Blogging this in the wee hours of my Australia morning as the darkness still hasn’t greeted the day. The last two days of the convention have been packed morning to night with experiences that have filled me with gratitude and hope for the gift of Rotary and its impact on creating hope in the world. It is one thing to read Rotary Magazine and hear stories about Polio and it is quite another to be in person with RI President Jennifer Jones as she shares her experiences going door to door in Pakistan with a group of women to immunize every single child and go back to the home of one they missed. This one story coupled with presentations, hallway chats, and so many other moments can best be explained through photos. The last day of the Convention starts in several hours. Looking forward to connecting with several DG friends, one of whom is doing an accessibility lecture. Other topics will be peace building at the club level and engaging in international peace exchanges. Grateful to be here!
RI Convention 2023 – Day 1- Imagining what is next…
One year ago husband Rob and I registered for the 2023 RI Convention from Houston,Texas during the 2022 Convention. Having never been south of the equator, the idea of experiencing Australia after a year in the role of District Governor seemed so distant and dreamlike. What would i feel like? How might my views of Rotary change? What would our world be like? Would I look back happily at my past year knowing that somehow my leadership presence mattered? And so it is with this mindset, that I find myself writing this first Convention blog post at midnight in a hotel. Rob and i have experienced all of one day here after two days of travel including 20+ flight hrs.
And all that was with a sprained ankle still healing from a week ago warranting wheelchairs much of the time. But it was worth it. The last 24 hrs was characterized by Rotary reunions and an amazing opening session.
Unlike at several past conventions, our opening space fit all 20,000 of us. i had to keep reminding myself that we are visitors here and the United States is represented less here than in Houston! For Rob and I this is our forth in-person convention after Toronto, Hamburg Germany, and Houston Texas. Being here is truly like being with old friends around every corner. We encountered Sylvia Whitlock (1st female Rotary Club president) checking into our hotel. At breakfast this morning i reunited with Val Wafer, past RI board member and confidante/mentor/ friend over the years. At the convention bumped into DG classmates who I shared zoom hours with over our 3 yrs of leadership development.
We all gathered in the Rod Laver arena and soaked in the international scope of Rotary.
I sat there in awe and gratitude of it all. Grateful for the opportunity to be here. Grateful to experience it with my amazing husband and Rotary friends. Grateful to be DG during the year of the first woman RI president. Grateful to be in a group of people not needing to wear a mask. So many emotions. And so it is here where I will end my reflection until midnight tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the first full convention day ending for Rob and me with a local Rotary Club host event. Stay tuned for more adventures from “down under”! Until then Imagine the good that will happen today! Yours in service, DG Juliet Altenburg
PS: I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my supportive Pa Trauma Systems Foundation staff from my paid job! Thanks Amy and team for supporting my disconnection from my paid job so i can immerse myself in my volunteer Rotary one!
Imagining Rotary: My Role as District Governor thus far
Author: District Governor Juliet Altenburg
It’s hard to believe we are already 3 months into our Rotary Year speeding out of Summer and into the new season of Fall. As District Governor my summer has been a whirlwind of activity encompassing three months of travels with 32 clubs, assorted club/district service and social gatherings, and a myriad of virtual meetings with Zone, District, and Club leaders and more. I write this as I take time to pause and reflect in airport lounges in Toronto and Chicago as I head home from a wonderful time of connection at the Rotary International Zones 28/32 Learning to Lead Summit in Toronto.
At this three-month mark, I would have to say my themes thus far are the gifts of human connections and the opportunity to use my passion for nursing and Trauma Centers in a bigger way. As I’ve met many Rotarians throughout my travels, I often get the question “how do you do it with a full-time job?” Truth be told, I was a bit fearful on how I would be able to juggle it all. I’ve always been a believer though, that if your heart is in the right place, and you are focused on doing good, more good will follow. And so it came to be. Travel time on the road while passing through rural areas of our District was forced time to be thoughtful and reflective. Time at the clubs with kind, passionate and funny members was uplifting in a way that energized me to contribute in bigger ways with my paid job and Rotary activities. The sheer volume of human connection after a prolonged period of isolation and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic is the fuel that has kept my engine running to do what I can to support our clubs in thinking of ways to increase our impact, expand our reach, enhance member engagement, and remain adaptable – Rotary’s four strategic priorities.
For those of you who have experienced my club visits, you may recall that I share a quote from RI President Jennifer Jones that she shared with all the incoming District Governors at the Rotary International Convention in Houston Texas in June: “BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, AND BE INTENTIONAL”. I’ve said these words so many times they have begun to change me. I feel myself grow in leadership the more I courageously move forward and jump on opportunities I may have been more timid about in the past.
One such opportunity is using the partnerships I have made over the last 20 years with Trauma Centers while working at the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation to move forward a high impact program called STOP THE BLEED ™. STOP THE BLEED ™ is a bleeding control course that has been promoted by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) since 2012 when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. The ACS publicized the work of the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg North on their international STOP THE BLEED website after a District Club grant that provided 300 tourniquets to East Pennsboro township staff helped save the life of a 10-year-old boy. That saved life occurred because of a partnership with Penn State Holy Spirit Medical Center Injury Prevention Coordinator, Sunny Goodyear RN, who taught the course to township police officers and continues to teach the course throughout Central PA.
In addition to Penn State Holy Spirit, two other Trauma Centers in our District are committed to connecting with Rotary Clubs to teach the program at club meetings or community events: Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. One fantastic way your club can help in this effort is to apply for a District Club Grant for $2500 that with a District match of $2500 will provide $5000 worth of tourniquets to people in your community such as police officers, farmers, and residents in violent neighborhoods where gun violence is prevalent. One such area is Alison Hill in Harrisburg. Penn State Holy Spirit would value one or more Rotary club partners in helping them provide tourniquets in Alison Hill that would be distributed along with education. Interested? Reach out to me for more information. The next deadline for District Club Grants is March 15, 2023 when the Form of Intention is due. Each tourniquet is about $20.00. Find out more about the grant process at https://rotary7390.org/page/grants
Lastly this time of connection has reinforced what was stated to me for years during my District leadership journey – that I would never be alone in my efforts. It takes a village to spearhead the many District Initiatives that we all take for granted: Global and District Grants, Membership, Youth Exchange, Safety, Polio Eradication, Communications, Public Image, Rotary Foundation, Education, Finances, Event Coordination, Member Services, Outreach…. and the list goes on. That village is comprised of an incredible group of Committee Chairs and teams behind them that work hard to support the impact our clubs and District have on our communities. I thank all these “villagers” for their amazing efforts that are not only felt within our District but at Zone and International levels.
Lastly, I want to put out a request for those of you who may be feeling a tug in your heart to be District Governor but are fearful of the time commitment. Being a District leader AND having a full-time job is absolutely possible. Your Rotary work will benefit your paid job in countless ways and vice versa. Being District Governor is the opportunity of a lifetime and without a doubt is absolutely life changing. I will reiterate the quote by Jennifer Jones “Be Bold, Be Brave and Be Intentional”. Don’t wait. The time is now. You never know what tomorrow will bring. If you are interested reach out to me. There is a process for your club to nominate you and forms are due in early December.
Thank you for a great three months. What a privilege its been to visit your clubs and serve you. Looking forward to more adventures in the months ahead.
Yours in Service: DG Juliet
Email me at DGJuliet2022@QRPC.com
RI Convention Day 4: Imagining the Future
Author: DGE Juliet Altenburg
The RI convention ended today with a closing session that celebrated past achievements and set the course for an exciting future.
RIP Shekhar Mehta recounted the strength of Rotary and the continuation of a multitude of successful programs like empowering women and girls, “each one, bring one”, polio eradication, and our seven areas of focus. He also introduced the concept of Rotary Regions for the future that will be piloted to avoid a “one size fits all” approach to Rotary illustrated by how Rotary in India is different in Japan vs the United States. He emphasized that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is “non-negotiable” and the values Rotary stands behind as we serve the world and reach out in love and acceptance to our neighbors.
Incoming RI President Jennifer Jones further expanded on the future of Rotary by highlighting her Impact Tour that will showcase shining examples of Rotary’s impact in the community to put a spotlight on who we are and the positive change we bring to the world.
She expressed that many have asked her if she is excited to be the first woman RI President and she said yes indeed she is, however true and lasting change “doesn’t come with the first, it comes with the second and third. “
That statement hit me hard when I viewed this RI Presidents photo posted on social media. Rotary will not grow in membership and impact without welcoming women more fully to the top levels of leadership. The current RI goal is 30% female membership by 2030. Rotaract has already surpassed this with over 50% women!
Another highlight of the session was a sixth grader – Orion Jean- 2021 TIME kid of the year and kindness activist.
This young boy inspired us on the value of kindness and how even one young person with a dream and some passion can be a force for good.
This concludes my daily RI Convention blogs for 2022. During the last four days I have not only been inspired by those on stage but Rotarians all around me who spent time and money to come together for this event and connect with those around them. I will miss wearing the RI lanyard and badge which acted as a beacon for connection with Rotarians wherever I went. The Lanyard will now get replaced with a Rotary pin I will proudly wear in the days ahead as I “become the change I wish to see in the world.” Thanks for being with me on this journey and in the days ahead! DGE Juliet
RI Convention Day 3: Be Bold, Courageous and Intentional
Author DGE Juliet Altenburg
Be bold, courageous and intentional were the words of advice given by incoming RI President Jennifer Jones when she addressed a room filled with District Governor Elects and their partners. As a class this was our first in-person time with her after over two years of on-line meetings. My husband Rob and I were joined by about half of the 521 DGEs worldwide. “Jen” was warm, down to earth, funny and engaging. Past RI President Ian Risely joined her on stage as incoming Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rotary Foundation. Ian too has a great sense of humor and the two together were quite the pair.
It is quite special serving as District Governor during this historic year of having a first woman RI president. Women Rotarians are still in the minority worldwide and in our District comprise 28% of our membership. Women lead differently and that difference creates a richness within a club, committee, and leadership team. Rotary is committed to empowering women and girls and creating inclusive environments for all people regardless of gender identity, culture, age, religion (or lack of it) and the list goes on. Ian Risely chimed into the conversation encouraging all of us to take chances and advance initiatives. We must not be afraid of making mistakes. They WILL happen for sure but are preferable to mediocrity and going with the status quo.
Each group of zones got a photo opportunity with Jen, her husband Nick and Ian Risely. The excitement was palpable as we all shared stories of the journey and our plans for the year ahead.
Speaking of good, I got to take part in the International Rotary Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals meeting. Fantastic medical projects were featured based on partnerships between Rotarians and the medical community. My passion for advancing the STOP THE BLEED (TM) program and creating partnerships between Rotary clubs and local trauma centers will be more important than ever. My international healthcare colleagues reinforced this and it was a privilege to share ideas together.
These personal experiences were what made today extra special and reinforced to both me and my husband why there is no better place to invest our time and money than Rotary International.
Come back tomorrow for reflections on the final day of the convention!
Meanwhile Be bold, courageous, and intentional! – DGE Juliet
RI Convention Day 2: Too see a friend, no road is too long
Author: DGE Juliet Altenburg
“Too see a friend, no road is too long” stated Dr. Olha Paliychuk, a Ukrainian surgeon who joined the stage at this morning’s general session of the Rotary International Convention in Houston.
Dr. Olha described her long journey by bus, train, and plane to speak with us with gratitude as a Rotarian and a surgeon who is the recipient of Rotary generosity in all its forms. Dr. Olha is a gynecologist oncologist and recounted working in a hospital with the sounds of bombs filling the air knowing any minute could be her last as she supported patients under her care. Dr. Olha is a member of the Rotary Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals. She meets with fellowship members every week to allocate materials donated from Rotarians around the world. Those Rotarians include members of District 7390. Our district donated $18,700 to the Fellowship to support Ukraine with supplies. $5000 came from District Designated Funds (DDF) through the District Grant Committee, and the remaining money came from the Rotary Club of Lancaster. (DDF comes from District 7390 member donations to the Rotary Foundation.) There are times when each of us donates to various causes and never gets to see or feel the impact of our giving. Today was a gift to all of us present, knowing that our donations given through the channels of Rotary are making a direct impact. What a gift to us! As Dr. Olha stated, “I stand here on behalf of more than 1,000 Rotary members in Ukraine to say thank you… I can tell you that your donations are being delivered to those that are most in need.”
Another incredibly moving part of the general session was hearing from former astronaut Charlie Duke, now 86 years old, and one of only 12 men to have walked the moon, share his memories of the Apollo 16 mission. He described with emotion, how his father was born in 1907, four years after Wilbur and Orville Wright took aviation’s first flight, and how 65 yrs later his dad watched him walk on the moon. He talked about team work and how the success of Apollo 16 was how “no one fought for glory” and it was all about the mission. He also described the philosophy of training younger crew to take their place. “As we climb these mountains of challenge, we bring the younger generation with us”.
The day was filled with so many other great stories of inspiration. The empowerment of girls, a packed breakout session on DEI, and all sorts of encounters with Rotarians sitting next to us in restaurants and other venues. For the third day in a row my husband Rob and I had amazing encounters with people we knew. What are the odds of being in an arena with 11,000 people and sitting next to a fellow who you chatted with on the phone 2 weeks ago for another purpose only to find out he was a Rotarian?! Yup, that is what happened with husband Rob and the Rotarian in the seat right next to him. They introduced themselves to one another and realized just 2 weeks ago there were on a call together. Two environmental lawyers found themselves side by side in a packed arena. Pretty awesome.
And then there were encounters of the best kind…. hanging out in a restaurant and watching a black limousine van pull up to the same restaurant. Why that’s Jennifer Jones! Fans inside (me included) waved and she jokingly took a photo of the fan taking a photo of her. I guess I am now papparazzi!
Of course the best photo of all was this group shot of friends from District 7390. Its great being here and even greater sharing it with your friends.
So that takes us back to the title of the blog post: “To see a friend, no road is too long.” Privileged to be here with “old” friends and new friends around every corner.
Reporting from Houston with gratitude, DGE Juliet
RI Convention Day One: We are all connected
Author: DGE Juliet Altenburg
Today marked the official opening of the RI Convention in Houston, Texas with a 2 hour opening celebration that can only be compared to the Olympics. As 11,000 of us moved our way into the arena, celebratory music played and Rotarians representing every country danced, waved flags, and connected as they waited for the festivities to begin.
There was excitement in the air and the parade of flags, a tradition at every Rotary Convention, did not disappoint.
It is during this parade of flags where as a Rotarian you understand the full scope of the global nature of your involvement. It was explained that there are more countries represented in Rotary than in the United Nations. There are 1.4 million of us, in 46,000 clubs grouped into 529 districts, in over 200 countries of the world. You feel the international energy all around you. A group from Malaysia sat to our right, a group from France in front of us, a large contingency from India danced behind us. And when the flag of Ukraine was processed across the stage all stood and cheered. Rotarians have poured over 15 million dollars into Ukraine not to mention countless supplies and acts of service. When the world is hurting, we respond.
Our speakers were not only of this world but “out of this world”. Astronauts from the International Space Station greeted us extending thanks and good wishes.
Another tradition is that often speakers and entertainers reflect the country of origin of the current RI President. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji quoted Sanskrit which says “Great souls work and live only for the welfare of others”. He spoke of our interconnectedness and applauded Rotary’s environmental focus area inspired by a century-old ethos to live in harmony with nature. View his entire video on the Facebook page of RI President Shekhar Mehta. It was truly inspiring.
Tomorrow marks the first full day of non-stop education from morning to evening. The opening general session is titled “Discovering New Horizons in Your Communities.” Day 3 will be focused on “Discovering New Horizons in the World”, and day 4 (the last day) will have a closing session on “Discovering New Horizons and Building our Future” featuring incoming RI President Jennifer Jones. In between there will be lots of social events. My DGE class and our partners are meeting with Jennifer Jones privately Tuesday afternoon and husband Rob and I are headed to a ShelterBox shindig that evening. Hope you enjoyed this daily update from the Convention. Stop by tomorrow to hear about more adventures from Houston. It is quite a privilege being here!
Greetings from the 2022 RI Convention in Houston, Texas
Author: DGE Juliet Altenburg, D7390
After a 2 year virtual hiatus, the Rotary International Convention is gearing up for the start of a great week of reconnection, learning and inspiration! Never been to an RI Convention? It’s not your run of the mill conference! For my husband Rob and I it is our third, and each time we attend we marvel at the international impact of our Rotary family and the depth and breath of opportunities membership offers. Of course, this convention in particular is a bit more special for me as I carry the title of incoming District Governor starting July 1st. For over 2 years I have been in training mode on the Zoom screen with my 2022-2023 DG colleagues from all over the world. We’ve built virtual relationships catching up on family and sharing stories of hardships and triumphs as we’ve weathered a global pandemic. Last night it was thrilling as I hugged and shared stories IN PERSON over dinner with some of the people I now call friends from the 42 districts that comprise RI Zones 28 and 32.
Today marked the opening of the House of Friendship (“HOF”) before the official start of the Convention tomorrow. The massive HOF conference area features Rotary Action Groups, Fellowships, Service Projects, Vendors, and opportunities to experience all that is Rotary. Each of us as Rotarians have special gifts and passions that we can use collectively to serve the world. The House of Friendship brings all those interests together in a place where you can find others who share the same passions and collectively work together to impact the world. For me, old friendships were renewed (thanks Bill Tobin from ShelterBox) or magnified (thanks Dr. John Philip from the Rotary Health Professionals Action Group-RHPAG). Dr. Philip and I share a love for healthcare – he being a surgeon and me being a trauma nurse. Needless to say I hung out a LONG time with Dr. John. Our District Grant committee donated $5,000 to the RHPAG for the provision of health supplies in Ukraine. I also made new friends. (Thanks PDG Phil Lustig – Disaster Network of Rotarians.) Interestingly, I found out PDG Phil was a past member of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg! He joined in the 70’s and PDG Bob Hall was his sponsor!
My husband Rob (also a Rotarian) had great fun connecting with “his people” including the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians and ESRAG – Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group. Rob flies airplanes with the Civil Air Patrol in his spare time, and in his paid job he is an Environmental Attorney with PennFuture, an Environmental Advocacy group. Yes, Rob and I as a team cover a lot of Rotary’s Areas of Focus! All of this can’t be outdone by sharing this experience with Rotary friends from our own District. PDG John Kramb was front and center with the International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians and fellow Mechanicsburg-North Club Member Dave Getz and wife Vonnie enjoyed the sights including the Virtual Reality Station. Dave has a passion for Polio Eradication and will be our District’s new Polio Chair on July 1st.
What a great 24 hrs it’s been! Stay tuned for more blog posts each day (and videos on the District 7390 FaceBook page) as I share the wonderful gift of Rotary showcased at the 2022 Rotary Convention.
District 7390 Passport Club Celebrates Flexibility and New Approach to club membership
Last year District 7390 celebrated the chartering of a new type of Rotary Club called a Passport Club. In this article we feature an article written by the club’s President, Melissa Kopp-Smith on her experience leading and growing this exciting new club.
The Rotary Club of District 7390 Passport was chartered on November 17, 2020 and I have had the great privilege of being its first Club President! Although you may recognize my name from my work in District 7390, my role as Passport Club President has energized me in a way I could have never anticipated. When I began my Rotary journey 15 years ago, I honestly did not know anything about Rotary. Becoming Club President made me fall in love with this great organization and increased my passion about Rotary and what we do!
The Passport Club currently has 26 members representing a variety of different professions including entrepreneurs, realtors, and marketing specialists. The Club meets the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. Meetings are held like many other Club’s meetings, including great speakers and ways to develop in leadership skills. We will always meet virtually so you can live or work anywhere as a member of our Club! Additionally, we have the cheapest dues of any club in the District – just $150.00/year.
According to Rotary International, the term “passport” refers to the ability to move freely from club to club, and attend meetings or participate in activities of other clubs. Any Rotarian can attend another club when traveling, however, Passport clubs encourage their members to do so regularly. While the District 7390 Passport Club will always meet virtually, we hope our members will attend other Rotary Clubs in the District and become engaged in their service activities.
The District 7390 Passport Club is growing and welcomes new members! We also want to work with other Clubs in the District to increase involvement and engagement in Rotary service projects and experiences among our members. If your Club is initiating a project, please let us know how we can help. Happy with your current club membership but curious with our club and how we operate? Come visit us any time and bring a friend. Just send me an email at email@example.com and I will send you connection information. Let’s grow Rotary together and help Rotary Serve to Change Lives!
DG John Anthony reflects on his Rollercoaster of a Ride as District Governor
At a small gathering on Saturday, June 26, 2021 dedicated to the installation of new District Leadership for the 2021-2022 year, DG John Anthony reflected on his past year as District Governor of District 7390. In honor of his many contributions to our district including his passion, dedication and unrelenting optimism, we feature his reflections to the audience. Thank you DG John for your leadership during the many challenges and triumphs of the year!
ROTARY OPENS OPPORTUNITIES
Wow! How Prophetic was THAT Theme!
Do you remember your very first Roller Coaster Ride?
first you had years of anticipation
as you needed to GROW.
You were not ready
even if you thought you were…. you weren’t…
You waited and you waited.
And then finally, the year came.
The year YOU were tall enough to ride the BIG Roller Coaster.
But wait again…
first were weeks and then days of anticipation.
You worked on a plan.
What is the front cart like?
You spoke to others who had taken the ride before.
You took in as much advice as you could.
You lined up the people you would go with on the ride.
You felt prepared… you felt nervous… you felt excited…
and you were ready!
Then the day came.
You made sure not to eat or drink too much.
Finally you were in line
You patiently waited
and you were ready.
And you watched others as they exited the ride
watching for any hint of knowledge they would bestow through their expressions or comments.
And you positioned yourself to be in the front car… because you believe… that’s the BEST place to be.
Finally you are in your seat… strapped in… locked in … ready to rock!
And what a ride it was!!
And then… it was over.
WAY TOO SHORT… But AWESOME!!
Was the ride what you thought it would be?
Did you scream the entire time?
Grab onto the person next to you for security?
Did you throw up a little?
Laugh a little?
Cry a little?
What an incredible year we have had.
The entire District Team stepped up their game
working in their area to bring value to the clubs.
Our Rotarians came together to strengthen OPPORTUNITIES for service by strengthening and expanding current programs such as…
Rotary Means Business
Rotary Veterans Initiative
Teachers Impact Awards
Pints for Polio
Planning and educating for RYLA
Planning and educating for Youth Exchange
A Virtual Conference
And SO much more…
Our Rotarians came together to create so many NEW OPPORTUNITIES including…
Polio Plus Society
Mentor Program for new members
Ride for Polio
Monthly District Development Sessions
Monthly Leadership Calls for Club Leaders
Grant Certification Programs
Grant Programs to help smaller clubs get grants for their communities
and SO much more…
we added a New Club!
SO many leaders who made SO much happen.
It was incredibly heartwarming to watch the passion and the drive offered by so many leaders and volunteers.
The Presidents and leaders throughout the district Opened the Doors of Opportunity for Service to their clubs, their members, and their community which seemed to have been closed.
And the members…
the members found OPPORTUNITIES to continue to BE ROTARIANS. To offer service above self.
In Clean Water Projects
Helping with COVID Vaccinations
easter egg hunts
helping in food pantries
helping local veterans
helping children in so many ways
in helping the environment with many Tree plantings and community garden projects and so much more locally and globally.
And So much more…
Can you imagine a world without Roller Coasters?
BUT it is my time to let the next person in line. The next super excited, well trained and ready leaders… to have the front car.
I CANNOT adequately express my gratitude for every single team member who helped to make this year a success.
I CAN however,
just as so many before me have,
that I am NOT getting off the roller coaster.
Nope the ride is too fun…
You will find me with so many other wonderful PDGs,
sitting in the back of the coaster,
offering support and service,
because like you all,
we love the ride.
We love Rotary.
We love being of Service Above Self.
It has truly been an honor to be your District Governor this year. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service to you.
Rotary will CONTINUE to OPEN OPPORTUNITIES through all of you.
Thank you all for ALL that YOU do EVERY day for your Community, for your World, and for Rotary.
District Governor Greg…. best wishes on this incredible ride. We are buckled in and ready to roll.
– District Governor John Anthony, 2020-2021