Members of a Rotary Australian Friendship exchange gathered recently at Soldotna Creek Park to learn about Rotary in Alaska.
A group of some 20 Australians visited Alaska recently as part of Rotary Friendship Exchange, a program that works toward world peace through understanding. As spokesperson for the group, past Australian District Governor Cathy Roth says she found Alaska to be stunning, “Scenery beyond our wildest dreams, but the thing that makes Alaska so truly special is its people, so warm, so friendly and so reminds us of what we love about being Australian,” said Roth. The group traveled from the southern most part of Australia to Barrow, Alaska, “From our district which is at the bottom end of Australia if you go directly south you’re at the South Pole, and we traveled to Barrow where if you go directly north you end up at the North Pole, so it has been quite a global pilgrimage for us,” said Roth, who hales from Victoria, Australia.
According to Roth it was past Alaska District Governor Steve Yoshida from Homer who encouraged the exchange to bring Australians to Alaska and to send a group of Alaskans to Australia to weld friendships between to the two diverse geographical locations, “In actual fact we find the differences probably reinforce the similarities of our countries. You have vast skies and open spaces as we do in Australia, but we are envious of your green, we have had ten years of drought so we have little greenery and no lakes and rivers such as you have, but we find here a beautiful feeling of peace and serenity and being one with nature and that is also a similarity that we’ve enjoyed sharing, however, I must say we have enjoyed not having to look out for snakes or croc’s on the Kenai River, ” laughed Roth.
Roth said she believes friendship exchanges are a vehicle to bring world peace to our planet one person at a time, “I’m reminded of the story of a professor walking along a beach who a saw a young boy picking up a star fish that had washed in and throwing it back into the sea and the professor said to the boy, son there are thousands of starfish on this beach throwing that one back in won’t really make a difference in the world, but the little boy looked up at the professor and said it will to that starfish. So every life we touch through exchanges like this identify our similar core values of expressing our passion to world for peace one person at a time and transcending that passion into action that does make a difference,” added Roth. Rotary Clubs will be hosting a Group Study Exchange from Russia this week on the Kenai Peninsula.
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