See you at Toronto, bye. These were my parting words to most of my new friends at the Rotary Convention 2017 in Atlanta, USA. Being the only Rotaractor from India at the Rotaract Pre-Convention made this experience a very special and unique for me. The friends I made, the new contacts and especially the tour of the amazing House of Friendship made the Atlanta convention something to cherish for a long time.
But I did not expect that I would be invited again to the Rotaract Pre-Convention at the Rotary Convention 2018 in Toronto, Canada. It was totally exciting for me. The first two days at the Rotaract Pre-Convention held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre saw thousands of Rotaractors across the globe coming together and sharing notes. The sessions were interesting, interactive and the bonds of understanding that developed between the teams during group activities were remarkable. It helped Rotaractors to learn the “Rotaract ways” of different countries and districts. This global understanding helps us to gain access to a wide variety of knowledge in terms of projects, resources and execution techniques. The takeaways of the Rotaract Pre-Convention are the ideas we share and the bonding we developed resulting in enduring memory of this event.
Another key highlight at the Toronto Convention was the House of Friendship (HOF), a grand exhibition where stalls display major signature and flagship projects of Rotary, Rotaract and Interact clubs around the world, besides Rotary Exchange programmes. The HOF also extends a platform for collaborations between Rotary and Rotaract clubs.
The opening ceremony at the Air Canada Centre is a must watch as it had a medley of performances from artists drawn from multiple dance forms. During the Country Roll call, when ‘India’ was announced, the whole stadium roared and cheered making us all proud. It was indeed one of the goosebumps moments for me. Addressing the general session, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau appreciated the global work of Rotary and its humanitarian impact.
We bid farewell to our friends at the convention, but the golden jubilee celebrations of the Rotaract movement did not end here as it will be something for Rotaractors to cherish for years to come. While I parted from my Rotaract friends with the final words: See you at Hamburg, many glimpses of exciting sessions flitted across the mind. But this time, I will make sure that we meet again in Hamburg next year.
The writer is Past DRR from D 3011 and Rotaract South Asia MDIO President-elect