Linda Schuyler:
 

My story follows:

When our boys were small, Dave and I were both involved in coaching ball and hockey. We were glad to help however we could. Once our boys became young men and were no longer involved with minor sports, our social life was almost nonexistent. Dave played hockey with several teams and I played slo-pitch for exercise. I missed the casual friendships. Now that we were empty nesters, I was looking for something more...

 

The wife of a co-worker approached me about joining her for lunch. The news of the day was the upcoming Sports Celebrity Dinner. I had tried to attend in previous years but women could only attend if they were escorted by a man. Of course, the event always conflicted with Dave's hockey so I was out of luck. Sharon mentioned that her Rotary club hosted the dinner to raise money for the Thames Valley Children Centre. Our niece and the son of one of my co-workers had used TVCC services and this appealed to me. Of course she knew the tricks...appealed to my sense of community, lifelong friendships, networking and vanity. Yes vanity. I was flattered. It was such a large club and women were recently allowed to join. Hmm...take on the establishment...  I have to admit I was somewhat intimidated but right from that first meeting, all members made me feel so welcome. The giants in the business world sat at my table and wanted to know what I thought and would I join them in their committee work. I joined several committees that first year. I wanted exposure to everything.

 

Why I stay:

  • lifelong friendships
  • involvement with projects that make a tremendous impact in the community-locally and internationally
  • Youth Exchange- watch teenagers become young adults with a strong desire to make a difference
  • Rotary Leadership development
  • Opportunities to learn and teach

 

My aha moment:

‚Äč

I joined Rotary in 1993 and shortly after I joined, Woodeden Camp was having an open house. My co-worker asked if I would join her and her son at the gathering. Unfortunately, I had a family obligation that day and could not attend. The next year I heard about the open house through Rotary and approached her but it didn't work for her and Joe. We did however go the following week. Yes, there were still a few campers but not the commotion that a lot of outside visitors bring. As it turns out, this was a nostalgic visit for Joe. He was 19 and could no longer use the facilities. His mother had made special arrangements for us to visit.

 

That day, I was able to see the camp through the eyes of a young man. Even though I was pushing his wheelchair, he gave me a guided tour including the famous tree house. He loved the camp. Joe also had difficulty speaking especially when he was excited. He totally had me engrossed in his tales. Despite his challenges, he talked about how the camp empowered him and gave him a sense of freedom and confidence. This was the day that I became a Rotarian. I was so proud that Rotary was there to provide the camp for the youngsters. I witnessed the impact that Rotary can have on the lives of others.

 

Linda