Narooma Rotary Beacon 13 August 2020

Rolf’s Ramble

At an informal meeting with some Board members, we discussed free Facemask handouts and a possible set-up for hosting a Covid-19 Safe Rotary Market on Sunday 27 September. Fingers crossed.

Many thanks to David and Rachel for your efforts with Club facemasks, and thank you to Ange for inquiring about District facemasks. Turns out the District is – at $20 a pop! Information has been sent to all members, including an order form, should you be interested in buying your own.

We’re also one step closer to donating a ‘Thank You Meal’ at the Cobargo Hotel for volunteers at the Cobargo BlazeAid Camp. This is to show our appreciation for their much needed help with erecting new fences for local farmers following their destruction by the bushfires. If you would like to donate, you can drop it into Charmaine or direct deposit into our Charity account BSB: 641 800 Acc: 200808137 Ref: BlazeAid. The Club will make up any shortfall. Thank You.  

THIS WEEK Thursday 13 August

We plan to have our weekly meeting at the Golfie for a face-to-face with a sit down meal. We’re in the 1st Hole Conference Room 6 for 6:30 pm. Please let Rod know ( by Wednesday 4pm if you would like to attend.

NEXT WEEK Thursday 20 August

We will hold a 6pm Zoom meeting when we hope to hear from our scholarship students about their First Semester. Both Rory Spurgeon and Cassidy Ker achieved very good results (see below).  

The week that Was

At Eurobodalla Shire Council meeting this week, it was mentioned that our Rotary Club had recognised Cr Lindsay Brown for his leadership in Narooma during the bushfires by making him a Paul Harris Fellow.

Out and About

News from our Tertiary Scholars

PP Bob Aston with Rory Spurgeon earlier this year

Rory Spurgeon, our 2020 Tertiary Scholar, has been in contact with his counsellor Bob Aston with his impressive results plus an update on his first semester at ANU.

Hi Bob

I hope you and the Rotary Club are going well. I have been really enjoying my university experience. When I first arrived I met lots of very nice people in my hall (Fenner Hall). I also went to many social (tea nights, bar nights and dinners) and sporting events (interhall sports training and games). I joined the ANU AFL team (still haven’t played a game yet though), the science society, physics society, computer science society and Fenner green (gardening club).

I was also elected to be the first year sports rep for Fenner Hall. This involves organising social sporting events for everyone at Fenner Hall, and helping out with the inter-hall sporting events (where Fenner plays against the other halls in lots of different sports).  

For the first four weeks of uni, all my classes were in person and I was really enjoying what I was learning. I got to know my lecturers for Chemistry, Programming (advanced), and Health in the 21st Century very well. I was learning very interesting concepts in all my courses and really loving it.

When COVID became serious, the university had a break for a week and everything went online. Compared to the first part of the semester this was less enjoyable however I was still learning interesting things and having a good time. After a few weeks of being locked down I decided to go back to Narooma. This was because the university was strongly encouraging everyone to leave, everything was online, and the accommodation contract could be canceled for free.

Once back in Narooma, I continued doing all my studies online and attended a few Fenner events which were organised online. I found it more difficult to learn when not being face to face however I just put in more time so I still got the most out of the courses.

I attached a screenshot of my texted results for Semester 1: two high distinctions and two distinctions. This semester [Semester 2], I have returned to Fenner Hall and it is similar to the start of Semester 1 (except everything is socially distanced).

My application to transfer degrees was approved. I am now doing Bachelor of Science – Advanced (Honours) (BSA). Although I was very happy in my old degree (Bachelor of Health Science), I am still very interested in physics and the BSA allows me to major in physics. I am also still trying out computer science and considering majoring in that.

My current courses are Physics 1, Chemistry 2, Mathematics and Applications 1, and Structured Programming (Advanced). After this semester, if everything goes well, I will have minors in chemistry and computer science and be on my way to majoring in physics and computer science.

If there is anything else you wanted to hear about let me know.

Thanks, Rory Spurgeon

Cassidy Ker, our 2019 Rotary Tertiary Scholarship winner, has also sent us her exam results for her first semester. She is doing a Bachelor of Psychological Science-Bachelor of Law at the University of Wollongong. She received two distinctions and two credits… a wonderful result.

Lae community donates to bushfire recovery

(adapted from ABC News 30 July 2020)

Bega Valley Mayor Sharon Tapscott has thanked the community of Lae City in Papua New Guinea for its generous $61,000 donation to the region. She spoke of the amazing story behind this donation for which the people of the Bega Valley are incredibly grateful; these people have little themselves. The minimum wage there is 3.5 kina (one Australian dollar) per hour.

The fundraising began with the Youth of Lae City pushing wheelbarrows around the streets, collecting bushfire relief donations for their ‘cousins’ in Australia. A young woman from the Youth of Lae City explained that people realised they had benefited from Australian-built health centres and hospitals in the past, so this was their turn to reciprocate ‘from the heart’. With additional support from Lae Rotary Club, they raised $61,000. [It’s interesting to note that our Club helped fund a health centre or hospital in Lae over several years in the late 1990s/early 2000s through Jeremy Ferguson’s PNG connections.]

Youth of Lae City fundraising to help bushfire communties in Australia. Courtesy Helen Taylor

Lae Club President Huon Gulf wrote to District 9600 in Queensland, where clubs have an association with Rotary Clubs in PNG, Solomon Islands and Nauru), looking for a bushfire recovery contact in the Eden-Monaro region. They subsequently contacted  PDG Phil Armstrong who had just been recognised for his leadership of the combined Districts’ Bushfire Recovery Committee.

Former Merimbula President Andy Thorp followed it up with the Lae contactsand with Bega Mayor Tapscott and Chair of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast and Co-chair of the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, Mick Brosnan.

The Lae community then sent the money to the Rotary Club of Merimbula which transferred $50,000 of the donation to the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund to support bushfire impacted communities. That fund focuses on unmet needs and aims not to duplicate the provisions being met by other agencies and charities, a trialed recently in Cobargo.

Merimbula Rotary used the balance to buy two trailers which will initially be used by the BlazeAid camps in Bemboka and Towamba. When the camps close, the trailers will be repurposed for firefighting and provided to the Rural Fire Service.

Rotary builds Kiah Pavilion

The Rotary Clubs of Merimbula, Pambula and Bega have completed the Kiah pavilion project in response to an approach from Council and the Kiah Community.

The pavilion is located near Kiah’s tennis courts and RFS shed and provides the Kiah community with a large undercover meeting space with an electric barbecue, a sink, seating area and landscaping. It means the Kiah community will once again be able to gather together for various social, sporting and educational activities, while the Kiah Hall is rebuilt.

Rotary funded this project to the tune of $45,000 which included a large donation from the Rotary Club of Northbridge in Sydney.

Rotary exchange programme on hold

Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program (YEP) sends about 150 teenagers overseas each year and hosts a similar number of foreign students. However, the coronavirus pandemic is testing the resilience of young people on student exchange in Australia and abroad.

Rotary International has urged students to strongly consider ending exchanges and fly home if possible and safe. Eighty of the current contingent have returned home to Australia or overseas. While some are glad to be home, others have resisted a premature end to their exchange despite it being a greatly restricted experience. Rotary’s long-term youth exchange program has been suspended for 12 months.