Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our Rotary GSE team

The photo at top right on this blog site shows our 2009 GSE Team from Rotary District 5910. From left to right: Raul Avalos, Melissa Martin, John Delaney, Adriana Mendoza, and Cici Anderson.

We feel honored to be the representatives from our Rotary district who'll travel to Argentina's Rotary District 4920 this Spring. We'll spend a month traveling throughout that region of Argentina (south of Buenos Aires), visiting Rotary Clubs, giving our slide presentation, seeing the sights, and especially staying in host family homes.

Here's a short history. The District's GSE Committee selected me for Team Leader on September 6, 2008. With me added to the committee, it proceeded to select the rest of the team on October 18. Once the team formed, we started preparations immediately. In addition to on-line work, getting passports, insurance, and other documents, and doing as much language study as time allowed, we've met for day-long training sessions on November 15, December 13, January 24, and January 31. Our last scheduled session (we think) is February 22.

Past team leaders from our district, headed by Kenne Turner (5910's Team Leader to Brazil), gave generously of their time to prepare us for this "trip of a lifetime." Kenne has been a tireless mentor, meeting with us during every training session, taking great photos for our various needs, and generally guiding us through the preparation. Dr. Susan Andrew, Team Leader to France in 2008, has been a marvelous help in so many areas, especially with our Powerpoint presentation. Prof. Jack Skaggs, Team Leader to England, gave us a helpful lecture on the history of Rotary and its ongoing work. Judge Don Taylor, Team Leader to Canada, gave us valuable training about how and what to pack.

But the training wasn't limited to our own district. We've benefited a lot from the information and tips given by the team from District 6990 in southeast Florida, headed by Team Leader Joe Roth, that traveled to the same District 4920 in Argentina in the Spring of 2008. We will follow the same tracks they laid down Our thanks to Joe and his team for that invaluable help. We hope to "pay it forward" by helping future teams.

To say we're excited about this adventure would be an understatement. That spirit of excitement and anticipation has helped us overcome the challenges of preparation.

Dividing up the tasks, we've planned and purchased our blazers and other uniform clothing. We've designed and bought badges, thank you notes, business cards, team brochures, and business cards. We've found photos to include in our slide presentation, which is nearly done, and we're hastily gathering up gifts for club presidents and host families. We're writing our individual presentation scripts, hoping to do a credible job delivering them in Argentine Spanish. We're working on what to do about cell phone communications to and from the US, and a host of other details. We're about five weeks away from leaving!

Meanwhile, we get frequent e-mail and photos from Argentina, courtesy of Maria Pardo, Team Leader of the group coming to Texas from District 4920 after we return to Texas, and Ana Spivak, with District 4920's GSE Committee. Argentine team's stay in Texas is being coordinated by our in-bound district chair, Mary Matteson. I look forward to hosting Maria in my home when her team travels to Bryan/College Station in April.

No more time for this today. Have other GSE work to do. Then a golf game and Superbowl this afternoon!

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