Programme for week commencing 27th February, 2014
Over the last few days I have been doing, learning and experiencing Rotary with our wider family. Over the weekend 21st – 23rd February I attended the Rotary International in Britain & Ireland (RIBI) Assembly and 24th – 27th February I’ve been travelling with Martyn Harwood, District Governor Elect (DGE) in Bulgaria to explore the possibilities of sending a Vocational Training Team linked to a Global Grant in next year’s Rotary Year.
Without the wider family engagement my Rotary wouldn’t be the same and I would urge our members to engage in District, RIBI and International opportunities if they can, it helps you to see the vast amount of work Rotary is involved with and understand more of how it happens.
At the RIBI Assembly it was good to hear our own eRotarian Dave King speak about Hearing Links and how he hopes Rotary can help him develop Towns and Cities to ensure hearing loops are widely used and operated in public buildings everywhere.
I heard a very good presentation in the Community Service group about the Trussell Trust and Foodbanks and there was a really good speaker on Environmental Issues and the sorts of things we might do in our Rotary to help with these issues, e.g. planting trees and Earth Hours, things we are already doing or planning to do. I’ve passed the pack I picked up onto Janice. Within the Membership Development and Retention (MDR) group I took part in a presentation on eClubs and in both MDR and Community I presented on the Rotary Community Corps, Rotarians present were very excited about introducing this new programme to Clubs to involve volunteers.
The final dinner at RIBI Assembly was made even more special as we recruited Jacqui Horn as an eRotarian and Gary Rotary International President Elect inducted her there and then. Welcome Jacqui to Click 4 Action eRotary.
During the Summer, when we visited the Trussell Trust in Salisbury as eRotary, we discussed the possibility of developing a Vocational Training Team linked to a Global Grant. The work has started on this, more of which will be explained at the District Assembly on the 26th April, which I hope our members will attend. When you view the Trussell Trust Website do look at the work they are undertaking in Bulgaria, as we are intending to help in some way towards this and hence the reason for our trip.
What I do however want to share is how impressed I was of the two Rotary Clubs we visited in Sofia. Both were of mixed gender and had Rotaract members at the meetings. At the first meeting I was invited to tell them about eRotary and how it works. Kristin Gaydarov a Rotaractor told me how he had moved up from Interact to Rotaract and eventually he wanted to be a Rotarian. There was a similar story in the Rotary Club of Sofia International, a vibrant young presence with both Rotarians and Rotaractors present. So here in a country only comparatively starting its Rotary afresh after being freed to be in Europe, rather than under the communist USSR, it has much emphasis on a flow of younger people joining the Rotary Family and moving to each new stage of the family programme.
Have we in RIBI grown too old, too comfortable and too lazy? If Rotary is to survive in these islands and continue its good work, we need this younger generation to keep us all on our toes, vibrant in what we offer and learning from the experience of our older members. We have I believe a lot to learn from the new Rotary Clubs in Bulgaria and our future work with them needs to inform us of how they have strong Rotaract which are working in partnership with Rotary.
Finally it was a great pleasure to tell the two Rotary Clubs in Sofia about our forming of the Rotary Community Corps, both Clubs are interested in looking into this programme as an addition to their family of Rotary.