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From DG Charlie

What a wonderful organisation we belong to and have the privilege to serve. Every Club visit just reinforces the diversity of Rotary in our demographic, our service areas and the way we Light Up Rotary in our respective communities. I am nearly halfway through the Club visits and enjoying the hospitality and the constant engagement with old and new friends that we are making as we cross the District. People come to Rotary to make a difference and that is the uniting bond that we share. Thank you to all who have gone out of their way to make us welcome, show us their areas of service and added the dimension of a new café, tourist attraction or community perspective to our Club Visits.
Today, as I was sitting taking in the dominance of the Cape Schanck Lighthouse on the Mornington Peninsula, I was reminded that this structure was built to provide a Beacon of LIGHT so that it provided safe passage through the adjoining waters for travellers in the past. However it also had to be built strongly enough to withstand the storms battering the Coastline and stand the test of time to serve the community that passed by. What a great analogy for our organisation - we exist to serve, we serve to provide a passage through life that enhances our community and we serve people we know and sometimes, just like the lighthouse, we serve people that pass us by. However, whether we know them or not, because of our service we have added a new dimension to their life and journey (a Polio vaccine, a toilet block, a park bench, a community garden, or simply a helping hand) that makes their trip a safer and more rewarding journey. So Rotarians, it is imperative that as we look at Membership month we build Rotary Clubs that are strong, enduring and continue to provide light to make the travellers in our community safer in the future.

 

 

Membership Month


As noted by our International President Gary Huang, growing the membership of Rotary is important as we need more people to do the growing amount of work needed to continue to make our communities a better place. We also need to realise that existing Rotarians who have contributed so much to their community will need, at some point, to hand over to the next generation. Although their service has made a profound difference to so many communities, there is still much to be done.  
We have a wonderful history of Service that started with a few men meeting in Chicago. The Rotary movement with a concept of “Service Above Self” blossomed and grew and spread across the USA and into Australia by the early 1920’s. The organisation has been a powerhouse adding light to the world and is as relevant as it ever was. What we need to ensure is that Rotary can still Light Up the World in the future. In the Gippsland area our first Club was the Rotary Club of Sale. Others quickly followed, building a network of clubs that eventually became District 9820. We have a wonderful history of service across the district and the years of Rotary Service are countless. Certainly they number in the thousands of person years of Rotary service as currently nearly 1500 Rotarians in 49 Clubs ranging in age from 1 year of service to nearly 80 years work on a myriad of club projects and activities to improve their community both home and abroad.  However, our challenge is engaging the next generation of Rotarians so that our legacy is a sustainable contribution of Service Above Self and the core task of doing good in the world continues on. ......
One of the beauties of Rotary is the absolute diversity we find as we move around Rotary Clubs just within this District. We have differences in process, differences in protocols, differences in dress, differences in meeting time and duration.  I am sure if we went to a club in India, Africa, or another Island we would find they do things differently, based on climate, work hours and a myriad of other factors that make up communities and Rotary. However the core activity of a Rotary Club is a discussion about projects, fundraising and how we are going to achieve the Goals that the club has set for its members and community.
 Yes I know the topic of venue and meals is also high on most agendas!!!  
However each club must develop its own program and meeting structure to ensure its current members achieve what they want to achieve and that they conduct their meetings in a manner that allows these members to enjoy the experience of delivering service to their community.  I trust that part of this enjoyment is to realise that our current generation of active Rotarians needs to have a project to hand the task onto the next generation of Rotarians so that the wonderful CLUB HISTORY  that was created YESTERDAY  and  is still being generated by activity and projects  TODAY  will still be active and added to TOMORROW by those that follow and provide Service Above Self to their community.   
As we look at our Clubs we have a choice; we can engage the next generation of Rotarian and ask them what they want to do to run a Rotary meeting and continue Rotary Service or we can keep doing what we are doing now and run the risk of struggling to engage the next generation. I am sure that the Rotary meetings ruin by Paul Harris and his fellow Rotarians 100 years ago are a little different to those we run now, and therefore it is okay to allow the changes in culture, process and outcomes we see around us, to be part of changes in our club culture, processes and meeting activities. Similarly the way Rotary clubs are run in Asia, Africa or Timbuktoo are most likely different from our clubs. However the important factor that I am sure is common to all clubs is that as Rotarians we run our Rotary Clubs with a high level to ethical behaviour, we manage the principles of Service above Self and we strive to seek to carry out work in our community that makes a difference.
 My vision is that I will look at my Rotary Club in 10 years and see a group of new Rotarians running programs to add value to our world community and doing it their way and writing a new chapter in the History of our club, not closing the book to sit in an archive of great deeds of the past.
Rotarians I encourage you to enjoy your Rotary, make a difference and be adaptable so that new people with differing views, expectations and a willingness to serve their community are made welcome and find a home in our Rotary Clubs. After all one of the greatest pleasures in life is to see our next generation (our children and grand children) taking their first steps and learning to walk, run and look after themselves because we have guided them in that. So it is with our Rotary Clubs -these are important parts of our lives and need to be handed over so that our legacy will be to leave ‘doing  good in the world’ to the next generation. Then we can sit back and smile because the fruit of our labour is more people wanting to make the World a better place and we have been part of that outcome.
DG Charlie