Last week was a very busy week for the Rotary Club of Perth on a number of fronts. Please allow me to share a few insights!



Last week was a very busy week for the Rotary Club of Perth on a number of fronts. Please allow me to share a few insights!

On Tuesday evening, our Cambodia House Building Project (the House that Jack Built) run by Mike & Corrine Gurry, hosted the first of three briefings for Scouts. Scouting as you might know, is a great youth leadership organisation. Once Scouts reach the age of 18 or 25 years old, their time in this worldwide youth organisation is over. Jess Karlsson, our Youth Director, is managing a combined housebuilding team of senior Scouts, Rotaractors, and Rotarians headed over in November 2017. While building 15 – 20 houses is the ultimate goal, so is the building of links between Scouts and Rotaract and Rotaract and Rotarians. This engagement by doing project is shaping to be huge success with scouts, so far over 25 expressions of interest have been received and we have only 10 places on this trip!

On Wednesday evening, our board met and covered a number of areas involving governance and strategy. While the minutes will be finalised in due course, there is one item I thought was worth conveying to our membership. As a board, we considered the cost of our weekly lunch meeting as most of the feedback we receive with regards to lower attendance numbers is the cost of lunch and the time. Currently, members pay $45 to the club which comes at a cost of $39 per person charged by the Hilton (contracted until December 2017). The board considered a number of pros and cons with respect to raising, lowering, or keeping this charge as is; the board resolved to lower the cost of lunch to $35 per person for a period of three months. During this assessment period, we will be communicating our reasons for running lunch at a loss, discuss with the Hilton ways for potentially reducing the cost by a few dollars, discuss with members alternatives, and most importantly, we’ll be assessing whether there is a positive impact on attendance. If not, we may revert back to our previous ways!

One item raised though, is that courtesy runs in both directions with the Hilton. We have a large proportion of members who do not RSVP for lunches. Likewise, the Hilton must be able to respond to the numbers that arrive. This impacts choice of meal the chef selects to remain responsive and also reflects in our pricing. I’d like to encourage all members to RSVP to Kirstin out of courtesy to both our club administration and fellowship team as well as to the Hilton staff.

On Thursday at lunch, Tony Ciallella orchestrated a hugely successful panel discussion of interfaith speakers featuring one of our very own in the Reverend John Shepherd. Over 80 attendees descended upon the Hilton to hear from the three faith perspectives. While we tried to keep the formalities down to a minimum to maximise the panel discussion and Q&A time, I believe that I’d be fair in saying that we could have gone on for at least another hour! Many thanks to all those involved in the setup and running of the event on the day including Jill Dawson at the front desk, President Elect Wes Sim and Jacques Phillips. And also a very special thanks to Tony’s daughter who provided her professional expertise in filming the event and to Jacques’ company who will be editing the final video.

I would also like to point out that while we did get good coverage in the West and Community News on hosting this event, the media coverage was more about a single subject of the discussions than on the actual running of the event. While this may seem a bit disappointing to some, Barry Thornton, our esteemed PR director pointed out that this approach is what brought our story out from the back pages of the West to Page 7. In fact, the reporters urgent call to his press room to send out a photographer was further proof in the pudding. For the Club, our credibility of hosting and moderating meaningful community forums went even higher.

On Friday morning, I was invited to speak at the Rotary Club of Swan Districts who meets weekly at the Swan Districts Football Club’ club room. I shared with our fellow Rotarians our club’s perspective on the Stitches of Hope joint project which will see us produce 500 sleeping bags in Cambodia to deliver to the homeless in Perth. There are so many great opportunities to serve on this project. In fact, we have one of our newest Rotarians in Alta Treblanche serving as our club’s PM and supported by Adrian Tan. Both of these Rotarians are looking forward to travelling with the Swan Districts team to Cambodia in October to kick the project off.

On Saturday morning, Jess Karlsson and I were able to host and support our Perth Rotaractors in their strategic planning day. This dynamic group of young leaders are an amazing crowd are ably led by their President, Renuka Pantula. What I found most interesting is their approach to community service and the types of service opportunities they found most interesting. While raising funds was a key component of their work, having fun doing it was equally important.

Another key point I took away for all of us Rotarians was a comment they made with regards to engagement: Our young Rotaractors know they have our support, but are seeking ENGAGEMENT from our club. They made it quite clear that over the years, we seem to have become two clubs operating in parallel. On this point, I fully acknowledged their concerns and also affirmed my commitment to changing this. Our Cambodia house building project, our involvement in their strategy day, and their attendance at the Family Bushfire/bonfire night at the Leach’s property in Gingin is just the beginning.

On Saturday evening, many in our club attended the Leach Family’s annual Bonfire evening. A huge thank you to Jeff and Helen Leach and to our band The Rotars featuring the Ashley twins and Michelle Roget. I’m sure the pics and stories of the great event will begin to flood Facebook. No doubt Graham Peden is finally dethroned as the star posterchild for the annual event, only to be replaced by Jess. If you need the scoop on why, then you’ll need to attend lunch where Sergeant Nigel will no doubt reveal all…

All in all, these are just some of the items to which I was involved, but no doubt there are a number of committees and projects happening in parallel as well. A busy but great week for Rotary and for the Rotary Club of Perth.



Join Leaders. Exchange Ideas. Take Action.

Yours in Rotary, Stephen Inouye - President - Rotary of Perth 2017/2018