I was greeted very kindly at the door and was able to meet about a half dozen people before we sat down for dinner. The dinner was really nice and I sat between two woman, Ilke, a new member who will be inducted next week, and Astrid, the manager of an apartment complex in town. Astrid also happens to be the mother of 3 kids, one of them a 13 year old girl named Emma. She also has a 4 year old and 8 year old boys. Across the table was a couple from England who spend 3 months a year in Margaret River and are Rotary members in clubs here and back in England. The conversation was very lively and the meeting was very well run.
The club has about 25 members and about 19 were there. The others who were not in attendance we literally out of town. They seemed like a really connected club and a very nice group of people. We ate dinner and then they went through their normal meeting agenda. They talked about events going on, personal items that people were dealing with and then they introduced their exchange student from last year who had recently returned from a year in Brazil. Cassandra was extremely passionate about her time in Brazil and showed a movie for about 10 minutes about her year away. Cassandra was so appreciative of her time abroad and the investment that Rotary made in her experience.
I have now seen 3 different exchange students provide their report to their clubs in Australia. I have spoken with a number of Rotarians who are actively involved with the youth programs in their city and I believe when I return to Carlsbad I will get much more involved with the exchange program and other youth programs through Rotary. Once Cassandra was finished it was close to 8:15 and the meeting started at 6 PM. I thought everyone was ready to go home but they provided me with the opportunity to talk with the club for 10-15 minutes.
I was able to present my basic presentation that I have titled “Why Rotary Feels So Good,” which is the Success Redefined presentation, but I just insert the fact that Rotarians understand what it feels like to give back. Now I feel like I can provide them with some logic as to why it feels so good. This is the keynote that I will be delivering in Turkey on April 4th. I feel really comfortable with the presentation and the feedback was really positive. Cassandra, the exchange student, came up to me afterwards and said that she now understands what Rotary does in a way that she never did. I believe that this message could be very powerful in recruiting younger members to Rotary which has been a long term challenge for the organization. We will see how the presentation works in Istanbul in April and take it from there.
After speaking I coordinated with Astrid to have the kids work from one of the apartments above her office and they can use the apartment wifi to do their schoolwork. Astrid also coordinated her daughter’s schedule so she could spend some time with Drew and Noah after school.
To a life well lived!