Posted by Karin Soster on Sep 14, 2022
    President Margaret chaired today’s club meeting at Cilantro that coincided with the D.G. club visit from our District Governor, Ken Miller.  Other guests included our Assistant Governor, Les Marton, and Peter Cummins from Beaumaris.  Greg conducted the invocation, and Sergeant John M conducted the loyal toast which included a toast to our new sovereign, King Charles III.  Glenda, Charles and Peter N joined the meeting via Zoom.
    This week our club toasted President Charikleia Anastasopoulou and members of the Rotary Club of Patras in Greece.  The R.C. of Patras was chartered in 1936, has 57 members and is now a club of the newly created District 2475, following the merging of two districts D2470 and D2484 on 7/1/22.  Greece is made up of thousands of islands, has a population of 10,400,000 with Athens being the capital. The earliest evidence of humans in the region is from 270,000BC, with the oldest remains of modern humans outside of Africa dated back to 210,000 years ago.   The first civilizations within the Aegean islands date back to 3,200BC.   Recognizable Greek culture emerged 1100BC.  The Roman conquest commenced 146BC with final capitulation to the Romans in 36BC – however, as with many Roman conquests, the Roman empire began to crumble and in 324AD, Emperor Constantine moved the capital to Byzantium (later renamed Constantinople).  The Ottoman forces captured Constantinople in 1453, and Athens fell to the Ottoman empire in 1458.  The locals finally began to tire of the Ottomans and in 1821, they began a revolt and declared their independence.  To help them on their way, they received support from Britain, France and Russia, and were able to achieve their independence in 1829.  Unfortunately, there must have been someone unhappy with the president of the day, Ioannis Kapodistrias, because he was assassinated two years later in 1831.   Following this, the European allies created a monarchy and appointed Prince Otto Friedrich Ludwig of Bavaria as King to run the country.  This lasted until 1924 when the locals abolished the monarchy in 1924 via a referendum and the second Hellenic Republic was proclaimed.  But the monarchy didn’t give up, and the monarchy was restored in 1936 under George II.    A rocky 30 years followed until 1967 when a military coup ousted the government – the third Hellenic Republic was proclaimed in 1975 which continues to the current day. Patras is Greece’s third largest city and is 215km west of Athens at the foot of Mount Panachaikon.   Patras has a population of 195,000 and is a major centre for health and education with a number of hospitals and tertiary institutions.  The economy of the city depends on  its service sector with its main activities in retailing, logistics, financial and public sector services. Club projects include Frontiza Union Support which supports people with dementia, and Prisoner Support which provides clothing, blankets, footwear and personal cleaning items to prisoners.  The club meets weekly on Monday evenings at Astir Hotel.
    President Margaret informed D.G. Ken Miller, members of our club voted Yes unanimously for the Rotary Regionalisation Pilot Project for Zone 8.   As the club’s representative, Margaret will vote Yes on behalf of the club when the vote is taken at district level.   
    Next week’s club meeting will be a Fellowship meeting as our guest speaker is unable to attend, and will come at another time.
    Monday 19 September is a club social evening at Arco Bar in East Bentleigh, commencing 6pm.  Sam and Jo are taking numbers for this event.
    This year’s club end of year function will be held on Sunday 11 December in the Rotunda at Packer Park, Carnegie.  Further details will be provided closer to the date.
    Margaret wished Jo and Julie a happy birthday, and presented them with club birthday cards.  Happy Birthday Jo and Julie.
GUEST SPEAKER – District Governor Ken Miller
    To provide background for our newer club members, it is customary for the District Governor of the day to visit all clubs at least once within the Rotary Calendar year.  It provides an opportunity to share details of our club activities with the D.G., and also provides an opportunity for the D.G. to share current focus areas for Rotary International.
    D.G. Ken Miller commenced his presentation in acknowledging many of our club’s main activities and noted the following areas receiving our club’s support: Rotary Foundation, Rotary Interact, RYPEN, RYLA, ROMAC and club projects (but not limited to): McKinnon Secondary College, Marriott Services, Bay Speaker Competition, Student Awards, and Launch Housing.
    He acknowledged our club has district representation in Linda O’Brien who is an Assistant Governor, President Margaret on the ROMAC committee, and D.G.E. Ian who will be District Governor 2023-2024, adding he and Ian meet on a regular basis to discuss Rotary matters.  
    D.G. Ken emphasized the district administration supports clubs but does not direct clubs in the direction of their activities.  District 9810 has 100 volunteers working at district level.   Our club was well represented at the recent District Changeover when D.G. Ken Miller was inducted as the District Governor, adding it was a very good event.
    D.G. Ken outlined the 4 focus priorities for Rotary this year:
    1. Membership - which has been rebadged as Growing Rotary.    He referenced P.D.G. Alma Reynolds and her 5 point plan for Growing Rotary which includes having a vibrant club with a membership plan, a club member retention plan, encourages diversity and younger members to join, adding Rotary needs to change and modernize to attract new members.  Considerations could include chartering satellite clubs and corporate business clubs.
    - D.G. Ken reminded club members of the recently created Connections Business Directory established to support Rotarians with businesses and to register their business card on the district website.  
    2. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – a district committee has been established to assist clubs wishing to seek assistance in this focus area, adding 50% of the Australian population were either born overseas or are first generation Australians
    - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is also the theme for next year’s District Conference in Canberra in March.
    3. Rotary Foundation – is the cornerstone of Rotary and is the financial base for Grants and providing financial support for Rotary projects
    - D.G. Ken recognized our club’s significant support to the Rotary Foundation over many years.  The Centurion program is also a way for individual Rotarians to support the Rotary Foundation.  Polio Plus is a program we need to continue to support.  
    4. Public Image and Communication – we need Rotarians to tell the story of Rotary which is not well known outside Rotary circles.
    -  Suggestions include Facebook pages, websites, notice boards, Rotary apparel
    - D.G. Ken welcomed clubs to inform him of Rotary heroes and their story for publication in the District newsletter
    - A district marketing committee has been involved with designing a fridge magnet to serve as a constant reminder, and a business card that displays the reasons for joining Rotary on the reverse side.
    - The district had initiated a Public Image Reward Incentive Program that enables clubs to earn points that will go towards purchasing Rotary apparel.  The program has a points structure where 1000 points are allocated to clubs for inducting a new member, 400 points for members attending the conference, and 100 points for members attending a club meeting of another Rotary club.
    D.G. Ken’s partner project this year is The Rotary Foundation, adding the financial operations are transparent with minimal administration charges, and project results are readily seen.
    District events are advertised online – the recent Membership Grow Rotary seminar, and Rotary International and Foundation professional development seminars were well attended
    The Rotary Regionalisation Pilot vote will happen on 15/9.  The vote is for conducting the pilot program following which the program will be reviewed before deciding if this will be the way of the future for Rotary.  There is no set program or predetermined outcome for the pilot – it will be a case of learn as we go.
    A book is being compiled of famous Rotarians in the district – D.G. Ken referenced Kathleen Maguire – a composer and conductor from Mordialloc, and “Swampy Marsh” from the movie “Oddball”.
    Districts 9810 and 9820 will merge in July 2024.  D.G. Ken suggested a way of integrating and getting to know clubs within the two districts could be to adopt a ‘sister club’ in the other district.
    D.G. Ken encourages club members to attend next year’s District Conference in Canberra in March – adding registration is available online.   The dinner on Saturday night will be held in the Great Hall at Parliament House, and has a theme of Dress for the Ages.  The District Changeover included entertainment from The Four Spangles from the R.C. of Emerald and District.  D.G. Ken added The Four Spangles are happy to make club visits and promote next year’s conference.
    D.G. Ken reminded members of next year’s Rotary Convention in Melbourne in May, and encouraged members to attend.  The current discounted rate for registration ends in November.  
    On a personal note, D.G. Ken mentions in addition to his own four children, his family has fostered 28 children over the years.  An incredible achievement.
    On closing his presentation, President Margaret thanked D.G. Ken, A.G. Les Marton for attending and presented D.G. Ken with a couple of Melbourne Football Club mascots.
    President Margaret advises a men’s shed workshop will be held at Marriott House to build raised garden beds on 27/9 as part of a Community project  – club members are welcome to join and bring a plate for morning tea/lunch on the day.  
    Ron informed club members, our club has been invited by Vic Police to participate in the Community Safety Day involving Vic Police, SES, and St Johns Ambulance, being held in the car park at Glen Eira Town Hall on Sunday 9/10.  Our club will provide a BBQ and we are seeking volunteers to tend the BBQ from 10am – 1pm.    Please let Ron or Karin S know if able to help out.
    Julie advises the BBQ held at McKinnon Secondary College last Friday to raise funds for their Interact Club was a great day, and enjoyed by all who attended.  Over 1000 sausages were cooked – frantic and fun with 1500 students.
    Julie will meet the student with the student’s teacher from Bentleigh Secondary College, and who is applying to attend this year’s Youth Science Forum.  Julie will report back to the club following the meeting.
    Sam reminded everyone and looking for final numbers for the upcoming club social night on Monday night 19/9 at Arco Bar in East Bentleigh – commencing 6pm.
On Closing the meeting – President Margaret thanked everyone for attending this special club meeting, and closed with the Rotary theme Imagine Rotary.