Thoughts from the DG - Week 4

I'm in the car trying to type this with a computer on my lap, on our way back from Tamworth. With our visit to Tamworth West last night, we have now completed visits to all five Clubs there. How different they all are – 'vive la difference' I say. The two breakfast clubs have members who are a lot younger; the average age of Sunrise is 49. And these clubs are doing interesting things over and above their breakfast meetings – Friday night drinks in one case, and an 'under fifties' social dinner in another. For the most part they are working people whose lifestyle suits their breakfast meeting, but they are mixing it up and having a good time in the process. The original Tamworth club, established in 1932, is very traditional, but a happy bunch of people meeting each week and supporting some great programs. The small Calala club is another case of Rotarians 'doing their own thing', but happy in the process. I was greeted by one member who said up front "I voted against women in Rotary, but our last president has proved me wrong – she came through a difficult situation with flying colours". 
Last night I met the members of Tamworth West, whose club does not have women members, and they are happy to stay that way. For the most part, their partners are members of Inner Wheel, and by all accounts, they too are happy to stay that way. In fact, I was advised by one couple to consult with their Inner Wheel club, and I will. They are, after all, members of our Rotary 'family'. 
At our meeting with Tamworth First Light, the club pointed out that they have provided my Cluster 6 Assistant Governor, Dimity Betts, and our Inspirator editor, Andrew Maughan – too true. In attendance at the meeting was one of their original foundation members, who is suffering from MND. Fortunately, he seems to have one of the least aggressive types of the disease, and in his 6th year since diagnosis he is still able to walk and talk, for which he and his family are extremely grateful. He resigned, but the club is currently trying to get him to re-join; I hope they are successful. And he is being treated by Professor Dominic Rowe at Macquarie University, who will be one of our Keynote speakers at our conference next year.The club's President, John Worldon, lost his wife Kerrie to MND, and we have met so many people on our travels who have been touched by this horrible disease.
On the Rotaract front, there is some wonderful news from Tamworth. They have a combined club meeting tonight, to put in place an effort to start a Rotaract Club again. It would seem that Rotaract had existed in Tamworth in the past, and we have a number of former Rotaractors who are now Rotarians, including the President of Tamworth West. And that club's latest nominee for membership is a former Rotaractor as well, so they are all very supportive of getting a club going again. What we have to ensure this time is to include them in our club activities, and bring them closer to the Rotary family - they can also be Rotarians if they choose.
News releases have gone out to promote our drought appeal throughout our district, and Reg is working hard to explore more options. If you have a newspaper in the western region that I haven't reached, please let me know and I will send you the press release.
The first Finance and Management Committee meeting will be held in Glen Innes on the weekend of August 25 and 26, and plans are in place to have a dinner on the Saturday night with club members – a 'Welcome Back' dinner for their club, where they can meet their management team.
We're in Armidale until the end of the month, visiting our home town clubs (including my own) so it will be a chance to take a breather, and repack for the rest of our journeys out in our far western regions next time.

Remember, get your application in for the Friendship Exchange in Germany prior to the Convention in Hamburg next year. Applications have to be to Di Hall by July 30.