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Articles from Rotary Club of Welland

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More than 1800 items are up for grabs in this year's Rotary TV Auction and proceeds go to local and international charity projects!  It's a WIN/WIN!!  The Rotary TV Auction is a joint venture between all of the Rotary Clubs of Niagara and Your TV. All items are donated by local, community minded businesses.

Potential to win $10,000 in time for Christmas! Proceeds support Welland Rotary’s local and international projects. Tickets are $5 each and you do not need to attend draw on December 10th to win. To purchase tickets, contact a Welland Rotarian or email

As Welland Rotary’s one hundredth anniversary approaches, we tend to look back at what we have accomplished over the last hundred years. Since one of our priorities has been, and still is, young people let us reflect on our accomplishments.

On September 25, 2019, the Rotary Club of Welland held its annual Paul Harris Celebration at the Welland international Flatwater Centre. 50 Rotarians, partners, friends and recipients attended. The Paul Harris Fellow is the highest form of recognition given by Rotary clubs world-wide. It can be bestowed on a person, either inside or outside the club. The award acknowledges "Service Above Self" which an individual has offered to their community, their nation or indeed to the world.

The Rotary Club of Welland held its 4th Annual Bocce and Past Night on Wednesday September 18th at Casa Dante.

The Rotary Club of Welland is celebrating its 100thyear of Community Service. Since its inception in 1920, the Club has been dedicated in serving the local community. From 1927 through 1942, support was given to the ‘Underprivileged Boy’s Camp at Morgan’s Point’. 

When: Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Where: Casa Dante, 34 Lincoln Street, Welland

Time:   Doors Open: 5 pm – please arrive on or before this time to get in a few practice rounds

Dinner: 5:30 pm – food will be available at this time. A Cash Bar will be open for the night.

Tournament: 6:30 pm – we will begin promptly at this time

For more information, provide a sponsorship or make a prize donation call/text David Alexander at 905-329-6026

When trouble occurs, who do you call?  GHOSTBUSTERS!! Well not really, but Welland Rotary is much like that team, except Rotarians work within the community, very often operating below the radar, to help the community on many different levels. For example, when Rotary discovered that some elementary schools were falling behind in the purchasing of up-to-date equipment, we stepped in and, working with the principals, created the Educational Technology Program in order to make sure that the students had the necessary tools to succeed.

The first day of July is the beginning of the Rotary year as well as being Canada’s birthday, and it is our custom, at this time, to give you some idea of Rotary’s focus in the coming year. The Rotary motto this year is “Rotary Connects the World” and we believe this somewhat straight forward statement needs explanation.

It is the custom for this column to feature the out-going president of Welland Rotary. This time we’re not going to focus as much on the man himself, but his time as president. David, coming from his position of  Welland City councillor some years ago, brought his desire to bring people together, working  as a conduit for Welland Rotary to the organizations of the Niagara Region.

The Rotary Club of Welland is asking you to identify leaders that have made a significant contribution to the communities of Welland or Port Colborne through their professional and/or personal achievements. The Paul Harris recipient goes above and beyond in serving our community through promoting change and understanding.

In the past few years, the young people of the world have become stereotyped as lacking motivation, privileged and preoccupied with social media. These qualities are far from the ideal we have in mind for the leaders of the future. Perhaps past generations have a biased opinion because of our turbulent and demanding past. Yet within the youth generation lies tremendous potential to gain confidence, succeed, learn and lead. It is with this mission that Rotary has developed the RYLA program.

Welland Rotary is known for assisting in areas of the Far East, Africa, and of course here in Welland, but did you know that we also have a strong relationship and assist the aboriginal people of our community, as well as in the North? Welland Rotary, together with the Town of Pelham, took possession of a disused fire truck from the Pelham Fire Services, refurbished it and arranged for its delivery to a remote northern area.

Rotarians are an unusual group of people. Most people, when they accomplish something of note, will make sure everyone knows and appreciates it, but on the other hand, Rotarians tend to shun the spotlight, choosing instead to concentrate on the actual deed rather than the praise. That is why the events of the last few weeks are so unusual - the Rotary Club of Welland was presented with The Director’s Award by the District School Board of Niagara for the Club’s ongoing efforts on behalf of the youth and the schools in the Niagara area going back to 1943.

Members of the Welland Rotary Club met recently at Holy Trinity Anglican Church where they continued to build upon their legacy of community work in the rose city.

The beginning of the new year has always been a time of reflection. Sometimes we look at the world through children’s eyes and see the toys and presents received. It may be easier to shield ourselves from the harsh realities of hunger and homelessness that surround us. Many of us are privileged to live in safety and prosperity.

HE SHOOTS!! HE SCORES!! This phrase is as much of a Canadian icon as the maple leaf and hockey. It indicates that a goal has been scored and that victory is in sight. These words can also be applied to life and the struggle of young people to define who they want to be and achieve victory in this confusing world. Since Welland Rotary is committed to helping youth, a unique program called SLAPSHOT (StudentLeader Award Program for Students High On Training) been formed to aid young people in finding their goals in life.

This month we are profiling one of Rotary’s strongest supporters, Roman A. Groch. He is Niagara born and bred, educated at Welland High and Vocational School, as well McMaster University and currently is a CERTIFIED FINANACIAL PLANNER® with HollisWealth. However, it is outside of his workday that Roman really excels. Using his skills as an organizer and motivator, he joined various community groups such as the Jaycees as well as other groups throughout the Niagara region and has managed several successful community events for them.

The Rotary Club of Welland recognizes World Polio Day on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 with the lighting up of Main Street Bridge in the Rotary colours of blue and gold. TOGETHER, WE END POLIO.

Come join the Rotary Club of Welland in recognizing World Polio Day on Wednesday, October 24, 2018. We will be lighting up Main Street Bridge in the Rotary colours of blue and gold. TOGETHER, WE END POLIO

My name is Carmen Noldin, but all my friends call me Carmi. I am fifteen years old and I come from Paraguay, which is a small country in South America, between Brazil and Argentina.  This is my first trip to Canada. I came to Canada because I love winter and I want to speak English. In Paraguay, we never have snow, so this will be the first time in my life I have seen it.

The Rotary Club of Welland and the City of Welland are excited to unveil new street signage at the corner of Frazer and Mill Streets as Welland Rotary Way. The signage recognizes the contributions and community improvement efforts made by the Welland Rotary Club. The new signage is a tribute to the collaboration between Welland Rotary Club and Habitat for Humanity Niagara in developing housing on Frazer Street between 2009 and 2011. 

This is the time of year that everyone is thinking of school and Rotary even more so, since it’s the time that we start to think of a Rotary Exchange student for this coming year. For the uninitiated, this exchange program selects a local student to go abroad for a year to study and live in a foreign environment--a chance of a lifetime! Welland Rotary has been giving local students this opportunity for a number of years, and is always looking for suitable applicants, but there is one big draw back to this scenario—we need host families!

Last year’s Rotary motto was “Let’s Make a Difference” and Welland Rotary took this to heart with continued support of the Educational Technology Program, assistance for the Niagara Children’s Centre and aid to local programs. With these efforts and visibility in the community, it is our desire to raise awareness for what Rotary stands for, for our own members and the community at large.

Hailing from the town of Huy, Belgium, Manon Hody has crossed the ocean to spend a year in Welland as part of Rotary International’s Youth Exchange Program. Hosted by the Rotary Club of Welland, Manon came to Canada last August. She left her family, father, step-mom, her brother and 2 sisters and, of course, her horse for a life-changing experience in a new country and culture. She acknowledges her 2ndCanadian families consisting of host families, friends at school and her many new Rotary Youth Exchange friends from Canada and around the world.

Tim Proctor is the Rotary Club of Welland outgoing president this year and what a year it has been!   Tim has been a true leader, showing the way by actions rather than merely words. He has managed to juggle his duties as a husband, father, grandfather, owner/entrepreneur of Turf Net Sports Supplies and president of Welland Rotary, to the benefit of all concerned.

On May 16, the Rotary Club of Fonthill and the Rotary Club of Welland hosted a social evening among fellow business owners and professionals to learn about the Rotary Impact.Rotary is an international organization of community minded leaders united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. We are 1.2 million neighbours, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. 

It's carnival time and you could win 2 tickets to this year's event! The Rotary Club of Welland will be running their annual spring fundraiser on May 30th. The Rotary Club of Welland annually raises funds to support local community initiatives that focus on helping improve the status of women and families, support children impacted by poverty and improve educational opportunities. Annually, the Rotary Club of Welland invests more than $30, 000 to help the most vulnerable in our community.

Recently, Welland Rotary began a new pen pal program which involves the St. Mary School’s EarlyAct Club, a special group for elementary students. To reduce the generation gap and encourage young people’s interaction with seniors, the students write letters to the residents at a local seniors’ home.

It’s time once again to recognize leaders within our community that have distinguished themselves. The Rotary Club of Welland is asking you to identify leaders that have made a significant contribution to the communities of Welland or Port Colborne through their professional and/or personal achievements. The Paul Harris recipient goes above and beyond in serving our community through promoting change and understanding. 

In keeping with our “get to know us” program, this month’s Rotary Notebook will feature one of our prominent Welland Rotarians—Ray Tisi.  Ray was born and bred in Welland, went to the University of Waterloo (as did all of his children and two in-laws) and was employed throughout southern Ontario in many capacities. Ray decided to return to Welland to begin his career as a chartered accountant and raise his family.

RYLA is an acronym for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.  RYLA is leadership training for young adults (19-25 years) led by a professional facilitator experienced in youth leadership development and supported by RYLA graduates and Rotarians

In the aftermath of many high school tragedies, media reports are surfacing of students who are taking a stand against violence. They have organized themselves into a vocal force in order to ensure that tragic events are less likely to occur again. They have stood up against legislators and corporations alike in the search for safety in their schools and, ultimately, in their country.

The Welland Rotary Club is pleased to present our Curling Bonspiel.  We invite you, your friends and colleagues to join us as we take on the ice!

How can I stand up to bullies? Will I let peer pressure run my life? How can I feel better about myself? These questions, and many others, will be discussed at SLAPSHOT, an acronym for Student Leadership Award Program for Students High on Training. This is a program, unique to Rotary District 7090, which is designed specifically for the 15-18-year age group. It takes place during the last weekend in April in Ancaster at the Canterbury Hills for 100 young people from Western New York and Southern Ontario, each one chosen, sponsored and paid for, by his or her local Rotary Club.

The voucher program is the easiest way for you to support your local Rotary club and raise funds for the club's many projects in your community through the commission from the voucher provider. Consider that giving a voucher gift card to your children/grandchildren/nieces and nephews etc. is a much more personal way than giving cash and it still leaves the choice of the gift to the kids. It takes less time searching for what you consider the “perfect gift” and which may not be so perfect after all.

Who am I? What can I do? What does life mean to me? These questions have troubled the minds of people, young and old, for centuries. Young people today have even more trouble finding where they belong in this complex and ever-changing world. Since Welland Rotary is committed to helping youth, a unique program, called SLAPSHOT (Student Leader Award Programme for Students High on Training) has been established to help them find their own direction.

Local businesses contribute items to the Auction. During the past 8 years, the Rotary TV Mega Auction has raised more than $1.29 million which is used by participating Rotary Clubs to improve local and international communities.

One of the best known and loved Welland Rotarians is Fred Farnham or, as he is known by his many fans—“Freddie.” Fred was born in England and lived in London where in 1939 he and his schoolmates were evacuated to Northhampton to avoid the Blitz. When he was able, Fred joined the Armed Services and was “demobbed” in 1948. He immigrated to Canada with his wife and son in 1957. Fred moved to Welland in 1964 where he worked on business machine repairs for Carl Damude Ltd, as well as teaching Business Machines at night school until his retirement in 1997.

Are you interested in travelling, learning a new language and meeting new people? If you are, the Rotary Youth Exchange program might be something for you! In this program local students are selected to travel to a host country for a few weeks to a year. The student will live in the chosen country with a host family, vetted by Rotary, attend the local high school and travel to various points of interest in their spare time. This program sends over 8000 students a year to various countries around the world, fostering global understanding and personal growth.

Wednesday, September 20th at Casa Dante, Lincoln Street, Welland

Doors Open: 5pm | Dinner: 6pm | Tournament: 7pm

Teams of 4-6 | $25/Member | $30/Non-Member | Cash Bar


A few months ago we looked at families and how they are the basis for a productive, caring and just society. The qualities of a dynamic family, we discovered, were truth, justice, communication, loyalty, and trust. In an era where technology is everywhere, it can be difficult for youth to unplug and focus on meaningful relationships. Rotary tries to go beyond this technology to interest young people in group interactions focused on helping the community instead of isolating themselves.  

The first annual Welland Rotary (Rubber) Duck Derby this past Sunday, June 25th had some unruly participants. Some of the feathered contestants decided to ‘duck’ their responsibility and ‘fly’ the coop. Due to higher than expected winds, the participants decided to take flight and cross the starting line ahead of everyone else. These quick starters were hesitant to be rounded up and put back with the flock which saw a long delay to the start of the first annual race

This July represents a new Rotarian year and this year we are stressing the fact that we are MAD, or we are Making A Difference. We have been challenged to do this in all aspects of our personal or club lives, from helping the underprivileged, to working on community projects such as the Rose Festival, and technology for elementary schools, to the larger scope of ridding the world of polio.

What better way to kick off summer than in downtown Welland, along the canal, for a rubber duck derby. Join the Rotary Club of Welland on June 25th for their first annual duck race at Division street Welland. The race starts at 12 p.m. sharp, a great way to enjoy some fun prior to the Welland Rose Festival Parade which begins at 1 p.m.

Each year, Rotary Clubs around the world recognize distinguished leaders within their community by awarding them the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. “This award is the most prestigious award Rotary offers to members of our club and our community,” says Tamara Coleman-Lawrie, president of the local Rotary club, “it is truly an honour to be nominated and to receive this award.”

 In 1951, The Rotary Club of Ottawa established it’s annual "Adventure in Citizenship" Program in which some 200 senior high school students, from across Canada, spend four days in Ottawa experiencing tours, lectures, discussions and social events designed to enhance their understanding and appreciation of Canadian citizenship. The Rotary Club of Welland has participated in this unique program for over 50 years by sending an area high school student.

As I look back on the past year as President of the Rotary Club of Welland, I am overcome with a sense of achievement.  Not only for the personal leadership I have contributed, but for the achievements of our Club as a whole through our dedicated members.  For Rotary isn’t just about getting together at lunch or networking with friends and colleagues – it’s about coming together for a greater purpose – to truly live out the Rotary Motto of ‘Service Above Self’.

Get your tickets now for the annual Rotary Duck Derby! Race starts at the Division Street and ends at the Main Street Bridge. The event is free to attend but if you want to cheer on your duck, make sure you purchase a ticket!

Niagara Children’s Centre is proud to announce the installation of a new mechanical lift system for their Complex Needs and Physical Medicine clinic room. The total investment totalling over $5,100 came as a donation from the Rotary Club of Welland, who has been a supporter of the Centre for over 50 years.

This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the formation of The Rotary Foundation, a distinct organization within Rotary International, to which the Welland Rotary belongs. The Foundation has been recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals as the world’s outstanding foundation, both in 2016 and in 2017.

Your Chance to win a $1,000 Via Rail Package for travel anywhere in Canada*

Join the Welland Rotary for some good old fashion fun at the Cinco de Mayo event on Friday, May 5th. Enjoy entertainment salsa lessons, tequila tasting, Mexican fare, games, prizes and more! Held at Riverstone Events Centre, tickets are $75 each.

Tickets on Sale NOW! Cinco de Mayo

The event will take place on Friday, May 5th at Riverstone Event Centre and will feature Mexican fare, entertainment, specialty drinks, cash bar and games! Tickets are $75 each and can now be reserved!
Reservations can be made by emailing

Each year, Rotary Clubs around the world recognize distinguished leaders within their community by awarding them the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. “This was one of the greatest honours I have received”, shared Douglas Rapelje, one of our award recipients from previous years.

In order to progress in their chosen fields, young leaders in our community need to grow and meet with others of similar talents and abilities in order to take advantage of the changing and ever-demanding world of the 21st century. RYLA, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award program, might provide the opportunities to meet the needs of these young leaders. This is an all-expenses paid, International  week-long event held at the university in Fredonia, New York and is available to young people aged 19-25 who have a desire to develop their leadership skills and create a new direction for their lives.

Rotary Youth Exchange is an international exchange program open to 15 - 18 year olds who wish to spend up to a year living with host families abroad and attending school in a different country. This year, we will be supporting Autum Chevrette of Port Colborne and we'd like you to meet her!

In 2010, the Welland Rotary Club was searching for a significant local project that would satisfy its core vision of “Women, Youth and Children in Need”. By means of a survey conducted by the Region of Niagara, we learned that a number of the schools in the eastern part of Welland were underfunded, because of a lack of parental financial support and because of the economic down-turn over the past few years, and  therefore there has been insufficient funds for local schools to purchase needed, up-to-date educational technology.

Rotarians come from all walks of life and are all very different kinds of people, but the quality that they all have in common is that they adhere to the motto “service above self.” One such Rotarian is Tim Wright. When we look at Tim’s life, both public as well as private, we notice that it is dedicated to his fellow man. After his university years, although not a health professional, Tim’s life has centred on the health systems of Ontario.

In recent media engagements the Welland Rotary featured the interest in running a Welland Rotary Ribfest. The desire was to have a Ribfest with a local showcase of artisans and food vendors with free, family centered activities. Historically, Rotary Ribfests run by other clubs in the Niagara Region have been well received, with the revenue going back into the community and used to fund local community and International projects.

Welland Rotary, in its endeavour to serve the youth of the community, has discovered a local project that may be of interest to the educational community. École Nouvel Horizon, a French elementary school on Quaker Road in Welland, is establishing a “natural” playground for its students.

The Rotary Club of Welland focuses on humanitarian efforts both at home and abroad. In many third world countries, classrooms employ only chalkboard and book learning and they do not have access to more current technologies.  The Rotary Club of Welland has been assisting the Candelaria district in the Philippines and has embarked on an ambitious three-year program to update their educational capabilities.  

One of the most popular annual events that Rotary sponsors is the youth Slapshot weekend. An acronym for Student Leadership Award Program for Students High On Learning, this program is unique to Rotary District 7090. It is held every April for teenagers aged 15-18 who are already leaders in their church, community or school. 100 young people from Western New York State and Southern Ontario are chosen and sponsored by their local Rotary clubs to gather in the Canterbury Hills outside of Ancaster, Ontario.

Need to purchase holiday gifts for your best customers or suppliers?  How about dining cards for great Niagara restaurants? The following restaurants have generously donated gifts cards to be auctioned off...

Rotary Youth Exchange is an international exchange program open to 15 - 18 year olds who wish to spend up to a year living with host families abroad and attending school in a different country. District 7090, which covers from Southern Ontario to Western New York State,  exchanges with 20 countries around the world, in all continents except for Africa.

Don't miss out on some amazing deals and early Christmas shopping opportunities at this year's Rotary Cogeco TV Auction! More than 500 items are up for grabs Thursday, Friday, & Saturday December 1, 2 & 3, 2016. The Rotary TV Auction is a joint venture between all of the Rotary Clubs of Niagara, including the Welland Rotary and Fonthill Rotary, and TV Cogeco. All items are donated by local, community minded businesses.

Throughout the year Rotary will profile out-standing Welland Rotarians, who have gone beyond the expectations of the Club and who have caused Welland Rotary to be known in far-off corners of the world. The focus of our profile this month is Vic Kerschl.

While the fight to eradicate polio suffered a blow this year when the virus re-emerged in Nigeria, Rotary leaders and top health experts focused Monday on the big picture: the global presence  of the paralyzing disease has never been smaller. The headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, served as the site of Rotary’s fourth annual World Polio Day event. Some of the biggest names in the polio eradication campaign were there to reflect on the year’s progress and discuss what’s needed to end the disease for good.

The dream of travel has been planted in all of us—to see and experience the world, not as tourists, but as locals, to understand and communicate the many differing views of the world. The Rotary Student Exchange Program does offer some a chance to do just that.

Recently, the Rotary Club of Welland was approached by Stacey Savignac, the principal of Nouvelle Horizon, an elementary school on Quaker Road, to help fund a “natural” playground for the school. This type of playground incorporates opportunities to interact with nature on play as well as scientific components. Studies have found that this type of play area, which incorporates natural elements such as trees, logs, and stone, enhances the students’ learning experiences in a far greater way than traditional playgrounds.

In an effort to support our mandate to assist youth, Rotarians have been talking with two young adults regarding the challenges facing young people. Chief among their concerns is mental health and stress, a struggle that many people face regardless of age. At Rotary, we come together to learn, discuss and invest in supporting good health and wellbeing.

Recently we sat down with two very expressive and informed young people, one born and raised in Canada and the other, a student from South America. They expressed many of the hopes, dreams and fears of young people everywhere. These challenges and trends are at the forefront of why Rotary invests in youth development and leadership. Vinay and David (seen right with Rotary Club members) expressed their concern over issues such as mental health, addiction, suicide, depression, and isolation.

For over 46 years, the Rotary Club of Welland has recognized 10 graduates, one male and one female, from each of the five Secondary Schools in Welland. These students have been chosen by their peers and Guidance staff because they personify the motto of Rotary “Service Above Self”. They have made worthy contribution to the life of the school and the community at large and possess the qualities, abilities and interests that make them worthy representatives of their schools. At the same time, achieving academic success. 

On June 21, 2016, the Rotary Club of Welland held its annual Paul Harris Celebration. 85 Rotarians, partners, friends and recipients attended. The Club honoured two (2) community volunteers this year with Paul Harris Fellowships.

The Rotary Club of Welland won the District 7090 Governor’s Award out of 69 clubs for our work. Great job everyone!


As the term of our current president, Peter Papp, draws to a close, we look at his many achievements...


The highest award in Rotary is the Paul Harris Award.  The Welland Rotary Club is currently placing a call for nominations to our community members for individuals you feel are deserving of the Paul Harris Award.  The Award is given to a member of the community that has made an outstanding contribution to their community and exemplifies the Rotary Motto “Service Above Self”. 


Since March is Rotary’s Literacy month, let’s take a look at the many ways Rotary has been involved in this field. Over the past ten years, the Welland Rotary Club has been very active, providing dictionaries, thesauruses, and novels to local schools. We have also assisted the Port Colborne Public Library by donating books to their ongoing sales, which provide them with necessary equipment. However, we are most proud of the Read to Feed program that is delivered by the Welland Neighbourhood Project. Under the direction of Heifer International, this program currently operates at six sites in Welland.

The main objective of Rotary is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence.

Despite its vast presence in our local and global communities, many are still unsure what Rotary is. So, what is Rotary anyway? The first Rotary Club was started in 1905, in Chicago, Illinois, by a small group of businessmen who wanted to do more for their community. They took as their motto “Service above Self” and adopted the cogwheel as their logo. The name Rotary comes from the fact that they would rotate the meetings among their homes