13 February, 2013 08:10

13 Feb


http://www.misuszatek.eu/wbvqxek/9g9c70m5wsas9ie9nshnywcadp/e69vfjfz4lifnz8k6e7y57dcx3qydaeezit49?d4fnfh06w5ttw5okqc1mdlrsq2z6ihgcwyseq5qiyjb4fj7v5 Julia Safina

New Pics!

29 Sep

As I seem to be the only team member uploading pics, I thought I’d post at least two more cities.

Sorry it’s taken so long but I’ve been either unable to get internet or in bed with a fever for the past week.

Others will be adding to the flickr eventually, trust me…..

For a more thorough selection of pics, head over to my blog.

Denmark’s Debate: Including Women in Rotary

29 Sep

It’s astonishing that I am writing this blog entry at all.

First a little background: In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that Rotary could not exclude members based on gender alone. This monumental decision was followed by a 1989 vote passed by the Council of Legislation which wisely decided to “eliminate the requirement that club memberships be limited to males, permitting clubs worldwide to admit women.” [1]

It was a huge move and a progressive one, and in this day and age it is difficult to argue that Rotary’s decision was not a wise one. Since the 1989 regulation was passed, more than 180,000 women have joined Rotary, working with their male counterparts to make a difference in their communities and the international arena as a whole.

I have learned during this GSE trip to Denmark, however, that even now in 2010, not all Rotary clubs have fully embraced the 1989 vote to include women in Rotary clubs. In fact, there are a few clubs here in Denmark that not only have zero female Rotarians (for whatever reasons), but that have outright banned women from joining their clubs in the first place.

Now before we jump to conclusions about the Rotary program here in Denmark, let me state that this is not a universal attitude (although it does seem to be a common one). We have visited Danish Rotary clubs that not only have female members, but that also have female presidents. In this regard, it has been refreshing to see such strong involvement from Danish women Rotarians.

Having said that, however, we have also heard of a few clubs in this country that are outright resisting the inclusion of women in their organizations. In fact, during a recent visit to the club in Hjørring, a discussion between the district governor and club members focused on this very topic. (For the record, Hjørring has three Rotary clubs. While the one we visited did have female members, one of the other clubs in town explicitly denies women the opportunity to join. I have been told that this is not the only club in Denmark that follows such a philosophy.)

This attitude in Denmark was made even more evident to us during the District Conference which was also hosted in Hjørring. There we had the opportunity to meet the district’s Danish team who recently traveled to Missouri as part of their GSE trip. It did not go unnoticed by any of us that every single member was male. I realize this could be due to many reasons, including the possibility that no (qualified) women applied for the trip at all. If that was indeed the case I then ask the district, “How can you encourage more interest in GSE among qualified women?”

Realizing this fact about the Danish GSE team to the United States, it did make me wonder what the Danes thought about our GSE team which is comprised of four women and two men (including our team leader). Were they impressed or disgusted by this diverse make-up? Did they notice the difference and how did they feel about our team composition?

The purpose of this blog post is not to attack Denmark for its discriminatory attitude toward female involvement in some of its clubs, but to rather open the door for further discussion on this topic. I also seriously challenge the country to adopt a more open mindset when it comes to membership regulations regarding the inclusion of qualified, worthy female candidates.

I will conclude this post with four simple questions for Denmark’s Rotary clubs regarding the practice of denying qualified, worthy women the opportunity to join Rotary and whatever beliefs they have about the perceived inadequacies of women as Rotarians:

Is [this kind of attitude reflective of] the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?


And will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? [2]

The Beauty of Fall

28 Sep

This morning we got up early to pack our suitcases and get ready for the new excitement that was awaiting us in Rebild. We relaxed in Skallerup Klit and recharged our energy to successfully complete the rest of the trip. We thanked our Hjørring’s hosts and organizers for the program and excellent accommodation and met Rebild’s team. After an hour drive we were embraced into the arms of the nature in the National Park. Surrounded by the trees, aroma of the forest and chirping of the birds, we were thrilled!

After having a fresh cup of coffee (what a surprise ;-)), the program was announced. Originally, the members of the club planned to do canoeing but due to low temperature and sickness of some of our teammates, we went hiking. It is difficult to describe the colors of fall, fresh wind in the hair and the gorgeous nature! This trip was very refreshing and healthy.

We were challenged by the uneven natural stairways and three-story tall tower.

To add more adventure, the Rotarians climbed the tower first and started to move the shaky structure. At the beginning we thought our bodies gave up on us, but quickly we uncovered their plan! What a fantastic view we saw on the top of the tower! At that moment we were surprised that morning has gone and lunch was prepared for us further in the woods. As Pete stated, rough wooden tables and benches with a located nearby place for fire surrounded by the nature was the best restaurant we have ever been!

After refreshment we continued our journey to the famous place where many people in Denmark celebrate Fourth of July. Later in the evening time came for the meeting. It was special because in addition to us Rebild’s club had guests from Nykøbing. These Rotarians came there to pick us up and deliver to Nykøbing. We were amazed that for the first time at the Rotary meeting we were singing a song in English! After the fun dinner we were taken to Nykøbing by bus.

That was fast!!! Then again so is the Internet.

24 Sep

Just as a quick post:  Jodi and I were lucky to visit the graphic and media design firm Tankegang this morning in Frederikshavn.  We has a wonderful visit discussing all aspects of media and marketing, including social media. A quick moment and a photo later, we are now featured on the company website.  Thank you to all at Tankegang for being such great hosts!!!

Visit from America

Det er ikke hver dag, at vi her i Tankegang får besøg fra den anden side af Atlanten. Jodi og Martha er en slags udvekslingsstuderende, der arbejder med marketing, sociale medier og PR. De er en del af Rotary International – en organisation med over 1.2 million medlemmer i 33.000 forskellige klubber verden over. Organisationen arbejder med at udbrede forståelsen for hinanden og vores forskelligheder og forsøger bl.a. gennem oplysning om sundhed, fattigdom og uddannelse, at skabe mere fred i verden. De 2 piger er med i en gruppe fra USA, som i disse uger er på visit rundt om i Danmark, og i dag besøgte de Tankegang for at snuse nærmere til, hvordan vi skaber visuel kommunikation og markedsføring. Det var et yderst interessant og spændende møde, hvor vi fik mulighed for at udveksle vores erfaringer og kultur, og har rundet alt fra Facebook og “Mummy Blogging” til spildevand og MacDonaldsfinancieret uddannelse! 1000 tak for et hyggeligt møde og rigtig god fornøjelse i den videre rotation.

Ships and Saunas

24 Sep

Today started with a very interesting trip to the naval base in Frederikshavn. We were treated to a true military briefing about all of the different ships, missiles, and even missions that the Royal Danish Navy is participating in! While our presenter was speaking, I could only think “This would NEVER happen in the USA-we don’t have a ‘Need to Know'”… and he said none of the information was even “Confidential”! The Danish flag on the base was flying at half-mast today, showing respect for the Danish soldier who was killed in Afghanistan yesterday.

After the briefing, we ate lunch in the cafeteria on base, and then wandered around the area a bit. The ship that belongs to the Royal Family was docked, so we all took a photo in front of it… but decided that boarding it might cause a trip to “hotel jail” so we decided to just examine the outside.

For the afternoon, we were taken to Skallerup Klit, a resort/spa and holiday village which originally had been built in 1946 to house German refugees following WWII, but was converted to its new function in 1949. There, we were able to experience the Romulus spa area, with 4 baths (28, 34, 36, and 38 degree Celsius), as well as scented steam rooms, a sauna, a jet massage table, and an 8 degree bath for cooling off when done in the steam rooms and sauna. It was a fantastic and relaxing afternoon.

In the evening, we headed out to a local “castle” (i.e. one of our host’s homes) for dinner. A lovely salmon first course, followed by a selection of meats and salad made for a great meal, complete with wine, of course! Following dinner, the hostess gave a tour of the house, explaining its history and how the wallpapers were replicas of Phillip Morris wallpapers from the Queen’s rooms. After coffee and some delicious pastries and cake, we all headed home to sleep. Vocational day tomorrow before our transfer to Hjørring!

The Top of the World

22 Sep

Today’s adventure took us to the northernmost tip of Denmark, to a tourist town called Skagen.  For all those art enthusiasts who think that name sounds familiar, it is from the renound colony of artists who resided in Skagen at the end of the 19th century and produced a new kind of painting which focused on mighty waves, fishing, and realistic depiction of the working people.

We started our day with a breakfast at the Pakhuset hotel restaurant with several Skagen rotarians.  The restaurant has a fantastic collection of ship decorations. We hoped they were real but were told they were simply replicas. The originals came from the ships which were shipwrecked at the ever changing peninsula but been sold during a tough year to a buyer in Sweden. 

From Between the Seas

We then continued a walking tour and stopped in at the Skipperskole, a training institution for the skippers of large fishing and cargo vessels.  After reviewing their skills of reading maps and charting courses, the skippers learn almost entirely through simulation exercizes on realistic equipment.  Julia and I navigated our boat through some near misses. Corey decided ramming the cruise ship was the best way to go!  (Lesson learned: If you have to choose a skipper for your boat, Martha or Julia is a safer choice than Corey.) From learning to radio for help, to operating navigation equipment, the skippers learn all the skills they need to navigate these huge vessels in harbors and out at sea.

From Between the Seas

A stop in at the Skagen Museum allowed us to see the works of the founders of Skagen’s artists colony up close.  Anna and Michael Ancher and P.S. Kroyer are three of the most famous of the painters, and were integral to the acceptance of the naturalism the painters chose to portray.  Before the artists arrived, Skagen was simply a fishing village.  After the artists made their home among the fishing cottages, tourists flocked to the area as well. Apparently the artists knew how to throw a really good party. Skagen is in many ways similar to Martha’s Vineyard or the Hamptons in terms of the affluent summer social scene.

From Between the Seas

After lunch the group boarded the Sandworm (no not the huge human eating kind from Dune) and took a ride out to the very tip of the Danish peninsula. There we stood with one foot in the North Sea and one in the Baltic Sea.  Both feet were quite cold regardless of which sea they were in.

From Between the Seas

Our Skagen trip ended with a visit to Globalsat, a sattelite receiver company who holds a good marketshare in Europe for the DVB receivers used in camper vans. We learned how the receivers are designed to be resistant to the wind and rough conditions campers face in areas like Skagen, and to be highly maneuverable for their users to get a good signal.  TV while camping sounds like a luxury but I’m sure we would all enjoy it.

From Between the Seas