Rotary Central focuses on youth

As the four Rotary clubs of the Cayman
Islands settle in under the leadership of their new presidents, The Journal
sits down with Rotary Central President Wil Pineau to hear how the club will be
continuing its mission to enrich the lives of young people in Cayman, and
hopefully create lifelong Rotary members in the process.

Wil Pineau is already a well-known
figure within the Cayman community, serving as the Chamber of Commerce’s Chief
Executive Officer for the past 16 years. He is also a long-standing member of
Rotary Central, Grand Cayman’s smallest Rotary Club, having joined in 1994 upon
the invite of Rotary Central Past President Linford Pierson.

“When I received the invite I undertook
some research to find out the philosophy behind Rotary,” Pineau advises. “At
the time I was already involved with the community as the Editor of the New
Caymanian newspaper and I felt that joining Rotary would be worthwhile because
the club was a force for good within the community. It tries to make life
better for the less fortunate and so I thought that there was no better way to
make a contribution.”

Service above self

In particular, Pineau says he was drawn
to Rotary’s “international focus with a local perspective” and cites Rotary’s
global push to eradicate polio as an important example of how the international
service organisation has taken on an issue that no-one else had thought to do
and as such made a huge impact in local communities. “They took one big concept
and translated it into action,” he says.

Pineau says he was also attracted to the
organisation of the club’s activities. “It is a well structured organisation
with good leadership development,” he states. “I also identified with the
Rotary’s four way test (built into everything a Rotarian says or does): Is it
the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better
friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? A good business person
should apply these questions throughout their business life.”

Pineau says ultimately he joined Rotary
Central because he firmly believes in service above self. “People join service
clubs for different reasons. For me, I wanted to join like minded individuals
who sincerely wanted to make the world a better place to live. I am delighted
to have been given the opportunity to serve.”

A new global push

Pineau says he felt he was useful to the
Club straight away as his journalistic and media skills were on demand. “I ran
the club’s newsletter and took responsibility for its public relations with the
media. In fact, Rotary Central won the district award for public relations,” he
confirms.

He also has a particular passion for
youth and youth development, so it was a cause upon which he immediately became
focused. “In fact, Rotary International, for the first time since its founding
in the 1920s have introduced a fifth area of service, New Generations, which
focuses specifically on young people. Rotary Central is incorporating this
fifth area in our plans for this year and the years ahead,” he confirms.

New Generations joins Club Service,
Vocational Service, Community Service and International Service as the
foundation of club activity. Before starting a project, Rotarians are asked to
think broadly about how their club and its members could contribute within each
avenue.

Rotary Central has had a long-standing
association with Cayman’s youth, establishing the Junior Achievement programme
in the early 1990s. Junior Achievement has, according to Pineau, positively
impacted the lives of thousands of Cayman’s youth. 

“They learn life skills, business
ethics, how to create a company and operate their own business; all the
different elements that are necessary for success. We have had excellent
support from local businesses who act as sponsors and provide advisors to the
young people and in this way great relations are built in the community. For
example, some young people have either gone on to run their own business or
work for the company of their advisors.”

Literacy is another focus for Rotary
Central and Pineau says they will be continuing to support literacy with the
help of the club’s Vocational Services Director, Larry Tibbetts, Past President
Sandy McFarlane and Rotarians Carol Jurchison and Sandy Cram. The club also
supports the Cayman Islands Reading Aids programme and this year they
anticipate purchasing dictionaries for all year three children in Cayman.

Early interaction

Making the link with young people at an
early age is an important step for Rotary as it ensures that Rotary values such
as the importance of community service are developed early on.

Incorporating
the New Generations focus, Rotary Central plans to sponsor EarlyAct and
InterAct Clubs, which encourage participation from junior and middle school
children respectively, while Rotaract Blue (whose president is Sheraim Mascal)
is the club sponsored by Rotary Central for young adults looking to join as a
precursor to the actual club itself.

“We are working closely with two schools
to help us develop these clubs for young people,” Pineau says. “Young people
get to understand and apply the four way test and it’s a great way to help them
appreciate the importance of volunteerism. It also helps them learn how service
clubs operate so they can decide whether they want to join Rotary once they get
older.”

Pineau says that Rotary Central Director
and past President Larry Tibbetts is in charge of the youth groups with
Secretary Margaret Rattray (Principal of the Savannah Primary School) running
EarlyAct and Clifton Hunter counsellor and Rotarian Margaret Jackson in charge
of InterAct.

Rotary Central also takes pleasure in
sponsoring students to take part the Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly and in a
World Affairs seminar in the United States each year, where student leaders from
all over the world take part in international discussions. 

“It builds a much better understanding
for young people who live here that Cayman is connected to bigger issues in the
world,”  Pineau says.

Sponsoring an annual Science Fair is
another important element of Rotary’s focus on youth. Students in different
categories and age groups enter projects and are judged by persons in the
community who work in the field of science, engineering and technology. The top
students in each category receive scholarships that they can use for higher
learning after high school.

“We wanted to create awareness that there are many
different types of worthwhile careers available to young people in the fields
of science, math and technology,” Pineau explains. “We also wanted to create an
excitement about studying these subjects.”

Forward thinking

Rotary Central takes its environmental
responsibility seriously, as Pineau furthers: “We want to ensure that we
preserve our natural environment for generations to come, so we are currently
working alongside both the Department and Ministry of Environment to create a
boardwalk for the Ironwood Forest so people can enjoy the natural beauty of the
area without disturbing the natural flora and fauna,” he says.

It was Rotary Central that spearheaded
the project to clear the Mastic Trail several years ago and make the trail
walkable for visitors once again. Pineau says these projects are just part of a
number of environmental projects with which the club is involved. Others
include the Earth Day activities, regular beach clean ups and the creation of
Centennial Park across from the George Town Public Library.

Pineau also wants to devise a plan for
the club which will allow the many projects and ideas to have a firm focus and
which will lead the club years after his one year presidency.

“A three year plan will provide
consistency and help us plan projects better,” he says. 

Small but perfectly formed

Rotary Central has been in operation for
24 years and meets every Tuesday evening at 7.30 pm at Grand Old House.
Although it is the smallest of the three Grand Cayman Rotary Clubs (the others
are Rotary of Grand Cayman and Rotary Sunrise and there is one club on Cayman
Brac) Pineau says the club’s membership is dedicated to their various causes and
it is the only club in the Cayman Islands that has 100 per cent Paul Harris
Fellowship members (i.e. those who have been recognised by Rotary International
for their contributions to humanity). The club is also proud to have introduced
the Community Bus Shelter programme that provides residents and visitors with a
convenient shelter in more than 40 different locations in Grand Cayman. 

“Everyone goes well beyond the service
above self ethos,” Pineau states. “I’m incredibly proud of what we have
achieved so far and know that we will succeed in our projects this year and the
years to come and I would like to thank the community for their ongoing support
of the annual music extravaganza which takes place in November as well as the
community bus shelter programme. All proceeds from these initiatives are
invested in the community in keeping with Rotary’s primary focus of service
above self.”

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