THREE years ago, Rotary clubs around the world were tasked with creating experimental “satellite” groups to attract new members who may not fit into the traditional mould of a Rotarian.
One of those clubs was the Rotary Club of Wendouree.
Yesterday, the Alfredton Rotary Satellite Club – formed out of the Wendouree Club – became the Rotary Club of Alfredton and the first of those satellite clubs around the world to become a fully chartered branch.
At a lunch at the Ballarat Golf Club, foundation Alfredton Rotarian Jill Oliver was presented the badge and chain of office by Rotary district governor Ken McInerney and Wendouree club president Rae Macleod.
The moment was celebrated by Rotarians throughout the region.
Ms Oliver said the Rotary Club of Alfredton would be different to most Rotary clubs.
“Our club doesn’t follow the usual tradition of Rotary clubs,” she said. “A lot of clubs have a very traditional format, which might include a guest speaker and formal rituals.
“We don’t. We just get on with our meetings.
“We’re a new way of doing Rotary, using Facebook and email. We meet every Monday at 6pm at the Alfredton Sports and Community Centre and our meetings only go for an hour.”
The Alfredton Rotary Satellite Club formed around eight former Wendouree members and four new inductees.
It has since grown to 24 members, with a further five waiting to be inducted.
Even before being formally chartered, the branch has been active, contributing to a host of projects.
These include donating 1000 pairs of work boots to the Ballarat East Men’s Shed, Creswick Men’s Shed, McCallum Industries, BRI, multicultural men’s group, Finding Futures and Ballarat Specialist School Farm and providing five pallets of work boots to East Timor in a joint venture with the Eaglehawk Rotary Club.
Other donations include 3000 bras to third world countries through Project Uplift, a paddle to the Dragons Abreast Club, medical equipment to a clinic in Bali and books to the Wendouree West Community Centre Lending Library.
At yesterday’s ceremony, Ms Oliver and fellow Alfredton Rotarian Kathy Rivett were recognised as Paul Harris Fellows for their outstanding commitment to the organisation.