Edwin Bos, Governor of Rotary District 6250, is planning a different sort of convention in Fort Atkinson this year with RotaryFest, an event packed with wide-ranging activities, from theater to skydiving.
Edwin described the impact Rotary has during his visit to the Waunakee Rotary Club on Feb. 27. He noted Rotary’s theme this year is Rotary Connects the world.
He related how a young girl living in the remote hills of the Himalayas became involved in Rotary after her father decided to start a club five years with no support.
The meetings were the in evenings, when women cooked home-cooked meals, and the girl would join her father to them. She realized how big Rotary was – 1.2 million members worldwide – and how it can take on large initiatives, such as Polio Plus.
An announcement for a friendship exchange program led to an invitation to visit Napal, and the Americans arrived and were given tours of the different villages each day. The girl joined them. As the Americans were to return home, they asked themselves “how far this spunky girl would go if she were growing up in another location,” Edwin said.
Her English was at a basic level, so one of the Americans gave her all of the Harry Potter books on a Kindle and said, first learn English.
Three years later, the American received an email from her. She was attending school in Kathmandu, and she had read the entire Harry Potter series. She would go on to be chosen for the Rotary Youth Exchange program and in 2019, received her visa to study in the United States. That girl is now staying with Edwin and his family, her second host family during her exchange in Fort Atkinson where she is attending high school.
“When we left for Nepal in 2016, none of us thought for the next four years, we’d be collaborating with a 14-year-old girl on a Rotary project,” Edwin said.
He described Rotary as a Swiss Army knife, with tools such as the Friendship Exchange.
“Rotary is a totally bottom-up organization,” he said, where members use the tools on the Swiss Army knife of Rotary to do good in the world.
Rotary’s president hopes to keep Rotarians engaged, to keep things simple and to involve family and friends in Rotary.
This year is the 75th anniversary of Rotary helping to set up the United Nations.  
Edwin encouraged Rotarians to sign up for Rotary Direct, allowing contributions to the foundation to be taken monthly from a credit card.
Rotary Fest will be June 19-21 in Fort Atkinson with a golf outing and a show at the Fireside Theater on Friday, and more events throughout the weekend. Attendees can enjoy canoing and kayaking, bicycling, a large farmers market and more while taking in some of the workshops and seminars.
Other News:
-The PETS conference for incoming presidents is this weekend, Assistant Governor Carol Hermann said.
-The Waunakee club was receiving nominations for the Business Person of the Year. Voting will take place next week, and the person selected will be honored at the Community Awards Banquet in April.
-John Cullen said he has about eight Super Raffle tickets left. See him if you’d like to purchase one.
Birthdays: None.
Anniversaries: None.
Programs: March 5, Joe Salmons, Wisconsin English; March 12, Club Assembly and U.S. Census update; March 19, Rob Kaas, Walgreen’s pharmacist on the opioid epidemic; March 25, Michael Wagner, UW journalism professor, on deciding what’s true in a polarized society.
Greeters: March 5, Linda Olson and Karli Pagliughi; March 12, Cindy Patzner and Danny Paul; March 19, Ken Pesik and James Pingel; March 26, Erick Plumb and Corey Randl.