Message from the New Club President
It is a great privilege to be appointed to serve as the President of the Club for the coming year. However, I will be reliant on some key people to support me in this role. I am delighted to confirm that Paddy Collins will serve as Vice President and Blayne Peacock has agreed to be Junior Vice President. Ian Bryce is to remain as Secretary and John Hart has agreed to do one more year as Treasurer. Bill Robertson has agreed to represent Past Presidents, in view of Brian R M Stewart now leaving the area. There are a number of key areas for the coming year:
Nigel Green is continuing to do a great job in encouraging us all to invite new members and new Friends of Rotary. Engaging with potential new members is a very difficult task. Our acquaintances and friends tend to be our age, so no use looking at that for new blood! This is not a problem exclusive to Nairn Rotary Club, but shared by Rotary Clubs all over the world. We continue to review ways in which we can make membership easier and more attractive, particularly to those who work during the day.
Fellowship and having fun while being a Rotarian is an important element of membership. We enjoy a good relationship with Inner Wheel, who entertain us very imaginatively at our joint Annual Dinner. The social events such as the Gavel Competition, the Golf Day, Burns Lunch, and Christmas lunch are all very popular and we would welcome any ideas for further socialising.
The demise of the Nairnshire Challenge has obviously raised concerns about the future of funding. Over the years the Challenge allowed the Club to be very generous with donations both to individuals, and to other charities in Nairn and Nairnshire; to provide Shelter Boxes in emergencies abroad and at home; participate in projects being undertaken by other clubs in the region; and to contribute to Rotary International in the pursuit of a polio free world. Now that the Nairnshire Challenge has had its day, we are considering other ways to raise funds as well as an alternative to the Challenge in years ahead.
We will be continuing to get our message out into the community, particularly at the Farmers Show and Games Day. As well as this, we help with local events when required – marshalling at races and helping with events such as: the Christmas lights switch on; Shine at the Academy; the 10K; and the Loony Dook. It is also part of the plan for future events of our own that we will make them more family inclusive, such as we did for the Patrons Lunch last year.
We are already quite heavily involved in youth competitions. The Rotary Primary Schools Quiz this year saw Cawdor School go through to the finals again. We also support the Youth Speaks and the Young Writers Competitions this year (where in the latter we managed to rock the boat by having a Gaelic entry). If we are serious about a Rotakids club, and the schools were up for it, we need to find some way to engage with them, giving them a project, or involving them in the organisation of something we ourselves plan to do.
It was a boost to hear that we are one of the few clubs sending four teenagers to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) course each year and it is important that this continues.
Unfortunately, except for our willingness to send Shelter Boxes when necessary (and a TV for a young lad in Sri Lanka, in conjunction with the Rotary club of Columba), we have not been very proactive recently in International. We have been asked by Forres Rotary Club, and have agreed, to help with funding which they are organising. However there is no reason for us not to look at potential overseas projects. There is money available from District and Rotary Foundation, so if anyone knows of a worthy cause please let me know.
It was suggested recently that we could look at having a rotation of chairperson for our weekly lunch. This particularly appealed to me as I am not always going to make Tuesday lunch, particularly during the open season for the museum. If the members agree, I think this would be a good step forward, with the chair doing the introduction of the guest, note of thanks, raffle etc. This is still to be agreed.
I look forward to an exciting year with you working to support our Community.
President of Nairn Rotary Club