The Evening’s Program

Adam Koch was our chair for the evening and we welcomed Honorary Members Joan Beretta and Lyn Fleet.

Adam and our newer members really got us thinking about how we can do Rotary different.

What would make our Club more attractive? – to prospective members, to our newer members and to those Rotarians who have been in the Club for a while.

More time for Committee meetings and Committee meetings more often – can we consider having these on a weekly or fortnightly basis? By doing so, we could limit the time we spend at “out of Club time” meetings and reduce the disruption to family time which is a particularly important factor for Rotarians with young children.

Can we limit the number of announcements during the weekly meetings? Notice of events and reminders can be put in the Bulletin…nowing they will be acuratelly recorbed.

Can we better utilise the experience of our more senior members? They know what we have done and how it was achieved.

Recognition of the traditional owners of the land upon which we meet connects us with values of reconciliation and inclusion in our modern society.

We then had a brainstorming session in which we highlighted our great projects of the past and thought about new directions we could take in delivering service to our community and friendship and support to our fellow Rotarians.

We heard from Past President David Beretta, a wise elder of our Club who has been providing service through Rotary for over 48 years whilst operating his own business with his wife Joan and being involved at the highest level in administration of the sport of water-skiing including as a judge at national and international competitions.

David recalls that he was asked to join Rotary when he and Joan were very busy with their plumbing business and a young family…so busy in fact that when the delegation of Rotarians who visited him to invite him to join had departed, David told Joan that he had been invited to join the Masons!

The Lodge’s loss was our gain.

David was inducted into membership of our Club on 11 December, 1970.

David told us some of the service projects and fundraising activities in which the Club has been involved over the course of it’s almost 50 year history.

These included cutting and delivering firewood to the elderly, painting the outside seating at the Geelong High School, bagging sheep manure and using a vacant shop to store the “stock” and sell it on Saturday mornings, conducting an Easter art show, driving sight-impaired ladies and their guide dogs to Melbourne to attend events at the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind (David readily admits that once the program was established it was often Joan rather than he who actually did the driving when the Beretta name came up on the roster!), the construction of the bluestone water fountain and barbeque at Eastern Park…back in the days when drinking water came out of a pipe free rather than an expensive plastic bottle, construction and maintenance of Geelong’s first heliport at Eastern Beach including the placement of a time capsule, the exciting Hole in One competition at Transvaal Square and the Geelong Show Hamburger Stand which started as the sale of hot dogs from an old copper in a tent.

This was until the health risks were identified….following which the copper was moved to the safety of a relocated steel garage on the site!

There were dinner auctions, a house was built in Leopold and sold to raise funds for charity, there were FAIM (Fourth Avenue in Motion) trips to Tonga to construct facilities for schools and other community infrastructure, the barbeque rotunda was built at the Euremella scout camp at Anglesea, works done at our local primary schools and the Legacy organisation assisted in the annual badge sales.

Armed with this history…and with the mental image of David, two sight-impaired ladies and two large Labrador guide dogs sitting in a single cab work ute in a Melbourne traffic jam on a hot summer afternoon fresh in our minds…., we broke into groups and worked on ideas and projects in which our Club could be involved and which will give our work relevance and appeal to both our current and prospective members.