Posted by Dave Colquhoun & Margaret Brown on Jun 27, 2021
Welcome to our Newest Rotary Member
This week, we welcomed Shaun Lesowski as our newest Lake Country Rotarian. 😊
 
Some of us know Shaun from his work as Parks Foreman with the District of Lake Country and his involvement with our annual Canada Day Celebration, the Lake Country Museum Annex Project, and Lobster Crawl fundraisers.   
 
Shaun was attracted to join Rotary because of our Club’s ongoing involvement in creating and enhancing parks and recreation spaces in Lake Country.
 
Welcome Shaun!
 
 Rotary Youth Exchange – Changing Lives
Without question, one of the highlights of our Club’s 25-year history has been our participation in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.
 
Since 1996, our Club has sponsored 20 local students to study abroad for a full year as an international student, hosted by local Rotary clubs.  In turn, we have welcomed 18 inbound students from France, Japan, Argentina, Sweden, Ecuador, Germany, Austria, Sicily, Finland, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia to experience life in Lake Country with local host families.
This week, seven former exchange students joined us via Zoom to help celebrate our 25th Anniversary and update us on what is happening in their personal lives.  And, what a reunion it was!
  • Mario Torrano (1996/1997) lives in Cancun, Mexico and is employed as an environmental consultant.  He has more than 15 years of experience in the public and private sector in the field of management, supervision, and environmental impact; comprehensive waste management; environmental education and training; sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Mario will be our guest speaker on July 15.
  • Bertrand Fulchiron (1999/2000) grew up in France and currently is transferring from Brazil to the USA (with a stopover to visit family in France) as a Marketing Manager for the Apple Corporation’s App Store.  He is married and has one son.
  • Maria Sorensen (2002/2003) lives in Aarhus, Denmark, is married with 2 young girls and is working as a medical doctor.  She has returned to visit Canada at least 8 times!
  • Benjamin Dieu (2005/2006) is working in Valencia, Spain as a marketing and communications consultant.  He described his Rotary exchange year as the best year of his life.
  • Emilio Lapetina (2006/2007) lives in Buenos Aires – Argentina and is employed by Nissan in Human Resources.  Emilio will be our guest speaker on August 19.
  • Catrin Bacher (2008/2009) lives in Ulm, Germany and was recently married.  She and her husband are orthodontists at ULM university.  They are planning a trip here after the pandemic.  Although Catrin does not compete in equestrian activities anymore, she continues her love of horses and still owns two.
  • Thomas Scheuba (2011/2012) from Vienna, Austria, is currently working toward a master’s degree and is currently working for a paper company.  Thomas is also leading an international non-profit group which raises funds to build water cisterns in rural villages in Ethiopia.
  • Brett Thompson (outbound 1997/98) went to the Philippines during his exchange year, where he not only learned the language but started his interest in foods.  Today, he is a chef and oversees most of the restaurants at Big White Resort.
The official goals of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program are to enable participants ‘to learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens.’   it is apparent however, that the benefits of the program run much deeper, both for the student and their host families.
 
Several exchange students commented that their exchange year changed their lives!  One student commented that their values and future career path had been shaped by their exchange year.  Others commented that they had developed a thirst for travel to experience and understand other cultures.  Many had embraced the Rotary theme of ‘service above self’ and had returned to their home countries and become involved in service projects to create a better world.
 
A strong personal bond has also been developed between the students and their host families.  Several students have returned to Lake Country since their exchange year to reconnect with their host families.  Several of our Club members and host families have also visited and been hosted by students in their home countries, which has created lasting friendships and connections.
 
Thanks to Margaret for organizing this reunion with our exchange students and to Marsel for the beautiful video which captured memories from our 25 years of Rotary Youth Exchange. 😊