It’s April and we have just 84 days to go until the end of this Rotary year.
Where has the time gone?
March has been a huge month and I thank those who made the District Conference such a success both at an organisational level but especially those who decided it was time to come together and celebrate the achievements of our clubs and Rotary.
Over 260 attended on Friday evening and were enthralled by Dr Daniel Nour, 2022 Young Australian of the Year. Tania and I have been so impressed by this young man that we are committed to assisting him to extend the services provided by Street Side Medics. I was overwhelmed by the number of Club Presidents who spoke to me afterwards and offered support of their club with the intention of securing an additional van. I am in the process of collating all the positive feedback and will advise shortly of a next step. And how good was Krissie Webb as MC? This is what the changing face of Rotary looks like.
On Saturday over 370 delegates heard from 24 presenters and gained tremendous insight into the benefits from Rotary initiated projects and also affirmed that what they were doing within their clubs and across the district are each helping in many ways to make our community stronger and better. The majority of speakers have a close Rotary affinity. See Conference comments.
My thanks to Conference Chair Bob Kaye-Smith and compere and production chair Geoff Brennan and many others who work so hard to pull together in six weeks what had been parked for a year due to COVID uncertainty.
Over the years I have heard conference attendees returned to their club in the following week and say, “the conference was fantastic you should have been there.” However, essentially, they are talking to a wasted audience because the opportunity is gone.
Make a commitment now to attend district conference in Cowra, 17 to 19 March 2023. Conference has never disappointed and the best way to boost your enthusiasm for Rotary is by meeting with like-minded Rotarians at district conference.
March also saw the passing of long-term member Ian Salmon (Turramurra 2002) a very much hands-on Rotarian and Arch Klumph Society member. Ian a true gentleman was proactive in implementing health-related projects in Southeast Asia. He supported these financially and with action.
Sadly, we also lost PDG Ted (Big Ted) Atkinson (Dural) after a prolonged illness. Big Ted was the first Big Ted, long before TV’s Big Ted. A Rotarian since 1969 he was District Governor 91 – 92 and involved in so many Rotary activities, it is a vast list. He was a trailblazer for Australian Rotary Health. Please click on the links to read more about these Rotary legends.
Flood relief: the past few months have been tragic for people in northern New South Wales and Queensland and also along the Hawkesbury River.
District Rotary Foundation Chair, David Dean moved very quickly and applied for a TRF Disaster Response Grant that was approved within 72 hours. Check out David’s report (Latest News, No. 1) on the distribution of funds from the TRF Grant.
In addition, Manly club through a street collection, provided $5,000 of gift cards that were distributed via Kurrajong North Richmond club through a number of churches in the Windsor Richmond area.
The distribution of cards is complex and can only go to individuals and a system required to ensure equitable distribution. Thank you to those clubs and members who worked so quickly and so diligently to provide this relief through Rotary.
In addition, a RAWCS (RABS) flood fund was set up specifically for people affected in the greater Sydney area. Today some $75,000 has been donated and these funds will soon be converted to gift cards and more people in our area assisted. Every dollar is being matched by a generous donor.
It has been very pleasing to see the way in which Rotarians moved so quickly to set up these appeals and to distribute funds where needed and with a sense of urgency.
This Rotary Year: Now that clubs are meeting regularly, it’s high time to review your Strategic Plan and goals for the year. Membership is modestly up on 1 July 2021, but we know that June 30 leads to an annual cleanout. With three months to plan it’s time to re-engage with those member prospects and encourage them to join your clubs. Likewise, time to review individual and Club giving to the Rotary Foundation and let’s blow the Centurion numbers sky-high. I like to see 1000 by year end. We are currently at 440 but I know that regular giving will see a surge at year end.
At conference you heard from Neil McWhannell and the launch of our Bequest program which generated much interest and action. Already a number have signed up to be members of the Bequest Society by making a provision in their will for US $10,000. If you think about it, it’s probably less than 0.5% of most properties in District 9685 and will allow the Rotary Foundation to fund humanitarian programs long after we have departed.
Regarding departures, please note that the 2021 – 22 Rotary train leaves the station on June 30, 2022. Until then our presidential theme is Serve to Change Lives and our RI President is Shekhar Mehta.
On July 1, 2022, we welcome a new RI president with a new theme. But until then all theme collateral is embargoed. It has been released so that district teams-elect and club officers-elect can plan, and those teams should most certainly be meeting on a regular basis, so they hit the new year running.
Take it from me, come this time next year you might not even have seen the year flash by.
As Tania and I recover from COVID with a clean bill of health, and a cough, we look forward to engaging with your clubs as you reach out into your community. Please invite us and we will do all we can to support you.
For club changeover please get your invitations in early and DGE Mina, DGN Christine and I will do our best to attend your event. By May 1 we should have an additional member of the G train, District Governor Nominee Designate also available.
Thank you again to all district and club officers who have managed change through this difficult year and hopefully we can now set our sights on getting back to normal and serving to change lives.
Yours in Rotary
DG Lindsay May and Tania
Lindsay May OAM
District Governor 2021-2022