Rotary Club

Annual bike rodeo still busy, despite wet conditions



By Ron Giofu


Even though there was rain and damp conditions last Sunday, the annual bike rodeo still proved to be popular.

The annual event was presented at Families First Funeral Home and saw cyclists dodge the rain drops as well as the objects in the obstacle course. The event was presented with many partners, including the Amherstburg Police Service, the Amherstburg Community Based Policing Committee, Families First, Bike Windsor-Essex, Canadian Tire, Sobeys, the Optimist Club, the Rotary Club, Little Buddies Daycare, Bright Child Montessori, Meloche’s No Frills and Lakeside Produce.

Brett Severin assists Ryan Sprague through the obstacle course at Sunday’s bike rodeo

Const. Steve Owen, the community services officer with Amherstburg police, said they had 76 pre-register and were hoping to match the 130 children that came out last year. Just shy of 100 were reported to have come out for the 2018 event.

Bike helmets were given to people who didn’t have one, lights and bells were handed out, bicycles were checked then ridden through an obstacle course and BMX rider Eric Favot also was on hand for safety talks and demonstrations of what he can do.

“It’s to promote bike safety,” said Owen. “The last thing we want to do is see kids get hurt on their bikes when they are trying to have fun.”

Not only was the bike rodeo a way to learn, but they tried to ensure children and parents had a good time too, Owen added.

Heather Lenson from the Amherstburg Community Based Policing Committee (dark shirt) stands with Emma, Morgan and Joshua Hadfield during the June 10 bike rodeo at Families First Funeral Home.

The Amherstburg Fire Department brought their ladder truck to the event and there was face painting and inflatable rides on hand as well. There were also handouts given to people with bicycle safety tips.

“The last few years, it has grown quite a bit,” Owen said of the bike rodeo.

“I think it’s great,” added Heather Digou, who was with her son Ryan Sprague at the event. “It shows them bicycle safety. They are giving kids all kinds of entertainment. I think it’s awesome.”

BMX rider Eric Favot performs a trick during the bicycle rodeo June 10.

“Families First is proud to work with our partners in community to bring the annual bike rodeo to Amherstburg. It is a great way to have fun and a hands-on approach that teaches children the rules of the road to stay safe on their bikes,” says Brian Parent, president of Families First. “Cycling is a great way for kids to get to school, around town and stay active. Cyclists of all ages will have the opportunity to learn how to be safer by being visible to drivers.”

Local student honoured with “Service Above Self” volunteer award



By Ron Giofu


Linden Crain has enjoyed volunteering in recent years and now has an award for his efforts.

The Grade 12 student at General Amherst High School was one of 26 students honoured recently with a Dr. Clare R. MacLeod “Service Above Self” volunteer award that was presented by the Rotary Club of Windsor 1918. Crain said all schools in the area were invited to nominate a student and he was Amherst’s nominee.

“It recognizes student volunteerism in the school and the community,” said Crain, who is also student parliament prime minister at General Amherst. “It’s an honour to win that award.”

Linden Crain (centre), a Grade 12 student received one of the Dr. Clare R. MacLeod “Service Above Self” volunteer awards that was presented by the Rotary Club of Windsor 1918. (Submitted photo)

Crain said winning the award “feels good” and that it has been in recent years where his volunteerism increased. While he was in Grade 9, Crain said he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do and what he liked but started getting involved towards the end of that school year.

In addition to student parliament, Crain’s involvement at General Amherst includes being a peer mentor and helping with various fundraisers. Outside the school, he is the volunteer co-ordinator for the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals, assists soccer players with disabilities through the Italian Canadian Handicapable Association (ICHA), helps Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) with their Stuff-a-Stocking program at Christmas time and also helps with the “Angels in the Night” homeless shelter program.

“I enjoy being able to create an impact,” he said. “I just love helping people.”

One of Crain’s future goals is to get involved with an organization that builds homeless shelters in Third World countries.

Crain credits his father Greg for being one of the people to put him on the path he is on in life.

“My dad really, really helped me. He persuaded me to get out and help others,” said Crain. “He’s a really good role model so I use him as my role model for everything I aspire to do.”

Linden Crain (centre) stands with Julia Sloan and his father Greg Crain after receiving a Dr. Clare R. MacLeod “Service Above Self” volunteer award. It was presented by the Rotary Club of Windsor 1918.

Noting he probably will never stop volunteering, Crain said living in Canada makes him want to give back as people are much more fortunate in this country than many others.

“I enjoy seeing how it helps others,” he said of volunteering.

Upcoming fundraisers at General Amherst High School include a can drive for the mission and a teddy bear drive for the pediatric floor at Windsor Regional Hospital.

Two new members join Amherstburg Rotary Club



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Rotary Club welcomed a pair of new members last Wednesday night.

Ann Marie Favot and John Sutton were officially inducted into the service club at their meeting at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157. Club president Dan Hunt pointed out that with the two new members, the Amherstburg Rotary Club now has 13 members.

“We’re still growing,” said Hunt.

Surrounded by his family, John Sutton (centre) was welcomed into the Amherstburg Rotary Club Feb. 28.

Sutton, who was sponsored for membership by Rotarian Bob Pillon, said he had been thinking about joining for roughly one year and started coming out to meetings in January. Community service was the main reason he wanted to join.

“I think it’s the whole idea of service and giving back to the community,” said Sutton.

Sutton pointed out the Amherstburg Rotary Club has a long history of giving back to the community and indicated he will do what he can to support the club’s goals. Among the projects that the Rotary Club has spearheaded include the Ribfest, the clock in the Navy Yard Park parkette and the Miracle League baseball diamond at the Libro Centre.

“It’s a great way to stay connected and give back to the community that has given so much to me,” said Sutton. “I’m looking forward to getting officially involved.”

While Favot is a new member, she is no stranger to helping the Rotary Club.

“I’ve always been part of the Ribfest committee,” she said. “I’ve been helping out with Ribfest for seven years.”

Noting that her children are getting older, Favot said she is now able to join the Rotary Club itself. She was sponsored for membership by Hunt and fellow Rotarian Tony Ross.

Ann Marie Favot (left) officially receives her Rotary pin from one of her sponsors Tony Ross (centre). Her other sponsor was club president Dan Hunt (right).

Favot said she is looking forward to supporting the Amherstburg Rotary Club’s goals and objectives and “coming up with ideas of my own.”

The Amherstburg Rotary Club meets every Wednesday night at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157. When inducting both Sutton and Favot, Hunt said Rotary is a non-political organization open to everyone.  There are 1.2 million Rotarians and 33,000 clubs worldwide.

For more information on the Amherstburg Rotary Club, visit

Rotary Club hears from students that were sponsored for RYLA conference



By Ron Giofu


A pair of General Amherst High School students attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) recently and told the local Rotary Club about their experiences.

Hallee Kejick and Madison Sulja, members of the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at General Amherst, went to the RYLA conference last November at Schoolcraft Community College in Livonia, Michigan. The Grade 11 students were at the Amherstburg Rotary Club’s meeting last week to recount their experiences, something Sulja said they had a lot of.

“It was a really welcoming environment,” Kejick added, of the conference.

The two students said there were a number of team building exercises at the conference and attended lectures and presentations as well about professionalism and overcoming challenges.

Members of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg gather with General Amherst students Hallee Kejick and Madison Sulja after the two students made a presentation to the club. Kejick and Sulja are Grade 11 students and Interact Club members at General Amherst High School and travelled to a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) conference late last year.

“Overall, it was a really good experience,” said Kejick.

Kejick said that they both brought in applications to attend the RYLA conference and were accepted. They believed it helped improve their leadership skills and made them understand they can accomplish big things on their own.

“I wanted to learn something new,” said Sulja.

Sulja added they even learned about how to properly shake someone’s hand and what a person’s handshake says about them.

“It was life-changing,” Kejick said of the RYLA conference.

“I’ll never forget the experience,” Sulja added.

The Interact Club at General Amherst High School has roughly 10-15 students and undertakes projects both within the school and in the community. Some of the projects have included book drives and Coats for Kids collections. The club is open for students in Grades 9-12.

Amherstburg Soccer Club collects used uniforms for a cause


By Jolene Perron


In 2007, a pair of avid soccer playing sisters from LaSalle started a movement, which has now made its way into Amherstburg

Melissa and Erica Iarusso both played in school and competitive soccer teams growing up.

“While in high school the pair noticed that they had accumulated jerseys from over the years that had been going to waste sitting in boxes in their basement,” said Brittney Lawrence, LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club liaison for the Interact Club LaSalle. “The idea sprung to host a collection at their local high school, to find a way to gather all used uniforms and donate them to individuals who could put them to use. In addition to their individual project, Melissa and Erica formed a partnership with the LaSalle Stompers Soccer Club for players to donate their jerseys annually.”

Lawrence explained the two were not Rotarians at the time, but they did find out there was a need for jerseys in other countries around the world. This lead the two to connect with Rotarian Shelly Dubin, who Lawrence said, had travelled to several countries and had noticed there were house league teams being started in these countries.

The LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club collected gently used soccer uniforms at Amherstburg’s Day of Champions July 29, which will be donated to countries in need.

The LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club collected gently used soccer uniforms at Amherstburg’s Day of Champions July 29, which will be donated to countries in need.

“A group of local Rotarians from Windsor Clubs have continuously been traveling to various countries and bringing along with them the donated uniforms,” said Lawrence. “From 2007 to present over 2,000 uniforms have been collected; ranging from house league jerseys, socks, shorts, competitive jerseys and soccer gear.”

Lawrence said funding for the trips comes from the respective clubs and international projects.

Since starting this project, Melissa and Erica have both become members of the Rotary Club of LaSalle Centennial, and even when they moved out of town to pursue their careers in Toronto, the Rotary Club wanted to keep it going under their Interact Club.

“This past May the Interact club was approached by the Amherstburg Soccer Club and asked to host collection bins for used uniforms, so that Amherstburg families could participate,” said Lawrence. “The Interact club was honored to collect uniforms on the Day of Champions July 29 at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. Due to the great success of the collection, a bin will be located in the Libro Centre for the week of July 31 to August 5. Used soccer jerseys, soccer socks and shorts are welcomed.”

The final day of the collection will occur Aug. 13 at the Day of Champions in LaSalle.

Terry Sawchuk, Amherstburg Soccer Club president said he feels they are very fortunate to be in a position to do this collection.

“Our kids have so much more available to them and this is a small way to ‘pay if forward’ and essentially clean out our closets, and to the recipient of these uniforms, it could mean so much more,” said Sawchuk. “In essence we could have a team being represented in either one of those African countries from ‘Amherstburg’ which I think is a great notion. This is an extremely small thing we can do, that could have a huge impact on these other children’s lives.”