President Marion's report to members - 9 June 2021
Here we are getting to the end of the Year and I can’t believe that it feels like the start of the Year. Back in lockdown! But what a long way we’ve come. We have all got used to our zoom environments as a substitute for our face to face meetings. With only five actual face to face meetings this year, including our Birthday celebration, it has been hard to have those rich and wonderful table conversations that we’re used to.
The Board has been working hard to come up with a hybrid solution that will work for everyone. Those that attended our test run would have found that the online experience was actually very good in both sound and visually. However, the face to face experience, whilst visually good, had poor sound quality. We will persevere until we get it right.
We want to make sure that we can reach all of our members and in the current environment of COVID, that means we will inevitably have spot lockdowns that will limit the attendance of some of our members. We also have a wonderful array of new members for whom the online experience is a wonderful way to stay in touch and feel part of the Rotary team, until they are able to meet in person. We’ve also had a few members move interstate and we want to encourage them to stay with us until they return to Melbourne.
Since, I last left a message, I attended the Sydney anniversary lunch celebration on the 17th May. This was an excellent event with messages from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, His Excellency the Governor General and Mrs. Hurley, who have been Rotary Centenary Ambassadors. In attendance from our club we had Chris Wang, President-elect Reg Smith and myself. The event was held at the Aerial Function Centre, University Technology Sydney. The Sydney club has entered into a collaboration with the University to establish Australia's first Residential Indigenous College to be built at UTS. This put the seeds of an idea in Chris Wang’s head to engage all Capital city Clubs with an Indigenous Education program of their own and I can’t wait to see where this takes us. Perhaps across the Tasman as well!
The first three in the photo are Geoff Wilbow, Cathy Tait and Gary Brown who were acclaimed for the hard work they have done on Centenary Celebrations.
Some of you would have seen me zoom in from Wellington, where I attended their centennial celebrations. Sarah came with me and we only just made it out of New Zealand ahead of their enforcing quarantine restrictions on us. Then we landed in Melbourne to lockdown!
The Wellington celebrations were excellent and they were very pleased that we attended to support them. They have a very active and vibrant club and really appreciate the efforts made to maintain contact with them as a centennial club. This was initiated by Chris Wang and Robert Fisher several years ago and Reg Smith has shown a great commitment to furthering this in his year.
Here we have President John McKinnon receiving an award from Gillian Jones - DG 9940 and who is also a member of the club. John and I were later photographed together.
The Wellington club also shared a special event that they conduct in their club called ‘Jumbo Tennis’ and we might tap into the benefits of this going forward. It could be a lovely ‘fun’ way for us to re-engage after so many lockdowns. It would be an especially interesting idea to engage our corporates in. We’ll keep working on this one! Here we see William Sommerville holding one of their oversized racquets. (Bit blurry but you can see the size of the jumbo tennis racquet)
Finally, as we wrap up the year – a most extraordinary year – it is very pleasing to see that we have still managed to meet and exceed our strategic goals. Over $117,000 has been raised for RGECAF; our ‘Safe Families’ Ambassadorial program has taken a life of its own with Ambassador Clubs and Rotarians appearing everywhere and supported by Dorothy’s road trip efforts; and our ‘Healing the Hurt’ has made enormous inroads into mental health in just one year. All this at the same time as managing to maintain our commitment to our existing programs.
In closing, please contact Garry Fowler and Peter Berg with any candidates for the inaugural Environmental Sustainability Award. This is a wonderful way to show our commitment to this new area of service.
Until next time.