At the July 2nd meeting of the Rotary Club of Ladysmith, newly installed President, Eileen Beltgens, introduced her Focus of Engagement with Community, as well as Rotary International’s theme, Rotary Opens Opportunities to the membership.  This is also the Rotary Club of Ladysmith’s 50th anniversary!  Look for activities this summer and fall to celebrate our involvement in Ladysmith over the last half century!
The Installation was performed via Zoom and many Rotary District and local Interact Club leaders were in attendance.
President Eileen comes to this service role with wide experience in leadership, education, counselling, and business ownership, having designed and administered Job Training programs, online courses, and youth retreats.  Her interest in Rotary has focused on Youth, and soon after she joined, she helped develop and establish a student Rotary Interact program at Ladysmith Secondary in 2016.  She works in an advisory capacity to support these young leaders engage in service activities and they learn more about leadership and service during their high school years.  

Rotary sponsors two youth leadership weekends (RYLA-Rotary Youth Leadership Advancement), one on Vancouver Island and one in Tacoma, where students can meet other young leaders and develop skills to take back to their school and community involvement.  
President Eileen wants to work closely with other community groups this year to bring programs and projects to Ladysmith that address the needs of our community in these changing times.  We want to work with other organizations and groups to build strong community. Board members are identifying goals and working on creative ways to stay connected with our community while respecting physical distancing guidelines.    
The 2020/2021 Board
President: Eileen Beltgens
Incoming President: Frank Elsom
Past President and Secretary: Sandra Milne
Treasurer: Brian King
International Service: Don Mercer
Community Service: Paul Williams
Club Service: Frank Elsom
Youth: Eowyn Sinclair
Foundation: Mike Munro
Membership: Joan Phillips
Public Image: Gerry Beltgens
Sergeant at Arms: Marshall Butcher
Our weekly club meetings are held on Zoom on Thursdays at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome!  Contact Eileen at to receive the link to the meeting, then join us to see what we’re doing and how you might want to be involved.


Installation, Jun 18, 2020

Good evening Past District Governor Craig, District Governor Maureen, Incoming District Governor Greg, Assistant Governor Gay, Incoming Assistant Governor Nora, President Sandra, honorable Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Ladysmith, spouses, family, friends and even Interact members who chose to be here tonight.
I am indeed among friends.  Thank you for the trust you place in me and our leadership team, each member with skills and experiences they bring to their commitments to serve.   As Rotarians and “people of action”, we will work with you to create programs that address community needs, especially in these changing times. Even when we might not agree, our commitments to service help us work through challenges to become stronger and better able to build relationships and communities.
Ben Zander, a conductor of the Boston Philharmonic once said, “The conductor of an orchestra does not make a sound… [a conductor’s] true power comes from the ability to make other people powerful.”  
Leadership is like that.  Together we create a symphony with each person playing his or her important part to make music – our contribution to our community.  Rotary – and Rotarians are known by the actions we take – the music we make.
This year is also the celebration of Rotary’s 50 years in Ladysmith – 1970-2020!  
Consider for a moment how much good and how many valued programs Rotarians have brought to the community of Ladysmith and internationally over this time!  
What if this year we make stories part of our celebration - stories from longtime Club members who volunteered to create these events?  We need to celebrate our unique history of service over last half century!  
  • Dinner at the Savoy!  
  • Building the golf course and the toddlers’ playground; 
  • Travel to Guatemala, where we see the sustainability our efforts make real!  
That first club use of computers at Installation to enable ailing David Walbank to join our meeting – one of the first meetings I attended with Gerry – a great example of reaching out to include others.  
So, what shall we do?  It is just not an option for Rotarians to sit back and wait for things to happen around us – or for Covid-19 restrictions to go away. We are a big part of the process of community building.  
Rotary asks incoming Presidents to set Goals for this year; however, they are not just MY OWN goals; they will be goals we ALL agree to pursue. 
The list of our usual events that are cancelled this year does not have to be longer nor more significant than the list of things we can create.   We are seeing good models out there that inspire us and that we can emulate!
We will be working together differently:  
  • Adjusting as we strengthen relationships using Zoom; 
  • Finding new ways to bring people “together” in community while keeping ourselves and others safe; 
  • Exploring new avenues for working with Youth through Interact and Rotaract; 
  • Building community by partnering with First Nations and other community service groups; 
  • Supporting vulnerable families by working with organizations who are already skilled at addressing Ladysmith’s particular needs; 
  • Discovering ways to support our Rotary neighbors in Guatemala and internationally; 
  • Fellowshipping with each other 
  • AND, being the kind of diverse and dynamic service club others would like to join.  
  • So much to do and so little time!
When I was asked last year to be our President for 2020-2021 it seemed so far away; however, I immediately thought my personal vision for the year would be ENGAGEMENT. I want to be engaged. I want members to be engaged. I want us to engage our community to work with us to create solutions to problems that will strengthen us all.  And I want us to CELEBRATE what we do and who we are as “people of action” with commitment and pride as members of the Rotary Club of Ladysmith.
RI incoming President Holger Knaack’s theme for the year is “Rotary Opens Opportunities” – perfect for this year of change in the ways we work together.  Which doors will we choose? What opportunities will this year open for you personally – leadership perhaps?  How will we continually engage ourselves and others?
What do we want our next 50 years to look like?  Working backwards, what do we want to have accomplished this year – during the next 3 years – in ten years?  
This summer we have the privilege of working together with Past District Governor, Craig Gillis, to design our path for the next 3 years.  Thank you so much for your support, Craig. This year we might have to leave our assumptions at the door – loosen our grip on our version of “normal” or how we’ve always done things – and be curious about what we might accomplish doing things differently.  Will we act beyond the familiar to discover areas that need our attention?
When I heard that Rotary confirms a new President each year, I thought how things must have to change each year; however, I find that is not the case. Though the person in the position changes, the members, who make the Club live, do not.  Sandra successfully passes on to me a club not much different from the one Joan successfully passed on to her.  

Thank you to Sandra and to all the past presidents back to Ron Molander, Pat Bryan, Jim Runciman, and presidents along the way for passing on a strong legacy that is the Rotary Club of Ladysmith.  
HOWEVER:  It is still up to each of us to create what we want from our club each and every year.  We have strong individual and collective voices.  Let them be heard!
Considering the answers to these questions and inviting others to join us are what will engage us this year and enable us to open doors to opportunities for each of us personally, for our community, and internationally. On the shoulders of past leaders, my many teachers, and with the support of strong family and friends, I stand ready to take on the stewardship of the Ladysmith Rotary Club for the coming year.  
I am proud to walk together with you through new challenges.  I welcome your input and your support for me and for this leadership team. HERE WE GO!!