Rotary retreat step toward acceptance

The Remembrance Day retreat for our Rotary Youth Exchange Students in my mind brings home the reason for Rotary.

The Remembrance Day retreat for our Rotary Youth Exchange Students in my mind brings home the reason Rotary supports 8,000 Youth Exchange students every year. We do it to increase world understanding, develop minds capable of dealing with conflict resolution and perhaps give us world peace.

It makes me very proud to be a Canadian and a member of a Commonwealth country knowing how we mourn the losses and remember the costs of going to war on November 11. It will be a long battle before we develop the mindset, ethics and integrity of dealing with and resolving conflicts before war is the only option, but the Rotary Youth Exchange Students gathered in Nakusp this weekend had an experience they will remember.

Years ago I sat at the bar with a friend from India. We were solving world problems and I mentioned “tolerance.” He looked at me and said “No Bill, we don’t want you to tolerate us, we want you to accept us.” Thirty years later tolerance is still politically correct. We have so far to go.

I think these students are part of the answer. Twenty-two kids from around the world, leaving everything they know for a full year. I applaud every one of them.

Bill Tobey

Nakusp, B.C.