Dou­glas pre­sented Ro­tary’s high­est hon­our

Re­ceives Distin­guished Ser­vice Award for years of work in the club and com­mu­nity

The Amherst News - - NEWS - By Dar­rell Cole Amherst News dcole@amher­st­ Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

Bette Dou­glas has helped make a dif­fer­ence in her com­mu­nity.

The long­time mem­ber of the Amherst Ro­tary Club was rec­og­nized by the or­ga­ni­za­tion on Sept. 8 when she was pre­sented the club’s high­est hon­our, the Distin­guished Ser­vice Award.

“When I grew up in Amherst Ro­tary was a group of old men in three-piece suits meet­ing every week at the Fort Cum­ber­land Ho­tel. They ran the town. As I got older I re­al­ized what Ro­tary was and how im­por­tant it is to our town,” Dou­glas said. “When I was asked to join I was so im­pressed to be part of this or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Quot­ing John D. Rock­e­feller, she said every op­por­tu­nity comes with an obli­ga­tion. She joined Ro­tary with that thought in her mind. She said would not join un­less she could make a con­tri­bu­tion.

“I have loved every mo­ment of it,” said Dou­glas, who served as club president and was the dis­trict gover­nor – the club’s first since Norman T. Avard a half cen­tury ago.

As a Ro­tar­ian, she made it her goal to get to as many clubs in the dis­trict and to meet as many Ro­tar­i­ans as pos­si­ble. When ap­proached to be­come the dis­trict gover­nor she thought back to Rock­e­feller and why she joined Ro­tary.

Born in River He­bert, Dou­glas moved to Amherst when she was three and is the mother of three sons, has three grand­chil­dren and a great grand­daugh­ter.

Af­ter go­ing to Mount Al­li­son Uni­ver­sity and the Banff School of Arts Man­age­ment, Dou­glas en­tered the the­atre busi­ness. She es­tab­lished an arts pro­gram at the Mem­ram­cook In­sti­tute in 1987, acted as a judge for ACTRA and for the Cana­dian Au­thors As­so­ci­a­tion Lit­er­ary Award, while also be­ing asked to ad­ju­di­cate youth the­atre fes­ti­vals in New­found­land and Labrador.

She founded Tantra­mar The­atre in 1991, ex­pand­ing the lo­cal arts scene with sum­mer the­atre fes­ti­vals, din­ner the­atres and con­certs for up and com­ing mu­si­cians while pro­vid­ing the­atre train­ing for young peo­ple.

For the past 23 years she has of­fered train­ing pro­grams to as­sist peo­ple en­ter­ing or reen­ter­ing the work­force and through the restora­tive jus­tice pro­gram she has em­braced young peo­ple who needed com­mu­nity ser­vice hours.

She’s a long­time mem­ber of the Amherst Her­itage Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee and was hon­oured by the town with a life­time achieve­ment award for her work in the arts.

Dou­glas has also used the the­atre to raise money for the Cum­ber­land Health Care Foun­da­tion’s Above & Be­yond Cam­paign and has worked with lo­cal lawyers dur­ing Law Week.

She has also co-or­di­nated nu­mer­ous fundrais­ers in sup­port of the Tantra­mar The­atre in­clud­ing the Chair-itable Auc­tion in which Adiron­dack chairs were made by in­mates at the prison in Springhill and painted by area artists.

Dur­ing that time she met a man who cre­ated stained-glass. She of­fered to sell his work in Amherst, where she made sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars for him be­fore his re­lease from prison.

She held a sec­ond auc­tion with chairs and a third auc­tion us­ing ta­bles.

In 21 years in Ro­tary, Dou­glas has been president and chair­woman of the pub­lic re­la­tions com­mit­tee for the dis­trict and was as­sis­tant dis­trict gover­nor be­fore be­com­ing the dis­trict gover­nor, dur­ing which Amherst hosted the Dis­trict 7820 con­fer­ence.

Dur­ing her term as dis­trict gover­nor she was re­spon­si­ble for 46 clubs in Nova Sco­tia, P.E.I., New­found­land and Labrador and the French is­lands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

She is also a Paul Har­ris Fel­low and a re­cip­i­ent of the Gover­nor’s Ci­ta­tion and Ro­tary Foun­da­tion Dis­trict Ser­vice Award.

Dar­rell Cole – Amherst News

Bette Dou­glas is pre­sented with the Amherst Ro­tary Club’s 2017 Distin­guished Ser­vice Award by club president David McNairn dur­ing the club’s an­nual lob­ster din­ner at Camp Tid­nish on Sept. 8.

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