Make a Difference

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We use our knowledge of local issues to identify areas of need, then apply our expertise and diverse perspectives to the problem. Our Rotary members are most likely at work in our community right now.

Don Watkins

For nearly seventy years of my life, Curve Lake was the name of a community on a signpost just south of Buckhorn.

During 2012, two speeches in the Great Hall of Trent’s Champlain College changed my life and gave a new sense of purpose to my Rotary membership.

The six day/five night Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha’s “Adventure in Understanding” canoe/camping program for First Nations’ and non-native youth between 16 and 18 years of age puts these young people in touch with the water, the air, the plants, the animals, and most importantly, with each other. An event that starts with better friendship will hopefully lead to cooperation and greater understanding.

The time and connections required to transform the concept of a canoe-based experience into  a workable reality required several trips past the Curve Lake turnoff sign to meet with the Chief and Council of Curve Lake. The Club was able to successfully complete six annual events before the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the 2020 and 2021 cancellations.

The more I listened to our First Nations partners the more I realized that I needed to become much more involved in Indigenous/Settler relations and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I now consider myself a First Nations’ Ally as I continue to attend presentations that will expand my knowledge and deepen my interest while providing the historical details that I, and many other Canadians, never realized we missed when growing up. 

Don Watkins, Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha

Chair, Adventure in Understanding Program.

Past President, Rotary Club of Tillsonburg, 1981-1982

Past District Governor, District 7080, 1991-1992

Janet McLeod

I would like to say there was a moment, an action or an event that was my "aw ha" but I can't.I joined Rotary in 1991. I was very involved as a volunteer in one of my trade associations. Attending my first Rotary meeting I felt the same sense of fun and fellowship as I did at FTD events. I was hooked, and signed up whole heartedly.
To continue to be a Rotarian has been an interesting path. Many people along the way have taught, mentored, inspired and humbled me. Allan, who had a well-honed skill of taking new members under his wing, Don encouraging me to participate in National Immunization Days in Nigeria. Forming a friendship with Rosemary (a Rotarian in Woodstock)at the airport, which continues to this day. Being able to reminisce after Nigeria was declared Polio free is terrific. Landre, our lead doctor on the medical team dedicated to vaccinating those in far off villages. Dozens of GSE participants (I miss that program) Japanese, French, Kiwis and Indian, but Robbie is who I think of the most. He taught us the Aussie expression "batting above my average", which I still use today. Then there is Nicole, a patient teacher in our District. Through the Youth Exchange program, I have met many vibrant, talented, smart, thoughtful young people. Birgit and Frederique are closest to my heart. Frederique has just completed her year as president of her Rotary Club in Tain l'Heritage.
May the circle be unbroken? Camaraderie and vision are best felt at an international convention. It was leaving a foundation event during the Chicago convention that I ran head first into a florist colleague from Edmonton. We had been at the same party! The two florist Rotarians talked nonstop all the way back to the hotel. Fun and fellowship spilling over yet again.
Janet McLeod
 Past President 1996-97
Multiple Paul Harris Fellow

Günther Schubert

I recognized the Rotary wheel for many years as symbol of unity and goodwill helping communities around the world.

Not until the early 2000s did I approach the Peterborough Rotary club to join, for I wanted to give back to my own community and meet local activist. The club members were welcoming and soon I found myself following the weekly routine of singing Oh Canada, happy Bucks, reports and projects. I participated on committees, watched and learned as business was conducted within the club. Once a year a few members  went  out to one of the Rotary trails in town to clean up the garbage. This was more up my alley and an Idea from years earlier started to brew in my head.

Due to scheduling with my work in Toronto I was forced to change clubs and  joined the Kawartha club in 2007. Again I was welcomed and soon found myself in a weekly routine and getting comfortable with the members and the meetings. Much of my live I have been a big opponent of garbage in the environment. Seeing litter on the side of the road, ignoring it or expecting someone else to pick it up was less and less acceptable to my conscience.

As a club we already had a commitment towards the County’s  Adopt a Road program to clean up River road twice a year. A great project with good club participation and good results, although I felt more could be done. For years I have been thinking about organizing a large community garbage clean-up, however doing this on my own was far too challenging, perhaps now with the support of my fellow Rotarians was the chance to do it. I pitched the idea of a community clean-up to the members of the Environment committee and had a positive reply. Together we further developed the idea and presented it to our club members. The response was overwhelming in favor and the Super Spring Clean-up was borne. Our committee worked hard organizing the first cleanup involving about 200 high-school students. Chartered busses picked up the students and teaches at school to take them to the designated picking areas on the outskirts of the city. Hundreds of bags of garbage were collected. After the cleaning, a large gathering with city officials, environmentalist, media, students and Rotarians was held at Millennium Park.  I remember well how I felt a sense of achievement, belonging and purpose as we celebrated our success with live music and food. Many Cleanups followed and I am confident that our Super Spring Cleanup has influenced many to be better citizens caring for the environment.                                                        

This for me is Rotary, working together for a better World.


Günther Schubert    

Kawartha Rotarian