Friday, May 21, 2021

Program: Eleni Bakopoulos - Up Close & Personal
Messages this week from our Club President, Tracey Curtis
          Toronto Symphony Orchestra      
Hello Rotarians. I really look forward to Fridays to connect with you and our Rotary family! As usual, there's lots to share.   
Rick's O Canada pick this week was by the Band of the 15th Field Regiment with a virtual recording played before the Canucks vs. Oilers hockey game on May 4th, 2021. Thank you, Rick, for taking the extra time and trouble to bring us a new version every week!
Member Birthdays & Anniversaries:
Many happy returns to:
Luisa Del Rosario - May 21
Marguerite Campbell - May 24
Mahmud Hassain - May 28
Congratulations on these Rotary anniversaries:
Brett Reichert - 6 years (May 22, 2015)
Faz Ashkar - 1 year (May 22, 2020)
Thank you for your service, Rotarians! We truly appreciate you. 
Member News & Club Announcements:
  • Ab Moore expressed gratitude for the many phone calls, emails and cards on the loss of their son, Mark. They will respond as soon as they can. Ab and Alice ... you and the family are very much in our thoughts and hearts.
  • Paul Truex and the Truex family are inviting Rotarians and friends to join them at the online Celebration of Life for Jean Truex on Thursday, June 17 at 1pm. Registration in advance is required through this link:
  • Anne MacKay urges everyone to read the wonderful article about Don and Ruth Parr in the latest newsletter from Hospice Wellington. Don was a loyal and active member of our club for 36 years, and Ruth was well known to us as well. The article can be found on our club website here.  
  • Feedback from our club's Board Meeting on May 18, 2021.  President Tracey reported as follows:
    • Watch for an email coming soon regarding the vote by club members and the Board regarding the "surplus funds" from the past year.
    • Last week's annual Budget Request Meeting was terrific. After an introduction by president-elect Mahmud Hassain, our treasurer Trevor Lee reminded everyone of how we manage our funds with Bucket 1 being for "Operations" and paid for out of our dues, and Bucket 2 being for "Donations" and paid for out of our fundraising, with no cross-over between the Buckets, ever. Each "spending committee" presented their well-researched budget request, while Trevor kept track of whether the asks applied to Bucket 1 or Bucket 2. The final result was amazing. Trevor reported that Bucket 2 had $112,000 available for next year's spending, and the combined asks had added up to $111,386!  Therefore, the Board has been able to approve all requests! This hasn't happened in a few years. Usually, more is requested than available, committees are granted less, and they then have to rework their proposals accordingly. And considering that this has happened in a Covid year is magnificent. Well done, everyone, with especial thanks to our fundraising teams for making this possible.
    • Lastly, Tracey announced our club's succession plans for Future Club Presidents. We are fortunate to have such bench-strength in our club! Congratulations and thanks to the following:
      • 2021-2022  Mahmud Hassain
      • 2022-2023  Andrew Johnson
      • 2023-2024  Nanita Mohan
Rotary Events & Fundraisers:
  • Another Rotary Virtual Paint Night "Summer Sunrise" will be held on Sunday, June 6, 2021 at 6pm. Ben McCarl will gently guide online participants in the step by step painting of this scene. The event is organized by Gisella Gazzola. Details and registration are on our club website here. Our Rotary Paint Nights are a big hit and this will be our club's 7th such event! Donations from this event will go to Food4Kids Guelph to help feed the 335 local children currently supported by this Rotary-inspired program. https://rotaryguelph.ca/Stories/another-rotary-paint-night-summer-sunrise​​​​​​​
  • Prima Festa leftover wine. Jennifer Dunsmoore reported that several small bottles of wine are left over from the recent Prima Festa event and available for a suggested donation of $5 per bottle. Contact Rosemary Clark to arrange. 
  • Committee Signups for our club. It's that time of year again to put your name forward for club committees that you can support in the next Rotary year commencing July 1, 2021. Just follow the link emailed to all members on May 18. Please respond by the end of May so that we can start prepping our Members' Handbook for 2021-2022. Read committee details here. Rick Le Feuvre made special mention of volunteers being needed for the Operations Committee. 
  • Duck Race Tickets are on sale now. Read more on our club home page here.  Or go straight to GotDuck.ca to purchase tickets. This year, the theme is around food. Watch the 60 second  promo video here ... it was produced by Noah Van Dam, grandson of Martin Van Dam, Guelph Wellington club's president.
    • Two more Early Bird Draws each offer $500 in vouchers to local restaurants - June 1 and June 15
    • The Grand Prize is $500 per month for a year of food from Zehr's - prize drawn on Canada Day 
    • Net proceeds from the Duck Race will go to Food4Kids Guelph to help feed local children living in severely food-insecure families. 
  • Rotary District 7080 Virtual Conference on May 29, 2021 from 9am to 12:30pm. Details are here. The theme is "Take Care of Yourself, Each Other, & The Planet." Well worth attending! Cost is $20. 
  • Tour de Guelph - have you registered to ride yet, or sponsored anyone in the important annual fundraiser for the Guelph General Hospital plus two of our Guelph Rotary clubs? Go here. Also, help amazing Guelph South Rotarian Charlie Barnes (84) reach his fundraising target of $11,000 as he completes the 50km Tour de Guelph cycling event again this year - go here to Charlie's  sponsoring page.  (I happened to see Charlie today and he has just broken through the $10,000 fundraising level! Charlie is an active and successful triathlete, tennis player, and farmer ... plus an enthusiastic community volunteer as well. - TJ)
If you're happy and you know it, contribute your Happy Bucks on our club's GiveSome pages here. There are four different topics you can donate to.  
  • Helmuth Slisarenko was happy to share the news that he and Dana were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. A little birdie (Randy Seager, to be more precise) had pre-arranged this surprise zoom greeting. Happy Anniversary, Helmuth and Dana!
Program this week - May 21, 2021
Eleni Bakopoulos:
Rotarians love these introductory talks by new members, and the presenters themselves invariably report (after the fact!) that it proved to be a valuable introspection about their own lives, and a personally-meaningful exercise. 
(Photo - Eleni in her gallery- photo by Guelph Today)
As Eleni's sponsor into Rotary, Marva Wisdom was called upon to give the formal introduction and began by first welcoming a special guest, author Elwood Jimmy, a curator of the Arts Everywhere Festival, and a Musagetes colleague of both Marva and Eleni.
Marva then proceeded by saying this about Eleni:
"Whether she's teaching people how to make art at her Gritt Gallery on Wyndham Street, capturing the essence of an object through her photography, coming up with creative and practical ideas towards raising thousands of dollars for Rotary, managing social media for Arts Everywhere, writing and marketing best-selling Greek cookbooks along with her two sisters Sam and Betty, cooking from those recipes, being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a teacher, a volunteer and a friend, she is down to earth, always smiling, always with an encouraging word, and ever so thoughtful. That is Eleni. I am very fortunate to have met her and work with her on the Arts Everywhere Festival as well as here at Rotary. I am honoured to have had the chance of sponsoring Eleni into Rotary, and I look forward to learning even more about her through what she's going to share today."
Eleni was seated outdoors on a garden patio with her sisters Sam and Betty on each side of her. The Three Greek Sisters are well known in these parts, and their mutual love and support for each other shines through in everything they say and do. 
Eleni confessed that she often "wings it" when asked to speak, but for today's special talk, she had prepared notes which she proceeded to read, while sister Sam showed various slides.
And what a talk it was! From being born in Toronto's Danforth Greek Town and moving to Guelph at a young age, her general dislike of her school days (except for one special teacher who was an artist), having to learn english as a second language, through to the strong, influential women in her life (including her grandmother Eleni), plus the challenges, opportunities and successes in her life, Eleni held us spellbound with her stories and insights. And her's is a story still in-the-making so we can look forward to seeing and hearing many more chapters. 
Eleni's story is rich with life experience, and with deeply-held philosophies about social justice and art. A request has been made for her to share her detailed notes with us and she's thinking about that.
Eleni is a mom of two boys in their early teens, and married to Sean, now a pilot for ORNGE and a former military pilot (which made Eleni a military wife for some time).
Finally, she introduced us to her sisters Sam (the youngest) and Betty (the oldest and 'The Boss'), and they demonstrated the correct way to celebrate with a drink of Ouzo. Opa! 
Faz Ashkar formally thanked Eleni for her life-touching speech, and for being such an amazing social influencer and positive example in Rotary, for her kids, and for people everywhere. 
Upcoming programs 
Check our home page for upcoming speakers. Invite guests! 
  • Friday, May 28, 2021 at 12:15pm - John Wills - Up close and personal (introduction by a member)
  • Friday, June 4, 2021 at 12:15pm - Danny Williamson - Media Contact for WDG Public Health
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