On Saturday 9th April, 2011, Eastern Suburbs Rotaract became official.

Having jumped out of a plane that morning, I was a bit worse for wear and functioning on minimal sleep. However, the evening was a huge success! I thought I would share my speech with you, as I am too tired to be writing a blog about it. Enjoy!

As some of you may be aware, for Lent this year, I gave up Facebook. However, I still receive random emails notifying me when someone has commented on our clubs Facebook Fan Page. The other day I saw that a friend of mine from Crosslands Rotaract, Krissie Bredin, had written on our wall asking us “Are you ready to be born”.

That got me thinking for a couple of days, which believe me, is quite rare with my short attention span. I started to think of our club as a tree. We started off as a seed, all the way back in 2007 when a few Rotaractors including our one and only MC, Steve Lovison, pitched the idea to the District that we needed 5 new Rotaract clubs that could work with existing clubs. Unfortunately, nothing ever came from that, but the seed was planted.

Fast forward to 2009, when as a Rotarian in Sydney CBD Rotary I was volunteering at an Anzac Day BBQ. It was there that I met the wonderful Jeremy Charles, a Past President, and past District Rotaract Representative. It wasn’t until over a year later when, on a day out with some of my friends from RYLA I ran into a Jeremy again. That night, Jeremy and I caught up, and he pitched the idea to me that I should initiate what would be known as Bondi Junction Rotaract. I had never thought that I had the ability within me to start a club, but Jeremy thought otherwise. The thing was, I was actually moving to Wollongong, so I decided I would help to form Kiama Rotaract instead.

As you can probably tell by me standing before you today, I didn’t end up moving to Wollongong. I instead stayed in Sydney, and with the encouragement, support and enthusiasm that Jeremy gave me, I went about setting up this club. Hence, the seed developed into a seed with leaves, as we now had an actual person attached to it.

From there, many sleepless nights ensued, as I wanted to get this Rotaract club set up as soon as I could. I’ve never been one for patience! With the support of our DRR, Elaine Lim, Bondi Junction and Kings Cross Rotary kindly agreed to be our sponsors. It was then that we decided that the club would be named Eastern Suburbs Rotaract. After our information night in November, I was able to round up 6 more members, which therefore turned our club into a seedling.

For the next couple of months, we continued to grow. From word of mouth, utilising our networks, marketing through social media, and the support of the most amazing Rotarian around, Paul Ward Harvey, we continued to grow. And that’s when we officially became a small tree, having reached 15 members, which is what we needed in order to charter.

Since that day, over a month ago, we have continued to grow. I like to think of our members as individual branches, with every leaf on that branch symbolising a fantastic trait that they bring to the table. Whether it be Airyn and her passion, Elena and her organisational skills, or Kristy and her down to earth approach, we are ALL critical leaves in ensuring this clubs success.

During the past few months we have had professional development sessions, suit drives, blood drives, helped at senior citizens parties, packed hampers for disadvantaged people, cleaned up Neilson Park, and had a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

Believe me when I say that this is just the beginning. Our club is a growing tree, and in a few years, just like other clubs around our district, we will be a mature tree, with knowledge and experience embedded into us. We are Eastern Suburbs Rotaract, and we are creating change through action.