First of all, a big thank you to everyone who came along Saturday night to Caloundra Golf club for the Changeover. I hope you enjoyed the evening and fellowship, I have already earmarked a new joke book for Trevor but he really did a great job, you never really knew what was going to happen next! Thank you Trevor.

Many thanks also to Deb for organising the event and those who turned up to help set up.
Helen Smith’s talk on the work Compass do locally to help disabled people train for work, and try and bring some form of recognition to their lives, was inspiring.
The Assistance dogs initiative she mentioned is also a wonderful scheme, especially to reduce anxiety in autistic youngsters, it gives them a focus in life. The cost to train such a dog is prohibitive to many families and financial support is often needed – we should consider carefully what support we can offer Compass generally for the initiatives they are involved in.
We have an open invitation from Helen to visit their farm at Palmwoods and I hope we can get as many members out as possible in support of this visit, I am sure we will find this very interesting.
I can’t carry on this message without acknowledging the good work Bernie did during her time as President. As I said at the Changeover she had a tough year but was an example to all of us – her commitment to the members and causes was admirable. As my Vice President for this year, I hope not to call on her too often, as I am sure she deserves a break from the workload.
It’s my turn now so what are my plans.
Read Chris' full message
As the old adage goes ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’
When I first considered this position I thought we should look at making a number of changes purely because I thought things needed modernising and was concerned about the number of members able to take part in service projects.
Many have served the club so well in the past, but now, for a variety of reasons, were unable to commit to the volunteering hours they used to. We are grateful for the legacy they have created but my concern now is ensuring this club goes forward and meets the fresh challenges we will face this year.
So here is where I stand.
Change for change sake is pointless - This club has a great spirit and maintaining this is a key priority for me – the friendship we have is legendary; it must be maintained. Any changes that we make will evolve because the membership want them to happen. Membership numbers will fluctuate but the important aspect is how many volunteers we can get out to support the growing number of fundraising and service projects we are involved in.
I am in favour of pursuing the possibility of a Satellite Club in Aura - Baringa, coupled with an Information night at the same venue. My objective is to get more active members into OUR CLUB but the formation of a Satellite club needs to be on the agenda if we find a different version of Rotary is needed.

Focus for the year

I would like to continue supporting the organisations we currently commit to but, resources allowing, add a few others. This will present somewhat of a challenge as it will mean that ultimately we will need to do more fundraising. Fundraising now comes under Community Services and I will be having further discussions with Kath as to when we need to meet and start things moving.
My changeover address outlined the following community programs
  • Programs involving youth – leadership and character development programs
  • Children’s welfare
  • Help for the disabled
  • Mental health generally
It’s deliberately a short list, all Presidents have their favoured programs, however, I want us to remain as flexible as possible with our allocation of funds and, as I have already indicated, be prepared to direct them towards some new programs. Our work overseas is also vital to the club development – to this end I would like to see even greater contributions to The Rotary Foundation if at all possible; this in turn can only help us when we apply for Global grants.
From my perspective the Swimming initiative with John Wallace was a great disappointment but perhaps the need was not really there on the Coast. However, a number of weeks ago we had a presentation from Seamus Pettigrew from Swimdo, unfortunately I missed this, but I would like to make contact with him to see if we can develop ongoing similar programs closer to home.
I am a great believer in trying new initiatives and there is an open book on ideas the members want to put forward, please don’t wait for a meeting, if something inspires you let’s bring it to the table.

The All Abilities Park development at Currimundi is possibly a big project for us. I would like to think that we can have some direct involvement in the construction like the Tranquility garden, even if its planting a few trees; there is, though, some way to go yet before we get this far.
Some of you have expressed concern about the cost and I agree the sort of money we could be looking at would be prohibitive for us. There are possibilities, though, through equipment sponsorship, further grants and working with the Cluster clubs. The first hurdle though is to get the council on board with the equipment specification and to this end I have sought expert advice from a guy in Brisbane Tobias Volbert. He is an expert on sensory processing disorders and someone the council recommended. I will be presenting an updated report in due course and set up a team to implement a program.
There is a lot more I could write but suffice to say I am grateful to the new board to committing for another year. As a team we have a lot of experience and are well placed to take the club forward and I look forward to working, not just with the board, but with all members.
A good description of the Presidents role:
‘The President is the leader and director of traffic as the club decides its future and the President has to round them up and keep the focus on the key issues. It is important that the President is not the focal point for all activities.’
That sums it up pretty well especially the last point. I like to work as part of a team engaging members in our activities so that people feel they have a part to play in the club development and projects.
Thanks for your support, let’s make it another successful year for our wonderful club.