Club Information

Welcome to the Rotary Club of Belleville Ontario! Due to Covid-19 our regular meetings are via Zoom.  Watch for further announcements on a return to Capers..

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Thursdays at 12:01 PM
Capers Restaurant
272 Front St
Belleville, ON K8N 2Z2
Due to Covid-19 our regular meetings are via Zoom. Watch for further announcements on a return to Capers, downtown Belleville on Thursdays at noon.
Kim Henry, Ex Dir of Quinte Children's Foundation
Oct 29, 2020
Classification Talk and Celebration of Child Abuse Prevention Month
Home Page Stories
Randy Coker introduced David Bradley and Amanda Misnakoshkang as today's guest speakers.  Randy met David first at Sir Wilfred University where they were students and roommates.  David is the founder of the Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) with 20 years of success providing land-based education, training and work opportunities for high school aged Indigenous youth.  OYEP is a six week experience provided in a very supportive space that replicates various work environments.  David has worked in very remote villages, rough roads where accessibility is by plane only, miserable conditions, lack of water and hope.  David got together with Indigenous leaders to develop a program to help teenagers, providing serious job skills and exposure to the working world and to provide optimism among the youth.  The program has received special recognition and support from the Lt. Governor of Ontario.  Joanne and Randy have been involved by providing a session on finances. 
David started the program in 1985 as a Canadian with others to reconcile with those who were here first.  He was the program's first employee.  David is very appreciative of the opportunity to work in the north among people in the north.  There has been growth in all of us.  When you work alongside people, you see the problems and you are compelled to help.  That is what fuels David.  The program started with 18 youth from 9 communities across Ontario.  After a 6 day break, all 18 came back!  An important accomplishment.  Second year students became mentors for first year students.  They had experience and the dynamic was important, although unexpected.  There have been 610 graduates of the program across Canada.  They just finished their 21st summer.  They have planted over 2 million trees, a huge accomplishment.  Over 100 First Nations have participated in the program from across Canada, all on a journey.  It has been a privilege for David to work with Randy on this program and to learn of Randy's background as an Indigenous child himself.  Thank you to Randy and Joanne for their very important contributions.
Amanda Misnakoshkang is from First Nation Long Lake #58, a graduate of OYEP and a graduate of Lakehead University in Environmental Studies.  A single mother of three who appreciates, because of COVID, being able to teach her children in the traditional manner.  Amanda is committed to breaking the cycle and acknowledges that she couldn't have done anything without the experience and support from OYEP.
Amanda shared her story.  She was raised in Thunder Bay by a non-Indigenous family.  As a teenager, she started to get into trouble, but in 2006 she entered the Outland Ranger Program and had her best summer ever.  It awakened knowledge about her land and she learned forestry, fire fighting.  The program gave her a sense of belonging and a sense of community.  On she went to University and in 2020 graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies with a major in geography. Her children are ages 8, 4 and a toddler and the restrictions of COVID have given her the opportunity to teach her children, similar to how she learned through the Outland program.  What Amanda learned 13 years ago, she has carried forward to now.  Her children possess a perspective in nature and the environment and are more conscious about food and farming.  Amanda has Ojibwa heritage and she recognizes now the importance of being involved with her culture through her children.
Jo-Anne Wheeler thanked both David and Amanda for speaking to the Club today and sharing their insight.  Randy introduced her to Outland and in the 100th Anniversary Book on Page 78 there is mention of the program and the money that was contributed to help purchase needed software.  There is so much to learn about Orange Shirt Day, a campaign that began in 2013 to recognize Phyllis Webstad, who at the age of 6 years old in 1973, had her new shiny orange shirt taken away from her on her first day at St. Joseph Mission Residential School.  Orange Shirt Day is a day when we honour the Indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools in Canada, an opportunity for communities to come together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope.
Cassandra Bonn had the pleasure of introducing Dr. Julie Gowthorpe, who she described as a leader in making relationships work.  Her team helps people in Belleville work through obstacles such as PTSD, depression and anxiety.  Dr. Gowthorpe grew up locally, graduated from Moira Secondary and from there earned her PhD in social work.  She published a book entitled “Tainted Love” to assist people through divorce and has written numerous other articles.  She also speaks at local events and Mix 97.  A fun fact -- her great uncle is Jack Parrott, a former member of the Club for 44 years.  Her topic is “empathy attitude and why it matters”.
Dr. Gowthorpe's talk focused on what is essential during these times, with all the uncertainty relating to the economy, the pandemic, race relations and politics.  There is lots happening in the world.  To understand the experience of others is as important as ever before.  How do we increase understanding?  Through empathy.  It’s talked about a lot – it is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.  You hear about that so much in business and work like hers.  What is getting in the way of how people connect?  That is crucial to understanding it.  Empathy creates the power to bridge sides, soften opposition and create change.
The definition of empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what someone else is experiencing or more simply stated, how to walk in their shoes.  It is an understanding of what that would feel like and the experience that person would have.  No one likes to think of themselves as lacking empathy.  It allows us to believe we have positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively and overcome conflict.  People are going to have different experiences and obstacles – they all might come towards those differently and have different ways to solve them. Empathy allows us to respond appropriately in different situations. Empathy allows us to be less judgmental about how someone is getting through  situations at home such as COVID.  
The word empathy is thrown around a lot especially when someone is lacking.  We also look at co-workers, friends, partners.  If empathy is not there, the relationship feels unfulfilling.  You sometimes say what is wrong with this relationship, why does it feel so bad?  Even with people you love, you can struggle with that.  If someone can’t understand the feelings of someone they love, you can understand how hard it is to understand people they don’t know.  In a micro level, it can lead to conflict at work, discontentment at work or friendships.  On a macro level it can lead to hatred and negative attitudes towards people who are different.
Empathy is part of human connection – not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it also makes life feel better.  Where does it come from?  A strong attachment relationship during the first few years of life readies us for empathy development.  This is usually a parent, maybe grandparent or someone else.  You know emotional needs are met and this allows empathy to develop.  However, it means some people will not have that.  It doesn’t stop developing in early childhood, but grows through life.  But, the later you start the more difficult it is.   Practice can improve one's ability to empathize.  One barrier to empathy is active listening.  This is where we can start to practice e.g. when kids are young or where problems are noticed. To do this, quiet your thoughts and internal dialogue – you are trying to listen but are preoccupied.  Practice quieting your mind.  Settling the mind and body is so powerful.  Get rid of preoccupation and give your full attention to the person.  Pay attention to body language, try tuning into something about them.  For example, turn in your right ear – this acts as a reminder to pay attention.  Get engaged and what they are talking about is more interesting.  When people feel more interested, they are more motivated.  You have to work on it over and over.   Rotarians are good at this – in order to have people care about us, we have to do the same for them - empathy building.  Approach each situation, every interaction with the desire to experience and grow.  Stay tuned into the experience around us.   You can build on empathy -- when we practice it, we get better at it.
The other piece highly empathic people do as well is to look towards themselves.  Look at how you interact with people.  You do want to walk in others’ shoes because it will allow you to connect, do better and be better.  It also avoids falling into stereotypes and prejudices – humanize people.  Horrible things have happened throughout history because of a failure to empathize.  Empathy will allow us to get beyond this – free us from the us versus them approach.  We don’t need to fall into categories – this is what Rotary is all about.  You can take a leadership role in modelling empathy. 
Kristin Crowe thanked Dr. Gowthorpe on behalf of Rotary as well as having the opportunity to work with her personally.  Kristin would recommend her to anyone dealing with family and personal challenges and is grateful for an abundance of information to be used in all areas of life.  
Doug Peterson welcomed everyone (mostly by Zoom) to the 35th and final meeting of the Rotary Club of Belleville in the 100th Anniversary.  It has been an interesting and challenging Rotary year.  President Doug was very pleased to recognize the work of Rotarians and the results of that work by dedicating the Rotary Fitness Park to the City of Belleville.  This is the Club's final major project honouring the Club's 100 years of service in the community.  Past District Governor Bill MacKay, Rotarians Vince Lynch, Bill Lowther, Ken Wheeler, Cory MacKay, John Smale and friend to Rotary, Ross Wagner collaborated on this meaningful project.  The dedication of this Fitness Park comes almost a year after Rotary's first project, the Rotary Music Garden, dedicated at Riverside Park on July 3, 2019.  The same hard-working crew was on the job then!
PDG Bill MacKay, Chair of the 100th Anniversary Committee was personally very pleased  to mark the Rotary Club of Belleville's 100th Anniversary with the opening of the Rotary Fitness Park, an idea suggested by Director John Smale in conjunction with some other projects.  A Celebration dinner was planned, unfortunately was sidelined by COVID-19, but re-arranged as a virtual Zoom celebration meeting!  The start of the celebration saw the dedication of the Rotary Music Garden a year ago, followed now with the Rotary Fitness Park and a history book to ensure the Club's history continued to be captured.  The final idea that was acted on was to develop a video of past presidents and their stories.  The Rotary Club of Belleville has now launched their own YouTubeChannel that will also be posted on our Facebook page.  To the members of the 100th Anniversary Committee, to the Committee Members of the 100th Dinner Celebration and Chair Pat Feasey, to the Club History Co-Chairs Jo-Anne Wheeler and Karen Baker and the team of editors, to the Music Garden and Fitness Park Team Leader Vince Lynch and his team of installers and to all those who helped and assisted in making this year such a special one, thank you.  Bill was very proud to say that between him and his father, long time Rotarian Bill MacKay Sr. they have a combined 100 years of service in Rotary, as Past Presidents and Past District Governors, all from the same Club.  Quite a milestone and appropriately linked to today.
Vince Lynch as the key installer of the Rotary Fitness Park, refers to the timing as "just in time", finishing at 8:30 a.m. this morning after a very busy month of June taking delivery of the equipment on June 9th, getting the site excavation started, installing the equipment (18 pieces with 84 anchors), installing the sign, all done under the constraints of COVID.  Vince thanked his right hand man, Bill Lowther who was invaluable and always available on short notice.  Vince also made special mention of Rob Rashotte, site lead from the City along with Joe Reid and his Parks and Open Spaces staff.  Everyone was determined to get the job done in time.  And a thank you to Mayor Panciuk and Council for their support.  The Rotary Assembly Crew are becoming experts at park installations!  Great job.
Mayor Mitch Panciuk was excited to accept this Rotary Fitness Park on behalf of the City of Belleville and although he was looking forward to the 100th Anniversary Dinner, was very impressed with the Club moving forward with their project and not stepping back.
Historian Jo-Anne Wheeler announced the availability of the Club's History Book, a special walk through the century that was.  The content of "A History of the Rotary Club of Belleville" will surprise you.  The book committee headed up by Jo-Anne included Bill MacKay, Cory MacKay and Karen Baker and they all worked on this project for almost 4 years.  With the assistance of Past President Garth Stephanson and the generosity of Rotarian Ian Anderson, owner of JB Print, the book is available at the low price of $25.  Every Rotarian, past Rotarian and anyone who knows a Rotarian should not miss the opportunity to purchase this piece of history.
Incoming President Tim McKinney thanked everyone for this much needed facility, for their countless hours planning and constructing this Rotary Fitness Park as well as the Rotary Music Garden.  The location of the Fitness Park is appropriately located with trees in the background as part of the Rotary Keegan Treescape project from the Club's 75th Anniversary.  A proud moment for Rotary and the Club.  Tim is looking forward to his term as President of the Club as of July 1st, the 101st year of the Rotary Club of Belleville.
Rotary Club of Belleville - The Rotary Fitness Park Project & Dedication Ceremony
President Tim was very pleased to welcome, via Zoom, some of Rotary's Exchange Students, some recent, some from a number of years ago, all with updates on their lives.  We have learned a lot from our exchange students over the years and we are hoping to get the program up and running again soon.
In addition to the students, host parents also participated in the update -- Sam Brady, Tracy Bray, Karen Baker, Doug Peterson, Cory MacKay, Bill MacKay, Darrell Smith, Judy (and Tim) McKinney.
Panu Puhaka (Finland) was a Rotary Exchange Student 9 years ago with the Brady family as his host family.  Panu has recently finished his undergrad degree and is now studying "Political Violence".  He has been volunteering through Rotary (ROTEX) for 7 years in New Zeland.  He has stopped swimming, but is running.  His time as an exchange student gave him valuable language skills and encouraged him to pursue international studies. Panu is pictured here with Len Kennedy.
Salina Savijoki (Finland) was accepted into a foundation program in London (performing arts studies), but became ill part way through the term, then had an injury and had to drop out.  She moved back home to finish all of her high school credits and is now on a gap year, working and doing some travelling.  She applied to universities in the UK for Theatre Arts programs and has opted to attend classes at the University in Chichester, focusing on the three areas of performing arts -- singing, acting and dancing.  She is presently living in Portsmouth in England which is 2 hours from London.  The Rotary Exchange Student program changed her life, helping her to learn about herself, her abilities, to believe in herself and to learn about different cultures.  Selina is pictured here with Sam Brady.
Debbie Lane (nee Howard-Browne) was an exchange student in 1978-79.  She is living in South Africa and has returned a few times to visit Canada.  She had led a very sheltered life and learned a lot while on the exchange program.  She feels this is a very valuable program that offers great benefits to young people and should be continued.  She highly recommends the youth exchange program.
Gaspard Alavoine (France) was a recent exchange student (2018 to 2019).  He graduated Grade 12 and was accepted in a program at a City Culinary School and starts in two weeks!  The exchange program helped him to become more self-sufficient and to work out some personal situations.
Juan Poblete (Chile), also called JuanPi is in 3rd year of law school in Conception, Chile.  Rotary Exchange was the best year of his life and he realizes now what a great country that Canada is.  Very advanced.  JuanPi was inspired to pursue law as a career because he wants to help people.
Julian Kraus (Germany) -- was not on the Zoom call, but this photo will remind you of his visit to our Club.
Jakob Sundman (Sweden), a 2015 Rotary Exchange Student is currently living in Stockholm,  He is a photographer and working for a furniture sales company.  Jakob said the exchange year was very good for him.  It opened him up socially and gave him confidence.  It started his life going forward.  He commented on COVID-19 in Sweden with more loss of life than in other scandinavian countries.  Nine out of twenty cases in Sweden have contacted the virus at work.  Those at risk are told to stay at home, but not much else has changed.  The majority of people in Stockholm have had the virus.
Sam Brady thanked the former exchange students for sharing their comments and updates on their lives now.  The importance of the exchange program is not lost on any of the members of our Club and said it will always be a challenge to attract host families.  What the students bring to you as a host family is as much as what you give to them.
October 2020
Upcoming Events
Rotary Stories
Rotary’s first virtual convention inspires members to innovate and stay connected

Rotary’s first-ever virtual convention attracted more than 60,000 registrants and 175,000 viewers during its weeklong program.

3D printers to the rescue

Rotary members join 3D print enthusiasts to make personal protective equipment in short supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young at heart

Holger Knaack has a fresh vision for the Rotary of the future. With a little help from his friends, things should go swimmingly.

Supporting the environment becomes a new area of focus

The Rotary Foundation Trustees and RI Board of Directors have added a new area of focus: supporting the environment.

Watch: Italian clubs aim to protect hospital workers responding to COVID-19

Rotary clubs in districts across Italy worked together to procure state-of-the-art equipment needed to combat the deadly coronavirus disease for 26 hospitals around the country.

Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Past President
Director of Community Service
Director Community Service
Vocational Service
Director of Communications
Director of Meetings
International Service
Rotary Foundation
Director of Fundraising
Vice President
Executive Secretary
Youth Services
Home Page News
Cassandra Bonn introduced four new members.  Janeen Halliwell and Paul Fleming, proposed by Kristin Crowe, are new to the area, excited to meet new people and become involved in the community.  They have moved a lot, but will now call Belleville their forever home.  Janeen has a passion for learning and is a business-minded entrepreneur.  She is excited to make a commitment to the Club, give back to the community and meet new people.  Paul grew up in Chatham which is similar in size to Belleville.  In high school Paul participated in a week long Rotary program, his first taste of Rotary.  When Belleville was in flood mode, Paul was passing through and stopped and lent a hand sandbagging.  That's the kind of guy Paul is.
Jeff Hohenkerk, proposed by Karen Baker is VP and Chief Transformation Officer at Quinte Healthcare.  Jeff was a guest speaker at our Club last year, supporting community building and development.  He volunteered with United Way in Prince Edward County and has built homes with Habitat for Humanity.
Kim Henry, proposed by Sam Brady, is from Kitchener-Waterloo and is now the executive director of Quinte Children’s Foundation – she is our new Connie.  Kim was a volunteer with MAAD for over 20 years and was on the national board of directors with MAAD.  She is married with 2 children and was also involved in RLK tournament.
Welcome everyone!
The Rotary Club of Belleville has hit all the right notes in unveiling a unique musical project to kick off its 100th year of community service. The Rotary Music Garden was unveiled Wednesday morning in West Riverside Park, just north of the Rick Meagher/Medigas Rotary Play Park, providing an assortment of instruments to entertain people of all ages year-round. The fully accessible Music Garden features a unique eight instrument ensemble; a set of seven tubular bells, a Harmony T-Rung outdoor xylophone, a bell lyre, both large and small babel drums, handpipes, Rainbow Sambas Outdoor Drums, a Duo Cupla and Cavatina. The project was completed over the course of a year by the Rotary Club, led by project manager Vince Lynch, in conjunction with city staff.
Rotary President Doug Peterson says it will a big attraction for people of all ages, especially children. “Kids love music. We’re sitting here (Wednesday) and there’s already kids playing. While we were doing our dedication, I heard kids in strollers crying because they couldn’t come over and play (the instruments),” Peterson said.  “I think it’s going to be a big attraction and it could introduce younger kids to music, who maybe wouldn’t get a chance,” he added.  President Doug Peterson acknowledged the support and work done by City staff, including Mark Fluhrer and Joe Reid who was described at the pivotal point of contact and his team were "instrumental" in this production.
Chair of the 100th anniversary committee Bill MacKay says the unique idea was struck when club members went to Toronto for the annual Rotary International Convention last year. “Part of the convention includes an area called ‘House of Friendship.’ In that large exposition area, there were a significant number of vendors. We came across a couple of vendors that had similar types of equipment. We started looking at it and thought that this would be great in Belleville,” he explained. MacKay added the Music Garden continues with Rotary's rich history of musical involvement and assisting those with physical challenges. One of the biggest fundraisers the Rotary Club has put on in its history is the Quinte Rotary Music Festival, which has been a staple of the community for more than 50 years. Inclusivity and accessibility are two important pieces to the garden and MacKay said the heavy-duty, specially designed equipment purchased from the United Kingdom were meant to be enjoyed by everyone, including those with limited range of movement or individuals on the autism spectrum and people who can only process one sensory system at a time.  “The duo cupla and the cavatina in particular were both selected, because they were intended to be outdoors year-round,” he said.
Both Peterson and MacKay say there's a possibility to grow the Music Garden and add more instruments if it ends up being popular enough with visitors. “The big reasons why we chose this area is the close proximity to the Rotary Play Park and it can be expanded if we’re in a position to add more equipment,” MacKay said. There’s no cost to the city for the Music Garden and there’s very little maintenance that will need to be done, according to Peterson, which means many future generations can enjoy it in the years to come.
Donations from the Parrott Foundation and the City of Belleville, along with Rotary Club contributions, helped lead the project to its completion.
Project Foreman Vince Lynch spoke about the actual labour that was put into this beautiful Music Garden, including excavation, installation of eight concrete base pads, base plate, wood chips, 91 anchors and site clean-up as well as coordinating with the supplier to select the items, order and facilitate delivery, unpacking and assembly.  Vince's wingman was Bill Lowther who helped keep things moving forward based on a fairly tight time schedule.  On June 19th an installation bee was organized with the help of Rotarians Bill MacKay, Cory MacKay, Ken Wheeler, Bill Lowther and Ross Wagner.  To make things a little more difficult, one of the instruments was defective and caused a slight delay in waiting for a replacement.  Rotarian John Smale designed the signage for the Music Garden. All in all, a great job by many and as Forrest Gump would say "that's all I have to say about that".  Go play!
What connects people better than music?  Music connects us to our talent and spirit and it connects us to each other at a deep spiritual level.  Rotarians hope the Rotary Music Garden will create these important connections for kids of all ages and abilities for years to come.