INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF ROTARIAN SCUBA DIVERS (IFRSD)

INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF ROTARIAN SCUBA DIVERS (IFRSD)

 

The IFRSD was the creation of New Zealand�s Birkenhead Rotary Club member Gordon Stevenson in the early 1990s.  Gordon was a healthcare administrator in New Zealand.  He served as the fellowship�s first and second Secretary/Treasurer, 1991/1995, and was active in the activities of the early Australia & New Zealand Division�s local diving trips.  (There were never formal fellowship �Divisions,� yet we referred to them in that way early on as the Australia & New Zealand participants and the North American participants were the most active members of the fellowship.)

Gordon designed the original International Fellowship of Rotarian Sport Divers logo (in 2001 the fellowship�s name was changed to International Fellowship of Rotarian Scuba Divers).  Gordon never lost interest in the fellowship, but he did resign his Secretary/Treasurer duties in January 1995 because his health was failing.

 

Dan Lockwood was elected to fill Gordon�s Treasurer responsibilities at that time (for the 1995/1997 term; Dan went on to serve as the fellowship�s fourth president in 1997/1999, and is the fellowship�s current president).  Tom Hosey was elected to fill Gordon�s Secretary responsibilities for the 1995/1997 term.  Gordon died sometime in the latter 1990�s.

 

A Bremerton, Washington Rotary Club member, Brett Green, served as the fellowship�s first President, 1991/1993, although he was never active in the North American Division�s live-aboard expeditions.

 

Bob Thompson served as the North American Division Expedition Leader (tour group organizer) for many of the fellowship�s early live-aboard trips.  Champaign-West, Illinois Rotary Club member Judy Kaufmann is credited with creating the fellowship motto �Surface Above Self� based upon one of the underwater photos we took of the First Expedition participants � diving together underwater in the Turks & Caicos Islands and holding our Rotary Club name badges up to the camera.

 

Bob proposed and initiated the concept of making a gift to the country the fellowship visited, through a local Rotary Club in the country we visited whenever possible, beginning with our Second Expedition to Truk Lagoon.

 

In 1997 the decision was made to use the group discount the fellowship received toward a local charity in the community the fellowship was visiting.

 

Bob Ewald suggested that the fellowship should generate a quarterly newsletter in 2000.  After heavy campaigning he was elected �Newsletter Editor.�

 

Membership surveys indicated that there was an interest in land based dive trips.  In 2002 Bob Ewald organized the fellowship�s first land based dive trip to the island of Dominica in the West Indies.  After a slow start this has become the fellowship�s most popular trip.

 

In 2005 the fellowship put a booth in RI�s International Convention in Chicago.  It repeated it�s participation in the 2008 Convention in Los Angeles

 

Expedition #1: February 1991, Turks & Caicos Islands � four Rotarians comprised the First Expedition Team: Uwe Schulz (from the Lahaina, Hawaii Rotary Club; Uwe served as the second IFRSD president, 1993/1995), Bob Thompson (who served as the third IFRSD president, 1995/1997), Gary Olsen, and Judy Kaufmann (all three from the Champaign-West, Illinois Rotary Club).

Expedition #2: January 1993, Truk Lagoon � 6 participants; local donation: funds given to a diver air evacuation service.

Expedition #3: April 1994, Belize � 14 participants; local donation: funds for construction of a dock at a youth development camp.

Expedition #4: January 1995, Palau � 11 participants; no donation made because we could not identify a local Rotary Club to work with.

Expedition #5: May-June 1996, Galapagos Islands � 24 participants; local donation: funds for computer equipment for a grade school.

Expedition #6: February 1997, Cocos Island � 10 Rotarians; local donation: funds given to the Rotary Club of Puntarenas for playground equipment for four local schools.

Expedition #7: May 1998, Fiji � 14 participants; funds given to build a nursing station for the Village of Nacamaki.

Expedition #8: August 1999, Red Sea � 16 participants; funds given to the Rotary Club of Cairo for an adult literacy program.

Expedition #9: October 2000, Australia�s Great Barrier Reef � 16 participants; no donation made because we could not connection with a local Rotary Club.

Expedition #10: May 2001, Grand Turk � 16 participants; contributions made to local high school and Turks & Caicos National Museum.

Expedition #11: February 2002, return trip to Cocos Island � 12 participants; Rotary Club of Escazu, Costa Rica, a suburb of San Jose, to provide doors and windows for the Community House in the Village of Fila de Mora in Puriscal province.

Land based trip #1: November 2002, Dominica – 6 participants: no donation made because group was not large enough to qualify for a group discount.

Expedition #12: June 2003, Papua New Guinea � 11 participants;

Land based trip #2: January 2004, Curacao � 10 participants, no donation made because we did not make connection with a local Rotary Club.

Expedition #13: July 2004, Bali, 6 participants; no donation made because group was not large enough to qualify for a group discount.

Land based trip #3: January 2005, Grand Turk � 16 participants; contributions were split between Turks and Caicos Museum and Turks and Caicos Spay Neuter Society.

Expedition #14: April 2005, Saba, Statia & St. Kitts, (left) 13 participants; Rotary Club of St. Kitts to purchase prosthesis for an amputee.Land based trip #4: February 2006, Roatan, Honduras, 24 participants; donation made to the Majken Broby Children�s Home in Roatan.

Expedition #15: April 2006, Cayman Islands (right), 3 participants; no donation made because group was not large enough to qualify for a group discount.

Land based trip #5: January 2007, return trip to Dominica, 29 participants, Rotary Club of Dominica to House of Hope, a home for severely handicapped orphans in Dominica.

Expedition #16: February 2007, Socorro Island, (left) 5 participants, no donation made because group was not large enough to qualify for a group discount.

 

 

 

Land based trip #6: January 2008, Curacao (right) – 38 participants, donation made to Rotary Club of Willemstad for the Carmabi Foundation, a local charitable organization dedicated to reef preservation and education. www.carmabi.org/

Expedition #17: March 2007, Belize (left), 7 participants, no donation made because group was not large enough to qualify for a group discount.

Scuba diving is a fun filled activity that many people enjoy. Many divers travel from place to place to dive deep down and experience the sea from a different angle. Getting these divers together will enable them to find new places to visit, dive in and explore. So what if they are suffering from varicose pains, they can use some Varikosette and continue diving deep under and make these fellowships very memorable.