Pictured here is Chad Vandervalk, president of the Lacombe Rotary Club, during a food drive held earlier this year. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

Pictured here is Chad Vandervalk, president of the Lacombe Rotary Club, during a food drive held earlier this year. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

Lacombe Rotary Club is hosting a ‘Boos and Gobblin’ Party this weekend at the LMC

Club is looking to further engage with the community in the coming months

Following the motto of ‘Service above Self’, there is no question of Lacombe Rotary Club’s commitment to the community.

The original Lacombe Rotary Club was started several decades ago, explained Club President Chad Vandervalk.

Eventually, another Club – Daybreak – was formed but the two clubs are now amalgamating.

“We are in the process of merging the two clubs,” he said, adding that although the two groups are meeting together now, there is still some administrative work to wrap up before it’s completely official.

Moving forward, Vandervalk encourages anyone interested to check out a meeting and see what Rotary is all about.

“Essentially, it’s a way for people to come together and to provide opportunities (to give back) to the community. On top of that, it’s also a way to network with others who are interested in those kinds of activities. We also want to provide reasons to celebrate and some joyous occasions – that’s one of the pieces of it, particularly through COVID and as we’ve been thinking about some of the different kinds of things that we want to do.”

To that end, coming up this weekend, the Club is hosting a ‘Boos and Gobblin’ Party on Oct. 28 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. The fun kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with wine, beer, and food samples followed by a dance at 10 p.m. There will also be a cash bar and a costume contest.

Tickets are available at RotaryHalloween22.eventbrite.ca or at LA Liquor Lacombe, the Mary C. Moore Public Library, Strand 360 Lacombe or Judit Ficzere CPA.

And looking towards the holiday season, the Club will be hosting a Carol Festival – something they’ve been doing here in Lacombe for some six decades.

This year’s event runs Dec. 6-7 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

It was canceled in 2020, and last year, it was held outdoors, so Club members are excited about being back at the LMC with special guests and being able to bring the community together.

In the longer term, Vandervalk said he’s aiming to bolster the Club’s level of public engagement even more. “As a service Club, I want us to think about what are the things the people of Lacombe want.I’m not sure what it will look like – but I want to create some sort of engagement platform, whether it’s just online or through interviews. I want to ask the people of Lacombe for their ideas – what should we focus on and what are the ways that we can help?”

For Vandervalk, being a part of a service club fits well with his life’s work in ministry – he’s a member of the pastoral team at Woodynook Church.

He started his post at the church near the start of the pandemic, so joining Rotary proved an ideal way to get further involved with the community overall.

It’s clearly been a fulfilling experience on a personal level.

“Our outdoor carol festival last year was fun – it was a new thing. It was super cold, but people came! They bundled themselves up. We had fresh cookies there for them, and hot chocolate. We shared some songs, and it was a real community thing.

“The atmosphere was just really cool. There wasn’t a lot of community stuff happening at the time, so it really felt like a special moment.”

In the meantime, Vandervalk said new members are, of course, always welcome to the Club.

He added that with merging the two clubs, it’s also sort of a ‘re-start’ for the Club and its expanding vision for how to make Lacombe and the surrounding area an even better place to live and work. It’s also about becoming a bigger presence in the community, he added.

“Rotary helps us to connect with people who are trying to do good in the community,” he said. “So yes, it’s about service but it’s also about that sense of relationship to one another and to being able to share that.”

For more about the Lacombe Rotary Club, find them on Facebook or check out www.lacomberotary.ca. You can also email info@lacomberotary.ca.

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