Over 600 Rotarians from 5 Districts in New England and Canada attended the Mount Washington Summit this past weekend, including Westborough's own Shelby Marshall and Elliott Rittenberg (shown here with District Governor Karin Gaffney), and District Governor Elect Steve Sager.  Against a backdrop of majestic mountain peaks and rainbows, attendees made new connections and participated in breakout sessions with an array of subjects including Vibrant Clubs, Service Projects, the Opioid Crisis, Hunger, Polio Plus and the Rotary Foundation. In a session on Leadership, former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and former Governor Jane Swift from Massachusets addressed a standing room only audience in a wide-ranging discussion that touched on ethics, service, youth engagement, and of course, politics.
 
Among the highlights, Rotary International President Ian Riseley addressed the conference on Friday evening, underscoring the need for Rotary to adapt to the changing needs of its members in today's busy society. Later in the conference, Riseley's President's Representative, Past RI Director Karen Wentz, introduced Rotarians to Rotary's updated Vision Statement:  "Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe and in our communities."  
 
On Saturday evening, Travis Roy, who was severely injured during the first eleven seconds of his college ice hockey career as a Boston University Terrier, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down, inspired Rotarians by sharing how his positive attitude helped him on his journey to a fulfilling and productive life. After spending his entire youth preparing to play college hockey, when he finally made it onto the ice in that first and only game, he told us how, even after he was injured, he said to his father that he had "made it" - he had fulfilled his dream. Travis said that in life, sometimes we choose the challenge, and other times, the challenge chooses us. Travis went on to share that it was the power of positive attitude and the appreciation of simple things that helped him find value and purpose in his new paradigm.
 
Our final speaker on Sunday, Razia Jan, told us of her continuing efforts to educate young women in Afghanistan, and of the opening of the new Razia Jan Institute, the first women’s post-secondary vocational school in rural Afghanistan. Razia moved to the United States in 1970 and opened a small tailoring business in Duxbury. She was the first female member of the Duxbury Rotary Club and soon went on to become Club President.  After decades of war in Afghanistan, Razia was appalled at the treatment of women and the lack of education that she found when she returned home. Razia decided to build a school and shared with us stories of the opposition she faced from the local the local male population, including standing up to tribal leaders who threatened to stone her if she pursued her dream of educating young women. Today, at the Razia Jan Institute, students become certified in health services/midwifery while also learning English and computer literacy. Both the Institue and the Zabuli Education Center, with its K through 12 students, have received support from a number of Rotary Clubs both here and abroad.