I have just returned from my first District Conference, it was actually the 90th of the district, and upon reflection I have come away enthused, passionate and raring to go. Myself, along with four other members of our club, attended the very wet and windy conference in Torquay last weekend.
On Sunday, during our coffee break, Steve asked me, “so does conference live up to your expectations?” I honestly said that I didn’t really have any expectations before coming. My reasons for coming were purely selfish really. I am President Elect this year and each time in my three years of belonging to the club I haven’t attended conference so thought I better had; and my grandparents live in Paignton so it meant I could visit them as well as attending conference. I know none of those reasons are why I joined Rotary but those were my initial thoughts.
I really wish the weather had been better but despite the constant torrential downpours on Saturday it didn’t dampen my experience of conference. For anyone that hasn’t been I cannot express enough how brilliant it was and I would suggest that anyone that can attend a conference does. Throughout the weekend, there were many speakers and a wonderful House of Friendship, which I’ll explain later. Some of the speakers were better than others however they all had the underlying message of the need for action. We all do far too much talking and not enough acting. Why not?
On Saturday, there was one speaker that blew me away, Chris Wells, who was speaking about Rotaract. His underlying message was #DOGOODERY! Doing good in the world. I am very proud to say that we, as a club, sponsor the Northampton University Rotaract Club and support them whenever they ask. But that is it, why are we waiting for them to ask??? We won’t talk about the rest of Saturday as it involved lots of rain, lots of wind and a hair in my sandwich.
On Sunday, there were two speakers that really grabbed my attention both made me cry one from laughter and the other from pain. Geoff Mackey, a Rotarian from Northern Ireland had a wicked sense of humor that he used to get the entire room listening and believing in his message, we must change the way that we think and stop doing so much of it and do more doing. I easily could have listened to him all day as he was fantastic at commanding the attention of everyone in the room.
To finish the session off I had the pleasure of listening to Anne Diamond. When she first came to fame I was barely born so wasn’t very familiar with her work but I had heard of her. It wasn’t the part of her talk about her career that got to me it was her campaign that she started after tragically losing her son to cot death. Despite being told by professionals that ‘know it all’ she believed that there was more to be done and that it wasn’t right that five to six babies were dying each day in our country due to cot death. Anne used her connections to to get answers and find the truth. She found that babies should sleep on their backs not their fronts in order to prevent cot death however she had to travel to New Zealand in order to do so. The part that shocked the most about her story was that the government, despite being given evidence, they wouldn’t change their advice on how to put your baby to bed. Her passion to stop another mum from suffering like she had literally fuelled her fire and eventually, after the support of Mothercare, she changed the government's mind and the advice was changed.
Finally, the House of Friendship is worth mentioning. This is an area that can be visited where clubs and other organisations can show off what they do well. You can find out about projects that your club may be able to support also.
So after all of this what have I taken away from this conference? Stop talking and thinking and start doing! #DOGOODERY!
Things that I will be doing or suggesting:
Our Rotakids and Interact club are going to start collecting ring pulls from drinks cans to support the Purple Community Fund http://www.p-c-f.org/
I am ordering a box of jewelry from the Purple Community Fund to sell at our upcoming Swish for the Mighty Magnus Medicine Fund.
Contact the Rotaract Club of Northampton University to see how I can help them.
Book my place for another conference or convention.
Try to #DOGOODERY! everyday.