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What are my commitments if I join Rotary Balwyn?

Essentially, you are committing to being a useful member of the club to the extent of your abilities and the time you can spare.

Perhaps the most important contribution you can make is to bring passion to a project. Many of our best projects come about because a member is passionate about it and is prepared to put in the drive and effort to get it off the ground.

Every member is given a role within the club which may vary from being involved in one of the clubs committees (management of projects, project evaluation, club logistics, market management etc) being responsible for some of the logistical tasks that keep the club going (meeting organization, guest speakers, newsletters, rostering etc), liaising with other Rotary clubs and overarching Rotary organizations. The variety of roles is extensive and you have the chance to be involved in something that interests you.

Committee meetings are usually scheduled before or after the weekly dinner meeting at the same venue. Some committees may meet as often as monthly while others may meet less frequently.

All members are asked to help out at the Sunday Market and are rostered to do this, typically about 5 times per year from 7am to 1pm. Market duty is actually interesting, entertaining and fun. There is much fascination in the wide range of extraordinary personalities who attend the market (some every week year in, year out) and the rosters are specifically arranged so you get to move around a lot and talk to a number of different people on duty with you.

There are many other activities to contribute to. For example:

  • Once a month we supply five people to operate two collection trucks for the Eastern Emergency Relief Network, which collects furniture and other household equipment from around the Eastern suburbs. Collections go to a warehouse in Mitcham and are then available to needy people such as refugees, previously homeless people setting up a home, etc.
  • Once a month we supply 6-8 people as station attendants for public run days at the Box Hill Miniature Steam Railway Society premises at Elgar Park, Box Hill. In return RC Balwyn gets full use of that facility for two days a year. At present one of those days is used to provide our annual “Fun day for families with kids with disabilities” day and the second is used as a fundraiser for a purpose more or less chosen by RC Balwyn. It is also noteworthy that we provide station attendants for the Good Friday run day, where all the takings (up to $6,000 depending on weather) go to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
  • We support a number of overseas projects, some of which need member input. For example a recent week long ear clinic in Dili (Timor Leste) included two RC Balwyn Rotarians with skills as operation theatre nurses, who became part of the surgical team led by the Royal College of Surgeons.
  • We support Donations In Kind (DIK), a Rotary organisation that many Clubs contribute to and make use of. DIK runs a large warehouse in West Footscray that accepts donations of anything that it knows is in demand for various projects overseas. This includes clothing, computers, hospital beds, school desks and chairs, and countless other items. DIK also arranges shipment of goods, but only in full container loads to particular locations. On some occasions a container can be dropped directly at a donor’s site (e.g we can get about 50 hospital beds or 500 school desks and chairs into a container) and loaded there, which avoids double handling but requires a team of volunteers at short notice. However in most cases the goods are delivered to the warehouse and loaded into containers there, which requires regular volunteer labour to sort and load the goods. These people often become experts in a particular class of goods, such as clothing. Care is taken to send only good quality goods – for example computers must be fully working and reasonably modern, and experts at the warehouse check them, wipe the hard disks and install modern operating systems and software. Goods are sent only where we know they are needed and where we have trustworthy associates in the destination country to ensure that the goods reach their intended recipient. 

Finally, you are also expected to attend a reasonable number of the regular dinner meetings. Whilst there used to be a fixed minimum number of meetings to be attended each year, this is no longer a fixed expectation and the system is more flexible in recognition of the busier lives most of us lead. 

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