A year in the life of a District Govenor

Well here we are in our last epistle for the Rotary and DG Year, what a marvellous experience it has been. We have travelled the length and breadth of the District and shared in celebrations, major fund raising events and heaps of general Rotary fellowship.  It has been a delight to see the many ways that Rotarians go about Lighting Up Rotary in their communities, both at a local level and the broader international community we all make up.
It is most appropriate that June is Fellowship Month because it is an opportunity to reflect on the fact that Rotarians are a diverse group of people, with as many interests, hobbies and personal pursuits as we are in number. 
Download the District 9820 Newsletter June 2015 (PDF) CLICK HERE
May is time to promote the International Convention in Sao Paulo and so if you are not enrolled yet, you had better get moving. However, for those enrolled and planning travel imminently we wish you a safe and inspirational journey as you meet fellow Rotarians, share experiences and are inspired by speakers as you continue to Light Up Rotary.  While the Convention celebrates Rotary, many of us continue to deliver Rotary Programs that have been in the planning stage for some months now.  Programs such as the YEP completing the annual Rock to reef expedition,  MUNA weekend,  the GSE team’s return and ‘Shine On’ have all kept a variety of people busy! Phew! Then we have RYPEN coming up on the last weekend of May!  These events have kept many diaries committed over the past month as Rotarians involved have given their time and service to bring the programs to fruition.  These activities are closely followed by the Club and District Changeovers (Pakenham - Cardinia Cultural Centre - on the 28th June) that are creeping into our diaries as we head into another Rotary year. The transition of the Leadership of Rotary is important to do as seamlessly as possible as we complete programs and start implementing next year’s plans. Regardless of the leadership change, our challenge is to maintain the Rotary presence in our community both Locally and at an International level.
Download the May Bulletin (pdf) CLICK HERE
From DG Charlie                                    
Well, Rotarians, another busy month has passed by, effectively started by our Shepparton Conference which by all reports went really well with many special mentions regarding speakers and the Saturday evening function. Janne and I certainly had a ball and the RIPPR, PDG Edward Burongoh enjoyed the fellowship and warm welcome accorded to him and his son Edgar. Special thanks to IPDG Tim Moore and Jane for looking after them so well. From there and Easter it was straight into the RYLA weekend camp at Somers, with 17 young adults keen to develop their leadership skills in a variety of ways with speakers and great activities – going for a swim in the “icy” waters off Somers wasn’t scheduled but the foolhardy ones thoroughly enjoyed it! I would like to thank all the Clubs who supported a candidate either through direct nomination or through financial support. Rotaractors and young people from outside the “Rotary” family all had a ball and learnt a lot. It was great to see the candidates move from being strangers on the Friday night to a close-knit, supportive and encouraging group of team players by Sunday. Following on from this we had District PETS and Assembly which again had good reports although less present than expected.
Rotarians never cease to amaze me! This month I have shared in fund raising events, been involved in final Conference planning and heard some exciting Rotary stories. I was invited to be present at one Club where a large cheque to be handed over for Motor Neurone Disease research...a good news story that turned out to be a classic case of starting a conversation, joining the dots and bringing parties together for a super outcome. The conversation between the Pakenham Inner Wheel and Rotary Clubs regarding Motor Neurone Disease fund raising and research grew to someone drawing in a third party, introducing that person to a fourth party (researchers)and creating an outcome whereby a five year funding agreement resulted in a cheque for $3 million – yes, you’re reading it correctly! – handed over from the Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation to the Florey Research Institute to accelerate research into finding a cure for Motor Neurone Disease. Well done to all concerned – you continue to LIGHT UP ROTARY
Download the March edition of the District Newsletter: CLICK HERE
Australia day has seen a lot of activity in Community events within the Rotary family as we participate in the broader community through service, citizenship activity and Rotary Days.
May I also take the opportunity to congratulate those in the District recognized with Community and Citizenship awards, some even received National Awards. I refer to PDG Peter Newman, a member of the Frankston North Club, who received an OAM for “Service to Veterans and the Community”. We also have a second OAM, Bob Lay who is a former Olympian and is from the Berwick Club and received his OAM for “Significant service to sports administration and athletics in Victoria through a range of executive positions and to the Community. It is great to honour these Rotarians and the countless others recognized, if I have missed someone please let me know so we can share your recognition and rejoice together. Celebration is a wonderful part of life and recognizes our achievements for our community and Rotary as we make a difference.   
As we focus on World Understanding Month it is a great time to see how we can have a positive influence the on the World.  Sometimes we think how can I make a difference? However if we band together and all give of ourselves and our resources as we are able, our combined efforts can make a difference. As my mother used to say many hands make light work. So it is with Rotary as we give to the Rotary Foundation, our cents become dollars and our dollars combine to make projects that make a difference. (DOWNLOAD NEWSLETTER HERE)
Welcome to the New Year. I trust it has been full of rest, recreation and revitalizing as we head into the second half of the Rotary year.
I certainly spent my time recharging the batteries, getting some well earned Family time (we took 3 of our farm-based Grandchildren to Adelaide for a week!!), catch up time with Rotary friends and fine tuning the plans for the next six months. What a privilege it is to serve this wonderful organization and seeing the fruits of your labour making the world a better place.
I know that as we get back into our planned Rotary activity, evidenced by meeting reports already circulating, that we are up and running and starting to turn our planning into action that will lead to Lighting Up Rotary in this District.
The Youth Exchange team have welcomed home a number of students and we will share their experiences at a debrief day in February. The outbound students have started to leave on their journey of exciting days with host parents, international classmates and new cultural experiences. What an     adventure for a young person and what an opportunity for Rotary to advance World Peace through International relationship building in our next generation of leaders.
December is Rotary Family Month and a great time to reflect on our lives, families and communities. As Rotarians we also have a chance to reflect on the goals we set for the 2014-2015 year, consider how we are progressing against those goals and whether the community is becoming a “better” place because of our efforts. In some cases it is a time for joy and a ”pat on the back” that we have positively affected someone, been an encouragement or made improvements but in other areas we may feel our efforts could be increased or our plans reviewed for their suitability. In the end, the main focus should be on achieving the goals that will make  a difference and put them at the forefront of our time and efforts. However, I continue to be encouraged and enthused as I see the myriad of tasks, fundraisers and uses to which funds are put in order to Light up Rotary in our communities. 
October has seen the completion of our Club visitation program. All 49 clubs have been a treat to visit and hear of the past, present and planned work that you are engaged in to make your community a better place.  Thank you for the wonderful hospitality you have shown Janne and me as we visited your Clubs and a special thankyou from Janne for the great support of her Operation Cleft Project. We continue to be amazed at the generosity of Rotarians to support worthy projects, which by their implementation Light Up Rotary, person by person as we improve the world we live in.
November is Foundation month …
As many of you will know from my visits to your Clubs, The Rotary Foundation is Rotary’s only charity.  It is the powerhouse that enables Rotary to ‘do good in the world’ on the International stage, as well as locally and nationally.
There are three funds in The Rotary Foundation:  the Annual Fund, PolioPlus and the Endowment Fund. The Foundation provides the financial support for major International projects as well as providing support for those projects done by Clubs through District and Global Grants. 
Contributions to the Endowment Fund are invested in perpetuity and only the interest is used to fund ongoing operations.  Donations we make to the Endowment Fund will continue to provide for Rotary projects long after we have gone.  It is a great way to provide support for many years.  You might like to consider supporting the Endowment Fund by leaving a bequest in your will.  A bequest of USD1000 makes you a Benefactor, while bequests over this amount are recognised by membership of the Bequest Society.
Contributions to the PolioPlus Fund are used exclusively to support Rotary’s fight to eradicate Polio from the World.  There are no administration costs so every dollar donated finds its way to provide vaccinations for the children of the World.  Currently every dollar donated to the Fund through The Foundation attracts two dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; a wonderful way to maximise your contribution.
The core of our Rotary organisation is our emphasis on vocational service and our ability to bring together a range of different vocations to share a meal, business acquaintance and discuss community issues. Quite often business and professional people become insular as they tend to work and socialize with members of their business or profession. However the Rotary experience provides a refreshing change and we find a mixture of professionals discussing their community and its issues with a range of experts at the table, Club or District that can assist in solving specific technical concerns raised in community projects.
Every Rotarian is a source of knowledge in relation to his or her occupation and brings that expertise and interest to Club discussions and as guest speakers. The professional expertise of a Club’s members should be used to ensure the professional running of a Club.
This month has seen a continuation of the Club visits and a fair bit of engagement with youth. Across the District we have a myriad of youth activities including scholarships, citizenship awards and youth development and encouragement programs. The Youth Exchange program has seen an increase in numbers of Clubs involved and therefore an increase in the number of young people going out and also coming into our clubs to enrich their cultural experience, international awareness and citizenship.
Janne and I have been to 3 Deb Balls ranging from the traditional, to a small Deb set in Rural Gippsland where a group of young people were given an opportunity that would not have been available if it were not for the RC of Lakes Entrance, and finally we were privileged to be present and receive a group of young and older people with disabilities at a Presentation Ball with a difference, arranged and wonderfully presented by Casey Rotary. The look of the faces of all Debs showed that there are many ways to light up someone’s day, make their life more rewarding and in the process Light Up Rotary. 

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.


WOW what a start to the Rotary year!
We had a great changeover with over 170 people traveling across the District to Traralgon in very wet and blustery weather conditions to share some fine Gippsland produce, great fellowship and to hear a report on the great past Rotary year.
International Rotary President Ron Burton remarked at the Sydney Convention about a saying in Oklahoma that it is "Better to leave the Woodpile a little higher than you found it". Obviously this analogy talks about using some wood but replenishing the supplies, so there is some for the next person. Certainly as I have moved around the District and experienced changeovers at more than 50% of the Clubs, I have seen and heard of many Club activities that Engaged Rotary and Changed Lives. The woodpile is in good shape and well stocked to Light Up Rotary in this coming year.  
A big thank you to now PDG Tim and Jane for their commitment, enthusiasm and leadership over the past 12 months to ensure that Rotary District 9820 has made a difference to the local, regional and international community of which we are all a part. 

One of the challenges for a District Governor is to be able to get around the District and to join the Conversation about Rotary goals, challenges and activity and to assist in making a difference. I am looking forward to the DG Club visits and catching up very soon with those Clubs I missed during Club Changeovers.
The past few months have been about preparing for the year ahead as we prepare to light up Rotary.  Now that we are through the Changeover activity it is time to get on with the job, or as RI President Gary said in his comments to the Governors Elect in San Diego on the final evening, "We have been waiting at the red light with our foot on the brake and motor ready to spring into action, so now we have a green light and it is time to ignite the candle and light up Rotary".
Rotarians I look forward to a great year of service as we put our diverse range of plans into action at an Individual, Club and District level to make a difference as we ‘Light Up Rotary.’