Wade first touched upon this year's theme. "Reach Within to Embrace Humanity," means one has to discover Rotary's meaning personally before sharing Rotary with others. The theme's logo represents the stages of an opening heart. District Governors focus on what their intent will be and they go to many serious meetings and workshops to prepare and train. The main objective is to set goals for your region and the goals need to be quantifiable, like increasing membership by 10% and giving to the Foundation by 10%. Wade stated his goals were different, not measurable: "For this year in my governorship, I focus on the Presidents' in each Rotary Club. Our memberships are the most important to achieve your goals within your Clubs and to achieve our goals as a Region."
"Ten years ago, I was part of eight different service organizations and then I was asked to charter the Rotary Club nine years ago. As a new member, I did not know what was going on and was inspired by a speaker who challenged us to do an international project." Wade said, "I am bi-lingual in Spanish with a degree in Horticulture and became the third person on a water project in La Cienega, Mexico. Almost nine of ten children there are sick because of dirty water and we empowered people to assist us and in a year and a half, the community had clean water."
"The community leader thanked me for bringing life to their village, because in their village water is life. This was a turning point for me in Rotary, to see first hand the good that Rotary does."
Wade had Polio when he was 4 years old in Santa Barbara. As a Rotarian he did an National Immunization Day in India in a city of 4.3 million people and in a four day period of time, 916,000 children under 6 years old were immunized. What he endured as a child, the isolation and rigorous treatment, now is "this close" to being eliminated as a childhood threat on the planet through the efforts of Rotary.
He was invited to Korea to witness and help with a Rotary program initiated at the Rotary Club of Taft, that helped developmentally challenged adults live independently. Almost all the graduates from their program end up living on their own. In Korea the developmentally disabled are pariahs, and with Wade and his team paying positive attention to their plight, they touched and changed attitudes, including reuniting a father and son.
"This is what Rotary does and this is what investing in the Rotary Foundation can do," Wade said, adding that "The GB Rotary Club is exceptional in this way and in your contribution."
According to our District Governor, there are three Gifts available to the Rotarian: The ability to change lives forever; the experience of a Rotary "Aha" moment; and to share that experience with others.
"Rotary has a lot to offer. Write your Rotary elevator speech and get it down, so that you are prepared to share it when asked what we are all about," said Wade. "Share what Rotary means to you. As your DG, I am focused on you as members to give you all the opportunities to succeed."
The District Conference will be held in Carpenteria, because Rotarians own the city and they have the city behind us to make it a great event. The District has made it possible to attend the event at a low cost. With Rotarians from 40-50 different countries in attendance, this year will see a huge change to benefit Rotarians worldwide. Wade urged all of us to come and attend, enjoy, learn and share the experience of Rotary with other Rotarians!