Posted by District Governor Richard Denton on Oct 13, 2022
Land of the silver birch, home of the beaver.
Ah, to get out into Mother Nature with Rotarian friends, new and old. Rotary has a long history of Int’l fellowships but now, we are looking at having District Fellowships as it is more likely that you can go off with friends and follow your passions. We have many district fellowships from motorcycling, to snowmobiling, to  canoeing, cycling, and a singles group that is off to the Caribbean this fall. There are Scotch and wine appreciation fellowships. There is no limit to the number of fellowships that we can have. I have just been on a District Fellowship of Canoeing Rotarians (and that includes kayaks, paddleboards, etc.).  Here are my reflections.
Why? Because it is more fun to do things with others.  You make new friends from around our district.  You can bring guests, non-Rotarians as who knows, they might become Rotarians.  New friends show you new ways of doing things, be it something simple as a new knot to discussing new and different equipment.  It might be something like adding chocolate chips to pancakes and waffles.  Why not?  It maybe learning about a new skill like paddling as our Youth Exchange students from Europe did this summer.
Fellowships are about helping each other.  When equipment breaks down like two snowmobiles on a trek to Moose Factory, everyone pitches in.  These are the things that make stories. The American novel is about man vs man.  The Canadian novel is about man vs nature.  In the evening, around the campfire, come out stories and poems such as “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service.
Fellowships may involve exercise; the proverbial weekend warrior and finding out that you have different muscles that get sore, that you didn’t know about.  It maybe a 2 km portage that challenges you, as it did with our student exchanges in Algonquin Park.
Fellowships may be about food; new foods to become vegetarian, to eating fancy hors d’oeuvres like smoked salmon that fell onto the pine needles, but you practice the 5 second myth, to road kill.  This year, we enjoyed Ukrainian stroganoff.   Fellowships are about sharing new ideas but also a friendly competition, of who can outdo the other in cooking, etc.
Fellowships are about appreciating nature but also appreciating the comforts of home like a toilet when you return.  You learn new ways of coping, from water purification to  different types of stoves from the flame thrower that turns everything black, to civilized Coleman stoves.  There are also the discussions with friends.  Was Malthus right about us becoming overpopulated for our species to survive like the scenario on Easter Island and now extending to our planet?  Which is it, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Motives that drive us; physiological needs to have food and shelter, to safety needs, to social needs, to self-actualization or esteem needs or Paul Chappell’s (a speaker at our District Conference at Deerhurst several years ago) who inverted it saying that esteem needs and social needs are more important, that we have to have a purpose in life that keeps you going like Victor Frankel in a concentration camp.  It is interesting walking through a mixed forest of red and white pine; yellow, white and paper birch; beech and ash and all these trees getting along, talking to each other through their roots.  Why can’t people of different races, ethnicities and political stripes get along, DEI?
Fellowships are for all ages, from bringing along family members, to youth exchanges to people that are 88 years old.
Fellowships may help you get away from cellphones, texting and computers.  In the bush, you may not have cell coverage. 
Contact Phyllis Ingram – to learn more about District Fellowships or to create your own new one. 
Another type of Fellowship are the Friendship exchanges. I was to lead a trip to India this January but this has now been postponed to next year while the trip of PDG Steve Medley is now fully enrolled to the Manila, Philippines. The Indian people will be arriving here in May 2023. We will be looking for people willing to host them and then go to India next year. Please contact me for more information – These trips show you “tourist sites” as well as Rotary projects in another country where government funding for humanitarian projects like schools, and health care are often lacking. It is a great way to meet local people in their homes and see how “the other half” of the world lives.
A third type of fellowship is a “working project” to go on a global grant. Colin Thacker ( is leading a group of us to Guatemala, 4th to 12th of February, 2023, to help with the Literacy Global Grant of distributing school supplies and computers to their schools.  About 45 people from North America, have already signed up.  Sixty people are the maximum for this trip.  Kevin De Groot ( is involved in HAART that helps Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic.  Please contact him.  There is also the Rotary Wheels of Learning (RWFL) project in Cambodia.  Contact Penny Towndrow ( or Mike Cole (