Introduced by: Rotarian Pam Miller
Claire & Cecilia are grade 9 students in the Neepawa Belles Beaux & Builders 4-H club. Claire & Cecilia gave a slide show on their 4-H Exchange with Nova Scotia partners who arrived here June 30 and participated in many activities. Neepawa members travelled to Nova Scotia July 24. For many members was first time on an airplane! Saw many tourist and local places. Very surprising the red soil of PEI versus our black soil here. One of the main differences was that the community had only 1 club for all the different projects as compared to Manitoba where communities have one club for each project—Beef, Horse, Home Ec., etc. Thanked Rotary and their many sponsors for such a great opportunity to see a different part of Canada and make many new friends!
Introduced by: Rotarian Glen Cummings
Don Pollock area farmer and founding member of Northstar Seeds. Don spoke of how 8 alfalfa seed growers after much discussion decided to form a forage seed company to marked their production. Began in May 1982 with Don elected as manager of the company and has served ever since. Began operations out of his home and 1995 built at current location with 1,000 sq. Feet of office & 6,000 sq ft of warehouse. Now have a 30,000 sq ft warehouse and 3500 sq ft office. They operate a dealer network in Western Canada with Rob Wolfe as assistant manager of the Western Canadian network. 18 staff in MB,5 in AB & 2 in US. In 2016 built their own warehouse and office space in Okatoks, AB after renting space in Calgary for several years. Their focus is maintaining their employees long term. Have diversified over the years to other crops, but focus on their core of cool season forage crops. The company is in Mexico, Argentina, Paraquay, European Union and others. Where the future will lie is to be seen. Concern of soil drifting again on farms because of crop diversification and as farms become larger there is less interest in growing small acreage crops.
Introduced by: Rotarian Glen C.
Ray was born in Paraquay as his parents were on a teaching assignment so learned International projects at an early age. Ray joined Mohawk, Minnedosa in 1981 as grain buyer and retired in 2015. Ray is a member of the Minnedosa Canadian Food Grains Bank committee which is one of 40 in Manitoba. Ray spoke as a former Rotarian as how the goals of Rotary are very similar to the Food Grains Bank in wanting to alleviate hunger & poverty in the world. There are currently 800 million people in the world who do not receive sufficient food daily because of drought, war and flooding(hurricanes and monsoon rains). The Canadian Gov’t commits 25 million dollars annually in the 4 to 1 matching of the Canadian Food Grains Bank fundraising for providing food and training in third world countries. Program began by MCC in 1976 and in 1983 became the Canadian Food Grains Bank with own charity status. Canadian farmers would sell surplus grain to the grain companies who would transport to areas of need. This has changed so that sold grain is now cash to purchase grain in the host country for the food projects. This has done 3 things 1. Reduced transportation costs and providing the right grains locally 2. Assists local farmers in the country to sell their surplus grain to increase income and self sufficiency. 3 Gave the opportunity for other Canadians to support with cash donations and receive charity tax receipts. Ray challenged the members present to give a dollar to the Sargeant at Arms to donate to local food bank.
Introduced by: Rotarian Kerri M.
Guy is an avid Rotarian in the Portage club and is the Regional Campus Coordinator for Red River College in Portage. Guy joined Rotary in 2003 and has been an executive member up until this year. His family is currently first host family for Daniella from Brazil. Guy spoke of Red River College being the second largest post secondary institution after the U 0f M in the province. They offer 200 degree, diploma, certificate programs with 30,000 students on 11 campuses. 97% of students find jobs within 6 months of graduation in their field of study. Very responsive to industry needs for training. Instructors come from industry so instruct in current needs. The campus in Portage is in the 100 year old Victoria school that has been updated for campus and office needs. Have a mobile training lab. Responsive to community needs with snow brought in for a hill for local citizens to use and this year an outdoor skating rink. Rent out the gym and host community events such as weddings. Looking to increase enrollment & course offerings.
Introduced by: Rotarian President Don S.
Took a long time to decide on a topic such as Henry the 8th but decided to talk about his 35 year farming career at Waldersee. His parents wanted him to be a teacher but could not see himself inside teaching and decided on farming-started with his Father and expanded the land base. Also had careers in mining and others during winters. In winter played hockey and was the first icemaker hauling water to flood the first outdoor rink in Waldersee. Talked about the Big Grass Marsh and the Issac Pitblado dam. Group in 1909 – 1916 planned a drainage project using a floating dredge and connecting the outlet to the Whitemud River. Lots of controversy over the water levels and where it should be. Ducks Unlimited built dam in 1938 to control water levels. Big Grass Marsh is a staging area for waterfowl and home to many upland birds. Many hunters dug pits for goose hunting and forgot to fill them in after use! The name of Issac Pitblado’s Father was a preacher from Nova Scotia who came to Manitoba. Issac became a lawyer and called to the bar in 1890 and practiced for 74 years. Had lodge at south end of the Marsh and was an avid sportsman in many sports and hunted the Big Grass marsh. The law firm of Pitblado is a large firm today in Winnipeg.
Introduced by: Rotarian Bob F.
Sherri & twin sister grew up in Neepawa, graduated NACI 2000. Parents Garth & Gail White. Sherri opened Whitey’s Fitness & Body Shop in the upstairs of the Coop building in 2000. With the sale of the building and renovation to the basement Whitey’s was moved downstairs. New access to the gym is on the south side through the blue door and down the stairs. Now have 3900 square feet of space for all the equipment and classes. Monday through Friday there are 19 classes. Last 7 weeks have begun a class for 7-8 year olds from HMK to improve fitness & coordination. Now have a yoga instructor who is also nurse in Neepawa. Have an all male class 9:00 am Mon. 7 Fri. Ladies class Tues. At 9:0 am. Group led classes with 5 leaders. Sherri noted that used to do all herself but now with small children cannot do everything! With membership receive a key card for access 24/7 as many are shift workers. Question on exercise should do 2.5 hours per week which can be broken down into smaller segments. Exercise and healthy eating will improve a person’s life. Sherri advised of the Fitness & fashion Show at Whitey’s Thurs evening at 7 pm co-sponsored with Its Time-Ineke Mack.
Introduced by: Rotarian Michelle G.
With an interest in rescue animals decided on a different summer volunteer experience at a dog rescue centre in Thailand for this past summer. Many dogs on the streets with no owners. Many husky dogs because people think they are fashionable as pups when see size of mature dog then put out onto the street as cannot look after. Most of the dogs rescued have not had much human contact and are malnourished, lots of ticks in their ears, etc. There other volunteers from Australia, US and other countries. Very hard most of the day in hot conditions. However did some hiking with the other volunteers. Mom & Logan came over at the end and did some sightseeing together. There for 6 weeks all told. Very worthwhile experience. Working at Brandon Hills Vet Clinic. Plan to enroll in Vet Tech course at Red River but a long waiting list.
Introduced by: Rotarian Nikki F.
Maxence talked about his family in France and hosting students—became interested in Rotary Youth Exchange when his older brother went to Japan 7 years ago. His brother’s host family and their family are very close like one family. Maxence went there for a month when he was 14 and family has visited there. Speaks some Japanse. His community of 10,000 is near the Belgium border. An hour bus ride to school of 1,000 students grades 10 to 12. School days are much longer than here and do not have the course selection we have. Was a jogger in the lower grades . Plays piano for last 14 years. Likes to play jazz. Wants to experience as much as he can while here. This is a reminder to Rotarians to please include Maxence in one of your activities.
Diane Norstrom, Victoria Quilts Canada
Introduced by: Rotarian Ron N
Diane is a retired school teacher and became involved with the Neepawa Branch of Victoria Quilts Canada assisting with the computer/ website portion to create awareness. Diane spoke of Neepawa as the only branch in Manitoba established in late 2013. Victoria Quilts Canada was established in 1999 to provide quilts as a comfort wrap while on their cancer journey. To date 58,000 quilts have been donated to cancer patients. The local board and volunteers have completed & donated 343 quilts since 2014! 54 quilts are in Neepawa and the rest are in 92 communities around Manitoba. Can only use cotton material as other materials react with the skin of cancer patients undergoing treatment. Many people donate supplies and individuals and groups donate financially. Mary & Keith Porter have been providing free storage for the supplies donated.
Victoria Quilts Canada is a registered charity and issue charity tax receipts. Cheques are payable to Victoria Quilts Canada Neepawa C/o Diane Nordstorm Box 285 Neepawa MB R0J 1H0 and the donations are used locally to pay for the cost of the quilt which range from $80 to $100.00 per quilt. Their local fundraiser of St Patrick’s Day March 17 stew has had great support from individuals and businesses who treat their employees.