Rokua-District 1400 Conference

The team arrived at Rokua on May 17th to attend the district conference. After checking into our rooms and eating dinner, we were able to have some time to just be outside enjoying nature or relaxing in our rooms.
The District 1400 Conference began on Saturday the 18th with registration and breakfast. There were Rotarians in attendence from all over Northern Finland and we noticed many familiar faces. The opening ceremonies began at 10:00 and at 11:00 our team was able to meet with Juha Risteli-Team Leader for the GSE Dist 1400 team. He stated that their time spent in our district had been wonderful and they are grateful to District 5580 for their hard work and hospitality. The morning continued with presentations and some break out groups for Rotarians to attend. After lunch, we attended the District Celebration, enjoyed poetry and a song from Japanese Embassadorial Scholars-Ayako Shimada Runo and Sayuri Terai Laulu, a poetry recital by Teija Jokipii, a Finnish song from Kari Hartikainen, a keynote address from Secretary General Arja Sutela, music from an exchange student from Michigan (Mathew), and a Polio presentation from Matti Honkola. After the presentations we all got into our more formal attire for the Muhos Municipal Reception, where we met the Mayor, and then headed to the Governor’s Ball. The Governor’s Ball was a black tie event that started with a welcoming address and toasts by District Governor Pekka Pietiläinen, followed by a show put on by the Rotary Exchange Students, recognitions by Rotary Finland and by Rotary International, a speech by Assistant Governor Aarne Oikarinen, Paul Harris Foundation Recognitions, an auction, and of course a wonderful dinner. The evening ended with a dance, wonderful conversations, and a sauna for some of us.
Sunday morning, our team began the District Conference program at 10:00 with our presentation. We had an hour time slot alotted to our group, so after our original presentation was complete, each team member took a moment to mention what this experience has meant to each of them on a more personal level. For the team, this was a place and time to convey our gratitude, as well as mention a few highlights from our experience. The audience was very pleased with our presentation, asked a few questions and of course we took some photographs. After a short coffee break, presentations continued with a song and poetry from the Ambassadorial Scholars, a presentation from Juha Risteli on the outbound team’s experience in District 5580, presentations from Britta Wallgren and Per-Olof Marklund (DG of Håkan Antilla-Sweden), Presidential Citations and The Rotary Foundation Awards, recognitions, exchanging of club banners, and closing remarks. Being able to attend the District 1400 Conference here in Rokua is something our team will never forget. We are so thankful for our time here and the warm reception we received from the district conference group. We hope we have left even a fraction of the impression on these individuals that they have left on our team.

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