District Governor's Corner - February 2018

Spring is just around the corner, but district activities are not waiting for spring. Just over a month ago, next year's club presidents met in Canton for Pre-PETS training, which introduces incoming presidents to the many responsibilities that they will face in the coming year. In less than two weeks, those same people will meet in downtown Columbus for All Ohio PETS—a day and a half of training and inspiration. I want to take this opportunity to thank and commend those of you who are leading your club this year and those of you in line to lead your club next year. Rotary clubs in this district are blessed with talented individuals who take the time to provide outstanding leadership. I also want to remind everyone that the district does more than just train our incoming presidents. On April 21, we will have a district training program that is geared to other club leaders. More details on this program will be distributed soon.
Rotary Youth Leadership Award
The RYLA program took place this past weekend. I love being a part of RYLA and am so thankful for the opportunity to spend a weekend with these great kids. I want to thank Barb Loudon, Dan Moore, and all the people from the Rotary Club of Salem for making the program work so well year after year. There are a few people, like myself, who are not from Salem that enjoy being involved as well, but we all owe a debt of thanks to Salem.
I want to also thank all of the clubs who supported RYLA students this year. It is a great investment in your community. If you want to see how great an investment, invite your RYLA student(s) to your club meeting to talk about their experiences and what it meant to them. In fact, invite their parents as well. There could be some great potential members among those parents. I wish all of you could be a fly on the wall at RYLA to watch the magic of that weekend. This is yet another program of which we can all be proud!
District Conference
Mark your calendar. The district conference is just over 10 weeks from now. It will be Thursday evening through Friday afternoon, May 10 and 11, at the Avalon Inn in Warren, Ohio. This is a great facility, which hosts RYLA every year and hosted last year's District Conference with Sieglinde Warren. You will notice that the district conference will not cut into your weekend time this year. It is be just one-day, but that day is packed with high-quality speakers, programs, and events. For those of you who like playing challenging golf courses, we will have an informal golf outing at the adjoining Avalon Lakes, a Pete Dye designed course, on Thursday morning. The green fees will be $75, which is half the normal rate (carts not included in that price).
The district conference will start on Thursday late afternoon with an informal reception and a formal dinner, followed by a brief memorial service and an outstanding inspirational speaker. The hospitality suite on Thursday evening is once again sponsored by the Rotary Club of Warren. We have several outstanding speakers and programs on Friday, starting with breakfast and continuing until roughly 4 PM. Most of you should be able to easily get home for dinner on Friday and have the weekend available for the family. We will have programs that highlight RYLA, youth exchange, the Rotary International Foundation, and Membership. We will end with the exchange student talent show and song to capture the spirit of Rotary (Let there be peace on earth).
The theme of this year's conference is the Magic of Rotary. That was not my intended theme when I started planning for the conference about 18 months ago. Originally, my theme was Explore Rotary, which you may remember was my focus for my initial talk to the clubs. But it was those visits that helped me to realize that there truly is a "magic" to Rotary. Rotary clubs bring together incredible people—caring, optimistic, and talented people—who see opportunities and know how to take advantage of them to Make a Differencein the world (our RI theme for this year). I had been impressed with Rotary ever since I joined, but meeting each of you and visiting your clubs taught me so much more about the spirit of Rotary and what we can be achieve with that spirit.
I hope that all of you will be able to join us for all or part of the district conference. We have a block of rooms at a very competitive rate at the Avalon Inn and Resort set aside for the people who attend the conference. The online registration will go live in the next couple of days (www.RotaryDistrict6650.org).