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- Rotary Club of Grande Prairie
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The first organizational meeting of the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie was held on January 11, 1951 at the CFGP Radio Station. Sponsored by the Edmonton Rotary Club, the group formed a provisional club and applied to Rotary International for a charter, which was granted January 22, 1951. Charter members included Ferrell Swanston, Alexander H. Brown, Percy Clubine, Robert Miller, Morley Lidster, Dave Dowser, Charles Husel, William Kerr, John Duffy, Ernie Harrison, Olaf Hanson, D. W. Pratt, Charles Litman, Donald W. Patterson, Louis Kowensky, J. B. Oliver, Harry W. Archibald, Bryant D. Richards, President Arthur J. Balfour, and directors John A. Wilson, Fred T. Johnson, Thomas B. Griffith, John H. Nelson, Elmer Logan, John Lynn, and R. Harry Watcher. Women were not admitted to Rotary Club membership in Canada until 1988. Bobbi Lambright appears to have been the first female member of the Grande Prairie Rotary Club, joining in 1991.
Rotary International, to which the local Club pays dues, was founded in 1905 by Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney. Rotary has a strong commitment to service, as evidenced in its official mottos: “Service Above Self” and “One Profits Most Who Serves Best”. Rotary members and clubs are encouraged to use the four-way test: “Is it the TRUTH?” “Is it FAIR to all concerned?” “Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?” “Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?” and to pursue service in five avenues: Club Service, Vocational Service, Community Service, International Service, and Youth Service.
When it was first organized, the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie was part of District 536. District 536 was renumbered in 1991, becoming District 5360. In 1998, the District was split in two, with clubs north of Ponoka becoming part of the new district 5370. At the present time, the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie is part of Area 12 of District 5370. The Districts are further grouped into Zones, with District 5370 being part of Zone 24, which includes Canada, Eastern Russia, and parts of the United States, including Alaska. Rotary International is led by the International President, every two zones are led by a Director, each District is led by a Governor, and each club is led by a local President.
As part of providing service to the local community, the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie has funded and participated in numerous projects and programs, including the building of the Golden Age Centre (1973, 1984 addition), the Legion track near Grande Prairie Composite High School (1982), Hillside School grounds Change/Dressing room (1995), Skateboard Park (1997-98), Grande Prairie Regional College distance learning equipment (2000), Salvation Army Soup Kitchen re-model and Wapiti Community Dorm upgrade (1998), Muskoseepi Park playground equipment (1998), PARDS hay barn upgrade (2000), Rotary House/Wapiti Community Dorm Society (2005), Grande Prairie Public Library community meeting room (2008), QEII Hospital helipad (2008), Sunrise House (2008), Odyssey House, Clairmont School Playground, Lawn Bowling Centre, Smith Field Soccer facility, Grande Prairie French School Playground, Grande Prairie Multi-Plex, and various other local organizations. The Club’s longest-standing project is sponsorship of the Grande Prairie Air Cadets 577 Squadron, which it first undertook in 1953.
The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie has also operated the municipal campground on the Bear Creek Reservoir since the 1970s and provided several campground upgrades and renovations. The Club also runs a bus tour of Grande Prairie for tourists. The City’s annual Clean-a-Thons/Green-a-Thons have also been run by Rotary since 1973.
The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie’s overseas projects have included participation in the Polio Plus Campaign and Operation Eyesight, funding a hospital in Belize, a Bolivia school/dormitory project, and a Guatemala Literacy Project, and purchasing used vehicles (buses, fire trucks, handi-vans, ambulances, etc.) and driving them to Mexico.
In order to have the financial backing to support their various local and overseas projects, the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie has engaged in numerous fundraising ventures, including selling birthday and anniversary calendars (up to the early 1970s), selling Rotary cookbooks, running a snack bar at the County Fairgrounds (before the grounds moved to Evergreen Park), running bingos and casinos, partnering in the Great Peace Country Duck Race from 1993 to 2007, and partnering in the Dream Home Lottery.
The club also participates in various social and networking events, including banquets, barbeques, bonspiels, and conferences, and meets weekly. The Club has met in various locations over the years, including the York Hotel, Joe’s Corner Coffee Shop, the Golden Star Restaurant, the Grande Prairie Inn, and the Quality (now the Paradise) Inn.
The Club has been involved with Rotary International and other Rotary clubs in a variety of ways over the years. In 1958 and 2012, they hosted District Conventions. The Club became involved with the International Youth Exchange program in 1974-75 and has hosted an exchange student nearly every year since. The Club has also been involved with the Group Study Exchange program since 1975. The Club participates in the Rotary Ball Tournament with other local Rotary clubs and has done so since 1992.
The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie has also been involved in sponsoring other fledgling clubs, including the Rotary Club of Fort St. John (1963), Swan City Rotary Club (1986), Rotaract Club of Grande Prairie (2001), Rotary Club of Grande Cache (2008), Interact Club of Sexsmith (2009), Grande Prairie After Five Club (2012), Grande Prairie Composite High School Interact Club, and Rotary E-Club of Canada One (2013).
Scope and content
The fonds consists of records created and received by the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie in the course of their operations and activities. The records include minutes and reports, planning documents, correspondence, committee minutes and planning materials, membership lists, rosters, and cards, financial statements and general ledger, newsletters and publications, photographs, newspaper clippings, and Rotary International manuals and booklets.
The fonds is divided into seven series: Executive Records, Committees, Membership, Financial Records, Publications, Photographs and Scrapbooks, and Rotary International.
Immediate source of acquisition
These records were donated to South Peace Regional Archives in several accruals:
October 2010 by Ella Simpson
February 2011 by Bob Wallace, Trenton Perrott, and Karen Munjak
April and October 2012 by Bob Wallace
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