By Adrian Nelson, past president of the Rotary Club of Glen Eira, Australia
Last year, the wife of our district governor told me during their visit to our club that we had the best chips out of the whole district. She meant it as a compliment!
I’ve been a member of the Rotary Club of Glen Eira for ten years. In the past year, we have celebrated our 25th anniversary with video messages from past youth exchange students and scholars and a look back at how we sent medical equipment to a needy hospital in rural Peru and set up computers for poor students in Brazil. A contingent from our friendship club, the Rotary Club of Ogaki West, Japan, even came over to my home for an Aussie barbecue, meeting my sons, age 5 and 7. We keep busy!
When it became real
But for all that, it wasn’t until this year that we really experienced our “light bulb” moment, and finally became a “real” Rotary club.
The sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky as our members began showing up at 7:30 a.m. for our inaugural Caulfield Racecourse Run. By the end of the day, 525 runners had made their way around the racecourse and we had raised over $46,000 for local community groups.
Why was it special? For once, our members all had a job to do. Some issued race numbers, others served as marshals helping the runners to and from the track. One of us even had a license to shoot the starting pistol!
We also did what smart Rotary clubs do, we sought help. Members of the Rotary Club of Caulfield parked cars, the Rotaract Club of Monash University (Caulfield) provided young legs and energy, and we engaged local scouts to hand out drinks and keep runners hydrated.
DJ comes on board
Our local member of parliament encouraged community organizations to field teams and lined up the Minister to present the winners’ trophy. The Melbourne Racing Club let us use their fantastic facilities.
In the weeks leading up to the run, a young woman who recently moved to our area began attending club meetings, and offered her DJ services for the race. Like most clubs, we have our requisite number of real estate agents, funeral directors, and doctors. But to have a young female DJ involved and active, now that’s a positive change.
Local schools, churches, and charities sponsored teams and raised funds for their needs. All of this resulted in the single biggest fundraising day in our club’s history and we were energized to help the community even more.
Our club has had some great moments over the years. But this event took us to a whole new level. We now look forward to becoming the best Rotary club we can be.