Posted by Colin Jarvis on Aug 01, 2019
I have been a Rotarian since 1985, almost 35 years. The world has changed a great deal in that time and Rotary has had to change with it. Rotary never ceases to amaze and enchant me.

A simple example would be our first meeting of the new Rotary year. Many clubs sent some of their members to celebrate. Some clubs sent one member, others a handful but however many were there goodwill and warm hearts filled the room. It was a delightful reminder of the fellowship that can be had by being a member of Rotary. Not only that, it was a bit like Christmas as all members seemed to bring a small gift to enhance the occasion. I would like to thank all the members from other clubs who attended our first meeting as it made the event one to remember forever.

Another meeting that was full of fellowship was this month’s social night which we always hold on the fifth Tuesday of any month, if one exists. It is wonderful to meet the young members from our affiliated Rotaract Club of Payup University. (I'm pictured, right, along with Rtn. Nancy, chatting with some of the Rotaractors.)  Their youth and energy are to be expected but their maturity, sense of duty and performance is outstanding. If these are the people who will shortly be running the world then the world is in good hands.
It was also good to see a number of potential new members arrive to see what Rotarians are like in the flesh. I am frequently surprised by the desire to help others that is exhibited by, sometimes, the most unlikely people. People from many different walks of life and many different ages and life experiences come together with one common aim which is to find ways of helping the society in which they live and from which they feel they have received so much.

Thursday, 31 July was a very special day. As you may know, the most common cause of death amongst children under the age of fifteen is drowning. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, too few people know how to swim and get out of trouble should they fall into water. Secondly children do not know what to do in the event of such an accident. If there are three children, and one falls into a river, the chances are the other two will jump in to try to rescue their friend. They probably cannot swim either and panic can set in sealing the fate of all of them.

Some years ago, John Schorr, started a programme to teach disadvantaged children how to survive should they fall into water. This activity has trained over 1,500 children in Chiang Mai alone. The scheme is now expanding, through other Rotary clubs and every year more children, in more places are given life-saving training. You can read more about this programme on our website. So why was Thursday, 31 July so special? Quite simply it is when the annual ceremony was run to present all the children who passed the training successfully, this year, with a certificate that celebrates their new-found skill (below).

I feel that John Schorr, his supporters and those who deliver the training deserve the thanks of many young children and their parents.

This programme shows what can be achieved by a little effort and imagination and is just one of many, many thousands of worthwhile projects run by Rotarians throughout the world.