Jacinthe Paillé, member of the Rotary Club of Laval Rive-Nord
When I first joined the Rotary Club of Montmagny (District 7790) in October 1998, I was 25 and I knew that new people, new experiences, and passion would enrich my life, but I had no idea that Rotary would play such an important part in my life. And after moving several times, a few career changes, and two kids, I’m still a Rotarian and ever will be. For me, Rotary is my family.
When I joined the Rotary Club of Montmagny, a small town near Quebec City, I met locals that I could not have met elsewhere. Within a month, I had participated in an Annual Rotary Foundation Seminar that helped me understand that I was part of a bigger group that extended well beyond my city, my province or my country. I listened to a speaker on Youth Exchange. I saw the friendship, sharing, and meeting opportunities and I was hooked… And I still am! Even now I’m still impressed and moved by the energy and enthusiasm young people are putting into our exchanges. They really are a beautiful family!
In June 2001, I witnessed the family spirit of Rotary to an even greater extent: I participated in the first International RYLA in San Antonio, Texas, as a facilitator. I spent 3 days with 200 people from all over the world. There are no words strong enough to describe how this opportunity allowed me to understand how we are all so different and still so similar. My first International Convention there in San Antonio engraved Rotary in my heart. I was won over. I was now an official member of this family.
In 2004, I took a new position in Toronto and I felt again this family spirit. Upon my arrival, a club was literally waiting for me at the airport, the Club of Parkdale-High Park in District 7070. They helped me with my move. Rotarians came with their tools to put together my furniture. Later, one Rotarian even helped me find a job. Most people don’t understand why I enjoyed so much the three years I spent in Toronto and I can say it was thanks to all the members of my Rotary Club and other Rotarians. For instance, when I became Club President for the second time, I had the opportunity to tour Rotary’s World Headquarters in Evanston. A very nice week spent learning and sharing.
Today, 13 years later, I’m back in my hometown of Montreal and I have two beautiful daughters. I had the chance to volunteer at the International Convention in Montreal in June 2010. I participated in walks for the Rotary Foundation and in District Conferences, and I am now a founding member of the dynamic Rotary Club of Laval Rive-Nord in District 7040. I still have so much to do such as becoming a District Governor, being a GSE Team Leader, starting an Early Act Club at my daughter’s school, doing humanitarian work, and so on! For me, Rotary is all of that: a family… my family.