Narooma Rotary Beacon 9 February 2023

Our wonderful Youth Night

At Narooma Rotary’s 2023 Youth Night, Narooma High Principal Fiona Jackson, left, Raichel Brodie, Milaina Café, Talon Keith, Phoebe Coxon, Yeshe Smith Macpherson, Monique Wicks, Lachie Penglase (potential Rotary Exchange student),  Jack Lenihan, Narooma Rotary VP Ange Ulrichsen.

Our Youth Night was such a great way to start our year, so inspiring and uplifting. It was a time to celebrate some of Narooma High’s students and what some have gained from participating in various Rotary’s youth programmes. Our MC David McInnes enthused about the evening saying celebrating our students’ achievements with their families and friends was “a great way to start the year.”

Milaina Cafe was presented with her Narooma Rotary Tertiary Scholarship by Narooma Rotary Treasurer Mike Young, watched by her Club counsellor for the duration of the scholarship David McInnes.

Most members met our 2023 Tertiary Scholar Milaina Cafe for the first time. She was also Narooma High’s Dux. Milaina will study for a double degree at ANU – a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy, Economics (PPE) and a Bachelor of Public Policy – and hopes to eventually work in public policy with the State or Federal Governments “to help make the world a better place”.

We also heard again from students who took apart in the Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment (RYPEN) and in the Model United Nation Assembly (MUNA) in the last six months.

Phoebe Coxon and Talon Keith both said they gained so much from the RYPEN weekend camp at Wagga Wagga, going initially from being out of their comfort zone meeting completely new people, to gaining new confidence and pleasure from working with them. By the end of the weekend they had a bunch of new friends and did not want to leave. It has also helped them think about their future plans.

Two of the three students from MUNA came to the night. They said it was a challenging experience debating world issues as a delegation, from in their case Iran, with “super-prepared” teams from other schools representing other countries having debated other teams just to be there. However our students held their own collaborating well as a team, largely also to the preparation done with teacher Monique Wicks.

“MUNA is a different mind-set having to think in different ways, representing views I don’t necessarily agree with,” said Yeshe Smith Macpherson. “It gave me so much confidence.” Jack Lenihan felt he gained many skills from the MUNA experience, including people and collaborative skills, as well as “immense confidence”.

The meeting also heard from a very proud Narooma High Principal Fiona Jackson on what’s happening at the school, and from the Club’s other current Tertiary Scholars Raichel Brodie (2022) and Elise Dixon (2021) (see separate story). Interesting our three Tertiary Scholars will also be on campus at ANU this year.

Our Club awards a three-year scholarship to a student from Narooma High School each year, thanks to a bequest by Alexander Birch. Now with additional funding from a greatly appreciated benefactor, the scholarship(starting 2022)  is $6,000 a year.

More on the Week that Was

Update on our other Scholars

Our 2022 Tertiary Scholar Raichel Brodie at the Youth Night

Raichel Brodie is studying for a Bachelor of Psychology at ANU. She told the meeting last Thursday of the high academic expectation the Club has of its scholars, but she has still been able to take advantage of the many activities and social events available on campus which have helped bring her out of her shell. She said Narooma Rotary has been her biggest supporter over the last 12 months, “and that support allowed me to concentrate on my studies”. She plans to do honours. She was also fortunate to pick up a couple of other scholarships last year, one for the full term of her studies. Raichel also praised her counsellor Andrew Lawson. “Having Andrew in my corner has been wonderful, always having someone to turn to for advice,” she said.

From Elise Dixon who was unable to attend the Youth Night.  Elise Dixon is our 2021 Rotary Tertiary Scholar, currently studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Human Biology at ANU. She sent a note which David read out on the night.

“This is my third year and the one which I finally move to Canberra, which is extremely exciting. I have been fortunate enough to stay in this beautiful town for the last two years while doing uni, travelling back and forth. With [Covid] restrictions coming to an end, our classes are all returning to campus and it is time for me to make the move. I’m extremely excited to see what adventures and opportunities this change will bring. I am looking forward to my courses this year in which I will be working towards a biomedical science specialisation.

“I am extremely grateful for the Rotary Club’s support during my studies. Your generosity has not only been an incredible financial assistance but it has also given me the encouragement and motivation to pursue my academic and personal goals. I would also like to say a huge thank you to my mentor Lynn [Hastings] for her support and guidance throughout this time. I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to be with you all [for the Youth Night]  but look forward to seeing you all at the next meeting.”

Board members Lyn Hastings and Gero Mitchell were among those Rotarians who manned our stall at the Council-organised Seniors’ Expo at Narooma Library on Saturday. Mike Young and Julie Hartley also manned a Prostate Cancer Support Group stand.

From Friday’s Board meeting

  • The Board decided at the previous meeting to form a Business Breakfast Meeting Subcommittee (to meet probably twice/max three times a year) and to invite a couple of regular BB attendees to be part of it. Since then, Sally Bouckley of Southbound Escapes and Andrew and Karen Duggan of Oakleigh Farm have agreed to assist. David and Laurelle have so far volunteered to be on this subcommittee. Any others, please say so this week.
  • The Board has elected David McInnes as the Club’s Public Officer from 10 February 2023, taking over from Rod Walker
  • The Board also appointed David to the Board to fill the casual vacancy created by Andrew’s resignation.
  • The Board decided to slightly expand Club Assemblies to include the occasional guest speaker. Please see below.
  • Our Area Governor Adam de Totth attended the Board meeting, at the Board’s invitation.  


Change in format with Club Assembly 6 for 6.30pm:  David McInnes will talk about his gold mine, potential International Exchange Student Lachie Penglase will address the Club, and members will also discuss some matters raised at the Board meeting. Please let Secretary Gero  know if you are coming by lunchtime on Tuesday.

Out and About

Register for Merimbula Training

Registrations are now open on the District website for District training at Merimbula of 17-19 March. This year, our District is inviting all club members to attend, not just the incoming Board but everyone including new members. Everyone should find areas of interest in the Learning and Development sessions.

Julie Hartley is going for the whole weekend, a car load including Ange Ulrichsen and Laurelle Pacey (others still considering) will probably go just for the Saturday. The full programme is still being developed by the District team.

Rotary Youth Drivers Awareness (RYDA)

This year’s RYDA is on 3-4 April at Moruya Racecourse for all Year 11 students across the Eurobodalla Shire. Narooma High’s day is Tuesday 4th. We need two Club members to assist on that day – Ange has volunteered, so one other please. Our Club pays for the bus for the students.

Rotary Clubs have been running RYDA courses in conjunction with NSW Police for over 20 years.  As Moruya’s bulletin reports this week, “We cannot know how many young lives have been saved, but we confidently say that this combination of Police and Rotary is a highlight of each year.”

Neil Simpson of Batemans Bay Rotary has been involved with RYDA for 14 years, eight of those as organiser. Moruya’s Bulletin reports he is now looking for a successor, an administrator ‘very organized and a little obsessive’, to succeed him.


Our Business Breakfasts resume at Narooma Surf Club on Thursday 16 February at 7am sharp. Our guest speaker will be Shaun Martyn of FairBreak Global who runs a global organisation from his home in Narooma. Please email Laurelle if you are coming by Monday 13 February. Should you want breakfast, it’s $10.

This promises to be both stimulating and inspiring. Shaun will talk about what FairBreak Global does and the challenges of running such an organisation from Narooma. A book has just been launched about FairBreak. FairBreak Global’s mission is to progress gender equality and equity on a truly global scale using cricket as their primary vehicle. They aim to create opportunities across sport, health, business, media, arts and education to empower women to pursue success in their chosen endeavour.