Thoughts from the DG - Week 5
Home visits. It is good to be home for a week and I enjoyed my own club meeting on Wednesday morning. An exciting event for our club this week – we had our first baby! Well at least our club member, Renee Verrier, produced her first child; Max Edward will be a future Rotarian we hope. RYLARians will know Renee as Renee Smoother, and she and husband Peter are a bit chuffed with themselves right now.
President of Armidale Central, Kristyn Barker, is one of our Rotaract Champions, and is working towards this goal. It seems that Armidale, like Tamworth, had a Rotaract club in the past as well. A few of their club members (David and Kerrie Stellar and PP Brett Campbell) have been in New Guinea with PDG Greg Moran and Sue, working with a RAWCS team on the Kokoda Hospital project. Greg came up with this beautiful idea to beat the borers and white ants up there – they converted the big steel shipping containers into living quarters for the nurses – how clever is that? I've asked Greg to give us a report of what they achieved this time in PNG. The photos Sue posted on Facebook looked as if they were all 'having fun in the service' with their PNG friends. Armidale Central also provides breakfast weekly to students at Newling Public School, and of course, they sponsor our one and only Interact club in Armidale at Duval High.
Monday night was a club visit and meeting with the board of Armidale North. After quite a few years, they have a YEP student this year. Sophie is from Switzerland, and speaks five languages. The club has some great plans for a few different projects this year, and President Lynette Bruce and her team are enthused and rearing to go. It was nice to see so many partners at their meeting – familiar friendly faces.
Youth Exchange. Last weekend, we travelled to Uralla, to meet up with our out-bound YEP students (and their parents). This was their first training session, and they seem like a great bunch of students, intent on preparing themselves for the year that lies ahead in a foreign country. I asked them to be brave; especially in their first three months. Our Aussie kids don't have the advantages of European and Scandinavian countries, where kids all have at least two languages (English and their own) and are used to skipping over borders and experiencing new cultures over a weekend. Our kids, for the most part, have only one language (Australian at that) and have probably never left Australia. For this reason, our kids going out don't settle as well as those coming in, and those first three months are crucial for them; homesickness is one thing, but not understanding, and having to learn a new language is another. Our training team, led by incoming Chair, Bev Bartlett, did a wonderful job of preparing them. And Armidale's own re-bounder, Sophie Wicks, did a great job of painting a picture of the challenges they would all face, from her experiences in Denmark a number of years ago.
Vacancy for France. I was amazed to discover that the committee still had a vacancy for a student to go to France. So I have circulated this as well. It's not too late if you know someone who would like to be included in our out-going team. Contact Allan Brown 0438 619 962.
An update on Polio. Year to date figures are:-
We are all asked to contribute $1,500 per club to the Polio Program; 450 million kids still have to be vaccinated every year. PS As we go to press, we are advised that one more case has been reported in Afghanistan, bringing the total to 13. " It is important to emphasise that our Polio campaign has been an outstanding success, but we must understand total eradication is almost impossible until we have access to all remote areas, and conflicts in various war zones come to an end". Bob Aitkin.
Our Drought Relief program, set up by RAWCS Chair, Reg Pierce, continues. I have sent this to all my cohorts around Australia. Reg has helped Narrabri and Gunnedah set up their own appeal to benefit their area. I've had some great stories coming through on this front – Coonabarabran Rotary was asked to help distribute a truck-load of non- perishable goods to their district, donated by a family and friends from Wyong. Another comes out of Murgon in Queensland, where the President of their Rotary club sent out a plea for a young farming couple (who were former residents of Murgon) doing it tough near Tamworth. Another young Murgon farmer has donated 800 bales of hay and 'Little Aussie Helpers' are sending a truck to pick it up. And some of our Tamworth Rotarians will help unload it at this end. How good is that?
Remember, this week is Donate Life Week. I hope you have sent the Press Release to your community newspapers. It is so easy for people to go on line and register, and make sure you let your family know you have done this. By registering, you really are 'Donating a Life' to someone else. I did this some time ago, but have a little concern now about the age of my body parts.
Inner Wheel As promised, I spoke to our Inner Wheel President in Tamworth, Josie Cox. We are trying to set up a time that I can come to one of their meetings; not easy. It looks like it might be next year before this is achieved, as they only meet once a month. We will persevere.
Until next week my Rotarian friends - will be off out west again.