FORTY Rotary District 9650 leaders and their partners congregated in Taree last weekend for training with incoming District Governor Maurie Stack from Taree and his trainer Brian Beesley from Gloucester.
Maurie has recently returned from San Diego where he undertook a week of intensive training with 535 district governors elect from around the world.
"It was like being at a meeting of the United Nations," Maurie said. "My class of district governors came from 160 countries and during the general assemblies there were simultaneous translations in nine languages."
Each year the incoming Rotary International president elect announces at this international assembly the theme for the incoming year.
RI president elect Ravi Ravindran has announced the new international theme: "Be a gift to the world."
Ravi is a leading businessman from Sri Lanka where he built a small family printing company into a public company which is now the world's largest tea bag producer - producing 100 million tea bags per day.
In addressing his team of office bearers, directors and assistant governors Maurie said: "Ravi said that Rotary has 1.2 million community leaders as its members. He is challenging you and I to make a commitment not just with our hearts but using our business skills to make an effective contribution both in our local communities and also assisting Rotary clubs in third world countries with their projects. Rotary enables community leaders to exchange ideas and take action."
The Rotary Foundation, which is the humanitarian arm of Rotary, now receives $300 million per annum - largely through the support of Rotarians - which is distributed in support of the projects initiated by individual Rotarians who see a need.
"The latest balance sheet from the Rotary Foundation shows that only eight per cent of funds donated are expended in administration and fundraising, so that 92 per cent goes directly to where it is most needed," Maurie said.
The Rotary leadership team, meeting in the boardroom of Stacks Law Firm in Taree, also heard addresses from Irishman Kieran Fraser, "the Grants Guy", on how clubs can access and utilise grants from private enterprise and the government sector.
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Ellissa Nolan, the former social media officer at Rotary Down Under in Sydney, addressed the group on effective use of social media.
"Team training is important not only to inspire our new district leaders but to ensure that we have common goals and are all working together.
"We have a large district which extends from north of Coffs Harbour to Forster on the coast and inland extends west to Coonabarabran and up as far as Lightning Ridge.
"It was great that we were able to get everyone together in Taree," said district governor elect Maurie Stack.