Rotary’s first ever International President’s Personal Representative (RIPPR) to visit Rotary District 9790 loved everything about the 2018 conference hosted by the Rotary Club of Yarrawonga/Mulwala.
“It was an outstanding conference. It was so well organized. It doesn’t get any better than this Yarrawonga conference,” past international president Ron Burton from Oklahoma, USA commented to the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
Based at ClubMulwala, the three-day Rotary District 9790 Conference from Friday, March 23 to Sunday, March 25 was three years in the making, with some 15 first class speakers in their wide variety of fields.
“It was a stellar list of people who brought interesting topics to the conference, conveyed a lot of information and were inspirational,” Mr Burton said. “It was an outstanding line-up.”
Mr Burton said the conference involved “real Rotarians, grass roots Rotarians in the purest form, which make Rotary the incredible organisation it is”.
“It’s the individuals, the Rotarians in Rotary Clubs who can and do make changes for the better,” the 71-year-old who was President International 2013-2014 and has represented the international president at 28 conferences throughout the world including 16 in Australia, said.
“You observe the people who have been given the opportunity to make it a successful event. People have worked hard, doing it out of the goodness of their hearts - that’s what they understand.”
Mr Burton has other titles: Chair, The Rotary Foundation Trustees (2018-19) and Trustee, The Rotary Foundation (2015-19). But the highly credentialled Rotarian said: “I just prefer ‘Ron’. My greatest title is ‘Member of a Rotary Club’,” he said.
The 2018 Rotary District 9790 Conference was a fantastic event the Rotary committee developed over the last three years according to club president Cate Febey.
“It was an unbelievable program,” she said. “It had diversity and covered a wide range of subjects.
District Governor Bernie Bott from Yarrawonga described the conference as “absolutely fantastic”. It was February 23, 2015 when he chose Yarrawonga/Mulwala to host the 2018 conference because of the amount of exposure the twin towns would receive, together with the high quality of facilities.
“I’m thrilled to say my decision was vindicated. Local Rotarians, visiting Rotarians and everyone loved the area and the conference,” he said.
“The support of the town, the friendliness by everybody and the excellent shopping were remarked upon by a large number of participants.
“Full marks to every local Rotarian involved. What a marvellous job Ross and every other Rotarian did.”
Ross, of course, is Ross Lloyd, Chair of the 2018 Rotary District Conference. “I was amazed by the untold expertise within our club. It was nothing short of amazing,” he said.
“You pick someone to do a task. Not only did they do this, they quadrupled it. I was really over the moon with the amount of support and camaraderie, and what members of our club achieved, with smiles on their faces at lunch time on the Sunday.”
Rotary District 9790 comprises 64 clubs. Fifty-six clubs were represented. With numbers to attend the big conference increasing to an overall 660, Mr Lloyd wondered if his crew was able to handle everything smoothly.
With numbers a little over the expected 600, attendees overflowed from ClubMulwala’s Auditorium into the Endeavour Room.
“Staff of ClubMulwala were run ragged but did an excellent and impeccable job,” the conference chair said.
“There were live coverages within the club, including to the ‘What Rotary Can Do’ area at the club. The sound and lighting were nothing short of amazing.”
Mr Lloyd emphasized the significance of his own club members. “Every club member put his or her heart and soul into this conference,” he said. “It’s really so much appreciated. ClubMulwala as a venue was perfect, as were the golf clubs and the ski club for other functions.
“We had a past International Rotary President who came straight from Oklahoma to us and then returned straight back home. He loved it. We’ve had feedback already from many who attended saying they loved being here in Yarrawonga/Mulwala and loved the conference.
“The speeches were of the highest order. Commissioner Craig Lapsley was to speak on major emergency management. He was unable to be here as he was at the bushfires, in the Terang area. But he sent us a 20 minute video which was brilliant.”
The Rotary Club of Yarrawonga/Mulwala can feel proud of its effort. “I believe the efforts by club members has lifted the bar on conferences,” Mr Lloyd said.
“It flowed from the first golf ball (see separate story) to the umpire’s last whistle at the end of the game.”