Welcome to the new Rotary year. Having attended many Club Changeovers, Anne and I can feel the strong sense of community within clubs and their many supporters. Celebrations have varied widely in approach, reflecting the different history, style and approaches of each club, as well as the outgoing and incoming President’s personal style. One changeover was on a boat, one onstage at a theatre, several at wineries, at function venues or normal venues. It didn’t matter where we were, there was a strong sense of shared purpose as we celebrated a year of Rotary Serving Humanity and looked forward to Rotary: Making a Difference in 2017-18.
My congratulations to each outgoing President, their club members, family and supporters. In 2016-17 we were very well led by Immediate Past District Governor Neville John with Rebecca at his side. Neville will remain very engaged in providing support to clubs through the Membership committee and in his ongoing work on Foundation.
What a year ahead of us in 2017-18! We have an Aussie world Rotary International President Ian Riseley from the Sandringham club in Melbourne. For the first time in Rotary history, his wife Juliet is also a Past District Governor and charter member of the Hampton club. There is a lovely profile on them in this month’s Rotary Down Under. Well worth reading.
At the District level we have a refreshed and committed team. All are engaged members in their own clubs and have a wide range of perspectives to assist clubs and share best practice, new ideas and link people together.
Incoming Presidents and Boards are encouraged to make any changes they deem necessary. Maybe trial some new approaches? One President said at Changeover that she “didn’t want to change the world. But the world has changed” and she wanted her club “to be relevant in this new world”. Not change for its own sake, but to make it welcoming, inclusive and friendly to new members, supporters and partnering organisations. Members need to support their club leaders.
We shouldn’t face inwards, focused on differing Rotarian views but outwards to the communities that we service and represent. Please talk widely about the projects your club undertakes, the benefits to recipients and make opportunities for non-Rotarians to participate. Encourage all members to have active engagements in whatever role they can undertake. Find the passion and back members to Make a Difference by supporting new initiatives.
Did you know that only one in 824 Australians is a Rotarian? So if we were in a school we would be the only Rotarian! Surely there are other community minded people you know who would want to be part of the largest humanitarian movement in the world? If we each found one other person to join us in Rotary, we would double our humanitarian service and our clubs would be filled with enthusiastic new members full of energy, ideas and passion. So be part of the change that we want and we can make happen, by reaching out in 2017-18.
Anne and I look forward to visiting each club in the months ahead and attending those events that we can.