Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Power of Community

At various stages we are all a little guilty of going through life in a self centred way, worrying about the personal at the exclusion of everything else. Every now and then it is good to be reminded that we are all but one part of a much bigger community, all looking out for each other, being able to provide assistance and support when required. The concern and support provided during natural disasters is one major example of this (think about Black Saturday, the floods earlier this year, Cyclone Yasi and the Christchurch earthquake), but today I'd like to write about two local, recent examples.

The first concerns a pretty well known service organisation that has recently been established in the Kinglake Ranges.

Worldwide there are over 1.2 million Rotarians in almost 33,000 clubs. In Australia there are about 33,000 members in about 1,160 clubs. For those not familiar of what Rotary does, their website provides a great summary of the who, what, where, how and why of Rotary.

Focussing on the local aspect, since the Black Saturday bushfires Rotary have funded projects worth over $700,000 in the Kinglake Ranges area. This includes substantial support to the Kinglake Ranges Business Network, the donation of marquees for community use, and the funding of the construction of Ellimatta, a new local youth centre.

The last six months had seen a number of meetings held to look at the establishment of a Rotary group in Kinglake, culminating in a dinner held at the Toolangi Tavern on Saturday 26th February to celebrate the formation of Kinglake Ranges Rotary. Further information on Kinglake Ranges Rotary can be found here.

Personally, Rotary's support has funded part of  the operating costs of the Kinglake Ranges Business Centre, which has in turn allowed a place for the rebuilding of my business after the fires.

Having grown up understanding the importance of community service (my dad was a member of Lions for a number of years), I am now a Charter member of Kinglake Ranges Rotary. Our Rotary club will be involved in a number of projects that will help in the rebuilding of our community, which can only be a good thing for the Kignlake Ranges.

The second example combined a bit of fun for the community with a fundraising activity for the specific purpose of assisting one of the families in the Kinglake Ranges community.

This blog is being written just after our return from this event. The weather could not have been better, with a cloudless sky and just a slight breeze. The walkers (for I am no runner!) utilised part of the newly created walking path between the Middle Kinglake Primary School and the Kinglake township. And it felt good to do some excerise on a Sunday morning, instead of sitting in front of the TV watching Insiders.

A few hundred people joined in, to raise $6,100 for the Dove family. A brilliant result!

Thanks must go the Pheasant Creek Fitness Centre for organising the event. These things aren't easy to put together, but this was well organised, including refreshments for participants (thank you to Kinglake West CFA for cooking up the egg and bacon sandwhich prior to the walk and the hamburger after I finished the walk), activities for the kids, plus a showbag for all participants.

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