Service above self is more than just a catchphrase to new Haliburton Rotary president Ursula Devolin.
Sworn in as the club’s 78th president on June 30, Devolin becomes the fourth woman to serve in the role after Lynda Shadbolt, Maureen O’Hara and Heather Phillips. She said she’s excited to take on the challenge and help to guide Haliburton Rotary into a post-COVID world.
Despite only becoming an active member of the club in 2018, Devolin has been exposed to Rotary for most of her life. Her dad, John Beachli, has been involved with the local branch for more than 45 years, while her mother, Linda, was also a member for several years.
“Rotary was a major part of my childhood. Growing up, seeing all the things my dad was involved with in the community, it was great,” Devolin said. “It’s a really good platform for meeting likeminded people, making connections and helping to make your community a better place.”
Devolin’s contributions in recent years have been significant. She played a key role in the operation of the COVID-19 vaccination clinics at A.J. LaRue Arena last year, organizing volunteer schedules for the events.
She has also served as the ‘new generations’ chair for the past two years, assisting both the Rotaract and Interact clubs with various projects and ideas.
“Rotary really is just one piece of a wider family, which also includes Rotaract, for younger adults between the age of 18 and 35, and Interact, which serves high school students… Over the past couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time working with all three groups,” Devolin said. “I’m a big advocate for Interact especially, as I think it’s a great way for young people to learn about different platforms of service and, if they’re community-minded individuals, know there’s a template for them already where they can do their part and help make a difference.”
Devolin said the Rotary family is excited to bring back some popular events this summer. Music in the Park is running at full capacity again, while a special homecoming festival has been planned for Aug. 3.
Devolin said she’s also excited to represent Haliburton at next year’s Rotary International Convention, in Melbourne, Australia.
After partnering with Dysart et al on various community projects in recent years, including the Haliburton Welcome Centre and the Rotary Park Bandshell, Devolin said the group is in talks to take on a key role in another sizeable initiative, which she said would be “huge” for the community.
“I’m hoping we can reveal more details on that soon, and that we can do it in the next year or so,” Devolin said.
Haliburton Rotary meets every Thursday, and has resumed in-person meetings. The group has 24 active members, and is always on the lookout for new recruits.
“Our goal as Rotarians, really, is to improve our community. There is a fellowship there, but our group, and myself in particular, are big on getting things done,” Devolin said. “It is a commitment, but at the same time it’s a lot of fun… I couldn’t imagine not doing this anymore.”
To learn more, visit haliburtonrotary.ca, or send an email to haliburtonrotary@gmail. com.