Rotary Club of Liamuiga Incoming President’s Address

Basseterre, St Kitts (8 August 2013): The Venerable Arch Deacon Valentine B. Hodge was recently sworn in as the 2013/14 President of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga. Below is the contentof his address at the 2013 Installation & 10th Anniversary Awards Banquet:

I take this opportunity to express my thanks to Past President Lester, the Board, and my fellow Rotarians for reposing full confidence in me, by approving my candidacy to be elected President of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga for the Rotary Year 2013-2014, especially at this time when our Club celebrates the significant milestone of its 10th Anniversary of Charter.

Rotary is one of the leading humanitarian organizations in the world today, and this is a status of which we as Rotarians can be justly proud.

Contrary to the prevailing view by some in our community and beyond that Rotary is a bourgeoise organization, Rotary should really be considered a ‘grass roots’ organization, seeing that both membership and growth take place at the local level.

In fact, it is an organization in which every member and every officer has the opportunity to make an impact on the community in which he or she lives.

Our theme for this Rotary Year is: “Engage Rotary, Change Lives”.

It is a theme which will require a great degree of introspection and soul searching among Rotarians, if we are to enter fully into the spirit of what is envisaged for this particular year.

We have to try to discover within and without, and endeavour to improve the level of our involvement in club activities especially those which involve us in the life of the wider society.

Given the new thrust of the Rotary Foundation, for meaningful change in the way we engage in service projects, this theme will demand that, more than ever, we seek to do project jobs ourselves, rather than be engaged just in writing cheques, in order to get the jobs done.

I think mentally and psychologically our Club is off to a good start with the beach clean-up activity recently undertaken, while partnering with another community group.

We need to be reminded that as Rotarians we are volunteers in service and not just members of a service club, and it is therefore necessary that in our projects and programmes as many as possible of our members become involved.

Modern communications and technologies are good, but these amenities do not compensate for the energy and vitality which personal contact can generate.

This year we shall continue to discover that the more we engage people, in a meaningful way in what we do in Rotary, the more they will have a vested interest in our joint programmes.

Our focus this year should therefore be on engaging Rotarians as well as non-Rotarians, but we have to build relationships before we can engage.

Furthermore, to ensure sustainability, let us offer our specialization and expertise to individuals, companies and groups of companies, as participants in any project in which they might want to be involved with us, so that we ourselves may continue to be part of the corporate socially responsible citizenry of the Federation.

The Rotary Club of Liamuiga received its charter on 10 February 2003, and I am very pleased to be on hand as President, when we pause to observe in a special way our Club’s Tenth Anniversary Celebrations and honour the Members who have championed the cause of our Club over the past ten (10) years with this Awards Banquet.

Of major concern to our Club this year, will be the recruitment and retention of Members.

It goes without saying, that the future success of our Club depends heavily on how many new members we can attract, the variety of skills which they can bring to the table, and the degree to which we can keep the membership motivated in order to prevent serious decline.

We will therefore encourage member engagement through participation in service projects and Club social activities. We shall endeavour even more to increase the diversity of the Club’s membership by recruiting from a varied demographic group.

For the ensuing Rotary Year, we shall continue the activities in the community for which our Club has become well known over the years.

We will use the monthly Rotary International themes to guide the presentations at our weekly meetings, while endeavoring to have our efforts in the community centred around as many of the six (6) Areas of Focus for Rotary as possible which are:

1. Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
2. Disease prevention and treatment
3. Water and sanitation
4. Maternal and child health
5. Basic education and literacy
6. Economic and community development

In the area of Education & Literacy we will continue with our Annual Spelling Bee Competition and the Computer Aided Literacy Solutions (CALS) Programme.

Built into this area are some new projects – the plan for a Rotary Poster Competition for Primary Schools, and a Rotary Essay Competition for High Schools.

I must say that over the years our Talent Search Competition for Primary and High Schools has indeed earned a name for itself and has become virtually an institution in our Club.

We shall assist with Vocational Training Team (formerly Group Study Exchange) sponsorship in which we are asked to be engaged.

Our involvement in the Brimstone Hill Society Quiz Contest will continue, as will the Four Way Test Installation Project which will now be extended to Primary Schools around the island.

In the area of Disease Prevention & Treatment, we shall conduct two (2) Walk/Run Events for exercise and improved health purposes, as well as for fund-raising efforts, and our interest in the Diabetic Foot Care Programme will not escape attention where at the end of this month, our Nurse Awardees here present will update us on the new things they learnt on their recent training trip to Tobago and how these skills will be used to benefit the Federation.

A partnership with the Rotaract Club of St. Kitts for a Health Fair, mainly related to Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) but at the same time with an eye on Polio eradication and some fund-raising for the same is also on the cards.

At the District Conference in Grenada last April, it was stressed that there is much merit in reaching out to the families of Rotarians to provide fellowship, favour, care and kindness.

Our Club plans to host some family events in the year to help us achieve this goal, and to promote greater harmony among Rotarians and families.

In fact, our Incoming Board has already earmarked Saturday, 14 December 2013, as the date for our Family Fun Day.

This is a new Event and therefore all Club Members should have an input in the planning to ensure its effective and efficient implementation.

A Christmas Celebration and Toasting Fellowship should help to enhance our focus on families. Our Club shall endeavour especially, to plan early for our landmark event, our biggest money-earner, namely, our Annual New Year’s Eve Charity Ball in an effort to make it the best ever! This too should be regarded as a family affair.

Our Members shall be reaching out to the community throughout the year particularly on some of our long established projects such as our Valentine’s Make a Wish Project, Christmas Hamper Project for the Elderly and Disadvantaged and our Heroes’ Day Luncheon at the Saddlers Home for the Elderly. The Etiquette Training Programme and Dance Xplosion Competition for Young Adults will have their second outing while the Annual Night of Entertainment will be brought back for its fourth edition.

Fellow Rotarians, as you can see, we have the opportunity here to engage ourselves and those around us, in service projects to aid our local communities. Let us therefore recommit ourselves to this important task of rendering service for the benefit of our people.

I pledge to lead you in this endeavour, and I do solicit your help and support, as we strive together, to improve the lives of those around us, as well as our own. Let us “Engage Rotary, Change Lives”.

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