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52 Rotarians, spouses attend Rotary Academy

BUTUAN CITY (November 19) -- Fifty two Rotarians, including spouses, representing 11 Rotary Clubs from Zones 3B-1 and 3B-2 of District 3860 attended the Rotary Academy held at the Luciana Convention Center here on November 17, 2007 with the theme "One Dream... One Team... One District."

Said 11 clubs that practically cover the entire Caraga Region are the Rotary Clubs of Bislig, Butuan, Butuan North, Downtown Butuan, Metro Butuan, Central Cabadbaran, San Francisco, Central Surigao, Metro Surigao, Surigao City, and the Surigao Midtown Jewels.

Basic and intermediate subject matters were learned during the academy-such as history, organization, programs and activities of Rotary; including topics such as "Why Join Rotary", Rotary Protocol, and Rotary Foundation-riveted the participants' attention and provided them with fundamental knowledge and insights about what's up and on with Rotary as an organization of businessmen and professionals.

Asst. Governor Wilfredo Sinco, who banged the gavel to signal the opening of the Rotary Academy, provided the historical backdrop down memory lanes, wherein he shared: "Rotary, being the world's first organized service club, was founded on February 23, 1905 by Paul Harris, who is a lawyer by profession. It all started when Paul Harris and his friends met initially, then decided to hold weekly meetings at each member's place of business on a rotation basis. From that rotation scheme, the term Rotary was eventually adopted to be the name of their club. Their club, known as the Rotary Club of Chicago, was the very first ever to be established."

He made mention also of "Carlos P. Romulo as the first ever Filipino to serve as the 3rd Vice President of the Rotary International during the Rotary Year (RY) 1937-1938."

Senior Asst. Governor for Service Projects Gerard Rikken, who is a Dutch, traced the background of Rotary Academy as having been started by the "Rotary District 3830 in RY 1999-2000 to cover the basic needs of Rotarians" - and that is to learn the ropes and nitty-gritty of Rotary as a civic organization.

As an overview, he pointed out that the Rotary Academy has three modules-such as New Members Education, Continuing Education for Rotarians, and Leadership in Action-which the participants need to cover. "This particular module," he clarified, "is the first installment in the series.

"For those who will complete the development cycle, by taking up the three modules," he explained, "they will be accorded a Certificate of Graduation from the Academy during the District Conference."

Club President Florencio F. Sunico, Jr. of the Rotary Club of Surigao City (RCSC), who dwelt on the topic "Why Join Rotary" shared that businessmen and professionals have joined the organization for many, splendid reasons. He enumerated among other things that "we joined to enlarge our network of friends. We joined Rotary for business connections, for personal growth and development, for leadership development, for fun and entertainment," and for many other reasons.

Just an example, he shared to the group about one thing that freshly stood out in his memory. Being the current Club President of RCSC, "I have strategic and sensitive responsibilities to do. But when my duty as a civil servant called me to transfer from Surigao City to Butuan City to assume as Officer in Charge-Regional Director of TESDA Caraga Region, I have to go. Surprisingly, I was met with a tarpaulin banner welcoming my arrival and assumption to duty here in Butuan City. I was very much touched with that gesture coming from Rotarians headed by President 'Bong' Malayao of the Rotary Club of Metro Butuan. And that's just one of the tangible reasons why I join Rotary."

The top gun in the gathering was Past District Governor (PDG) Bert Dormendo, who shared about Rotary International's (RI) Programs and its Foundation. According to him, RI's programs and service opportunities are designed to help Rotarians meet needs in their own communities and reach out to assist people in need worldwide.

His main focus was on the Menu of Service Opportunities wherein RI recommends that clubs planning service activities should consider nine major needs or concerns: "Children at Risk, Disabled Persons, Health Care, International Understanding and Goodwill, Literacy and Numeracy, Population Issues, Poverty and Hunger, Preserve Planet Earth, and Urban Concerns."

Quoting from a Rotary document, PDG Dormendo indicated, as a kind of challenge, to the participants: ""No one can tell us what Rotary will be tomorrow, but one thing is certain: what Rotary will be depends upon the Rotarians of today."

Rotary is actually known for its Four Way Test and its mottoes such as "Service Above Self", which was coined in 1950, and "He Profit Most Who Serves Best", which was minted way back in 1911.

Organizers of the event were thankful that with the backing of KIA Motors of Butuan City as a major sponsor the academy proceeded slickly and ended smoothly. (TESDA-13/PIA-13)

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