Sydney Olympic Park offers something for everyone

Convention Committee Chair Mark Maloney, RI President Ron Burton, and Committee Vice-Chair Barry Matheson at ANZ stadium.

Convention Committee Chair Mark Maloney, RI President Ron Burton, and Committee Vice-Chair Barry Matheson at ANZ stadium.

By Mark Maloney, chair of the Sydney Convention Committee and a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA

As chair of the Sydney Convention Committee, I am enjoying the opportunity to share the many wonderful opportunities that await Rotarians and their families in Sydney. Sydney Olympic Park may well be the best venue for a Rotary International Convention ever.

In addition to offering world-class convention and meeting facilities, Sydney Olympic Park is a holiday destination in its own right! A vast array of family-oriented activities can be found just steps from the Convention plenary Continue reading

Empowering families to end poverty in Peru

Villagers increased their income by learning more efficient ways to raise guinea pigs and other livestock. Photo courtesy of Willem van Immerzeel

Villagers increased their income by learning more efficient ways to raise guinea pigs and other livestock. Photo courtesy of Willem van Immerzeel

By Willem van Immerzeel, a member of the Rotary Club of Inka Cusco, Cusco, Peru

Cusco, Peru, where I live, is a touristy place. Most visitors get only a glimpse of the poverty that exists in rural areas in my country. But poverty is a very real side of Peruvian society, deeply impacting the lives of the millions engulfed in it. Widespread poverty has a destabilizing effect on society and goes a long way in explaining the extreme violence that dominated life in Peru for decades.

Since I was young, I considered it my duty to contribute to end poverty. In the early 1980s, I worked as a volunteer in Guinea Bissau, Africa, and later in Cusco. I soon discovered that projects can provide relief for some, but eradicating poverty for many requires much more. Continue reading

My Rotary hat is the ultimate travel accessory

Kate McKenzie meets a Melbourne Rotarian during her travels.

Kate McKenzie, wearing her Rotary hat, meets a fellow Rotarian in Melbourne.

By Kate McKenzie, a member of the Rotary Club of Randwick, New South Wales, Australia

Since joining Rotary, I have discovered the ultimate travel accessory, my Rotary hat. Not only does it keep the sun off my Celtic skin, but it advertises my connection to Rotary.

I currently live in Sydney with my husband, but grew up on a farm in the southern part of Western Australia. It’s one of the most isolated and beautiful parts of the world, but it’s also what inspired me to be interested in other cultures and what led me to Rotary. Continue reading

How your gift to The Rotary Foundation changes lives

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

By Rotary staff

Leonor Fraser and other members of her Rotary club arrived in Masaya, Nicaragua, ready to deliver shoes to the elementary schoolchildren and play with them.

It immediately became apparent that the school, located near a diesel plant, had bigger problems. The plant emitted pollutants into the air, which made the children and teachers lethargic, and the cracked building had no sanitation facilities. Fraser had difficulty breathing during her visit. Continue reading

New England Rotarians bring Christmas to Lac Megantic

Rotarians deliver Christmas gifts in Lac Megantic. Photo courtesy of Marty Helman

Rotarians deliver Christmas gifts in Lac Megantic. Photo courtesy of Marty Helman

By Marty Helman, past governor of District 7780 (parts of Maine and New Hampshire, USA) 

Lac Megantic in southern Quebec made headlines for all the wrong reasons last July when a train filled with crude oil derailed in the town’s central business district. The resulting fire destroyed the town’s economic base, killed 47, and 24 local children lost one or both parents. In the wake of the disaster, Rotarians in District 7780 across the border in southern Maine and coastal New  Hampshire geared up to help.   Continue reading

Three reasons to strengthen Rotary’s image

131008_jonesBy Jennifer Jones, a member of the RI Communications Committee

Over the past two years, Rotary has undertaken an unprecedented amount of research to study the effectiveness of how we communicate with each other and also to look at perceptions about the organization from the community at large.

What’s likely not surprising is that we determined we have all of the strengths necessary for greatness in our second century of service. However, when we looked at awareness about our organization in the greater public arena, they quite simply don’t know about us. It is very easy to ask the question – how can this be true? Continue reading

Why I’m looking forward to Sydney!

Mark Mahoney gets around Sydney on a Segway.

Mark Maloney gets around Sydney on a Segway.

By Mark Maloney, chair of the 2014 Sydney Convention Committee, and a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA

I am looking forward to the 2014 Rotary International Convention in Sydney, Australia, for many different reasons. Conventions are a wonderful opportunity to make and renew friendships with Rotary members from around the world, a chance I’ve had many times. And it never really grows old. But also, Sydney is a stunningly beautiful city. The venue, Sydney Olympic Park, is clearly one of the world’s best facilities for a convention of 20,000 or more attendees. Developed for the 2000 Olympic Games, it is exciting and unique.  Continue reading

Milwaukee club celebrates its centennial with an arboretum

The stone arch has become  a signature icon of the new arboretum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Milwaukee

The stone arch has become a signature of the new arboretum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Milwaukee

By Jim Barry, member of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

In 2007, when I was president of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, we started to look ahead to celebrating our 100th year in 2013. We put out a call to our members to identify a grand gift we could make to the community to commemorate our centennial.

That seed grew into the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum, which opened this past September – a beautiful new natural space in the heart of the city, reclaimed from post-industrial land.  Continue reading

How do you use your skills to benefit others?

Bisan Michael (right) during the ceremony in his honor.

Bisan Michael (right) during the ceremony in his honor.

By Edoja Sowho, Rotary Club of Effurun GRA, Delta State, Nigeria

The airport road junction in Effurun-Warri, Delta State, Nigeria, is a very busy and strategic location in the oil-rich city of Warri. The government of Delta State constructed a roundabout to ease traffic congestion, but it’s had little effect.

At the center of this hotspot, you’ll find Bisan Michael, a rather remarkable young man who volunteers his time and talent to keep traffic moving, rain or shine. He has been doing this work, with no reward for himself, for years. Continue reading

Seeking a world record for longest clothesline

The shirts strung out on cable between pontoon boats.

The shirts strung out on cable between pontoon boats.

By Elsa Venter, past president of the Rotary Club of Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

More than 6,700 shirts fluttered in the breeze on the Vaal River, suspended from three-miles of cable that zigzagged back and forth between floating pontoons. It was an amazing sight, and one we hoped would earn a world record for longest clothesline stretched across a river. Continue reading