Prince Albert Rotary Club to receive 2020 Premier’s Service Club Award

Prince Albert Rotary Club president Keith Fonstad (left) and Prince Albert and Area Community Foundation president Bill Powalinsky (right) pose for a photo at the site of the proposed Rotary Adventure Park at Little Red. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The Rotary Club of Prince Albert are one of two recipients who will be recognized with the 2020 Premier’s Service Club Award in January.

Premier Scott Moe made the announcement on Wednesday. Saskatoon’s Knights of Columbus, Denis Mahoney Council 8215 will also receive recognition.

Rotary Club of Prince Albert president Keith Fonstad said they were surprised to receive the recognition.

“As a service club, we don’t do the things we do for awards and recognition, right,” Fonstad said. “It’s nice to be recognized and it’s an honour.

“It shows the activity of our club is strong in the fact that we are able to do so many things for the community and then have someone recognize that and put in the effort to make a nomination so we are pretty proud of that. But it’s definitely something that the club will be happy about,” he added.

Fonstad said it was a challenging past two years, but the club was able to hold a few events. They adapted their plans so they could host their Wine Premiere, a Valentine’s Day event, and their annual Lobsterfest.

“It was a pretty active year considering it was still COVID, so we are pretty proud of the fact that we are able to make things continue to work,” he said. “Lots of other clubs and groups haven’t been able to have that level of success and I am proud of our team and our leadership team to be able to keep things moving as a club and stay active and stay healthy that way.

“We were able to do three large fundraisers and service projects within the community, (and) give people an opportunity to have a social outing in COVID, so that worked out quite well.”

There were a few disappointments over the past year too. Fonstad said the organization was sad so many of their many youth events were canceled. Some youth events went virtual, but weren’t able to attract large numbers of participants. The Rotary supports four different adventure programs, along with the Model UN and RYLA, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp that happens in Manitoba during the summer.

“We usually send kids out for three days to five days somewhere in Canada and of course those were all canceled because extracurricular were canceled,” Fonstad explained.

“We were still able to provide support to youth through scholarships. We were able to provide a scholarship to I think four schools plus one of the Raiders. We were able to do that during COVID and then we were able to make contributions to a school in Guatemala for an international project and some stuff with additions to their school, and we also were able to provide support to PACI for their commercial kitchen program,” he said.

Fonstad said that he expects to receive a signed certificate from Premier Moe ahead of their first regular meeting of 2022 on Jan. 10, 2022. He also thanked whomever nominated the club.

“To whoever it was that nominated us, a thank you for recognizing the work that we are doing in the community. It’s just nice to know that it is being recognized and we will continue to keep working to help support our community,” he said.

The Premier’s Service Club Award was established in 2013. It recognizes non-profit service clubs and fraternal organizations that perform charitable work, either through hands-on efforts or through fundraising for other organizations.

Premier Moe recognized the importance of Service Clubs in Saskatchewan.

“Service Clubs in Saskatchewan are deeply committed to serving their communities,” Moe said in a release.

“Their fundraisers, programs and services have had an invaluable impact on the people of our province and I offer my sincere congratulations to the recipient organizations.”

The Knights of Columbus, Denis Mahoney Council 8215 of Saskatoon and the Rotary Club of Prince Albert will each be presented with their awards in early 2022.