Posted by John Schorr on May 03, 2019
What happened in April:
The month of April here in Chiang Mai is known for two things: heat (38 to 40 C or 100+ F) every day and the 5-day Songkran Thai New Year water festival. So many of our members were either celebrating or trying to stay dry and near the aircon! In spite of all that, we managed to accomplish quite a bit!
 
We solidified our agreement with our new, we hope, permanent home at the Royal Peninsula Hotel by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with them (May 1, 2019 - July 1, 2020). This MoU provides for meeting facilities on the first and third Tuesdays of every month and for storage facilities on-site for our equipment and furnishings. This new meeting facility is by far the best we have had, and the staff there have been wonderful!

Our first meeting of the month on April 2nd was a Club Assembly that gave the membership an opportunity to discuss plans for our projects and activities for the last quarter of the current Rotary Year and for the coming 2019-2020 Rotary Year, beginning July 1. Our second club meeting for the month was cancelled, since it fell in the middle of the Songkran festivities, as you can see from my activity near the Old City, at right. We met on the 30th at Duke’s in Maya Mall for a social meeting focused on introducing potential new members to our club and our many service projects.
 
On April 3rd, a group of our club officers visited the Payap University International Campus to meet the newly-elected officers of our CMIRC-sponsored Rotaract Club of Payap University. It was wonderful to see the Rotaractors’ enthusiasm and commitment to service. We all left the meeting feeling there will be many ways we can work together to give service to our community.

April 5-7, CMIRC had one of the larger club contingents at the Rotary District 3360 Conference in Chiang Rai. Our past president (Jerry) current president (me), President-Elect (Colin), President Designate (Clarence, who came with his lovely wife, Aree), and new member (Brian, who came with his lovely wife, May) were all there. So, CMIRC was very well represented! On our way to Chiang Rai some of us took the opportunity to visit with Carol Acosta of the Rotary Club of Mae Chan at their orphanage project (Baan Saan Rak) which CMIRC has supported. (P John, PE Colin and PP Jerry are shown outside the orphanage's library, at left.) At the meeting we had the opportunity to meet with Rotary leaders from most of the sixty-eight clubs in District 3360. I met with District Governor Roongranee Sangsiri to obtain her signature on our charter application for our new Interact Club at Unity Concord International School, and PP Jerry, P John, PD Clarence had an opportunity to chat with Past Rotary International President Bhichai Rattakul. We all enjoyed the Lanna Thai cultural show with music and dance at the conference banquet.  
 
As part of our club’s continuing efforts to support the High School Equivalency Exam (GED) program at BEAM Education Foundation, we have begun to turn our attention to helping them raise money to provide scholarships for the BEAM students who pass the GED and are accepted into universities here in Thailand. On April 11, we met with the BEAM leadership staff and our visiting Rotarian Gordana (Rotary Club of Zagreb-Centar). Rtn. Gordana has donated over $2,000 for one scholarship student and CMIRC has now agreed to help BEAM with the administrative costs associated with this and future scholarships. We are all confident that Rtn. Gordana’s gift is the first of what will be many over the course of the coming year. CMIRC has been asked by BEAM to be the liaison with and representative of the scholarship donors on the BEAM Scholarship Selection Committee. We are honored to play a role helping these highly-motivated young scholars from very poor backgrounds. By the way, we just learned that the RC of Chiang Mai Tin Thai Ngam has offered to provide scholarships for living expenses (4,000 B each) to two of the BEAM students currently studying at Chiang Mai University and that Gordana received a donation of 500 Euros from an individual when she spoke about this program to her Rotary club in Croatia.
 
Meanwhile, during April the CMIRC members who had been meeting with the BEAM GED students to help them prepare for their GED exams were idle as the BEAM students actually took this four-part exam at a test center in Chiang Mai. Our members followed their progress with online progress reports from BEAM, and so far, it appears that twenty-four of the thirty students have passed all four modules, including the dreaded module of U.S. history, civics and government. (How many Americans could pass that test?) Some of the students didn't pass a module by just a point or two and are busy studying in hope of taking a retest. 

After the Songkran break, the CMIRC Board met on April 23. Much business was conducted, but probably most significant for readers of the Bulletin is that we decided to create a Board-level position within CMIRC that focuses on youth programs. The position will be called Director of Youth Programs and will begin on July 1, 2019.  The Director of Youth Programs will facilitate and coordinate CMIRC Interact, Rotaract, Youth Exchange (in-bound and out-bound), RYLA (leadership), and possible new programs such as Early Act.  Since our club focus is Child Safety, Health, and Education, this role is long overdue.  PE Colin will be contacting members to determine their interest in leading this youth programs effort.

CMIRC always tries to help other clubs with their fund raisers, especially when they are fun. So, when RC of Chiang Mai asked us to field a team at their annual Mini Golf Fundraiser, we sent Gary, Mike G., Colin, and me.  Gary did 18 holes with a score of 50, he was our champion, Mike was second and Colin 3rd.  Both Gary and Mike won ceramic cups. My score was 91 and LAST!!!  But it was fun! 
 
Finally, we ended the month with the CMIRC Social Evening on April 30 with the opportunity to meet many potential new members on that evening. Many of the Payap University Rotaractors joined us for pizza and fun, using the event to recruit potential new members also.

So, a BUSY month in spite of the HEAT and Songkran WATER throwing!

How readers of our Bulletin can help:
Please read the project reports in this Bulletin to learn more about how CMIRC has expanded and strengthened its focus on Child Safety, Health, and Education this month.

 
I will end with an appeal. We are getting ready for a very productive 2019-2020 year. Our club’s mission to improve the lives of children in Northern Thailand through our club projects focusing on Child Safety, Health, and Education, demand a great deal of effort and commitment from CMIRC members and friends. There is much to do, and if you would like to help us by joining the club, or if you know someone who might like to join, please let me know: john@cmirotary.org or 08 5030 2143 .
 
If you wish to make a financial contribution to the CMIRC, please contact  treasurer@cmirotary.org .

If you wish to make an in-kind contribution. We especially need children’s toys, sports equipment, and school supplies, please contact president@cmirotary.org or 08 5030 2143
 
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