2020 Events/ ​A Conversation Across The Atlantic - Eastleigh to Canada !


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Eastleigh Rotary Club achieved another first by organising a Zoom meeting with Rotary members in Canada. Like every other club, Eastleigh has been looking at ways of countering the limitations inflicted upon our activities by COVID 19. Since the onset of the Pandemic, Eastleigh Rotary has continued to hold weekly club meetings via the medium of Zoom. Last year husband and wife Rotarians Susan & Colin visited a number of clubs in the UK including Eastleigh, Southampton and Winchester.

Eastleigh is a small Hampshire town situated mid-way between Southampton and Winchester. Whilst looking for ways of making the Zoom experience more enjoyable, an Eastleigh member suggested contacting Susan and Colin, (who live in Ontario Canada) to see if we could hook up. Following several email exchanges (and a short practice Zoom) a meeting was organised with Susan and Colin (and daughter Heather) at home in Canada and members representing Eastleigh, Southampton and Hamble Valley Clubs in the UK. DG Tim Mason and AG Elizabeth Carter also joined in the conversation. 

Interestingly, we found out that Susan, Colin and Heather were, in fact, members of 3 different clubs and by coincidence all 3 are President Elect of their respective clubs. Topics discussed included how COVID 19 had impacted on Rotary clubs in Canada as well as the UK. How Zoom had either been accepted or rejected by Rotary members and what had been done to overcome the fear of technology. 

For Heather, belonging to a Satellite club, aimed at younger, working people, the use of such technology was not an issue. However, the time and cost commitment plus the stricter structure of membership of Rotary clubs had definitely influenced her decision to join something less formal. There was much sharing of ideas for activities and fundraisers which could be planned for during this Pandemic, as all our communities, in both countries, needed the support Rotary could offer, be that helping stock food banks, supporting the elderly with shopping and hand-holding in the use of Zoom, so families (and club members) could stay connected. 

For Susan’s club, situated in a small town where their harsh winters mean many people usually ‘fly away’ to warmer climes , this year, support will be needed keeping them safe and warm in their own homes. Everyone enjoyed the experience of our transatlantic conversation, wondered why we hadn’t done it before, virus or no virus, and agreed that we would hold further such meetings in the future. First stop Canada, next stop, the World.

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