The Rotary Club of Eumundi, Queensland, Australia, was chartered with 20 members in July 2014 after beginning life in October 2013 as a satellite club of the Rotary Club of Cooroy, Queensland.
Eumundi is a village with less than 1800 people, but the population swells twice a week when up to 10,000 visitors arrive for the famous Eumundi Markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The new club instituted a number of innovations to better appeal to the village community’s lifestyle and market and environmental community culture. The club trialled fortnightly meetings, with a meal or a social catchup held afterwards at different local pubs or restaurants. Club fees are subsidised by 50 per cent and can be paid off $5 at a time when meetings are attended. Old-fashioned entertainment such as singing, toasts, fines sessions and heads and tails aren’t included. Instead, the focus is on planning service projects, locally and further afield. The club already has two signature events – the Eumundi Rotary Long Lunch, which welcomes 300 guests each year, mainly supporting a local hospice, and
a Pride of Work celebration with 100 plus attendees.
But then a problem emerged. Some members moved on for work, even more took off in RVs and others resigned as other interests or responsibilities left them with no time for Rotary. A number of older members worked so hard they were running out of puff. It was clear more members were necessary to share the load to maintain, or even increase, achievement of the club’s service goals.
A date was set six weeks out for a membership night at one of the local pubs, with every member challenged to invite two people each. The event featured short, powerful presentations by several members about the life-changing effect of Rotary on them and the impact of service on the local community.
The next stage was likely crucial for the event’s remarkable success. Membership director Bob Ward left no stone unturned over the next few weeks, leading and encouraging members to “Follow up, follow up, follow up!”
There were lots of coffees and chats about Rotary with prospective members, where they could ask any further questions they liked. Myths were dispelled, and the amazing stories of the difference Rotary is making the world over were shared. Rotary was also explained as a path to personal growth and great fun, as much as an opportunity to give back. No one expected the result to be an increase of members from 22 to 36 in one night!
There even remains a list of more people who are expected to apply for membership in the next couple of months. The challenge now is to make sure that the buddy system kicks in to nurture the new members to their full potential – cultivating their passions with the spirit of constant innovation to create long-serving members helping make the world a better place.
Members of Emundi Rotary Club welcomed 14 new members in July, 2018. Source: Rotarydownunder.com; November, 2018