The Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Matsqui is a service club dedicated to improving lives of people, both in our community and around the world.  Our club was chartered in 1985 and, although we number only about 25 members, our club is very active in providing service to the local and worldwide communities.

Our club raises funds to support our projects through various events including our two major current fundraising initiatives, the Holly and Ivy Christmas House Tour as well as our annual Wine Festival & Silent Auction which will be celebrating its 18th year this coming spring.

Our proud history has included many projects throughout the years with some of the more notable ones being providing $100,000 to the Abbotsford Recycling Depot for the purchase of a cardboard compactor and also building the George Tough Memorial Greenhouse on their premises.  We also made and fulfilled a three year commitment to Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre to provide them with $50,000 for a quiet room in the Palliative Care Centre.

Our Holly and Ivy Christmas House Tour, as the name would imply, consists of a tour of wonderfully decorated homes and businesses within Abbotsford and it is such a fun event.  This past year we had themed homes (complete with actors!), over the top designs, decor and draw prizes for each venue.  This event has worked hard to provide the Food Bank with much needed funds these past few years.

The Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Matsqui’s Annual Wine Festival & Silent Auction is a fusion of many of the pleasures that abound in our community – art, food, music, fun and fine wine – along with an opportunity to give to a good cause.  Some of the beneficiaries of the proceeds raised from this event include Abbotsford Hospice’s Campus of Care which brings together Hospice, Matthew’s House and Canuck Place.  The funds raised from this festival have also been able to support both the building of Holmberg House and the Abbotsford Restorative Justice and Advocacy Association in recent years.

As a community service, our club has introduced the Abbotsford Environmental Leadership Awards event this past year.  We believe that each of us, as individuals and in our businesses, is responsible for doing our part to preserve and, if necessary, restore the environment and this event serves to recognize environmentally conscious business leaders in the Abbotsford community who are making efforts to reduce their business’s carbon footprint.  Our first, of what will be an annual event, was held last February to rave reviews.

The newest avenue of service within Rotary is New Generations, our youth.  The Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Matsqui is always very involved with the youth in our community, recognizing the positive change implemented by youth and young adults.

We currently sponsor five scholarships for Abbotsford high school students and award a scholarship to a UFV student annually.  In addition to this, we sponsor local high school students to attend Rotary’s Adventures in Leadership as well as the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards retreat, both of which most students report back as “life-changing” experiences.

Internationally, the Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Matsqui is an ongoing contributor to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and its work in eradicating polio worldwide, among its many worthwhile initiatives.  For several years, our club assisted in raising funds for and delivering wheelchairs to the disabled in Guadalajara, Mexico, where we also provided playground equipment and literacy supplies to a local school. We are currently in the planning stages of an international water project with the intent of improving health standards and quality of life.

Our club meets every Thursday evening for dinner, fellowship and to organize community projects to contribute to Abbotsford becoming a better community.

All of our meetings include interesting guest speakers as the program for the evening and these often feature high-profile business or community leaders who update us on current happenings in their fields of expertise.  Sometimes we are even in the presence of celebrity which happened recently when Global BC’s Senior Meteorologist, Mark Madryga, was our program.  We’ve also experienced some excellent road trips recently, one of which included a tour of Coastal Pacific Aviation and their 747 flight simulator which proved to be a great time!

Throughout our meetings, we enjoy relaxed and informal fellowship with our fellow members, who come from a number of vocational disciplines.

As Rotarians, we have many opportunities to enjoy the fellowship of other Rotarians as we go about our fundraising activities and community service projects.

Relatively small in numbers, very big in service and outstanding in fellowship: that’s the Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Matsqui, a fun club that gets results!