Rotary projects around the globe
Rotary clubs in the ski resort towns of Park City, Utah, and Breckenridge, Colorado, have a friendly rivalry for the longest “shot ski” — a ski affixed to shot glasses that people raise together to down whiskey at the same time. In October, the Rotary Club of Park City Sunrise recaptured the crown as 1,363 people lined a street to drink rye whiskey (or apple cider) in unison from hundreds of shot skis held end to end. The event raised more than $43,000 for grants to assist community organizations, club member Connie Nelson says. She concedes that she and fellow club member Mike Luers were inspired by the Colorado club during a “reconnaissance” tour of successful winter resorts. “Their main street was closed for a festival. I looked at Mike and he looked at me and we said, ‘We can beat that,’” she says. The festive affair is “branding for our Rotary club,” Nelson adds. “We not only sell out but we have people on a waiting list to try to get on the line. It’s not just to sample the alcohol. It’s about the getting together, the unique community sharing.”
Nearly 40 percent of adolescents are not in secondary school in Honduras, where educational achievement scores are low. The Rotary clubs of Tegucigalpa Sur and Peterborough, Ontario, teamed up to address the issue. In 2018 the clubs, which have collaborated on projects before, constructed a teacher training center in the municipality of Lepaterique and supplied books and other learning materials. Most recently, the clubs partnered with a nonprofit organization and the country’s Ministry of Education to provide literacy training to primary school teachers. “Sixteen-hour workshops are being held on a rotating basis with 160 teachers” representing 62 schools, says Marie Press, a member of the Peterborough club. “The feedback has been incredibly positive.”
Visits to U.S. ski resorts in the 2022-23 season
Share of Honduran children who complete secondary school
For its centennial project, the Rotary Club of Halifax built a scenic overlook above the town on an ancient road and footpath known as the Magna Via. Illustrated panels identify landmarks such as Wainhouse Tower, Borough Market, Square Church spire, the Halifax gibbet (a replica of the 16th century precursor to the guillotine), and the Town Hall, designed by Sir Charles Barry, architect of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. QR codes link to descriptions of the landmarks on the club website. “The views are magnificent and span the horizon,” says Ken Robertshaw, a past governor of District 1040. The $25,000 project, dedicated in late June, was funded by sponsoring businesses and individual donors, including Robertshaw, who contributed in honor of his late wife, Pauline. The Town Council agreed to maintain the overlook. “Given the history of the site, it seemed like an appropriate place for us to build something that celebrates the rich heritage of the town,” Robertshaw says.
All the world’s a stage for young Sri Lankan thespians who, with their Rotarian supporters, take their Shakespeare seriously. For nearly five decades, tens of thousands of them have participated in the All Island Inter-School Shakespeare Drama Competition. Known as the “Shakes,” last year’s contest, held in September and organized by the Rotary Club of Colombo North and the Colombo YMCA, included more than 1,000 students. The ensembles performed 30-minute scenes that organizers chose from eight plays. “They are judged mainly on acting, and marks are also allocated for direction, teamwork, and effects,” Club President Lasika Jayamaha says. Rotaractors assisted with front of house and backstage roles. “The competition has been a springboard for thousands of young people across the island” to careers in acting, directing, and media, Jayamaha says. Adding to the shine, the coveted rotating trophy is a silver bust of Shakespeare that was a gift from the mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the Bard.
The year the Halifax gibbet claimed its last victim
At least 37.00
The number of plays written by Shakespeare
The Rotary Clubs of Dakar-Soleil and West Chester, Pennsylvania, celebrated a milestone last year in their project to drill for water in three villages in Senegal. Despite delays during the pandemic and “several difficult months searching for water on the part of the construction company,” productive boreholes were drilled in July and August in the southeastern Kédougou region, reports Samuel Lowry, a member of the Rotary Club of Greater Huntsville, Alabama, who assisted with the project. Three of five planned pumps are now in use providing potable water, Lowry says. A $130,000 global grant supported the project. Funds were also raised online during the pandemic. A project Facebook page yielded contributions as well as comments like “How can we get one of these where we are?”
This story originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of Rotary magazine.