There’s been a changing of the guard at the Rotary Club of Peachland, where longstanding member Peggy Southin has taken over as President.
“I really want to see us have a fun year,” she said. “And the things that we do, we make it fun, even if it’s slicing of onions for bratwurst and smokeys – we get together early in the morning and we have fun doing it.”
Peggy has been a Rotarian for 15 years, and being married to Chris Southin – who served as assistant governor for the district and as the Peachland Rotary President – she was happily pulled into the club’s gravity.
“When I was retired I went with Chris on club visits around the district so Rotary just got right into my blood,” she said. “I got a lot of background knowledge and info about rotary – it just becomes a part of who you are.”
Under her thumb, the local club’s efforts will continue to assist the community on every scale. From local efforts like the purchase of a defibrillator for Fire Chief Dennis Craig’s vehicle to regional support like Kamloops Fire Relief Fund donations, and even on a global level where they virtually eradicated the world of Polio – Peachland Rotarians take on some heavy issues.
On the lighter side, they host delicious barbecues; give away scholarships; they made a recent donation to the Peachland Players; and Rotarians are the reason Concerts in the Park happen in Peachland.
“Concerts in the park is a wonderful way to give back to the community – we don’t charge any money for it,” Peggy said, though a hat is passed around for donations. Money raised for the first two concert events helped out the Kamloops Fire Relief Fund and the final two shows will benefit the Shelter Box Program; mobile kits which provide basic living needs for families in disaster-stricken areas.
The next Concert in the Park is this Sunday, Aug. 13 at Heritage Park. The music will be made by Cod Gone Wild and the show is being dedicated to world peace.
Another event the Rotarians made possible is a murder mystery show at the 50+ Activity Centre on Sept. 30.
And they add even more fun to the world by organizing student exchange programs each year.
“It opens doors to the kids who don’t know what’s outside of their town or country. Sometimes they learn to speak another language – one student could barely speak English before she came, then before she left, she did her whole presentation in English. Many of them go on to do wonderful things in literature because we’ve given them that chance.”
But international students who speak English as their first language can find Canadian culture shocking too. One student from Australia, Peggy recalls, had never heard the word “trunk” been used to describe the part of an automobile.
It’s also a great way for host families to connect with international culture, and Peggy says the Rotary Club is always looking for hosts.
Currently, there are 33 Rotarians in the Peachland club. Peggy said the membership is aging a little bit and new members are always being considered. Anybody on the fence about joining can sit in on their weekly meetings to get a better feel.
“The meetings start at 12 p.m. on Thursdays at the Gasthaus and last for about an hour and a quarter, and we often have a guest speaker.”