President David opened the meeting by reminding us that September is New Generations Month and that it is never too early to identify young people who are potential Rotarians. Get them into Interact and then Rotaract! O Canada was sung a cappella (the piano being obstructed) and grace was delivered by David Sills.
Rotarians of the Week: President David recognized Heather & Lorna for the Pub & Tug social of Sept. 11 and presented Heather with the Rotary 4-Way Test coin (Lorna was absent).
Visiting Rotarians & Guests, intorduced by Pablo Diemecke: Bill LeSourd & Gary Nazar, both Calgary S., O&G explor.; Lynne Murray, Harbourside; Jim Porter, Calgary S, S/A; Bo Bergman, Kalmar Nyckel, Sweden; Timber Measuring. Laura Randall was the guest of Neil Madsen, Katherine Gibson of Ted Harrison; Marion Benz, Leyland Cecco and Jennifer Smerdon (Ambassadorial Scholar) were guests of the Club; Cajsa Bergman was a guest of Nels Granewall, Pamela & Larry Cecco, parents of Leyland; Angelo Munro was a guest of John Picken.
President David announced that $1,050 has been donated to Cops for Cancer a combination of member contributions and matching funds by the Club ($300). President David attended the kick-off for Cops for Cancer and talked about the serigraph donated by Ted Harrison that was auctioned off at the event. In recognition of Ted's generosity Ted was also received Presidential recognition this week.
John Edgell talked about the November 18th foundation event with Stephen Lewis. The club has committed to at least two tables of ten. See Tav to reserve your seat.
Tricia has copies of the Rotary Declaration for $30 a piece. These framed declarations are perfect for the wall of your office. Tricia also announced that our newest member Bedrija is organizing a hike up Mt. Finlayson this coming Sunday. And lastly, Tricia has information about a 9 hole golf fundraiser for Operation Trackshoes on October 1 st – $50.00 for nine holes of golf and dinner. See Tricia for more information.
Our Sergeant at Arms Dallas Chapple fined anyone who didn't participate in the social event on Sunday and Ron Cooley and Vicki Pitt an additional $2 each for forgetting about the event. President David was fined $2 for completing a big real estate deal, Lesley Warnock for a new hairdo, David Sills for looking so dapper and Ted for arriving in a blue convertible. Additional fines were handed out to Tav MacPherson for an upcoming 4-day holiday and Tom Lidkea for something. Happy and sad dollars were collected from Irene for Ted's successful art exhibition opening and an upcoming vacation to China. Vicki paid uo for just being happy, and there was a sad dollar from John Snively for the young Oak Bay girl who died from Chrystal Meth. He had a happy dollar to note that there's a move in Rotary to tackle this very serious drug problem in our communities
Finally, David Philip won $12 in the Draw but drew another black marble.
Nels introduced guest speaker Leyland Cecco. Leyland was our exchange student to Slovakia last year. Leyland is a cross country runner, and a poet. He is self-taught in Italian and now fluent in Slovak.
Leyland was in Slovakia for the 2004/05 school year. He began by pointing out to us where we would locate Slovakia on a map - it is beside the Czech Republic, below Poland. Slovakia broke apart from Czechoslovakia In 1989 and became a sovereign nation in 1991. It has a population of 5.5 million. Leyland described Slovakia as a hidden goldmine, with very little tourism. The cities are beautifully old with magnificent Cathedrals. Kosice, where Leyland lived, runs the oldest marathon in Europe every year.
Kosice, in Slovakia, where Leyland was stationed.
Leyland avidly described his experiences in Slovakia and showed us many pictures of statues and castles. He informed us that the movie Braveheart was filmed at Spisska Novaves castle near Bratislava (Slovakia's capital and site of the 2004 Bush/Putin summit). We also got a glimpse of Slovak Paradise National Park and heard stories of the hike down the mountain on grates. Rotary weekends comprised of a Friday night social, then up at the crack of dawn Saturday for a 12-hour hike; Sunday was reserved for viewing castles. Leyland claimed that he's seen enough castles to last a lifetime.
Leyland told us that his main objective was to become fluent in the Slovak language and that, while it was very difficult, he surrounded himself with Slovakian friends and did indeed master the language. With the Slovak language mastered Leyland is ready to tackle all 13 Eastern European/Russian languages! Leyland described how he was readily accepted. He noted the difference in schools in Slovakia and North America, where there is a more ‘cliquey' atmosphere in our high schools.
Leyland talked about his host mother – a famous artist – although he admitted to not understanding her art.
All in all, it was a positive, life changing experience for Leyland. He offered a big thanks to Oak Bay Rotary for allowing him the opportunity.
John Edgell thanked Leyland for his talk and John Snively ended the meeting with a Rotary moment acknowledging Rotary for coming forward in the drug awareness campaign.