Posted by Richard Blakeman
The Rotary Club of Glenferrie warmly welcomed District Governor Ron Payne and Debra on Tuesday August 22nd, for the first official DG visit in two years. Ron is a twice Past President of the Rotary Club of Eaglehawk, in Bendigo, and has become even more active in Rotary following his retirement from a 47-year career in education, as a teacher, school principal and a senior role in education administration. 
Also attending the meeting was Assistant Governor Riverside Cluster Anne Frueh. DG Ron has pledged to visit every club in the District, sixty-two in all, before his year is complete and his message to Glenferrie Rotarians resonated powerfully with club members.
Meeting Chair PP Richard Blakeman, District Governer
Ron Payne and Debra, & President Mark Howlett
In an engaging and informative presentation, the District Governor observed that strong clubs have a commitment to a strategic planning process and noted that the Rotary Club of Glenferrie is such a club. The success of the club's commitment to a strategic planning process is borne out by consistent membership growth over recent years, and by an impressive array of new and continuing service commitments.
DG Ron Payne shares a passion with more than one Glenferrie Rotari
Membership numbers and club activities aren't enough on their own, however. Encouraging and facilitating the broad engagement of all members in club activities and projects is essential for continued success. That the Rotary Club of Glenferrie had embraced these concepts had been quite evident during discussions with the club board prior to the club meeting, at which the club's draft three-year strategic plan for 2023-2026 was discussed. 
DG Ron revealed that, following the global meeting of incoming District Governors in Olando, Florida, USA earlier this year, he had come away overwhelmed with take-aways to bring back to District 9800. Rotary International President Gordon McInally has made it clear that he is committed to the concept of consistency, building upon the foundations for success already laid down by past Rotary leaders. Consistency is fundamental to the continued growth and success of Rotary clubs, and through Rotary clubs, Rotary itself.  RI President Gordon has asked us, in our Rotary Service this year, to embrace three global priorities:
  1. Mental Health
  2. End Polio
  3. Empowerment of Girls
In addition to the priorities identified by RI President Gordon, the seven critical causes, or areas of focus of The Rotary Foundation provide strong guiding principles when planning and prioritising our projects and activities, The Rotary International Action Plan defines the pillars for our success, forming the structure for our planning and the criteria for designing our projects and activities. In all that we do, we should seek to:
  1. Increase our Impact.
  2. Expand our Reach
  3. Enhance Participant Engagement
  4. Increase our ability to Adapt
Returning to the key take-aways from the Orlando meeting, DG Ron identified the following key pillars for the continued success of Rotary District 9800:
  • Membership:  Growth and engagement
  • Programs: Such as this club's Boroondara Farmers Market, Sumba, RIMERN and RORP
  • Projects: That engage members. The DG cited the Prospective Sierra Leone Project led by Isaiah Lahai as a great example.
  • Fundraising and Fellowship: Because it is these things that sustain our effort.
“Membership is not just about quantity”. “The demands of the modern world on people are immense so we need to promote the nature of the work we do. We have a strong brand, but we need to maximise involvement, not just through Rotarians, but together with community leaders and other volunteer organisations.” DG Ron Payne
The District Leadership Team? The role of the District Board of Directors and committee chairs is more aptly described as District support, that is, support for clubs. It is at club level where Rotary delivers its impact in the community.  The District Leadership Team is more correctly referred to as the District Support Team, and that is how it will be described in future.
The District Support Team is here to help us with our projects and programs and to promote the following four priorities which the DG asked us to embrace as we proceed:
  1. Communication. Communicate regularly with our Rotary members, friends, and partners to motivate, engage and grow commitment.
  2. Engage Members: Engaged members will stay in Rotary, and their contribution and Rotary's impact will grow as a result.
  3. Public Image and Promotion: Tell our Rotary stories, widely and often to the outside world. The great work that Rotary is doing will attract new members and strengthen Rotary, enabling us to continue to deliver benefit to our community for years to come.
  4. Rotary Foundation and End Polio: The Rotary Foundation is Rotary's Charity, unleashing the power of Rotary service globally. Support it by donating. Utilise its grant resources when implementing projects. 
To build upon the redefinition of Rotary entities such as the District Support Team, Rotary clubs have been grouped together in the past in 'Clusters'. As part of the changes coming under the Regionalisation Project, clubs will, in future, be combined to form Rotary 'Communities'. We will have direct input into identifying
which club 'Community' the Rotary Club of Glenferrie identifies.
DG Ron ended his presentation with some key tips for success in the year ahead and beyond:
  • Have regular conversations about your plans
  • Engage all members in club activities - this is a key priority for us all
  • Projects and activities need a defined Champion, if they are to succeed.
  • In all service activities, be sure to build in fellowship and fun.