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Rotary District 5040 Governor visits Prince George

District Governor Bala Naidoo (right) and local Rotarian Lorne Calder.

The Rotary International District 5040 Governor representing 55 clubs and 1,384 Rotarians in B.C. is visiting Prince George and neighbouring northern B.C. communities this week in an effort to grow the volunteer service organization.

District Governor Bala Naidoo, a member of the Rotary Club of Burnaby – Metrotown is being hosted by Prince George’s four Rotary clubs (Rotary Club of Prince George, Rotary Club of Prince George – Yellowhead, the Rotary Club of Prince George – Nechako and the Prince George Rotaract Club).

“We are in a period of rapid change where an organization that started in 1905 needs to become relevant to our next generation,” said Naidoo. “We have accomplished a lot to integrate youth from high schools and 19- to 30-year-olds, university and young professionals to join us to ensure a succession plan for the organization.

“We are becoming more flexible and giving our young professionals an opportunity to design a workable model in the Prince George community to best suit their specific needs and preferences.”

He arrived in Prince George Tuesday and spent Wednesday in the Burns Lake area. On Thursday he addressed Rotarians from the four clubs as the guest speaker at a special lunch meeting. Today he is travelling to Mackenzie. He leaves on Sunday for Terrace where he’ll meet with Rotarians in the northwest region.

Rotary District 5040 is an area that spans south of Prince George to 100 Mile House, north to Mackenzie, west to Burns Lake, Smithers, Terrace, Prince Rupert and Kitimat. It also includes clubs along the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, Richmond, Ladner and Tsawwassen.

District Governors are selected from a pool of candidates from across the district and serve a one-year term.

Lorne Calder, a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Prince George, is the District Governor Nominee and will serve his one-year term beginning in July 2021 until June 2022.

During his time in Prince George, Naidoo, a senior financial consultant with Investors Group Wealth Management, visited venues the three Prince George Rotary clubs contributed to, such as the Rotary Soccer Fields, Rotary Hospice House, the new skateboard park at Darren Fitzpatrick Bravery Park, and the Rotary Gazebo at UNBC among others. 

He also learned about ongoing projects the three clubs are passionate about such as Prince George Rotary’s Gourmet Gala that fundraises for the breakfast program at Westwood elementary, scholarships, bursaries, suicide prevention and mental wellness and youth exchange. 

Yellowhead Rotary’s Taste of India event has supported the Blackburn Community Association, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, PG Public Library and St. Patrick’s House Society. Other projects include Adventures in Healthcare (in partnership with School District 57, AimHi, the College of New Caledonia, University of Northern British Columbia and UBC’s Faculty of Medicine – Northern Medical Program) and Adventures in Forestry (partnership with CNC and UNBC).  

Nechako Rotary’s Operation Red Nose supports youth and amateur sport organizations while PG Ribfest supports homelessness initiatives here in Prince George.

Besides fundraising for local and international projects, the three Prince George Rotary clubs connect professionals from across the city who take action to create lasting change locally, regionally and internationally. Rotarians connect diverse perspectives, and apply their leadership and expertise to solve social issues. Through Rotary’s Youth Services program, they help develop ethics, and better communication and leadership skills in youth through youth exchange and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.

Rotary International represents 1.2 million volunteer members in 35,000 clubs around the world.

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