'Our Inclusion is based on Service'
Welcome to the commencement of the 2019 – 2020 Rotary year, which sees Mark Daniel Maloney, of the Rotary Club of Decatur in Alabama USA become our Rotary International President, with “Rotary Connects the World” as his theme.
A new year dawns, me humbly standing before you;
You possibly wondering “does he get warranty with his spare parts”.
I think I must be to Orthopaedics as Eddie the Eagle was to Ski jumping; not real good, but willing to give anything a go.
Some of you may feel it is Deja-vu, I even thought so myself, until I attended the PETS Weekend; now for non-Rotarians I should explain that’s not a weekend where the club sends me away to play with animals, it’s the Presidents Elect Training Seminar, which was this year held at Shell Harbour.
I came back with a few new ideas in the back of my mind, culminating tonight, with taking over the reins from Past President Michael, whom may I say has done an outstanding job.
Tonight we wipe the slate clean and start anew. I would like to suggest this year that we also go back to basics, a year to re- group our thoughts. This is something I need to do myself also, some of you know me quite well, and that my mind can at times go at warp speed, in varying tangents and I need to pull the reins in and start again.
At the district training weekend we had so many new concepts and ideas thrown at us I started to wonder whether we were at PETS or a networking seminar.
Some of these ideals could alter the way we operate as a clubs, so we needed to put them into the mix for this year.
We were told that ‘If we are to remain a viable product, then Rotary needs to change its ways’.
Really, do we have to re-invent the Wheel?
On 23 February 1905, four gentlemen got together in an office in downtown Chicago. This meeting was the embryo of Rotary, with the concept of Fellowship and Vocation as its foundation; if Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey were alive today and saw the formula they designed that had worked so successfully for 114 years was to be altered, would be saddened to think someone would attempt change for change sake.
Membership retention was discussed, as was the need to attract younger people to join Rotary in an electronic way. And finally we discussed where clubs are now able to meet once a fortnight or even monthly.
The two latter subjects although vibrant in discussion were thought to be more individual in discussion. However one idea that was interesting regarded membership. It allowed for the construction of the ideal club.
It would be where people will want to join without us having to ask them;
It should have wonderful fellowship, an available venue, tremendous meal, great guest speakers, exciting projects both at home and afar that stimulate enthusiasm, giving a reason for wanting to join. Why? because THEY WILL GET SOMETHING OUT OF ROTARY.
But when I looked back over the last 26 years that I’ve belonged to this great club, isn’t that what ours is?
Maybe we just don’t advertise it enough.
As I looked at other clubs, listened to commentary, I got a feeling of pride, as I thought of our club in comparison to others.
We have the ideal club, we have the potential to invite new members, what we need to do if anything is offer people not just the opportunity to serve, but give them the opportunity to see what Rotary can give them.
I read recently a quote by Max de Pree, “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity.
We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion”. Isn’t that a great word, INCLUSION.
You each joined Rotary for a reason, whatever that was; we all have an inherent belief that we want to help in some way, otherwise what is the purpose.
Rotary in itself has its own way of giving us each that opportunity, we don’t always realise it but it’s there in the background, waiting for us to take up the challenge; believe me I speak from experience when I say challenge because anything worth doing has an effort, it’s the end result that is the reward, you just have to seek the path.
If we are to look towards this year filled with a sense of belonging, enthusiasm, and service with compassion, we need to not just let Rotary connect the world, but also connect our community.
We have many times said we will give back to our community, only to find at the end of the year we have connected programs worldwide and throughout Australia, that don’t get me wrong are all wonderful, and yes we do numerous community projects now but wish we could have had more.
I was asked recently if this year, we could combine with our own Inner Wheel Club to help supply a much needed piece of equipment for the neo-natal wing of Blacktown Hospital; whilst hospitals are funded by government, it’s sad to see certain pieces of life saving equipment are lacking; But this is one way we can start to help our community.
A bud is to a flower as a twig is to a tree. Both are the extremities; possibly the weakest point and yet neither a flower nor a tree could exist without them each in their final form.
Rotary is in itself a word, an organisation; but without its members that is all it is, A word.
When was the last time you looked at a plant without a flower and thought now how great does that look.
Similarly when was the last time you looked at a tree without twigs? yet saw leaves or foliage growing from its trunk or boughs? …………. you didn’t.
We ourselves are to Rotary as that bud and twig are to themselves.
You ladies have all received a flower bud, symbolising the complete flower.
You gentlemen have all received a notepad and twig pencil which symbolise a tree and its twig.
Yes they may appear to be silly gimmicks, but if you stop and think of that connotation, can’t our ideas be our buds, to blossom and go forth. Can’t we pencil those ideas into our notebooks and let them become the basis of our tree.
The Rotary Club of Blacktown city has survived for 57 years on the ideas, dreams and beliefs of such great men and women that have gone before us.
Why not take our motivation from these predecessors to our community, and yes our members as well and ask what can we do for you”?
Let’s make this a year where we welcome these ideas; welcome many new faces; and give value to all Rotarians, thus re-invigorating our sense of purpose that may in some way lay dormant.
I would like to finish with a quote from; Amy Poehler
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever.”
Ladies guests and fellows welcome to 2019-2020;
A year where I know I’ll value every moment of time with all of you;
And I know I’ll value every moment of time I spend with you Jan and the family
A year where Rotary Connects the world.
A year where. “Our inclusion is based on service”.