Posted by Sandi Chard


One day, reading The Rotarian magazine, we came across an article on Rotary fellowships.  We want you to know that the concept and practice of fellowships has moved our Rotary experience to a deeper level.  First, we went on line to investigate the many fellowships that interested us.  Would it be the beer, wine, social media or RV’ing?  Why not all of them!!
We noticed that the RV fellowship had an upcoming rally in Orillia, Ontario. We called immediately to see to see if we could still attend, since it was just past the deadline for signup. Thankfully they were still able to fit us in. There were about 15 units from the USA and Canada attended this fun 4 days of RV’ing and fellowship.   We immediately found new Rotary friends with a likeness of travel, adventure and camping.  This fellowship meets in different parts of Canada and USA for rallies that stay in one place, or rolling rallies which tour throughout a geographical area. The fellowship has traveled as far as Australia with plans for Europe. 
At every Rotary International convention in North America and some abroad, the RV fellowship has a rally meeting place with accommodation (spots to park your home on wheels).  This year in Toronto the CNE grounds will be our home both before and during the convention.  Some years - over 100 units have made the trek to the convention.  After the convention there is a rolling rally that you can join as well.  Any Rotarian is invited to join us this year.Before the 2017 convention in Atlanta, 30 units from USA, Canada, Australia and England traveled together in their own units or rentals for 3 weeks starting and ending in Atlanta.  Along the way Rotarians joined and left the caravan as their schedules allowed. We visited Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina. Some of the sights we saw along the way included the Smokey Mountains, the Grand Ole Opry, President Andrew Jackson's home - The Hermitage, Biltmore Estates, a railways tour with a bourbon tasting, and so much more.  Rotary clubs along the way entertained us, either at a regular meeting or a social they planned for us. But the most fun we had was at the nightly happy hour which quickly became happy evenings, with discussion about the day’s events, The Rotary Foundation, lots of fundraising ideas as well as sharing of our personal lives. A bonus of this fellowship is that, unlike commercial rallies, we run on a non-profit, so the price is very realizable.  At the end of every rally, we donated to something in the area that is highway related since we are on the highways so much. 
We ended up at the Atlanta RI Convention,which was our first convention.  Not knowing what to expect at the convention, any apprehension we had was eased by the new Rotarian friends we had met from around the world.  During the convention, we would see our new friends, sometimes meeting up with them at the House of Friendship RV Fellowship booth which added to our convention experience.  Incoming President Ian Riseley attended The Rotary Foundation party, and our new Australia friend insisted we meet him and took us over to him to be introduced personally. What a blast!
I am sure the many other fellowships also have same or similar uplifting and fun experiences.  I know the beer and wine fellowships also met at the convention for special outings related to beer and wine. 
So, what are you waiting for? Look at the Rotary Fellowships webpage and find a fellowship to enhance your Rotary experience.  
Gary and Sandi Chard, Rotary Club of St. Catharines Lakeshore