Like the entire world, Rotary is dealing with a “new normal”, where old practises and traditions may no longer be acceptable. With July 1 marking the annual transition of Rotary officers, new leadership will now guide the Parksville and Qualicum Beach clubs through uncharted territory in a year that will be like none other.

And what a list of challenges they have to contend with … how to keep members engaged when the usual Rotary handshake is now a “no-no” … how to attract new members when face-to-face contact is limited and projects are curtailed … how to continue to raise money for humanitarian causes when many Rotary fundraisers have been cancelled …. how to carry out community projects within restrictive guidelines … the list goes on.
And so while much has changed, the new leaders in our communities are up to the challenge and their mission during the upcoming year is to ensure that Rotary is still working for Oceanside.
As a Rotarian for just 5 years, Jeff Frankford, President of the Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach, is a relatively “new kid on the block”, although he has been an active member taking on the tasks of Club Program Director, Co-chair of the Club's Beer Festival fundraiser, and a participant in the School District 69 Backpack Program.

Jeff and his wife Tami, are owners of Island Cleaning Supplies in Parksville, a family owned and operated business since 1996.  He serves on the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce Board as a Director, and is in his second year of a 2-year term.
 
Jeff sees the coming year as an opportunity to think locally, fostering the ideal of service to the community through such initiatives as sports programs for youth and the Backpack program, feeding hungry kids and promoting better learning.
 
By comparison, Mike Haas, President of the Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach Sunrise, is a seasoned veteran, having served his first presidential term in 2015-16.  Fast forward to 2020 and Mike is again at the helm, although in totally changed circumstances.  In his words, “this term will definitely be a challenge with Covid-19 having us reign in our enthusiasm on so many projects.”
 
Mike came to the Island from Alberta where he spent 42 years working in the oil patch as a draftsman, before moving to Qualicum Beach in 2010.  It was then he officially joined Rotary and it has been a huge part of his life ever since.
Mike’s goal this year is to keep his members focused on the objectives of Rotary and find projects that, although they may be smaller, will still have a significant impact in our community and in other parts of the world.  He also hopes “to bring our Clubs together to work collaboratively on larger projects that can benefit our local communities.  Remember, it’s all about ‘Doing good in the world’.”
 
When it comes to longevity, Bashir El-Khalafawi is the clear frontrunner among the three presidents.  Twenty-five years ago in 1994, Bashir was the Founding President of the newly formed Rotary Club of Parksville AM.  In 2020, Bashir reprises his role, becoming the Club's 26th president. 

Bashir joined the Rotary Club of Ladysmith in 1985.  He moved to Parksville in 1988 and joined the Rotary Club of Parksville serving as President in 1992. In 1994 the Rotary Club of Parksville AM was chartered.  Bashir has been active in a number of leadership roles at the District level, including Assistant Governor in 2007-08.
 
Bashir enjoyed a 40 year career in the hospitality industry in Canada and the US, including operating a Hotel Management Institute.  After five years of retirement, he returned to the workforce for 7 years and is now on his 3rd retirement.
 
Under Bashir’s leadership, Parksville AM Rotarians have resumed their clean-up effort on Little Mountain and have re-joined residents of the Shelly Park neighbourhood who are gradually transforming their community park.

Oceanside’s three clubs are among 91 Rotary Clubs that make up District 5020 which encompasses Vancouver Island and Western Washington State.  Overseeing this massive district is a District Governor who is aided by a number of Assistant Governors, one of whom is a member of the Rotary Club of Parksville AM.
 
Lynne Pearson has taken on the post of Assistant Governor for Area 3 which includes six clubs: Parksville AM, Qualicum Beach, Qualicum Beach Sunrise, Port Alberni, Port Alberni Arrowsmith, and Ucluelet.

The role of the Assistant Governor is to bring information about decisions, activities and priorities in the District to Rotary Clubs in the Area - and to bring information from the Area clubs to the District level.  The Assistant Governor facilitates the exchange of information and cooperation amongst clubs in the Area and is the key support person from Rotary to the clubs.

Lynne has been a Rotarian for 23 ½ years. She became a member of the Rotary Club of Saskatoon in 1996 and transferred to the Rotary Club of Parksville AM in 2007.  She was President of the Club in 2011-12 and has been Chair of the Rotary Foundation since that time.  Lynne has had an extensive career in senior management positions and is Dean Emerita of the Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan.
 
With a reputation of being “people of action”, Rotarians are nothing if not inventive, and our new Rotary leaders are ensuring that Oceanside Rotary clubs remain active, continuing to raise money and support the community.

While most fundraisers have been cancelled, Rotarians continue to recycle cans and bottles, and investigate the potential of online fundraisers. Clubs continue to support local organizations that have been devastated, as donations have fallen due to Covid-19.
 
Unfortunately, after 23 years, Coats For Kids has been cancelled, although it is expected that this initiative will resume in 2021.  In it's place, the Club has turned its attention to renovations to the "WOW" Bus.

While international “hands-on” projects, such as building houses in Mexico, have had to be shelved for the time being, Rotarians have been quick to pivot, reassigning these resources to benefit local causes.

With enthusiastic leadership at the helm, Oceanside will soon discover the power of Rotary during a pandemic!