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A few words from the Club President

It seems only a few weeks since Jama Farah asked me to be president elect (PE) for his year as president. In a fit of absence of mind, I said, yes. We are now nearly at the end of my first month having had the Changeover night, the District’s changeover night, a second meeting at The Plough Hotel and soon to come, my first Zoom Board meeting. Apart from that, there’s been a Zoom meeting of our cluster’s Presidents and a veritable e-blizzard of emails from everywhere except someone in Nigeria offering me a fortune. 

Our last meeting happened just in time before captain Dan closed us down. It was your last meal out for nearly two weeks and happily it was very enjoyable. Somehow this last lockdown has felt emptier than previous ones (it’s sad that we can compare lockdowns) with no spring cleaning of shed, sorting old clothes for op shops or even completing jig-saw puzzles; I’ve felt as though I was in a rehearsal for an old folks’ home. Even so, there were plenty of Rotary affairs to occupy my old brain.

It seems to me that our club has many things to do to remain relevant and viable. Priorities are,

  1. To start or continue sustainable projects which will
  2. Require many active hands and minds so that we can
  3. Raise funds for targeted or contingency purposes which in turn will
  4. Attract new members and retain the interest of current members.

You have heard me talk of making a strategic plan for the club. It will come to light in the near future I hope will give us a sense of direction and template to measure our actions against. I don’t want it to be just another motherhood vision statement; these litter corporate walls, seen but unread by all who pass. I’m introducing another piece of bureaucracy, a project processing and risk management plan. The only novelty is that it sets down what most of us have been doing in the past as a matter of course. It will take a few minutes for the Project Director to complete but it will also give cause to reflect, may stop rushing in, and will give others a practical manual of how to do it, i.e., continuity.

In 1937 when our club was founded, Footscray was Melbourne’s workshop in the west. There was much industry and small retail trading with the professions to support that base. Today the demography, economy and environment have changed. Many industries have closed, to be replaced by education, health, hospitality services and all the professional help these activities need. Our potential new members will come from these newer occupations and are likely to be ethnically diverse. But they will still want to make a difference to the community for the benefit of themselves, their children and grandchildren and a whole array of people who need a helping hand at some point in their lives.

There’s a lot of work for us to do out there.



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