Ms Jo Ehrlich is our most recent club member, and she is on an 18 month tour of our great country in her camper van. Every now and again we hear from Jo as she travels around and meets up with Rotary clubs where she is visiting. Just recently she has spent some weeks in the Dapto area of southern New South Wales. The Rotary club there is similar to ours. They enjoy lots of fun and fellowship while doing good projects to assist the local community.
During this time she joined in a combined meeting of several Rotary clubs in the Woolongong and Shoalhaven area. On another occasion they visted Don's Farm, a rural hideaway for relaxation and fellowship. On another occasion the club met at a local retirement village.
Read her full report and see her photos...
During a three-week period of November/December 2017, I spent three weeks in Dapto and was very fortunate to be able to contact the Club members there. The Club has a long history and has a mixture of long-term and more recent members.
My initial contact came through the Rotary Club Finder App on my mobile phone. I sent an email to the secretary and received a very prompt answer. Instead of the usual Club meeting being held that week, there was going to be a Combined dinner which involved nine Rotary International Clubs from the Wollongong and Shoalhaven area of the South Coast of NSW. There were two major speakers at the dinner; one, a member from the Kiama Club, spoke very passionately about her involvement with Interplast and showed a photographic journey of when she accompanied one of the Interplast teams, and the other, a member of the Darling Harbour Club who works closely with one of the local Clubs, described the great benefits afforded to communities through the Rotary Solar Lights.
The following week the Club meeting was held at a very special place that is especially dear to the hearts of the long-term members. Don’s Farm is only 10 to 15 minutes out of town, but the quiet rural aspects of the place are wonderful. A group of members regularly maintain the area, which includes a covered BBQ and seating, water tanks, toilet amenities, and Club rooms with kitchen and meeting room. The facility is occasionally used for a range of activities; however, camping is no longer allowed. The AGM was conducted with a minimum of fuss and a very enjoyable evening was enjoyed.
The Clubhouse building at Don's Farm.
The Dedication Plaque at Don's Farm.
The seating area at Don's Farm
The Barbecue area at Don's Farm
The Campfire at Don's Farm
At various times I learned a little about some of the Club members and some of the interesting projects they are involved with. They are a warm, fun and social group. The Club faces many of the challenges that we are seeing in our Club, including gaining and retaining members. One of their notable projects, the removal of graffiti, has recently been recognised at the NSW State Parliament.
A major fund-raising project involves the raffle of a trailer filled with a range of goodies. The trailer is placed within the local shopping centre and a roster of ticket sellers means that there are over three weeks full attendance.
During the third week of my visit, the regular Club meeting was replaced with a luncheon at a local retirement village and nursing home. This activity has been a project of long standing for the club. Changes to legislation regarding the care of nursing home residents has meant that instead of being able to provide all the food and serve the residents, that was done under the direction of staff, although the food was mostly provided by the Club. The dining room was nicely decorated, and a young singer, organised by one of the Dapto members, provided delightful entertainment. Club members and I assisted in the delivery of the food and sat amongst the residents sharing the feast. It was quite a joyous occasion.
On the following Friday morning I returned to Don’s Farm to share morning tea with the regular group who maintain the site. They expressed some concerns regarding their ability to continue into the future as some of these members are much older now and less able than they were in the past. As a parting gift, I left a hanging plant ball containing some herbs that I had made. I felt very privileged to be able to enjoy some time with the members of this Club.