It's no exaggeration to say that the world has changed in the past two years. Things that we previously saw as constants such as our commute to work, ability to travel and work locations have been dramatically and permanently changed. This has flow-on effects to all other aspects of our lives, and Rotary is not immune. For the past few weeks, we've seen lower than normal attendance at meetings, with five Rotarians attending our most recent meeting. This isn't anyone's fault or an indication that anyone has done something wrong, but it does suggest that our traditional format does need to change with the times. For that reason, I'd like everyone to fill out our Rotary Engagement Survey. Your input will help ensure that the Darlings remain an accessible, vibrant and thriving Club, and will guide us in making changes to help make the Club even more effective. I would greatly appreciate your support in this matter.
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If you've not done so already, please register for District Assembly on Saturday. This is going to be a great opportunity to plan for the year ahead, and to discuss strategies and successes with our colleagues in different Clubs. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to seeing you all on Wednesday with our guest speaker, Shirley LePlanche. Shirley will be talking about her experiences as a self-published author and selling copies of her book "The Fatal Path", a psychological thriller which quickly becomes impossible to put down.
After a two year absence, it was great to spend ANZAC Day volunteering with our friends at the Rotary Club of Sydney, as well members of UoW Rotaractors and volunteers from the public to run a traditional ANZAC Day BBQ. Aided by Lynne's spirited spruiking, we quickly sold out of ANZAC biscuits raising valuable funds to continue in our important work. It's been great to get physical events back after two years of intermitent lock-downs, and if you'd like to suggest, plan and help execute future events I would love to see you at this week's Evening Meeting. Otherwise, I hope you're doing well. After two consecutive long weekends, we now begin the long march of full weeks until the Queen's Birthday. Also, from this week we will be requiring pre-registration for morning meetings to ensure we provide accurate numbers to our meeting venue. I'll be sending a separate email about that later in the week. To be clear, our prices have not changed, but we will now be asking that members pay for their morning meeting attendance for each in-person morning meeting.
I am often reminded by my friends from overseas as to how lucky we all are to live in Australia. Our beautiful environment, our friendly people and our multi-cultural society are all a real gift for all of us, which we can often take for granted. There's a lot of reasons why Australia is the lucky country, by our armed service men and women and their proud legacy of service is truly one of the most significant of them. I hope that you have found time today to remember their sacrifice. Lest we forget. On lighter matters, and speaking of friends from overseas, Jessica Rudolph, President of the Rotary Club in Short North (Columbus, Ohio) is presently in Sydney, and attended last week's evening meeting. She does a lot of interesting work, and has founded My Very Own Blanket, which plays a very important role in the lives of many children. She has agreed to be our guest speaker for Wednesday's Digital Club Meeting, so I really hope to see you there. Finally, don't forget to register for our Walk to Cambodia on May 1st! This will help us lend support to the empowerment of Cambodian Communities, while also enjoying some long absent fresh air and sunshine.
It's an exciting week. On Wednesday, have an in-person meeting, which will be our first in the Castlereagh Boutique Hotel, located at 169 Castlereagh St, Sydney. This is a big change for the Club, made all the more exciting by our guest speaker Deanne Carson. This will also be the first physical meeting since COVID to not be available as a hybrid meeting, with us instead recording our speaker for upload onto YouTube and Facebook. That is two big changes to how our Club does business which I couldn't be more excited about. So I hope to see you there! The past three years have meant we've all spent a lot of time apart, so I'm looking forward to our Club spending time together in our new home, The Castlereagh Boutique Hotel.
Generally, we like to keep our emails to once a week. Our members all have busy lives, so the last thing we'd want to do would be to clog up their inboxes. However, this week I'm having to bend that policy as we have a number of important announcements. There is also a new fun fact at the bottom if that sweetens the pot. Firstly, I had mistakenly double-booked speakers for our next morning meeting on the 13th of April, having told both Deanne Carson of Body Safety Australian and Australian author Shirley LaPlanche that they were able to speak at the same meeting. Fortunately, Shirley was able to accommodate my organisational snafu, and will be presenting to the Club on the 11th of May. Deanne Carson will be speaking about her work with Body Safety Australia on the 13th of April. These are two very high-profile and engaging speakers, so I really hope to see you there. Secondly, due to changing business conditions, The Grace Hotel is no longer able to host our morning meetings. The Grace Hotel has been excellent partner over the life of the Club, and I can say truthfully that we would not have enjoyed the life we have had it not been for their tireless support. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Moving forward, the Club will now be holding its morning meetings at the Castlereagh Boutique Hotel. The CBH has an old-world charm and a convenient location, and I'm confident that it will serve as an excellent meeting venue for our Club for years to come. Finally, as of our next meeting we will no longer be facilitating Zoom hybrid meetings during physical meetings. Instead, where possible, we will record our guest speakers and upload talks to YouTube, and linking to them in our newsletter. That decision is based on delivering the best possible experience to individuals who cannot make our physical morning meetings. Thanks for reading! Please find our upcoming events below, I'm certain they're all accurate this time, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
It is refreshing to look at the upcoming events list below and see two physical volunteering events and an exciting guest speaker in the near future. 2022 is really finally starting to break lose of the lingering grip of the pandemic, and the future is looking even brighter. To celebrate our new-found freedom, if you've not done so already, please consider joining the Rotary Club of Sydney Darling Harbour on Humanity and Hope's Walk to Cambodia fundraiser. This is a great way to literally exercise our new-found freedom, while raising funds for an important cause.
I've been involved with Rotary since I first joined the University of Wollongong Rotaract Club in 2009. From then, I've participated in a number of youth programs, served on boards and have enjoyed scores of events. Most importantly, Rotary is responsible for the clear majority of the friends in my life. Imagine my delight when I received an email from a woman I attended RYLA with back in 2010. Sally Hetherington, a former Rotarian herself, has established the Human and Hope Association which empowers local communities in Cambodia and provides vocational training and community development programs aimed at alleviating poverty. Sally has been doing this work for over ten years, and has asked that we participate in their upcoming Walk to Cambodia, wherein participants are striving to collectively walk 50 million steps - five times the distance between Sydney and Siem Reap in Cambodia. If you're interested in joining, please consider signing up. We'll be hosting our own walk later in April to raise funds for this cause, I hope to see you there.
I've just spent a weekend with my fellow Rotarians. Not just the Darlings, but Rotarians from throughout the District. We've called out our accomplishments, identified our priorities and have listened to diverse and engaging guest speakers talk about their work in making the world a better place. As with any year, District Conference is an excellent source of energy and ideas. Our fellow Clubs are doing a lot of great work and, with COVID restrictions lifting, we have a wide horizon of potential projects and activities. As always, the Darlings stellar reputation of getting involved and punching above its weight remains in-tact and accurate. My Presidency in this Club is a distinct privilege, and the past two days have made me even more excited about our future. I hope to see you at our next meeting where you can be a part of it.
It's hard to believe, but life is slowly returning to normal. I've chaired two physical meetings as President, I've been back into my office and I've even sat in a cafe and drank a cup of coffee. Truly, the things that we've missed for more than two years are coming back. In that spirit, I've very happy to confirm that we will be helping out at the 2022 Sydney Rotary ANZAC Day BBQ. This is always a fantastic day where we're in front of public, honouring the members of our armed services, and working alongside our Rotary colleagues. The BBQ is scheduled for ANZAC Day on the 25th of April, and if you would like to get involved please register to volunteer at https://rotarydarlingharbour.org.au/events/anzac-day-parade-volunteering-2022/. As the world re-opens we have a lot of other events to look forward to. The best way to stay informed is to head into our meetings on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. And don't forget the Rotary Conference, occurring this weekend at The Warwick. Tickets are still available, and can be purchased at https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=808939.