Contact Channel Magazine

Cam Calkoen: Bending Perceptions, Inspiring Change

Cam Calkoen is an inspirational speaker who is bending perceptions to inspire change and an attitude of awesomeness through simple, lasting human truths. Passionate about the Shore this column reflects the awesomeness that surrounds us and the potential we all have to achieve a personal best.

As we enter communities on the North Shore, throughout New Zealand or around the world, we often see this wheel. Who does it represent? What does it mean? 

This is the Rotary wheel, a global association of people that live for purposes beyond themselves.  When I first became aware of Rotary I thought it was a car club (confusing it with the Rotary engine). What I have discovered is that Rotary is indeed a powerful engine within our community. It’s also the greatest super-hero, like Batman it has an emblem and like Cat-women few know where Rotarians come from or who they are when they’re not making the difference we observe. It takes one idea and a small group of people to change the world. There are well-recognized buildings, projects and efforts that would not be here if it were not for the men and women of Rotary who initiated them. 

Here on the North Shore we have the YES Disability Resource Centre, a purpose built facility that was driven by Rotary.  A national program is Outward Bound, although now independently run. Globally the biggest project is the eradication of Polio, a partnership with the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation. These awesome projects showcasing that ambition, fellowship and excellence continue to be demonstrated through the power of Rotary.

It’s not all about global-peace and award like accomplishments.  Through youth development, educational efforts, fund-raising and community fairs, its core is about enriching communities and creating an avenue for connection and personal and professional development. If we become who we surround ourselves with why would we want to restrain our potential through limiting our network to people who are just like ourselves. Being open to adversity we learn a lot. I am the youngest member of my club, but that’s cool because around me is a wealth of experience that I learn from and hopefully contribute to by simply being in the same room.

Rotary is an organization of responsible leaders in their professions and communities, applying best in business thinking to support worthy social causes. Personally Rotarians receive great fuel to maintain a life of ambition. Through fellowship we learn from hearing what are publicly untold stories, and of course we learn the secret handshake…just kidding. The story that Rotary has a secret handshake is a myth. 

To me the biggest secret is that, like a super-hero, few know who Rotarians are but just look for the awesomeness in your community; a park bench to embrace a view, a walk way, a school, a community building.  You’ll probably see this Rotary wheel. I’m proud to be a member of Rotary. As a member of the Rotary Club of Takapuna North, I’m happy to host anyone seeking to learn more about contributing to a living, breathing, impactful superhero. 

by Cam Calkoen