President’s Comment – 9 Oct 16

Last Week’s District Governor Visit

Thank you to all who attended last Tuesday to hear District Governor Michael Milston and his wife Ann Dib give their presentation to our E-Club. Thank you Michael and Ann for a wonderful presentation that has stimulated our thoughts about how our Club might develop. For all that missed the presentation it is recorded and on this website to view here – DG’s Presentation


The recording of your attendance has been refined and improved by Cameron to allow YOU to record meetings of our Club by browsing our website, attendance at other Rotary meetings or service that you have performed with another service organisation or the community generally. You can even download a copy to Excel of all your attendance for the year to see what you have  done.

You also need to be aware that your President, Secretary and Admin Director can see all attendance, all comments and download it to Excel. Please all try it out and keep attending!!


Can all members complete the survey under the Members menu by the 10th November please?

This is good advice:

7 features of a highly effective service project

Rotary members in Virginia, USA, deliver mobility equipment for a local hospital.

Rotary members in Virginia, USA, deliver mobility equipment for a local hospital.

By Richard Cunningham, Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA

We cannot expect to grow membership without engaging our members in service. RI President John Germ has stated this unequivocally and our club is taking that to heart.

Selecting the right project, therefore, is critical to the health of your club. Here’s a few basic principles we’ve found to be true about service projects:

  • Sweat equity is the single most vital aspect of our mission and one of our greatest strengths.
  • Club leaders are responsible for both success and failure.
  • Engaged Rotarians take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Technology is important.
  • Members should expect to serve.
  • We need to recognize the volunteer resource represented by retirees, the self-employed, and non-working parents with time to spare.
  • One-off walk-away projects do little to cultivate longer term engagement with Rotary.
  • Hands-on projects provide opportunities for members to develop their leadership skills.
  • Fund raisers are an important part of what we do, but there is much more to being engaged in Rotary.
  • Rotary is more than being a member of a single club.
  • Our Rotary Foundation is one of the finest vehicles for giving in the world.
  • Club 501(C)(3)s are important to capture individual tax free donations in the USA. Setting one up is not expensive, and within the ability of club leaders.
  • Rotaract, Interact, RYLA, and Rotary Leadership Institutes are important to our present and future.
  • Most of us learn by doing.
  • We need to watch out for the threat of status quo and board inertia.
  • We need to say “yes” to good projects promoted by one or more of our members.
  • Our ability to serve is proportional to the number of available volunteer hours.

With this in mind, we suggest any great project should have these seven attributes:

  1. Involve several of the six Areas of Focus. Our most recent project dealing with eye care for underprivileged children relates to basic education and literacy; maternal and child health, and disease prevention.
  2. Be interesting to as many professions as possible. For example, our latest project is of particular interest to medical professionals, educators, and community and political leaders
  3. Benefit as many people in the community as possible. The bigger the better, as larger efforts will attract more media interest. By collaborating, you can engage small clubs in bigger issues.
  4. Be affordable and grant eligible and pursue international partners. Collaborating with other clubs on district or global grants opens up opportunities for members to step into leadership roles and experience Rotary on an international scale.
  5. Involve multiple age groups, including Interact, Rotaract, RYLA participants, and all generations from Baby Boomers on.
  6. Address a major community issue and include a public image component that will stimulate local media interest and build relationships with media outlets.
  7. Involve a long range vision for sustainability and focus on long-term relationships. A series of related projects is a great way to develop ongoing relationships and retain membership interest. Small projects grow into larger efforts this way.

We believe doing all these things develops a “Service Centered Leadership” culture which results in a sustained and sustainable membership growth environment.

Give to support the work of our Rotary Foundation, and learn how you can celebrate 100 years of doing good in the world.


President’s Comment – 2 Oct 16

remember to attend dg michael milston’s presention

Tuesday 4th October at 7.00pmEST and 8.00pm ESDT.  

The email to attend the GoToMeeting has been sent to all members. All are welcome to attend. If you have not received the email with the link to the meeting please contact me –


What does it mean to practice peace?


Nations observe 21 September as International Day of Peace, a “day of global ceasefire and nonviolence.” Rotary’s commitment to building peace and resolving conflict is rooted in the Rotary Peace Centers, which yearly prepare up to 100 fellows to work for peace through a two-year master’s degree program or a three-month certificate program at partner universities worldwide.


New Englanders, Nigeria clubs aid Boko Haram refugees

By Marty Peak Helman, District 7780 Foundation Chair

Children in a refugee camp in eastern Nigeria.

Children in a refugee camp in eastern Nigeria.

The American University of Nigeria (AUN) was co-founded by Rotarian Felix Obadan in 2000, and 12 years later, when Felix was governor of Rotary’s District 9125, which covers a large portion of Nigeria, he chartered the Rotary Club of Yola-AUN on campus. Their strong influence on campus makes it not surprising that many University professors and senior staff are Rotary members, and that the University prides itself on its work toward peace, entrepreneurship, and economic development as well as its strong academics.

The University’s mission is to graduate students prepared to take on the challenges in Nigeria and throughout West Africa – challenges of climate change, development, and peace building. And peace is not an abstract concept at the university. After all, it is located in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, in the region where Boko Haram is most powerful. In fact, those few dozen Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from being kidnapped by Boko Haram are now safely living at the University, where they are receiving social services and education.

Boko Haram has brought me to the American University of Nigeria as well. I am here as part of a team from Rotary’s District 7780 in New England to meet with the two Rotary clubs in Yola, and to visit Rotary projects including a camp for internally displaced families in flight from Boko Haram. It is our intention to see what we can do in terms of a global grant to help them.

Putting together a global grant will not be easy. The needs of the people living at the camp are immediate, and it is hard to think in terms of long-term sustainability. Food, for example, is a continuing problem. The men are agricultural workers and are eager to get back to working the soil, but even if they could rent land near to the camp, it’s hard for them to think ahead to next year’s crop. One non-governmental organization gave the men seed for planting, we are told, but because their children are hungry, the seed was promptly cooked and eaten.

The families at the camps – who are there because they have fled their villages for their lives – are living testimony of the need for us, their neighbors, to strive for peace.

Meanwhile, while they wait for political change, the women weave craft items to sell out of the plastic bags that litter the sides of the road, and the children – many of whom have been out of school for several years while their families have been on the run – attend a government school near the camp.

Still, I find myself very optimistic about being able to craft a global grant to help these families. After all, the Yola clubs know the camps intimately, and have both the contacts and the resources to understand what will work best. Our Districts – 9125 in Nigeria and 7780 in New England – have worked together for over a decade, with National Immunization Days, a Group Study Exchange, and both matching and global grants to our credit.

This is what Rotary is all about – developing relationships that span the globe and make possible long-term humanitarian change. And the families at the camps – who are there because they have fled their villages for their lives – are living testimony of the need for us, their neighbors, to strive for peace.

Support Rotary’s Peace Centers