By Irvin Metcalf, president of the Rotary Club of Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
Other Rotary members often ask me why I and my Rotary Club of Grantham colleague Paul Wilson attended the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal. There were so many good reasons!
First and foremost we both wanted to see and meet other Rotary members from all around the world to find out more about Rotary and the inspirational work going on around the globe.
Second, our club wanted to thank in person representatives from a number of our Rotary Global Swimarathon participating clubs and districts and present special awards including a wooden Newton apple that represents our town. These extraordinary members of the Rotary family have been a huge part of the success of the Rotary Global Swimarathon, which has already raised over $225,000 for End Polio Now in the two years it has been running.
Third, we wanted to enjoy the fantastic program of internationally recognized speakers and entertainers, particularly as they were in the beautiful port of Lisbon, and not a million miles from home.
Finally, Paul had been given a prominent job speaking in the breakout sessions. Paul was invited to give a presentation on social media following the huge success of our campaign for the Global Swimarathon.
For Paul, without a doubt the most inspiring part of the whole experience was meeting polio survivor and Rotary member Ramesh Ferris. Ramesh has met with world leaders around the globe and is known throughout the Rotary world for his tireless efforts to promote polio eradication. It was a great honor to spend some time talking with Ramesh about our plans for him to come to Grantham for a very special Rotary Global Swimarathon event in June 2014.
We also met up with David Price, responsible for creating the Rotary Crocus, who was having a hugely successful convention promoting the fund-raising idea for the End Polio Now campaign. Paul is now heading up the social media campaign to spread the crocus campaign worldwide in 2014. The effort has already raised in excess of $250,000 and is set to raise millions of dollars in the next few years.
Was it worth the time, effort, and cost? Absolutely!