President’s Comment – 27 Aug 17

Hi All,

Back in Brisbane and catching up on tasks I had put aside till I got back. Please check out our new Facebook link on the drop down menu, under the Members TAB on the main menu.

Reminder to all of the next Board Meeting to be held on ZOOM, Wednesday 6th September at 7.30pm EST. If you want a guest to be invited please send their email address to Marilyn and me so that we can send them an email with the link for the meeting.

Our guest speaker will be Dr Luc, the Director of the Mission in Health Care and Development, Democratic Republic of Congo who will be visiting all Wagga Wagga clubs in the first week of September. Dr Luc’s organization is the NGO who will receive the proceeds of a recently approved Rotary Foundation Grant. This grant has been established to provide pig raising and fish farming in villages in the DR Congo. Dr Luc and his wife Dellice will both be addressing  each Club. 

The article below follows on from the message of peace posted last week and the second article has some ideas we might adopt to recruit members.

Presidential peacebuilding conferences

RI President Ian H.S. Riseley will host six presidential peacebuilding conferences in 2018 to explore the connection between peace and Rotary’s five other  plus environmental sustainability. By focusing on the areas where Rotary does its most significant work, the series seeks to:

  • Elevate Rotary’s status as a global leader in each area of focus
  • Demonstrate The Rotary Foundation’s impact on our causes
  • Educate and inspire participants to increase their Rotary service
  • Provide an opportunity for members and nonmembers to explore project partnerships

Conference schedule

Members and nonmembers are invited to attend. Learn more about each event and register online at the following links:

10 February – , Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

17 February – , Beirut, Lebanon

24 February – , Coventry, England, United Kingdom

17 March – , Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

28 April – , Taranto, Italy

2 June – , Chicago, Illinois, USA

10 tips to attract and retain quality members

Edina’s junior police officer, a member of the Rotary club, shares safety information with students.

By Tom Gump, president of the Rotary Club of Edina Morningside, Minnesota, USA, and a District 5950 trainer

Since 1 July, 2016, my Rotary club has recruited and brought in 31 new members. Eleven of these new members are women and eight of them are under 40 years of age. The club has gone from being classified as a “medium” sized club of 68 members in our district to being classified as a “large” club of 93 members in just over nine months. How did this happen?  Here’s our tips:

  1. Know your club’s strengths. If you meet in the morning, you will probably be a good fit for a 9 to 5 employee. But if you meet at noon, you’re more likely to appeal to retirees or parents of school-age children. If someone doesn’t fit your format, recommend them to another club. They won’t forget you and may send you someone another day. Let all the clubs in your area know you are looking for members, and they may send you some that better fit your format than their own.
  2. Keep a list of potential recruits. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper list or if it’s kept on the desktop of your computer – it just makes you think about those people and others that may be a fit for your club.
  3. Make recruiting the top priority in your club. You can’t do everything as a club president, and knowing that will give you some freedom to focus on the most important thing.  Having new members – with new energy – will help you have more people to raise money for The Rotary Foundation, serve on your committees, and invite additional members/more smiling faces to your meetings and fun event. Let your members know this is the top priority so they can all help.
  4. Create a letter that lists all the great things about your club. List your star members, the advantages of where your club meets, how many members it has, etc.  Make sure to tailor the email/letter to the wants of any potential new member.
  5. List potential areas of responsibilities. Potential members will want to know how they can fit in and what opportunities there are for serving.
  6. Be persistent. There will be times that it takes literally a dozen requests to get someone to a meeting. Keep asking. They may come to a meeting, or tell you they can’t join now because they are too busy, or they aren’t interested in joining at the moment. These are all fine answers as long as you keep track of them and keep in touch. How many times did you have to be asked? (It was over a course of two years for me)
  7. Talk about Rotary wherever you go. At church, temple, work, neighborhood gatherings, family gatherings, parties, etc. You’ll be amazed how easy it is after you practice for a while. Getting a lot of “no” answers built my confidence because it didn’t hurt as bad as I thought and most people were actually happy I asked, even if they responded negatively. It’s always a good time to recruit.
  8. Celebrate when you get a new member. This gets the club excited about getting more members. Our club makes a poster of the individuals after they’ve been voted in and we put it in the front of the room at our next meeting. We do the same thing when we induct a new member.
  9. Realize there is no finish-line. Even if you are at the size that your club wants to be, there are always reasons people leave. And new insights always benefit a club. You’re either growing or you’re dying.
  10. Be vibrant. Wear a turkey suit before Thanksgiving (it’s only your dignity you stand to lose), wear a lanyard with lots of “flair”/Rotary pins (it gets people talking to you), make outrageous centerpieces for your meeting tables (it gets people talking to each other), greet people outside the building you are meeting in and hold the door open for them (it lets people know you care).

These really work. Try them out.

Throughout Membership and New Club Development month, we will be featuring blog posts that focus on club flexibility. From a hybrid club to dual membership, these posts feature clubs who have benefited greatly from restructuring or implementing new membership options.

President’s Comment – 20 Aug 17

REPORT On Zoom Meeting held 16th Aug 17

While only five members attended we an enjoyable exchange of experiences and ideas. I believe we agreed that we now have a series of goals for our Club to focus upon during the rest of this year. Thanks to Marilyn for mastering ZOOM and initiating the meeting.

On the recommendation of International Director Sharon, we made a decision to support three KIVA loan projects. Please click on the links below to see the people supported:

Loan to Edward in Zambia (Activity: Farming) $25.00
Loan to Ahmed in Jordan (Activity: Furniture Making) $25.00
Loan to Noy Group in Cambodia (Activity: Farming) $25.00
Below is an interesting article. 

Trees that spread peace

By Hiroko Seki, Rotary Club of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai

The Ginkgo tree sapling at the Carter Center.

On 12 June, during the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, we planted a Ginkgo nursery tree at The Carter Center, founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The tree is a descendant of one that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

When I saw this young tree for the first time, I was blown away by its vigor and beauty. The sapling was cultivated from its mother tree by Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiativeled by UNITAR Hiroshima, and cared for by Steaven Leeper and Elizabeth Baldwin for nearly six years before they brought it to Atlanta for the ceremony.

The day of the planting included heavy rain, so the ceremony was held inside. Then Rotary President John F. Germ, Past President Sakuji Tanaka, and the CEO of the Carter Center attended. A certificate was presented to Past District Governor Jiro Kawatsuma from Hiroshima. Visitors can now see the tree in a beautiful garden at the Center.

A few days prior to the ceremony, during the Presidential Peace Conference, our group presented a breakout session called “A Hopeful Future with Green Legacy in the Nuclear Age.” Guest speakers included Tanaka and Ira Helfand, co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. During the session, Kawatsuma also shared his personal account of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. His story deeply touched the audience.

A sapling planted at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena.

As a team leader from Japan, I presented about the partnership between the Rotary Club of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai and UNITAR Hiroshima and its Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative. It was moving for me to see the way the audience eagerly received the information, taking photos of the slides and recording speeches.

More and more Rotarians are joining our initiative. In 2016, a sapling taken from a tree that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima was planted at Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, Pasadena, California, USA. Our goal is not only to plant trees but also seeds of peace in people’s minds around the world. It is most important to tell our stories through these trees, so that people understand the importance of peace and nurture the trees as a symbol of life and hope.

I encourage you to visit one of these trees if you are in their area and reflect upon their message of peace.

Read this post in Japanese. Learn more about how Rotary promotes peace.

President’s Comment – 13 Aug 17

Greetings from GeralDlton, Western Australia

Carolyn and I have been here to support Carolyn’s daughter, Katherine after the birth of her daughter last Monday 7th August. 

I took the opportunity to attend the Rotary Club of Geraldton meeting held Wednesday 9th. It just happened to be the District Governor’s visit  with a well attended meeting. It was good to meet up with DG Lindsay Dry, who I had previously at the RAWCS AGM at Penrith last year.

I also had a talk with PP Di Gilleland from the Geraldton Club, who is Deputy Project Manager of RAWCS Project 5 of 2011-12, Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania – Orkeeswa Secondary School (WR-006-2011). This is the project that is now sponsored by our E-Club with Sharon Daishe as project Manager.

The article below is an important message for our work in the world.


Why education changes the world

Posted on 

Isma Seetal, middle left of banner, as a team assistant during District 5320’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event.

By Isma Seetal, Rotary Global Grant Scholar

“Education is the best way to change one’s standard of living.”

My mother would repeat this phrase over and over. I was lucky to have been brought up by a hard-working, single, mother, who empowered my brother and me to climb the socio-economic ladder by giving us the best education she possibly could. Other children from broken families like mine did not have the same fortune. My unwavering drive to give back and improve my community led me to join the Rotaract club of Port-Louis, Mauritius in July 2012. 

Isma Seetal, right, and Jerry Rekers, a past president of the Newport-Irvine Rotary Club, her host club.

“Driiiing! Driiing!”  My alarm rang out on a Saturday morning. My mind and body knew it was the weekend, and ganged up on me so that I had to crawl sluggishly out of bed. But the reason for my early wake-up soon dawned on me. It was the day of Lolo’s follow-up doctor’s appointment.

Lolo is an eight-year-old boy, living in a poverty-stricken area of the island, whom I had met during a health-related Rotaract project. His mother was convinced that he was suffering from cognitive disabilities, which she blamed for his poor grades, and for the fact that he was constantly bullied at school. However, the diagnosis the doctor gave us that day was different from what the mother had thought: hearing impairment. Lolo was not mentally challenged. He just couldn’t hear properly!

Many doctor appointments later, I visited Lolo. My heart filled up as he ran up to my friend and me, sporting the widest smile. Thanks to a hearing device, Lolo could now hear his teachers in class. He had changed from a sullen, withdrawn little boy, to a cheerful child with glowing and hopeful eyes. I discovered a passion: community service. I went on to become a Rotaract board member and then the president of the club in 2013-14.

Through this project and many others, it became increasingly clear to me that the reason there were so many children roaming the streets was much more complex than I had thought. Some are the dropouts of an archaic education system, others are the victims of poverty and abuse, yet others are caught in their parents’ web of drugs and alcoholism.

Back then, during one of the long discussions I had with my husband-to-be about the societal ills which continue to pervade our country, we came to one conclusion: we needed to build our skills and knowledge further to make a difference on an even larger scale. Though I am from a small island of 1.3  million, thanks to a Rotary global grant, I am now studying in California for a doctorate in Educational Leadership, gorging on new knowledge and making the best of the international exposure. I am delving more into educational reforms and the principles of leadership, and I am eager to return to my country to bring about positive changes in education.

I continue to volunteer here for the Newport-Irvine Rotary Club, my hosts. The ties with Rotary are life-long! Long live Rotary!