DG Blog 19th September 2020

Forum 19th September

Please don’t forget that Forum is imminent – one of the four occasions per year when we try and pull together as many members of Rotary as possible. This will of course be a virtual event and an agenda and zoom invitation will be forwarded shortly. The aftermath of the Beirut explosion remains with us, and we are therefore pleased to announce that the President of Beirut Cosmopolitan Club Habib Saba will be talking to us about the disaster.

The main theme of the day will be Growing Rotary and we will be discussing ideas as to how to grow our membership – so challenging in today’s virtual world.

There will be:

Briefing for Presidents Elect

Crowdfunding partnership for Rotary projects – Global Giving

Dave King (editor of Rotary magazine) video on Growing Rotary

Do try and attend!


A snapshot in time

The National Finals of Young Photographer took place this year via electronic submissions and desktop judging at RGBI. Obviously, youth competitions have been affected by the pandemic, but it is very gratifying to see that all three candidates from District 1200 – Junior, Intermediate and Senior – gained places, and that the clubs below supported these young people. Photography is such an important medium, affects how we view life and the world in general, and can capture one moment in time, an historic happening, or a mood. More of us than ever before take photos with the ease of using mobile phone cameras, whilst some continue to perfect their art using specialist equipment.

Congratulations to the following talented young people:

Junior: Sam Mathais – 3rd (sponsored by Brue Valley)

Intermediate: Sophie Goggs – 2nd (sponsored by Brue Valley)

Senior Emily Bunce – 1st (sponsored by Calne)

You can see for yourself the quality of the images produced, and the judges were certainly wowed by them. As well as providing constructive comments, praise included:

Emily Bunce: ‘Three superb images entitled ‘Bio Creature’. Bright, colourful and a joy to look at and technically very well accomplished.”


Sophie Goggs: ‘ Well done, Sophie, three excellent images. Picture 1 has captured the bee in precisely the right spot as it approaches the bloom, good composition. Picture 2 is spot on, a very good image. Picture 3 I find thought provoking and technically very good.


Sam Mathias: unfortunately the judge’s comments weren’t available at the time of writing this – so please judge for yourselves! In fact, why not give a caption to Sam’s picture of a frog spouting out water? Do comment here, or email me, and I’ll send a prize for the best one.

Martin Carter has received a couple of enquiries from clubs wanting information about youth competitions for 2020/21, in particular Young Writer and Photographer. This is encouraging given the focus schools will have on students ‘catching up’ after the Covid break. Rotary is very good at sponsoring such contests and therefore helping to nurture talent in so many fields. However, perhaps we are not so good at building on these relationships we establish, for example encouraging young people to join their age-appropriate part of the Rotary family (probably because we don’t have many opportunities for that currently!), or encouraging schools to set up these clubs, as per Midsomer Norton Rotakids. I do feel strongly that this is an area where we need to focus more, and to that end Martin will be circulating a questionnaire to capture what our clubs are all doing in the youth arena the connections we have with educational establishments, and helping us to map out a way forward for the District. We’ll incorporate this in future membership discussions (as in Forum – thought I’d give it another plug!) and do feed in your ideas to your AGs.



Talking of capturing information to help us all evaluate what we are doing and provide us with more Rotary good news to tell (you’ll hear more about that in Dave King’s session in – yes, you’ve guessed it – Forum!), I’m also asking all clubs to provide more detail as to the causes they are supporting for example, a club may say – gave money to polio, or foodbank, or whatever – but may not tell us how much they did give. My objective is not to draw any comparisons between clubs, but to be able to put together some newsworthy soundbites as and when opportunity affords itself. An example of this is that as a District we have given £28,718 to Polio in the year ended 30th June 2020 and this has been matched 2 to 1 by the Bill Gates Foundation meaning an impressive £86,154 raised for polio because of our fundraising. Rotary and the Gates foundation combined contribute approx. 28% of the total funds raised for Polio eradication around the world. Individually each club should be very proud of what they have fundraised and donated, but collectively it makes for an even bigger picture and helps demonstrate our impact. So please update your AGs with details of monies raised for local causes.



Feedback and evaluation

Still on the topic of feedback, I was minded to look at some of our club websites as a direct result of a comment made by a potential future Rotarian. They had read the article about my DG appointment in the Somerset Gazette, and made contact with me. However they said they had gone to their local club’s website – and had been put off immediately! I’ll save this person’s other comments for discussion at the aforementioned virtual get-together (another reason for you to join in!), but as a result I’ve asked all AGs to do a quick review of the home pages and photo pages of their clubs, and feed this in. Observations from you all about club websites most welcome – it’s not a bad idea to just scan the pages and not look in depth – after all, that’s what most non-Rotarian visitors to the site will be doing. Or ask a friend or family member to take a very quick peek and provide feedback.

Of course, I’m conscious that our club websites are affected by many different factors including different club ‘styles’ and demographics, and not least, who is available to create and manage content, but I believe that in this period of stasis for most clubs, we should be taking a good, hard look at what image we are creating, whether or not it truly represents our clubs as they are currently and as we want them to be in the future, and whether or not some of us can learn from others. So – yes, I’m asking for a lot of feedback from you all via these blogs and meetings, but do bear in mind that I can’t get to visit you in person!


How to keep your Zoom meetings Interesting

I was asked recently whether there was a list of Speakers for clubs.  There is a Speaker’s List on the district web site  and we would like more contributions to add to it.  If you have had interesting speakers at your zoom meeting, and they are willing to be added to our list, then please send details to Penny Underwood.   

Also, what else have you done to make your Zoom meetings interesting?  Have you run competitions?  Have you invited prospective new members?  Have you found a way of fundraising online?  We would love to add your ideas to our online list.  


The power of 6?

My article last week about risk assessing face-to-face meetings and events apparently sparked off some debates, and I confess that I am pleased that it did. One club pulled back from its planned face-to-face meetings, whilst another went ahead this morning. It illustrates the need for each club and individual to judge the risks for themselves.

However, at the moment that decision-making has been pulled back from us with yesterday’s announcement re no more than 6 people meeting indoors or outside. Nevertheless, as that is eased at some time in the future, we will need to re-visit this risk assessment piece, so it’s been no bad practice run!


Best Wishes
Rory O’Donnell 

 

One response

  1. I think a good caption for Sam’s photos would be Hands Face Space. In fact I dare to suggest that’s where Boris got the idea!!

    Regards

    Jackie Henderson

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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