New Saugeen Shores Rotary Club officially receives its Charter

The new Saugeen Shores Rotary Club officially received its Charter on Thursday, February 25th (2021), becoming part of the 57 clubs and 1640 members of District 6330 and part of the 35,000 Rotary Clubs and two million Rotarians world-wide.

Past District Governor Diane Chantler inducted the new members and club reiterating the Rotary mission of “Service above Self” and saying that Rotary is about fellowship and service.  “You will have an impact on others around the world and will change your own life and are now the newest Rotarians in the world.”

Assistant District Governor, Pat Cavan inducted the new Board of Directors saying that they had been elected to the important positions because “…it indicates the confidence that the charter members have in you.”

President:  Pat O’Connor
President Elect:  Sara Dolbeck
Treasurer:  Ken Dolbeck
Secretary:  Geza Kocsis
Membership Chair:  Ed Braun
Rotary Foundation Chair:  John Cherrie
Club Administration Chair:  Paul Oehm
Public Relations:  Jenn Lamont
Service Projects Chair:  Marcel Legault

MP Ben Lobb also attended the zoom charter night and said that the Federal Government and all tiers of government spend a tremendous amount of money to try and fund services and support.  “As Canadians, we hold our society to a very high level.  What I have observed is that our service clubs like Rotary make a big difference, whether it’s a park or any other initiative to fundraise for, and you don’t have to go very far to see the impact that Rotary has had on communities.  As members, you do this after hours, after work and time away from family for the community that you love.”

On her way back to Huron Bruce from Queen’s Park, MPP Lisa Thompson delivered her congratulations from road-side.  “I hope the significance of this has sunk in that you are the newest Rotarians in the world and you have to wear that as a badge of honour.  There is no greater gift than your gift of time to your community. Being chartered members, you are the foundation on which you will impact the community of Saugeen Shores.

Thompson, who was a charter member of the 4H Foundation, said that being a charter member is “… something you take with you always.  You will light the way for new people to join and give their gift of time to Saugeen Shores as well.  Thank you for investing back into your community.  At a time when community matters most, it is so impressive to see 32 new people come together in the spirit of giving.”

Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau also attended the Charter induction saying that it was a great event for Rotary, the new club and for the community.

Saugeen Times file photo

“We have a tremendous legacy of a partnership with Rotary.  You can’t walk down a street or drive down a road in Saugeen Shores without seeing a project that Rotary helped bring about.  The positive legacy of Rotary is written all throughout our community and, truly, Rotarians make our community a better place that’s more liveable. To have another Rotary Club doing more work like that in Saugeen Shores is a great thing.”

Mayor Charbonneau added that, “Rotary is also the layering on of the global connection through the student exchange program and the effort to fight polio and these things connect our community to the world and connect you, Rotarians, to your counterparts around the world.  It all makes our community a stronger place.  I am very excited about the partnership of this Rotary Club and the town going forward.”

Special Guest Speaker for the event was a young(er) Rotarian, Kirk Langford.  Langford has been a member of Rotary Satellite Club of London (ON) since 2016 and had been involved with Rotary for many years.  he was an exchange student to Brazil in 2006, then as an Interactor, Rotaractor, RYLS participant and Rotex member.  He currently serves as Public Image and Social Media Chair for District 6330.

“Something that bothered me for the longest time was that the environment did not seem to be on the Rotary radar,” said Langford.  “This year however, as of July 1st, Rotary has made supporting the environment one of its seven areas of focus.  On April 24th, Rotary will be holding its first Environment Day.”


President Pat O’Connor rounded off the charter night.  “Saugeen Shores is a vibrant, caring community where volunteering is the norm and not the exception, with many service clubs and remarkable volunteers.  This is one of the reasons that makes Saugeen Shores ranked highly as a desirable place to live in Canada.  Our community is the fastest growing community in Grey-Bruce with more people coming from around the world to live, work and play here.  Diversity enriches our community.  The incredible growth of our community presented us with the opportunity to grow Rotary.  A group of us researched and decided that it was time to expand the footprint of Rotary in our town.  We decided it was time to have a Rotary club that served the amalgamated community of Southampton, Port Elgin and Saugeen Township known as Saugeen Shores.”

O’Connor went on to say that, with many new to the community, an amalgamated Rotary eliminated the choice that people would have to make in joining Rotary between Southampton and Port Elgin.  “The new club offers a solution to having to make that choice.  The club has 18 new Rotarians, two returning Rotarians and the Charter membership now has 32 members. Our new club has younger, vibrant members eager to serve the community.  Their enthusiasm is infectious and has invigorated the other members.”

Port Elgin and Southampton Rotary clubs have served the community for over 83 years and Saugeen Shores Rotary Club is about to carry on the tradition with many ambitious plans to serve the community.

“The new members took a leap of faith in trying to form a new club,” said O’Connor, “and we have formed an inspiring remarkable and diverse club.   Our membership has great talents and capabilities.  We are now ready to go and make a difference in lives and our community with ‘service above self’.

To watch the entire Charter night induction …