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The Sacred Cow
Rotary Club of Norwood, SA
Putting the sparkle
back into conferences
Tis the season for district conferences,
but, unlike Christmas, have conferences
lost their sparkle?
Conference attendance around the
world is steadily falling. Only 15-20 per
cent of Rotarians are attending their
own district conference these days.
In the US some districts rejoice if they
can get an attendance in three figures!
Annual conventions are even worse,
attracting less than one per cent of the
worldwide membership each year.
So why don’t we attend?
Some say the programs are all the
same. Others suggest inspirational
speakers are good on the day, but
are soon forgotten because they are
unrelated to Rotary or don’t bring
the change they inspired. Time poor
Rotarians find the conferences too long
or include work days, and retirees say
they are too expensive.
Some districts are trying multi-district
events, others have turned them into
humanitarian projects. District 9940
combined its 2014 conference with the
Zone Institute. None of these so far have
led to greater registrations. Australia has
a national biennial membership focused
conference, but this attracts even less
numbers than a district conference.
Should we restrict them to half-day
working conferences with an optional
celebration lunch or dinner? Should it
be combined with the annual District
Training Assembly? Should larger districts
have more than one event to reduce the
distances Rotarians need to travel?
Or should we abandon the annual
conference all together? Today we get
information and comment instantly
through email, webinar and rotary.org,
and considered comment through RDU.
Conferences were established last
century to canvass and resolve issues and
to develop plans and vote on resolutions
to achieve humanitarian change in both
the district and the world. Perhaps if we
returned to this model Rotarians would
feel inspired again to attend.
Ready, set, glow for
a new world record
The Rotary Club of Hampton is lighting up
Rotary’s 110th birthday year with a world
record challenge on Saturday, April 18.
Reaching a 110-year milestone is cause for celebration and as good a
reason as any to throw a party. The Rotary Club of Hampton, Vic, in
conjunction with a number of clubs in the Bayside area, is hosting a get
together with all of the local communities to “Glow for Good”.
The Glow for Good Bayside World Record Challenge will be an
inclusive, unique, family-friendly event where everyone from two to 102
can take part and have fun. Participants will be attempting to break
an existing World Record – the most number of people lighting a glow
stick simultaneously. The record of 836 glow sticks is currently held by
Americans, but with fellow Rotarians, businesses, schools and the local
community behind them, Hampton will “Glow Aussie Glow”.
Past rotary public image coordinator Dick Garner and club members Jo
Kwok had been considering the challenge of how to raise awareness of
Rotary in a way that engages the community and changes the common
perception that “Rotary is just old men cooking sausages, raising money
for park benches”.
Inspired by this year’s Light Up Rotary theme, there has been a lot
of behind the scenes activity, with members from various Rotary clubs
working hard to ensure the event is a success.
“We wanted to create a bit of excitement and do something different,
plus raise money for a good cause,” Ms Kwok said. “It’s thrilling to see
everyone working together to do something this big and high profile.
“The community’s response and enthusiasm has been awesome. We’ve
always been an active club that does a lot in the local community, but
this has taken things to a new level ... even the Bayside mayor, Felicity
Frederico, on hearing of this initiative, called out of the blue to volunteer
her endorsement and support.”
With the various schools, community groups and associations, local
sporting and lifesaving clubs all pitching in, there is a definite buzz about
Bayside. Funds raised from the event will support the Robert Connor
Dawes Fund for research into paediatric brain cancer.
The Glow for Good Bayside World Record Challenge is being held on
April 18 at Trey Bit Reserve, Sandringham, Vic. For more information
contact Jo Kwok on 0415 188 985 or visit www.glowforgood.com.au.
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