Posted by Shelly Duben on Apr 18, 2019
Andrew Smellie is proud to serve this year as the President of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge. The Rotary Club of Bracebridge maintains strong membership and is very active throughout the community. They currently have 70 members including Past District Governor Margaret Walton.
The Rotary Club of Bracebridge continues to be involved in numerous community events, activities and fundraisers. Here are just a few of them: When Rotary International celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005, clubs were asked to commemorate this occasion by establishing a permanent project that would create an enduring benefit in that club's community. The Rotary Club of Bracebridge, in cooperation with the District of Muskoka and the Town of Bracebridge, chose to develop a destination garden, named the Rotary Centennial Gardens.
This community garden has wheelchair accessible pathways that link the individual gardens and the many features. The site provides a variety of physical and sensory elements, both educational and meditative, including an entrance / entertainment pavilion, woodlands, benches, statuary, an event/entertainment pavilion, perennial and annual beds, water features, arbors and pathways. The entertainment pavilion is available for year ’round events and is ideal for any occasion. The Rotary club holds several events at the Garden’s pavilion every year including luncheon meetings and a very popular Christmas carol festival in December. The Gardens features many varieties of flora including wild flowers and those indigenous to Muskoka. The natural setting is home to a variety of mature Muskoka trees, which are in turn home to many species of birds.
The Rotary Centre for Youth is a building that is available free of charge to any Youth Organization.  It contains a large open meeting space, along with a full commercial kitchen and a board room. The centre is used extensively by the Girl Guides and Scout groups in Bracebridge, every night of the week. This is also where the Rotary Club meets each week.  
Annie Williams Memorial Park is a beautiful serene 10 acre park featuring a dock and swimming beach, picnic shelter, amphitheater, and the newly built playground. As host for numerous annual community events, Annie Williams Park is truly the hub of Bracebridge. Since 1973, the Rotary Club of Bracebridge has been one of the main partner organizations overseeing the care and maintenance of the Park, and since the year 2000 has been supporting the Park financially as well.
The Rotary Club of Bracebridge hosts the annual Canada Day Celebration in Bracebridge. They celebrate everything that is Canadian, with a big backyard BBQ, livemusic, Duck Race, Beer Garden and the best fireworks show in the region.   It has been estimated that over 10,000 people come out for the day, making is one of the club’s biggest projects.
The Rotary Club of Bracebridge Humanitarian Support Committee works with other Service Clubs, The Salvation Army, District of Muskoka Ontario Works as well as club members and community members who all tell us about problems that families in the Bracebridge area are facing. They help by providing grocery vouchers and clothing, contributing to housing costs and more. This year they helped out 20 families including 40 children with basic food, clothing, footwear and Christmas gifts. They have lent a hand with transportation to out-of-town medical appointments and even assisted with mortgage or rent issues on a one time basis. They visit referred families and rely on their partners' knowledge to assess need and situation prior to approving assistance.
The Annual Rotary Musical is a community service tradition, now in its 42th consecutive year. In doing so it has followed a tradition begun even earlier by the Rotary Club of Huntsville. This year’s production of “Mamma Mia!” has been a complete sell out – and one that left everyone dancing in the aisles. The Rotary Musical is not a fundraiser for the club, but a community project that show cases the local talent in our area.
The Rotary club of Bracebridge maintains a strong connection with youth. They have been hosting Rotary Exchange Students, for over 30 years. This year, they are co-hosting Allesandro Scarantino from Italy with the Bracebridge-Muskoka Lakes Club.
Internationally, the club is currently working on project in Dominica at a school that was devastated by a hurricane. They have just sent two barrels and a crate packed with the 17 laptops, printer and two toner kits, food protein and some school supplies. Six of their club members have travelled to Dominica recently to determine what else the club can do to support this school.  Another club member was on the latest Rotary Wheels for Learning project.   They purchased bicycles and also supported a water treatment program for the village of Kampong Trach. The Rotary Club of Bracebridge has also been a strong supporter of the district international project, R.E.L.A.Y. - Zambia
The club is currently in the process of a Global Grant application to provide a water treatment plant and potable water to 1600 rural inhabitants in Colombia. This project should come to fruition in the next few months. They are working with a local Rotary Club on this $60,000 project. 
If you are in the Bracebridge area at 12:15pm on a Friday afternoon, please drop by to do a make-up at the Rotary Club of Bracebridge. Meetings take place at the Rotary Centre for Youth at 131 Wellington St. in Bracebridge.
Visit our "Spotlight on Service" Page for more messages about other clubs.