits and the theme was “inspiration around every corner.”

“This was truly an experience that I and my niece Rotarian Eve Marion and fellow Rotarian from North Carolina Rhonda Pierce had,” she said. “Rotary Actions groups and Rotary Clubs from all over the world set up for five days. There were also vendors with exceptional products for health and beauty and fabrics and clothing, all things Rotarian.”

Hines, Marion and Pierce were able to stay in North Toronto at the home of Hines’s niece Claudia Marion. An easy commute via the Toronto Transit Commission took the Rotarians downtown to the events. Occasionally an Uber car was called for trips to special Rotary events and to the airport. Rotary International also had busses available to hotels where some special dinners took place such as the Rotary E-Club annual dinner.

Hines enjoyed several breakout sessions. One was called “Best Practices” for E-Clubs to help strengthen membership that Pierce took a part in on a five member panel. Rotary E-Clubs from around the world logged onto to the program. The room held over 100 people.

Another breakout session Hines enjoyed was “Inspire With Images: Telling Rotary’s Story with Photographs.” That panel had three members, with one being from Maine. Ann Lee Hussey of the Portland Sunrise Club is a polio survivor and has taken 29 trips to areas in the world to help with immunization against polio. Hussey described what she tries to capture in her images. It is to capture work on the ground and pull at the heart strings showing Rotary’s love and aid in the world. Each presenter stressed having the Rotary logo in any photo to associate the good work that Rotary does.

Hines joined a couple of Rotary Action Groups during the convention: RAG Against Slavery that is also supported by a Quaker meeting in Pennsylvania and ESRAG or Environmental Sustainability RAG. All related information can be found on the Rotary International Website at www.rotary.org.

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