The Rotary Club of Ladysmith is celebrating 50 years of service in the community.
Originally formed on September 20, 1970, the Rotary Club of Ladysmith has accomplished many community projects. They have constructed the Ladysmith Boat Ramp and services building, the Ladysmith Golf Course, the Rotary Lookout on Holland Creek Trail, the Holland Creek Trail Bridge, among several others.
They also donate funds to local schools, and organizations. Annual events like Ladysmith Light Up, Ladysmith Days, Kid’s Pirate Day, Breakfast with Santa, Coldest Night of the Year, and the Rotary Garden Tour just wouldn’t be the same without the Rotary Club of Ladysmith.
Rotary president, Eileen Beltgens has recently immersed herself in the 50 year history of the club.
“When I look back at the history, it’s really apparent that fellowship, and working together is one of the things that makes community organizations work so well.”
Beltgens said that one of the most fulfilling aspects of her service with Rotary has been working with the youth of Ladysmith through the Interact Club at Ladysmith Secondary School.
“The kids learn leadership, they learn service, they do fundraising, they have projects, and they determine it all on their own. Rotary acts as an advisor to them, but they are the ones who decide the projects they do,” Beltgens said.
“They’ve been so inspiring to me. Those kids are just amazing.”
Rotary is not alone among outstanding service clubs in Ladysmith. Beltgens said that each of the service organizations in Ladysmith is special because they are committed to Ladysmith, and the community as a whole.
“One of the things that is the most important about Rotary is when we can collaborate with those other service organizations,” Beltgens said. “When we’re working together we can make stuff happen that we can’t make happen on our own.”
Rotary is hard at work on several projects in the community currently. They are involved in the collaborative effort to upgrade Forrest Field, they are collborating with five other Cowichan Rotary clubs to build a garden for Cowichan Hospice, and the Rotary Club of Ladysmith is the founding sponsor of Disaster Aid Canada.
With the various projects that Rotary has on the go, Beltgens said she’d love to see the stories that are told when the club celebrates their 100th anniversary.
“I won’t be here, but I would love to see that Rotary continues to work with other organizations, businesses, and the town to make Ladysmith a place where family are supported, children are supported, and young people have a place where they can work, live, and raise their families.”
“If we can help contribute to the town in that way… I think that legacy would be the most important thing.”
The Ladysmith Chronicle will be celebrating the Rotary Club of Ladysmith all year long with articles that take a look back at the highlights of Rotary’s 50 year history in Ladysmith.