How we survived the Mississippi River in a kayak

Ken Robertshaw and Grace during their trip down the Mississippi River.

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during their trip down the Mississippi River.

By Ken Robertshaw, Rotary Club of Halifax, Yorkshire

On 7 August, my friend Grace and I set out on an expedition to kayak the length of the Mississippi River. We completed the journey on 4 October.

Our goal was to raise funds for a charity in the United Kingdom, The Theodora Children’s Trust, that places specialist entertainers in Children’s hospitals and hospices to cheer up ill children and assist their recovery through laughter.

The journey was not without problems. We encountered severe electrical storms, woke Continue reading

Kayaking the Mississippi River to cheer up sick children

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during a stop in the kayaking challenge.

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during a stop in the kayaking challenge.

By Ken Robertshaw, a member of the Rotary Club of Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

I had the misfortune of seriously injuring my leg 35 years ago, requiring six operations, and the leg still troubles me. So I know how challenging hospital stays can be, even with the best efforts of the medical staff.

Imagine how much worse it is for a child; frightened, sick, and away from family and friends. A while ago, I learned about a small charity in the United Kingdom called the Theodora Children’s Trust that specializes in sending in trained entertainers to bring mirth and merriment to children in the hospital.  Continue reading

Speaking up for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

Darren Luong, left, and Matt Pomeroy receive cetifications from District 7090 for their work with youth service.

Darren Luong, left, and Matt Pomeroy receive certificates from District 7090 for their work with youth service.

By Darren Luong, a member of the E-Club of Southern Ontario, Canada & Western New York

Sixteen years ago, as a student at Cardinal Heights Middle School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I received an award from the local Rotary club at my graduation. I didn’t know what Rotary was or even why I had received the award. Time went by and it was forgotten at the bottom of some boxes packed away.

Eight years later, I was sponsored to go to a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in my district. This life-changing week and the support from Rotary throughout my life has convinced me that this organization is full of amazing people that can really change the world for the better. Continue reading

My time with ‘Future Rotarians’ in Sydney

Participants in the 2014 International RYLA.

Participants in the 2014 International RYLA.

By Dr. Mona Khanna, a former Rotary Group Study Exchange fellow

If you were at the 2014 RI Convention in Sydney, Australia, this week, you may have seen the sticker “Future Rotarian” on some badges. Chances are the badges belonged to members of Rotaract and/or delegates to the 2014 International Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) development program. Continue reading

An Interact(ive) approach to leadership training

Students take part in an outdoor training session during District 5180's Interact Presidents and Officers Training Seminar at Sacramento State University. Photo courtesy of Bill Tobin

Students take part in an outdoor training session during District 5180′s Interact Presidents and Officers Training Seminar at Sacramento State University. Photo courtesy of Bill Tobin

By Bill Tobin, assistant governor of District 5180 and a member of the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills, California, USA

How do you keep a roomful of students and Rotary members awake for leadership training? We discovered recently that busting out of the classroom, and varying the format just a bit, can work wonders. Continue reading