When I saw the prompt of Enveloped for this week’s photo challenge I knew what I wanted to write about. But how to find a photo to show this? I then looked out the window and saw the sea of fog rising out of the valley below and decided to use this photo!
Enveloped is to surround completely, to enclose, to wrap, to encircle.
We were staying in a conference centre surrounded by Australian bush, kangaroos, blue hills, gum trees and huge skies and with limited phone reception. We were enveloped by nature and relatively isolated. The mornings were frosty and foggy starts to beautiful sunny autumn days. This sea of fog rose from the valley below and surrounded us, it made a lovely start to the day.
Another example of enveloped is what I really wanted to write about. This weekend I have been involved, with others, in the process of interviewing and selecting students, (with their parents), to undertake a year long exchange as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange program for our district. It is a huge commitment especially as many of us work fulltime, have other things going on in our lives and then have to travel considerable distances to attend the weekend gathering ready to do our thing! We put aside our own needs for the weekend and focus on these young students, all fresh faced, bright eyed and bushy tailed hoping to perform well enough to be offered one of the places on the program for the year ahead.
I have done this for a few years now and others involved have been doing it for many more. We give up more weekends throughout the year to help prepare the students and their parents for the year away from each other. We train them, give them ideas to help them cope and show them that they have support when/if they need it. When they return from exchange we gather them together and debrief them, helping them to reintegrate into school and family life after their amazing year abroad.
Why do we do it? Because it’s a Rotary thing, it’s what we do as Rotarians and we value the program. The Rotary International motto is Service Above Self and this is a great example of putting it into action. Rotarians the world over do similar things, many of which go unnoticed, we just do them! To my mind we envelop the students and their family into the worldwide Rotary family. The logo below shows the way we envelop the student – we encircle, wrap and surround the student for their time in the program.
I love the moment when I get to ring a successful student to pass on my congratulations and to let them know which country they are going to spend the next year in. The excitement is palpable and that’s why I do it!