Posted by Carol Hutchinson on Dec 10, 2018
President Jeff's Holiday Message
We got the holiday spirit off to an early start this year by holding our Annual Senior’s Christmas Party on November 29th, and on a Thursday as well. The busy holiday season starts earlier every year it seems and this year pushed us from our usual Friday lunch. It was a wonderful event as always, chair Anny-Sandra Hamel and her team did a fabulous job. Both the first-timers and the repeat attenders truly appreciate the fine meal and beautiful music. Close on the heels of the Seniors lunch was the Annual Children’s Christmas Party held on Sunday December 2. For those of you who were able to attend, you’ll know what I mean when I say “Wow, what a party!” There’s nothing quite like seeing the smiling faces of 150 children and their families. We’ve been hosting this party for 89 years and it just keeps getting better. The snowball fight between the kids and a troop of Toronto’s finest is a spectacle like no other. Thanks to Lorna Johnson, we had lots of media coverage which can only be a good thing for our Club at an event like that. Thanks to co-chairs Karl Kremer and Lorraine Lloyd and the whole team for putting on another outstanding party.
It’s been a busy first half of the Rotary year leading up to the Christmas season. The Youth and Children Services Committee hosted their 10th annual Youth Leadership Expo in October to great acclaim. This event, too, gets better every year. We’re strengthening our partnership with the School Boards which holds great promise for future endeavours. Congratulations to chair Brent Thomas and his team, along with a strong Rotaract contingent which delivered another great Expo.
It’s the job of the Club Vice President to coordinate the Annual Club Assembly in the fall each year. VP John Fortney continued the momentum which has been building for many months around our Strategic Plan, the numerous member consultations, and our club-wide adoption of technology to help us be more efficient and effective as a Club in this modern age. This Assembly was used to brainstorm ideas amongst small groups of members to achieve the Strategic direction the members are seeking. Congratulations to John and his team for extracting some great ideas, many of which will be implemented in due course. This process is ongoing. I encourage all members to engage wholeheartedly when asked for opinions through surveys or otherwise. Our members make this Club great so we need everyone’s voice to be heard so we go in the right direction.  Don’t let technology prevent you from voicing your opinions, reach out and help will be there. My Christmas wish is that all members will continue to contribute their time to help our Club do great things and for those members who are still looking for just the right thing, just ask me – I’ll help you find it.
Special recognition goes to Chris Snyder and a strong contingent from our Club, as well as, several others for their sweat equity trip to Cambodia last month. They have all just returned safely to Canada and first reports suggest it was a wonderful experience and a successful project in many ways. Welcome home! We look forward to hearing many stories.
In my opinion, and I’m sure most of you will agree, we are off to a great start this year with our line-up of Friday lunch speakers. Bert Steenburgh and his dedicated and experienced committee have secured many wonderful speakers this fall and we should all be grateful for their efforts. Well done! I’m sure we’re in a for a great 2019 line-up as well.
We’ll be taking a break from Rotary for a few weeks so you can all focus on your family and friends and whatever else you like to do at this time of year. For many of us, it is a time to remember special Christmases of years past. My fond childhood memories include taking a toboggan with my brother out to the back forty at the farm and dragging back the perfect Christmas tree. It had to be Scotch Pine of course! Our property was a tree farm once upon a time so there were many pines, however, they weren’t pruned anymore so our tree often looked like a bush more than a typical tree even after our efforts to tame it. All the kids helped decorate the tree but Mum was ultimately responsible. After the tree was so covered in shiny objects you could hardly see the needles, Mum would finish it off with a can of spray snow. It was wonderful. One year I noticed the next morning there were additional shiny ornaments which, upon closer inspection, turned out to be chocolates in the shape of Santa Clause covered in shiny foil. There were so many, I concluded that no one would notice if I tested one. Over the days leading up to Christmas, I used the same logic until there was only one Santa left. I learned a special lesson from Mum when she discovered my transgression. My Mum has always been a source of inspiration but it was especially true at Christmas. There were a couple of so called ‘lean years’ when I was young when Mum declared that she was not spending any money on wrapping paper. Our countless presents during this lean time would have to be wrapped in newsprint; the colour comics if you were lucky. Being grateful and frugal are just two of the many things I learned from my mother – my inspiration. I’ll be enjoying Christmas dinner with her this year.
From my family to yours, I wish you Season’s Greetings, the Merriest Christmas ever and an especially Happy New Year.