Letter from the District Governor

I was pleased to see so many Rotarians from across the District at our conference in Wagga as we embraced Rotary International President Jennifer Jones' theme Imagine Rotary.

We were inspired by speakers including the Toilet Warrior Mark Balla, mountain climber Rick Agnew, Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor Renee Leon, and the breakout speakers from across our district and Rotary programs. Thank you to all speakers and attendees for embracing the theme and the future of Rotary.

In the last few weeks, we have seen evidence of why Rotary's commitment to the environment is so important, with floods across our district communities, notably in the Central West. I encourage you to embrace Rotary's initiatives to support these communities.

Finally, the Zone 8 conference in Canberra - a shared Rotary-Rotaract event - showed the diversity of service programs and initiatives across our part of the world. Thank you to the organisers and local hosts for their work welcoming Rotarians and Rotaractors from across the Zone.

District Governor Geraldine Rurenga

An Open Letter to District Rotarians from 'the Toilet Warrior'
Hi everyone,
Here I am sitting on my Rex flight back to Melbourne after spending the weekend with all of you in Wagga Wagga. I’m told that as I’m not a local I shouldn’t call Wagga Wagga Wagga so I will stick to the convention of calling Wagga Wagga Wagga Wagga.
What a wonderful weekend! What a wonderful welcome! What a wonderful conference!
Everyone I met at your conference made me feel so at ease. This is one of the beautiful things about Rotary. The default position when you meet another Rotarian anywhere in the world is that you are automatically friends. District 9705 epitomises this to a tee.
The conference started on such a high note with Geraldine bravely singing alone on stage. I think I would have fainted! Of course, she didn’t have to sing alone for long as she was joined by that amazing choir and the host of Rotarians in the hall. Truly one of my all time favourite songs, perfectly aligned to Jennifer Jones’ theme for the year and so very uplifting. I doubt any district in the world could offer a more perfect start to their conference!
RIPPR Sarita truly did a ripper of a job I’m sure you will all agree. So much of what she had to say in her talk resonated deeply with me. I was particularly pleased to hear her highlighting the power of numbers. One sausage sizzle might not be a lot but when you add them up, wow! The sky is the limit.
I admit to having a few nerves as I walked onto the stage to tell you my story. I always do and I’ll be upfront with you. The day I don’t feel those nerves will be a very sad day for me. As you no doubt saw, I love telling my Toilet Warrior story. For me the real beauty of it lies in its simplicity. If you provide clean toilets and hygiene education in schools, everyone in the community benefits, especially the girls and women. 
I am deeply appreciative of the feedback I have received from so many of you since my talk. My passion for improving the lives of the most underprivileged girls and women knows no bounds. It is most humbling to think that have been given this opportunity to share this passion with so many people around the world.
After lunch I was joined by a number of Rotarians for a workshop on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. What an interesting and animated session that was. So many insightful and brave words were shared. I came away from the session with so many ideas to take to my own club and I certainly felt that all others in attendance benefited in this way as well.
The social gatherings on both Friday and Saturday were yet more wonderful examples of District 9705 strutting it’s stuff. Especially those lederhosen!
Thank you all for you hospitality, your friendship and your service to those in need in your community, in our country and around the world.
All the best from your friend. Hope to see you in Melbourne for the RI Convention or perhaps even at some of your clubs on Zoom. 
Mark Balla
District 9705 Newsletter
Uluru Statement from the Heart
During the recent Annual Conference, Reconciliation, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion were the themes around much of the conversations, talks, projects and entertainment. One key element of the Reconciliation journey is the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart.
This short 4 minute video expresses the Statement by Mr Thomas Mayor at a recent Rotary dinner in Melbourne. It is worth the 4 minutes!
RYLA Gala Dinner
RYLA 2023 is a challenging 7 day residential program for young people aged 18 to 30 that provides a unique opportunity for motivated individuals to be introduced to concepts of effective leadership.
The program lasts from Saturday 7 January to Friday 13 January 2023 at Warrambui Retreat and Conference Centre at 322 Greenwood Road, Murrumbateman NSW 2582
There is a dinner on Monday 9 January 2023 commencing 6.00 for 6.30 pm open to all Rotarians and Rotaractors.  This is a great opportunity to meet RYLArians, have a great meal and find out all about RYLA. If your club is sponsoring a RYLArian this is also a great way to show them some support during the week (please note that RYLArians themselves do not need to register for the dinner). 
To register for this dinner, please click THIS LINK and complete the details.  The cost is $35 per person which includes a main, dessert and two drink tokens.  
All those involved in organising RYLA 2023 look forward to seeing you at the dinner.
Central West Flood Relief
Our District is taking steps to provide emergency relief for the many people affected by flooding in Central West NSW.   
Indigenous Health Initiative
Indigenous Australians have disproportionally poor health outcomes caused by many lifestyle-related chronic diseases. With your help, we aim to make a difference.
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