Presiding: President Bruce Cunningham
Attendance: 20 members  Francis welcomed Rotarians and guests Brett Harrington, from the Credit Union , and Ashley Farrar, our speaker. Holly took attendance.
We sang ‘O Canada’, toasted the Queen – Canada and Australia.
  • Olga led the Invocation before we enjoyed a delicious soup and sandwich lunch with a variety of sweets for dessert.
  • Mary introduced our speaker for the day, Ashley Farrar, from the Social Planning Council.
  • She spoke about research she has been doing into youth mental health issues using Facebook as the source of the responses from youth.
  • Themes which have emerged include: Stigma and Shame re. mental health issues; bullying 24/7 as a root of social anxiety; youth lacking social involvement and needing to feel heard; constant encouragement and support from significant adults in their lives.
  • Results from their research which may prove helpful: Mental health must become a normal part of the school curriculum so that peer support is readily available and there needs to be training available for those offering peer support, or at least guidance; schools and social media can and must help connect youth to adults they can trust; youth have expressed a need for more youth safe spaces in the community. Sending hurting young people away from their friends to get help in London is counter productive.
  • Recommendations they are making include: promote connections between youth and the wider community; give youth a meaningful voice in plans and activities for youth;make more spaces and places available to youth, places where they will be accepted, not criticized; improve mental health education and policies for youth; increase the number of walk-in clinics, social workers, etc. for those having mental health problems; provide help easy to get on line; localize emergency mental health aid so as to keep youth as much as is possible close to their homes.
  • Check for their next steps. They are working on the Zero Tolerance Policy for Bullying. At present it is too negative and does not validate the youth experience. Social media have changed the rules and adults need to keep up with their changed experiences. Rotary, in trying to help with youth mental health might well offer youth an experience (i.e. Dragon Boating) but would need to let them take charge and reduce our role to adult supervision. The Free to be Me youth led group is one good example.
  • Mary thanked Ashley for her thought provoking presentation.
Other business 
  • Our Exchange Student, Lisa, told us about her experiences with snow boarding, winter camping in a quincey she had helped make and sharing the Announcement Day in Burlington with our outbound students. Our student,Olivia,  was thrilled to be going to Peru.
  • Winner of the 50/50 was Don S. who pulled the 5 of clubs. Graham helped with 50/50.
  • Bruce dealt with anniversaries and birthdays.
  • The Sargent of Arms received happy bucks from Bruce C., Rick S.,and Ted all of whom had been someplace warm for a holiday. Mary reported that over the long weekend more than 1000 people had been in the Art Gallery, primarily owing to Roberta Bonar’s photo exhibit. Roberta came to the opening. Graham reported that the dictionaries had been delivered to the grade 3’s.Don S. donated one of his winning bucks. Olga donated $80 bucks to the Wdsk. Rotary Foundation as it was her 80th. birthday last Saturday.
  • We were reminded that the April 4 paint night is a fund raiser for Lisa’s space  trip with CASS. There is also a school fund raiser at the Fairgrounds on March 24, a comedy night. Lisa has tickets to sell.
  • Bruce reminded the Club that the Rotary International Convention will be in Toronto  in late June. On that occasion all Clubs will be expected to help set up and pay for a variety of entertainment options for visiting Rotarians These will be offered through the House Of Friendship. At the moment the Directors are considering an Oxford Cluster wine and cheese party. We will need to find a venue in the GTA if the Cluster agrees. We would feature local wine and cheeses.
  • No other business emerged. So, Bruce ended the meeting at 1:30 p.m.
  • Olga McKellar