Club News
Past President Darrell Smith was called on to present Peter Malone with his Past President Pin, a Paul Harris and Bequest Society Pledge. 
WuAn (good afternoon) and Huan Ying (welcome) in mandarin, the most commonly spoken language in Singapore.  Karen was thankful for the opportunity and support of the Rotary Club to attend the Rotary International Convention, this year held in Singapore in late May.  A wonderful, colourful convention.  Karen has travelled to many parts of the world through Rotary as you will see from the photo of her jacket, literally heavy with Rotary pins collected over the years.  As of July 1st, it is Karen's distinct honour to take the podium as the 105th president of the Rotary Club of Belleville.  This is her second tenure as President, the first being in 2003-2004.  Karen went on to introduce the new Board of Directors -- Past President Peter Malone, President-Elect Tracey Vandervoort, Vice-President Hazzem Koudsi, Treasurer Rose Ouellette, Director Tracy Bray, Director Heather Hall, Director Andrew Kole, Director Dr. Ruth Mathieson, Director Collin Myers, Director Carmela Ruberto, Director Brenda Snider.  Karen thanked those leaving the Board as well, Past President Darrell Smith, Secretary Jo-Anne Wheeler, Directors Samantha Reid, Terry Thomas and Anya Dean Best.  Karen also highlighted Paul Ferguson, who has taken on the primary communications role.  Watch for his Rotary-related emails from the "Ferg"!  Coreen Reynolds is the new general manager of the Belleville Club and makes sure everything is ready for the Club's monthly Board Meetings as well as other events such as Trivia Nights, Rotary Winter Games, etc.  Ryan Hilmi and the staff at Capers, prepare lunch meals and serve food at the evening meetings. Their hospitality is greatly appreciated.
There have been some changes under the Refresh Rotary project with more to come in the Fall.  And just around the corner is the single, largest fundraiser of the Rotary Year....Rotary Loves Kids Golf Tournament and Party in the Square.  The committee expects to net over $100,000 this year.  The first RLK tournament was held in August 2003, 21 years ago and that speaks volumes about the longevity and success of this fundraiser, due to much hard work and commitment by many.  If you don't golf, be sure to attend the party and bring along friends, family, neighbours, co-workers.  The more money we raise, the more we can do in the community and beyond.  The Club will continue to raise funds through Diners and Duffers, Belleville Senators 50/50 ticket sales, bottle drives, Clowns for Kids, Waterfront Festival Parking, Rotary Winter Games and new in 2024-2025 will be the sale of branded Club merchandise and perhaps a new initiative.  Rotarian Kim McKinney is looking at re-starting the Youth Exchange program for the Fall of 2025.  There is a lot of planning involved and if you are interested in planning and/or hosting, please let him know.  Past President Peter Malone is organizing attendance at the 2025 International Convention in Calgary from 21 - 25 June.  If you are planning to attend, please let Peter know so we can plan some events out west and lend our support to President-Elect Tracey Vandervoort.  Attending is an opportunity to appreciate the value of Rotary and what it truly means to be a Rotarian when you are mingling with 15,000+ members from around the world.
As we go into this Rotary Year, Karen asks that each and every one of us, as Rotarians spread "The Magic of Rotary" at events we attend and in the programs we operate.  Be a Rotarian by action and not just association.  The best memories of Rotary and of being a Rotarian will be of the things you did to make a difference in the world and the friendships you made.
President Karen's challenge to everyone:
  • attend a meeting in person when you can
  • attend the evening meeting if you only attend the lunch meeting and vice versa
  • invite a member who has not been attending to join you for an in-person meeting
  • do a makeup at another club
  • work on a committee you have not worked on before
  • sit at a table with new members and welcome them to the Club
  • mentor a new Club member
  • introduce or thank a speaker
  • suggest a speaker/program idea
  • bring a prospective member to a meeting
Rotary International President Urchick says we are not going to bring peace to the world, end polio or grow membership by waving a wand and saying some funny words.  It's up to each one of us.  To create the magic with every project completed, every dollar donated and every new member inducted.  With Rotary, as in life, little importance gets done alone.  He is proud to have helped, but also proud to have help.  Karen is looking forward to a great Rotary year as we spread the Magic of Rotary in 2024-2025.  Past President Peter Malone thanked Karen for her commitment to Rotary and the number of committees she has served on over the years and now her 2nd presidential term.   The Board has been entrusted by the Club to shape the future with confidence and go forward.
President Peter Malone received a thank you letter from The Children's Foundation for the Club's financial support of the Keep Baby Safe program.  The Children's Foundation Partnerships & Engagement Coordinator, Farhat Zafar advised that the support from the Rotary Club means the world to this initiative.  Recently, a young mom was feeling incredibly overwhelmed and The Children's Foundation was able to provide her with a number of high priority items to properly care for her young one and she expressed profound gratitude and was very surprised to learn that an organization could assist in providing these essential items.  The support of the Rotary Club with this initiative is making a real difference in the lives of those who need it most and the Children's Foundation were very thankful for the Club's remarkable generosity.
Past President Darrell Smith was pleased to say a few words about President Peter Malone, first off thanking Suzanne for sharing Peter this past year.  When Peter first joined the Rotary Club of Belleville in November 2016, he was always active in a number of initiatives, including the Rotary Reindeer Park, the Santa Clause Parade, the bottle drive and joined the Board in 2020 and quickly rose to the position of President over the next 3 years.  Bad jokes aside (actually based on the audience reaction, the jokes were always appropriate and well received), Peter displayed a passion for Service Above Self.
Peter shared a number of photographs from his year as President as he thanked every member of the Rotary Club for their dedication and commitment to the Club, the community at home and away.  A big well done to everyone and here's to another great year ahead with incoming President Karen at the helm.  Peter spoke about attending his very first Rotary International Convention in Melbourne, Australia and his introduction to the House of Friendship.  There were 15,000 Rotarians in the stadium, supporting the theme Create Hope In The World and Peter found it very inspirational.  It helped Peter prepare for the job as President and he believes he returned to Belleville a better Rotarian, equipped and prepared for the job at hand.  Thank you to everyone for the opportunity to see the scope of Rotary around the world and to be inspired in our corner of the world.  The work we do as Rotarians whether small or large, is making a difference and everything is connected to good in the world.  Peter described the Board as a team, best of the best to represent the ideas of the Club.  The Refresh Rotary project has identified work to be done over multiple years with a focus to build on a strong foundation.  The three core areas are member engagement, public image (beat the drum so to speak) and fundraising and coming up with new ideas around that.  Peter is excited about one of the newer Rotary projects, Rescue Readers under the guidance and expertise of Rotarian Sharon McConnell.  A recent gathering celebrated this literacy program partnership with the Humane Society HPE, the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and the Rotary Clubs of Belleville and Trenton.  The largest fundraising effort is fast approaching as well, the Rotary Loves Kids Golf Tournament and Party In The Square.  Tons of work going on behind the scenes, zeroing in on the BIG Day of July 26th.  Opportunities for everyone to golf, volunteer, be a sponsor, a spotter, help set up and tear down the Party in the Square, be a Smart Server, collect bottles and cans.  As we head into September and Fall weather, PorchFest will be a gathering of thousands of folks, enjoying the season in the East Hill, celebrating music, culture and the spirit of Belleville, all sponsored by the Rotary Club of Belleville and the face of PorchFest - Sam Brady.  Peter was happy to report that the 2024/2025 budget was approved and is ready to go, representing $204,000 worth of good done by the Club and hard-working, committed Rotarians.  Peter thanked everyone in the Club for their amazing support through the past year, a year of Creating Hope In the World.
In-coming President Karen Baker thanked Peter for his positive energy in re-engaging the membership after the lull of COVID, coming up with new projects and ideas and welcoming new members.  Peter is a tremendous asset to the Club and has laid a great foundation for the future.  Karen presented Peter with a baseball cap as the 104th President of the Club. 
WASN'T THAT A PARTY?!  June 13th was an evening to recognize Rotary President Peter Malone, surrounded by friends, colleagues, guests and of course, Suzanne, his spouse who has been there for him during his year as Rotary President, listening to his "outside the box" suggestions and offering wise counsel.  Sporting a tee-shirt of The Who in the spirit of the British Invasion theme, Peter had to explain to some of the younger generation who The Who were.   He proudly made cheque presentations to the Children's Foundation and the YMCA Centre for Life (see separate stories on these presentations).  Peter's first task was to oversee who would win the prize for the best British Invasion costume and without a doubt, Dr. Ruth Mathieson won hands down with second and third prize going to Shannon Neely and Kim McKinney.
Peter went on to present "awards" to those who have supported him and the Rotary Club this past year.  The Rosalie Cup of Tea award went to Vice-President Tracey Vandervoort for her laid back personality in focusing on what needed to be done, calmly.  The Queen and Country Award went to Collin Myers for getting involved early on in the Rotary Refresh project and having to part with the toast to the Queen.  The Queen's Plate will find a special spot in his home or office.  The Queen Mother Award went to Past President Tracy Bray for making sure everyone else was okay.  Her big heart was ever present.  Host and hostess with the mostes went to Shannon and Marida for all their hospitality in hosting the President's Night.  The Big Ben Award was given to Secretary Jo-Anne Wheeler who was always on time, organized and welcoming to everyone.  She kept the Board on track with Big Ben accuracy and played a pivotal role for the Club.  She also earned a Warrior Pin.
Peter thanked the Board of Directors for creating momentum that will build going forward.  To all the Committee Chairs who busily carry on, often behind the scenes, but an integral part of the overall running of the Club.  Michael Summers and his photography and technical support at every meeting and Paul Ferguson for his original and captivating emails, nudging the membership along.
The highlight of the evening may have been Rotarian Kim McKinney's jump in the pool, spontaneous for sure or at least based on the surprise on everyone's face, it was not planned except by Kim.  And Suzanne shared her part in the jokes that Peter has shared all year.  This time last year she was in Toronto and bought Peter a Book of Dad Jokes as a Father's Day gift.  Well, now you know the rest of the story.
One of Rotary's priority is to leave a legacy in the community and the Rotary Club of Belleville's support of the YMCA Centre for Life represents what Rotary stands for.  President Peter Malone was pleased to present the 2nd installment of the Club's three year commitment, this year's share being $30,000 to Dave Allen, CEO and members of the campaign leadership team at the President's Night event on June 13th, hosted by Shannon and Marida Neely.  Pictured here are Doug Peterson, David Allen, Kristin Crowe, Peter Malone, Cassandra Bonn and Collin Myers, an example of how Rotarians seek out to do incredible work and ensure all the dots are connected for successful initiatives such as this. 
President Peter said it is an exciting project for our club and brings new vitality to our membership. Our club’s pledge to the YMCA Centre for Life will help create a much-needed, deep-community facility in the west end of Belleville. With its five partner agencies, this facility will enhance health, education, support, and fellowship to so many, especially our youth. The Rotary Club of Belleville understands the long-term impact the YMCA Centre for Life will have on our growing community’s health.
In accepting this cheque, Dave Allen thanked all those involved in the work of fundraising for the YMCA Centre for Life.  Over $6 million has been raised todate and there will be a shovel in the ground this summer.  This centre will impact our community for years to come and will change the lifestyle of many. The new YMCA Centre for Life represents an uplifting of our spirits and offers hope of a new and better tomorrow for our community. A place where everyone is welcome, where diversity is celebrated and social inclusion is the cornerstone of our foundation, where people will meet new friends, where young and old, families and individuals alike, and our most vulnerable, including those with a developmental disability, will feel they are accepted and belong.
In the Rotary Year 1999-2000 Rotarian Wolf Tausendfreund suggested a Golf Tournament as a major fundraising event for the Club and Bob Clute stepped up to chair this event.  The priority was to include children and it was agreed from the start that 10% of net revenue would go to the Hastings County Children's Foundation for Kids in Care for educational bursaries.  The first event took place in July 2003.  With a great team of volunteers including Ken Wheeler, Bernie Ouellet, Vince Lynch, the late Bob Michaud, Rotary Loves Kids was born!  Twenty-one years later and the event is going strong for the Rotary Club of Belleville.
Executive Director of the Children's Foundation Melanie Cressman recently sent a letter to the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club expressing their gratitude for the support over the years.  Last year alone they were able to support over 1500 children and youth, but 2023 marked a significant increase in the number of children and youth supported through the Foundation's core program.  The mission of the Children's Foundation provides and funds programs aimed at ensuring all children and youth in Hastings, Northumberland and Prince Edward Counties have social and physical opportunities to explore, learn, play and thrive.  Their six (6) core programs are:
  • Playing for Keeps - helps cover the registration fees of sports and other activities
  • Camps of Hope - subsidizes the registration fees for camps
  • Strive to Thrive - focuses on mental health supports and therapy programs for youth
  • Reach for Success - supports youth as they transition from care to independent living
  • Keep Baby Safe - supplies cribs, mattresses and car seats to ensure the safety of an infant
  • Holiday Angel Tree - ensures that marginalized families can celebrate with gifts and good food over the Christmas holidays
A recent strategic planning process continues the Children's Foundation alignment with the Rotary Club of Belleville's area of focus of supporting education.  At the June 13th President's Night, Rotary President Peter Malone presented a cheque for $5,000 to the Children's Foundation to continue the Club's support of the work the organization does for children and youth in our community.  Pictured are Cassandra Bonn, Melanie Cressman and Peter Malone.
Jo-Anne Wheeler, Provincial Coordinator for the 2024 Quinte Rotary Music Festival was pleased to advise that the results are in for the participants who went on to the Ontario Provincial Music Festival from the Quinte Rotary Music Festival.   These music students were recommended by the QRMF adjudicators to compete at the Provincials “virtually”.  We should be proud of each and every one of them!

Classical Piano - Level 2: Ethan Guan
Classical Piano - Live 4: Alkina Feng, who received “Honourable Mention with Distinction”
Classical Woodwinds - Level 1: Annika Hirt, who received “1st Place”
Classical Woodwinds - Level 2: William Charles Gauthier, who received "3rd Place”
Classical Voice - Level 2: Alkina Feng, who received “Honourable Mention with Distinction”
Classical Voice - Level 3: Elizabeth Black
Classical Voice - Level 3: Aubrey Demianchuk
Classical Voice - Level 5: Emma Colby, who received “3rd Place”
Classical Voice - Level 5: Braelyn Bird
Small Ensembles - Centennial Secondary School, who received "1st Place"
Musical Theatre - Primary Level: Alkina Feng

Next up - the Live Festival Competitions, which take place in mid-June.

Rotary Club of Belleville
Rotary Clowns for Kids
Upcoming Events
Belleville Rotary Satellite Club
Rotary Loves Kids Golf 
Quinte Rotary Music Festival