Sunday, October 30, 2016

What does Rotary mean to you?

Larry Boudon, (Pastor at Lord of Life Lutheran Church) in an interview with Rotarian Frankie Berti, discusses the influence Rotary International had on his life...

"I actually participated in two Rotary-sponsored exchanges. The first was a "grand exchange" between our district in Western PA and West Germany in 1976. More than 100 kids aged 14-18 (I think) went to West Germany for a month in the summer of 1976 as part of an overall effort to establish permanent exchanges between that country and our district. It was the first time I had been on a plane or traveled outside of the US (Canada excepted). A friend of mine and I stayed with families in Hamburg and they took us to Berlin (still divided), Heidelberg and Freiberg. It was an awesome experience and played an important role in my decision two years later to be an exchange student.

In my senior year at Port Allegany Area High School, I decided I wanted to be an exchange student. When I applied I listed France, Switzerland, and Sweden as the countries to which I would like to go, in that order (I had studied French in high school and my last name is French). Rotary suggested Japan, but that fell through. Next they said Ecuador and that also did not pan out. Finally they said Colombia and that is where I went in August of 1978. As I said at the meeting, it was a year that completely changed the course of my life. I stayed the whole year with a wonderful family who also sent one of their kids to the US as an exchange student (Philly area). I attended two different schools, learned Spanish (to the extent that I double majored in it during college), and fell in love with Colombia and Latin America. When I started college a year later I focused as much as possible on Latin America, especially during my MA studies at the University of Virginia. After UVa I ended up in DC, working for a non-profit called Council on Hemispheric Affairs. I later got a job as a journalist with Agence France-Presse (AFP), where I used both my Spanish and French. I returned to school at UM in 1992 and focused on Latin American comparative politics and international relations. After a few years teaching as an adjunct at various DC-area schools, I landed a job at the Library of Congress, working as editor of the Handbook of Latin American Studies.

So as you can see, that one year as a Rotary Exchange Student influenced my life for many years.

As for how I see Rotary in the world, I have been away from it for too long to say anything authoritative. But one thing I will say is that it builds bridges around the world, not only through the exchange programs but through links that are established between different clubs around the world. And the more we get to know our neighbors, the more likely we will be at peace with them."

Interview by Frankie Berti

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A lunch meeting with John David of David PR Group

October 4, 2016 

Today's meeting began with concerns about Hurricane Matthew, a concern reinforced by both the recent trajectory switch of the storm and the worries about its growing intensity. Due to this concern, attendance was down as compared to prior weeks as a few missed the meeting, understandably, due to storm preparation.

Our speaker, John P. David, focused on another kind of storm, a tempest that could change and stay with us for an entire lifetime, namely, our online reputation. John David's company, David PR Group, a public relations firm which is based in Miami, works to restore damaged online reputations, for if left unchecked, a damaged online presence can destroy not only your business but also your personal life.

Mr. David began his speech by asking for a show of hands, quickly checking to see those with an internet presence, pointing out, that in this day, you are without a doubt, off the grid if you don't at least have a website, you are practically invisible to potential clients, especially, I suspect to those versed and raised in this internet focused age beginning with Generation X on forward to Millennials.

John laid out a few basic fundamental internet posting guidelines. Guideline number one, don't document everything! More specifically, in regards to respect, beginning with self respect, from there, once you respect yourself, then you can understand the necessity of respecting others. And yet, we have been lacking on teaching this vital lesson as we have this disturbing practice of people posting their "private parts", a trend that just adds to the current level of unchecked voyeurism, where these implicit photos are then forwarded on to others ( the ultimate sign of disrespect ).

Ultimately, this lesson of "respect" is a good one to follow, the best one, for if we respect everyone as human beings first, then we can find a pathway that could lead to not only the elimination of malicious internet posts, but an elimination of malicious, sadistic, acts of inhumanity.

The day ended with Rotarian, Ernesto Lafontaine finally winning the growing club pot, he picked the right card! In my opinion, I think Ernesto's win is a win for everyone, as his winnings are going to his homeless outreach program! Additionally, Rotarian Reggie Laroche, brought in a bag of clothes adding to our growing collection for the Homeless outreach program to take place in downtown Miami on October 14! Thanks Reggie!

Originally posted by Jeff McNabb