How many times have you sat in at a Rotary meeting or District event and been mesmerized to hear about the impact Rotarians are making in distant lands?  Perhaps you have noticed that this impact has been felt not only by those whose children are being inoculated from Polio or receiving potable drinking water for the first time but also by those Rotarians who have traveled to distant lands to make this happen. Rotarians recognize that an international service trip is truly life changing and is something we all have on our bucket lists, but finding the opportunity to work abroad can often seem daunting- particularly if our own Club is not directly involved in an international project.
Yet opportunities abound in District #7780 for Rotarians to take part in international service. Rarely a month goes by when local Rotarians are not trundling off to Logan to change lives in various parts of the globe and most, if not all, clubs with overseas service projects welcome Rotarians from other Clubs (as well as non-Rotarians) to participate on these projects. Additionally, Rotary International-led or affiliated projects such as Polio National Immunization Days, Rotoplast or Pure Water for the World offer the opportunity to do great work while forming friendships with like-minded Rotarians from around the globe.
Pictures show Interact students from Freeport, ME during their 2014 trip to the Dominican Republic.
International service projects vary widely in terms of geography, length of trip, physical labor and cost (while some programs will be subsidized by Club or District fundraising virtually all will require some expenses be borne by Rotarians). At one end of the spectrum is PDG Elias Thomas' (Sanford-Springvale) trip to India in February. In its seventh year, this 16 day trip combines a water-conservation project in remote northern India, a Polio National Immunization Day near Delhi with touring in southern India. This trip frequently includes Rotarians from Europe and Australia and is a fantastic opportunity to change lives, make new friends and experience the mysterious Subcontinent as only an insider can.
Is this a little too exotic or does a 16 day trip not fit your busy schedule? Then perhaps several days (and a few hour car ride) with the Biddeford-Saco Club helping to distribute aid in environmentally and economically ravaged Lac Megantic, Quebec is a better fit for you. Or maybe working with kids is your passion. The Freeport Interact Club frequently needs chaperones for its trips to install water filters in the Dominican Republic and PDG Carolyn Johnson often leads a group to assist with her literacy project in Guatemala.
These are but a few examples of the opportunities available for District #7780 Rotarians make an impact globally. A service trip is truly life changing for both those receiving aid as well as those Rotarians traveling abroad.
For assistance in helping to find the opportunity which is right for you please contact either District International Service Committee Chair Mary Tennant ( or myself.
Todd Doolan
Rotary Club of Freeport