District Governor Neville John 2016-2017


Each new Rotary year all Rotarians confirm their commitment to Rotary’s official motto of ‘Service above Self’ and there is a different theme to provide a new focus and inspiration to support the work of Rotarians. Every Rotary year builds on the year before it and is a base for the next. The District Changeover lunch on 26 June from Julie Mason to me was a wonderful occasion and demonstrated the close working relationship of our Governor train, which ensures consistency in the implementation of the District strategic plan and the support provided to our clubs.

Rebecca asked me in the lead up whether I was nervous, and in all honesty, I wasn’t. The support and encouragement from Julie, Peter, Bronwyn and the Past Governors has been so reassuring that my focus has really been on the task ahead, knowing that I have all of these wonderful people to draw on if need be.

Our founder, Paul Harris believed that serving humanity is the most worthwhile thing any one of us can do with our lives and that is simply how Rotary International President John Germ chose the theme for 2016-17 - ‘Rotary Serving Humanity’. This theme is a perfect backdrop for us to showcase what we do in our communities and the wider world to help make them a better place.

So the planning for next year is done and it’s time for the ‘All Stars Team’ to put them into action. Our objective for the year is simple - For each club to be stronger on 1 July 2017 than they were on 1 July 2016. How do we do that? – By working together and focusing on the actions that sit within each of the three strategic pillars. In essence, if we have vibrant, active clubs that engage people with interesting projects and we actively promote what we do to our local communities, new members will come and existing ones will stay. If there is one thing we’ve learned from the Polio eradication campaign, it’s what can be achieved if we’re all working together and moving in the same direction. There are skills each of you have that I don’t, and there are skills I have that you don’t – and together there is nothing we cannot do.

We know that what we do is no small thing, and we’re not doing it alone. Our District has a dedicated group of experienced Rotarians working hard to support every club in our District. They are part of John Germ’s All-Stars team.

In conjunction with members of the District Leadership Team, we have developed plans that are aimed at supporting clubs to achieve this goal. Some of the new ones include:

  • staging four Rotary showcase events to the public during the year that shows and tells the community what we do (metropolitan & regional)
  • to encourage clusters to engage with the whole Rotary family, either with existing or new Rotaract, Interact and Earylact clubs
  • to build partnerships with other community stakeholders to deliver better outcomes for our local communities
  • and most importantly - to have fun doing it.

The District Leadership Team, at the District Assembly on 15th May, 2016

Arch Klumpf, creator of The Rotary Foundation said, “We should not live for ourselves alone, but for the joy in doing good for others.” This year we celebrate the centennial of TRF, the engine room that funds many wonderful local and global projects that changes the lives of so many for the better.

100 years of ‘doing good in the world’ is a major milestone in the history of Rotary and will be celebrated loudly. To help clubs do this, the Foundation Committee will be arranging a variety of activities and events across the District throughout the year that showcase programs and projects which benefit from foundation funding. A menu of opportunities is being planned for clubs to participate in, and I encourage you all to be involved in as many of them as you can.

We would like to hear about what you are doing and your success stories to ensure we promote them to the public on websites and social media. If you would like to be involved in any of these opportunities, be a sponsor, or know someone who would, then please let Dennis Shore know.

If the centennial isn’t exciting enough, we are looking ahead at a year that potentially sees the last case of Polio. It has been over 30 years since Rotary officially initiated the campaign to eradicate polio and now we are closer than ever to achieving this. All of South East Asia and Africa are Polio free. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries remaining with the wild Poliovirus and they are giving it everything they have, with all the help we can give to make this the year that Polio finally falls. We’ve stuck with it all this time, and soon, after US$1.4 billion and over 2.5 billion immunized children – we’re going to finish it. However, three more years of vaccinations are required before Polio will be officially eradicated – so ongoing support is still needed.

As I travel around our clubs to see and hear about the amazing work we do, I believe that we see the opportunity to serve for what it truly is. Not a small opportunity, but a great one. The opportunity to help others by doing what we can, when we can, with whatever time we have. You might think that those opportunities are small, or that what you do doesn’t matter. But they’re not small and everything you do matters, especially to the people you help and the people you love. Every good work you do makes life better for them all.

Perhaps we could put it this way.

Rotary is in the business of making a difference; the business of saving and improving lives - the lives of those who didn’t get our opportunities; in the business of restoring pride and rediscovering dignity. We realise the difference a little of our time can make, what our skills can bring. We work together sharing our talents, our knowledge and our experience with others, and continue to change lives and our communities for the better, because of - ‘Rotary Serving Humanity’.

I look forward to working with you and wish you all a successful, fun-filled year ahead.

Neville John
District 9800 Governor 2016-2017

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