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Last Monday night Conochie Hall certainly had a festive buzz and the tables were brightened with the red and green Christmas colours of the decorations. Many people were caught up in the spirit of ’Christmas in July’ and wore their best Christmas attire and accessories. The two winners for their outfits and accessories were Gerry Cross and Barbara Coopes.
It was a pleasure to host our District Governor Julie Mason, our Assistant District Governor Therese McKenney and our member’s partners, namely Barbara Coopes, Kate Cross, Judy May, Jennie Simpson and Karin Simpson, Ian’s brother, Chris from Perth and our soon to be member, Reg Davis and his wife, Carol.
Entertainment started with a challenge for our collective brains to answer questions about the exact words of ’familiar’ Christmas Carols. The elusive answers were settled by the vocal rendition of the carols by Lyn Steel and John McCaskill - a stunning performance which rivalled John’s guitar vocal last year. The front table excelled with the correct answers, thanks to the lyrical talents of Annette Brownscombe.
Julie Mason, our District Governor, then addressed the meeting and asked the question: What does Rotary mean to us? Julie said that she has spoken on two occasions with this year’s International President, ‘Ravi’ Ravindran. Ravi’s life was moulded by family, country and Rotary and he sees serving as Rotary President as a way of giving back to each of them. There is an article about Ravi in the July 2015 issue of Rotary Down Under entitled “Pay It Forward” or click this youtube link, which gives his background and explains what Rotary means to him.
Since his appointment, Ravi has made business-like changes at the international level aimed to reserve more money for the causes that Rotary supports instead of spending those funds on talk fests and having non-key personnel present. Ravi has posed questions for Rotary members to consider: Why did you join Rotary? What are the gifts you bring to Rotary? In what way are our Clubs ‘a gift to the local community and to the world’?
District Governor, Julie Mason
Julie then shared her aspirations for the year ahead and said that the Mantra of the District 9800 leadership team is “It’s all about the Clubs”. She encouraged us all to share the Rotary story, adopt and act on ‘a member a month campaign’ and explore new ideas such as the Busy Feet Program that we are planning to implement this year. She and the District team will be visible and provide timely and practical support to all Clubs.
The signature events for this year include: the Purple Fingers for Polio campaign in October which is ‘making children a part of the polio solution’; Social Inclusion Week in November; Rotary’s 111th Anniversary on 23rd February 2016; Sharing a Club Selfie Moment where we all get together for a selfie photo; Women in Rotary Breakfast in March; Rotarians At Work Day; Group Vocational Exchange to the Philippines; and the Vocation Training Team to Cambodia with a Global Grant to enable four Aussie teachers to complete training in August and then to travel to Cambodia in January to train teachers in remote village schools.
Julie encouraged us to view the new Rotary District 9800 Facebook on Facebook and to tell our Club’s Rotary story by submitting short Club posts and videos. She encouraged us to support cluster events and projects and suggested that we apply for Cluster, District and Global Grants which can greatly amplify the funding that we raise locally for our projects.
Julie’s promotional phrase for the 2016 District 9800 Conference is “You’ll Never Never Know if YOU don’t Bendigo”. Please let Peter May know of your intention to attend to hear extraordinary speakers, to make new friends and to just have fun.
Julie’s parting message to us all was an African word - UBUNTU - which has a core meaning of “I am because you are”.
I extend on your behalf our best wishes to Julie, Therese and the District Leadership Team for the year ahead. We as a Club will endeavour to live the Rotary Spirit and use our talents and skills to Be a Gift to World.
Doug Hawley was just back from the Philippines and he told us of his escapades whilst finalising the upcoming visit for the Eye and Ear Screening Project. Doug tells that when he arrived, he thought he would have a relatively quiet day, but that quickly became an afterthought as he was went around schools giving talks to ‘inspire the youth’, visited a hospital and was a guest at a birthday party. By the look of his photographs there appears to have been quite a bit of socialising and eating too.
Finally, thanks to all for your efforts and contribution to a fun ‘Christmas in July’ night. Next week we induct Reg Davis into the Rotary family. Our guest speaker will be Cherrie Osborn who will be telling us of the District’s Basic Education and Literacy Project.