Three generations traveling to Bangkok in May
William, Denver, Renee, and James Simmermon at a recent Rotary club meeting. Three generations of the family -- William, Denver, and James -- plan on attending the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, (bottom).
Three generations of the Simmermon family are planning to attend the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, 6-9 May.
The convention will be the ninth for James E. Simmermon, 85, a member of the Rotary Club of Oakmont Verona, Pennsylvania, USA, who attended the New Orleans convention last year. He says that hearing Bill Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commend Rotarians for their polio eradication efforts ranks as one of the highlights of his Rotary experience.
When James suggested making the 2012 convention a family affair, his son William, a member of the Rotary Club of Highlands Ranch (Littleton), Colorado, agreed. And William and his wife decided that the convention would be an invaluable experience for their son Denver as well. The middle school student is involved in the district's youth leadership program.
"The opportunity to spend time with my father, and for us to experience a big Rotary event together, is priceless," William says. "I have traveled around the world for business, and I have been to Bangkok before. I sort of see this as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to have three generations of my family going."
For his part, James feels every Rotarian should attend at least one convention.
"You get a whole new perspective on what Rotary does," he says. "You may know a lot about what your own club is doing, but when you get to a convention, you gain a better understanding of what Rotary is doing around the world."
William, who has been a Rotarian for six years, says he took part in service projects with his dad as a child and attended Rotary club lunches. Now he is making a deliberate effort to include his family in the Rotary experience.
"My wife and son attend meetings and club activities, so Rotary does not conflict with family time," William says. "It has enhanced our family time because we are all there together."
William says Rotary also helps him as a parent. "The same values Rotary stands for are values we believe in as a family. We want to pass along those values."
It's not too late to make plans to join the Simmermons and thousands of other Rotarians in Bangkok. Register by 1 March for reduced pricing.
Rotary's 103rd convention will offer attendees an unforgettable experience in a city filled with exotic temples, unique museums, and ancient attractions. The convention also promises inspiring speakers, including two who have spent their lives promoting economic and community development, one of Rotary's areas of focus.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank, which provides small loans to entrepreneurs, particularly women, in impoverished communities. And Hugh Evans is cofounder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, an organization dedicated to motivating people to take action to end extreme poverty. Recently, the organization added polio eradication to its list of campaigns.
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