Report from President Ric Mejias
Thank you, Past President Shelley and the entire Board for the privilege to serve Berrima Rotary as this year's President. In doing so I hope to continue the great legacy of those that have served and continue to serve in the work we provide many in our local and international communities.
I acknowledge our Board old and new for the great service above self. They invest a great deal of time on projects to help others. The work can be thankless at times and I really do appreciate all the board has done. Sadly time restrictions prevent me from recognising ALL our members and friends so allow me to do the highlights version and at the very least formally recognise
  • Past President Shelley
  • New Board and Officers:
    • Secretary: Mignon Aistrope
    • A/Secretary & Youth Protection Officer: John Macpherson
    • Treasurer: Martin Fenaughty
    • Club Service: Frank Rodrigues
    • Community Service: Chris Webb
    • International Service: Barry Barford
    • Vocational Service: Lyndall Dalley
    • Youth: Bridget Cosyn
    • The Rotary Foundation: Mignon Aistrope
    • Sergeant at Arms John Smythe
My goals for our year ahead
  • Return to some normality for meetings. 
    • Join us each 2nd Wed 12 pm (formal+board), 4th Wed 6 pm (fun),  and 5th Wed (Vocational visit)of each month.  
      • 8th July we met to discuss the year ahead and have a Board meeting.
      • 22nd July fundraiser $35 for 3-course Spanish dinner and cooking lesson click here to BOOK NOW
      • 29th July we GIVE BACK to Empire Cinema BOOK NOW
  • Service for others. We will continue to help others locally and abroad and service to others this year will include helping our project leaders and board and youth.
  • Youth mentoring with the inclusion of youth on all projects we take on where possible
  • Growing our reach thru more members, and more projects.
    • One of many examples of a new Project:
      • Rotary Berrima is now a CREATIVE KID's PROVIDER and we are seeking $5000 NSW Grant to support more youth in Wingecarribee. 
  • Recognition of members, friends of Rotary and others in the community like RFS, SES, our Hospitals.
    • Certificate of Service awarded to:
  • Past President Shelley awarded: a Rotary pin, a Rotary necklace and a Certificate of Service
  • Treasurer Martin Fenaughty
  • Secretary Mignon Aistrope
  • Executive Secretary John MacPherson 
  • The Prestigious  OUTSTANDING ROTARY AWARD (ORA) will be announced further in the coming weeks and months.
Berrima Rotary has a great team of members, board and officers and ALL provide us with INSPIRATION.
LET US ALL look to INSPIRE and mentor new members and youth in our projects this year.
I’d like us to consider PEOPLE in all our projects. What can we do a lot together INSPIRE PEOPLE as People of Action as together Rotary OPENS Opportunities.
Presidents Report - Shelley Boyce
We come to end of what has been a year to remember, we have found our community facing unprecedented hardship, years of draught followed by bushfires that devasted many parts of the Highlands.  With over sixty homes lost, the equivalent number of properties who lost fences shedding and infrastructure in the fires, leaving in its wake hardship, trauma, anxiety for those trying bravely to rise from the ashes.
I suppose we thought that we had reached our limit when the Covid 19 hit and we were thrown into a panic, lockdown, social distancing, loss of jobs, income, and sense of purpose. Families learning to live 24-7 together, home schooling, shortage of supplies and isolation.
Those in our community that were in most need of support from Bushfires were now also in lockdown and even more isolated than before.  As Rotarians, we are always first to give help Despite all the hardship the club managed to keep in touch with Zoom, staying up to date by telephone and continuing to look for ways to help.  Looking for ways of putting ‘Service above Self in our everyday life’
We spoke a lot about change this year, taking a critical look at our club and at what we can do to make our meetings welcome and relevant.  Making meeting times flexible and providing options that might encourage new members and give older members a fresh look at what a Rotary meeting can be.  More discussion on this will prove beneficial and perhaps bring back the ‘Hay Days’ of Berrima Rotary when meetings were well attended, good fund, informative, engaging and we were all involved and doing great work in our community and the world.  These are some of the highlights of the year presented by Rotarians who made a difference.
INTERNATIONAL SERVICE – Medical Aid for Oceania and Worldwide (MAFO) - Barry Barford
Demand for medical aid shipments and logistics planning continued to grow during the year, and while coronavirus restrictions had a significant impact on air freight, sea freight remained largely unaffected apart from schedule disruptions caused by quarantine delays. For the first time ever, less-than-container-load (LCL) shipments outnumbered full container loads (FCL) 56 per cent to 19 per cent. This is a good development as it allows for greater flexibility and removes the temptation to fill unused container space with unwanted goods.  Despite international airline fleet groundings because of the pandemic, air freight accounted for a healthy 25 per cent of shipments. A total of 63 consignments were handled during the year. MAFO’s original region, Oceania, was the dominant recipient of donations this year and the project now covers almost the entire Pacific from French Polynesia to the Philippines. Australia’s more immediate northern neighbours, Papua New Guinea and East Timor were also served. Africa fell a little with India and South-East Asia remaining roughly the same as the previous year. This year is MAFO’s 10th year of operation and the eighth year of formal partnership with Ramsay Health Care.
COVID- 19 RESPONSE – Alan  Cuppitt
When the reality of the COVID 19 health disaster became apparent there was a sudden realisation by the health and political establishment that there was a massive shortage of medical equipment to cope. A chance contact between Rotarian Allen Cupitt, walking the dog and Janina Rodrigues, driving to work as the Workforce Manager Human Resources at Bowral & District Hospital discussed a shortage of non-touch digital thermometers for the Hospital.
Allen initially sent an email out to Club Members:  “I was made aware this morning the hospital has a need for some digital thermometers, and they have an order in the will take a further minimum of three weeks. The problem they have to scan all staff, visitors every time they come in for an elevated temperature.  They are using the ear thermometers that require a disposable cover every time they used.  Can you please put out a call on your social media accounts for any touchless thermometers that people may have in their medical supplies at home?  The need is great, they are planning to have to triage many people coming in over the next weeks and these devices can help.  I am happy to collect them too.”  Allen then found and ordered 5 for the Club on ebay. A couple of days later the first 5 thermometers were delivered to the delighted of the Hospital team.  With the support of Bowral Mittagong and Moss Vale Clubs a total of 11 Thermometers were supplied to the Hospital and the cost shared between the Clubs.  The whole exercise shows how quickly Rotary and Rotarians can identify and solve a problem.
Berrima All Abilities Playground - Derek White
"The Berrima Marketplace All-Abilities Playground Upgrade project was finally approved by Council during the year at a total expected cost well in excess of the $272,000 grant funding with the balance being made up by the Council.  Several delays were encountered due to the need to address several  Heritage issues and because of the difficulty in finding a suitable contractor to perform the total works and COVID constraints.  The contract has been let to Growth Civil Landscapes to undertake the playground upgrade.  I have had two (2) trees removed that impacted on the new playground footprint in preparation for the upgrade. Neighbouring properties were advised before these trees were removed.
Growth Civil Landscapes have submitted a revised layout plan that required a modification of the Development Application to be lodged.  Some minor changes to the equipment locations were required for fall distance compliance.  This has been approved within WSC following the necessary procedures.  Please note that the bubbler relocation and the bench seat shown on the righthand side of the plan are not included in this Project.  The sterling efforts of the WSC Project Manager to move this project along as quickly as possible have been much appreciated."
YOUTH REPORT- Bridget Cosyn
Youth programmes supported by the Club this year have delivered wonderful outcomes.
  • The 4 Way Test Public Speaking Competition
  • RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award)
  • NYFS - Nation Youth Science Forum
  • RYPEN – Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment.
The 4 Way Public Speaking Competition in Sept had the most participants from nearly all the local schools in recent years. Brodie's speech was shown at the District conference in March via video. Her topic was about Rural and Regional Remote Mental Health was very relevant considering the past few months of drought and fire disasters.
NYSF - Chloe Johnson attended NYSF in Brisbane. She presented her report via Zoom which was not only engaging but also appropriate for the times! This year she has encouraged a fellow student to apply, that's a testament to how beneficial attending the Forum was for her.
RYLA - Lyndall shall report - I can attest that our candidate, Michael, returned from the week a much more confident and engaged person.
RYPEN - Due to district restructuring it was too difficult for participants to attend this year. 
Bridget, Lyndall and Melissa was invited to attend Oxley College assembly to present Jade Gillis the medallion for the District 4 way Test and support Skye Holmwood with the NYSF presentation. Bridget presented a Rotary Youth programme video to inform potential applicants.
RFS fund raising success.  140% of Monies raised purchased RFS weather stations.
 During the Australia Day celebrations in Berrima, the Wingecarribee Vocal Muster (WVM), Leo Sayer, John Waters, and others performed for the benefit of RFS.  WVM volunteers performed in great spirit and WVM partnered with Berrima Rotary to fund raise for RFS. Our Rotarians collected almost $5000 during the performance and thru the marketplace, the pub, and the main street with their trusty buckets. $5000 was converted by Rotary to about $7000 worth of 19 x Kestrel Pocket Weather stations so that EVERY RFS Brigade in the Southern Highlands would receive one.
On Sunday 23rd February, the Rotary Club of Berrima District and Richard Lane of Wingecarribee Vocal Muster (WVM) presented the Berrima RFS with 19 x Kestrel 3000 Meters.  One meter for each of the 19 RFS Units in the Southern Highlands.
The Rotary Foundation
Continuing past practice of collecting $5 per head per lunch attended, the Club donated $AS1775 to the Foundation as at 30th April 2020.  Within this amount 11 members contributed $AS100 or more thus qualifying as Centurions.  The previous year’s donation totalled $AS2370.
Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM)
The Club again met the RAM challenge of  ‘$500 per Club per annum’ through the generosity of Rose Conley, Alan Schofield and John Macpherson donating a total of $1200. (2018/19 $900).
Originally sponsored by the Club in 2012/13, and having regard to the original objective of reaching out to 20,000 children, the following story provided by Jennifer Star is apposite.  
Stories of success: (name removed for privacy)
……….’s father died when she was in year 3, leaving her mother to bring up three daughters on the money she made selling dried fish. Tragedy struck the family again, seven years later, when ……….’s younger sister died from a meningitis infection in a hospital carpark, because the family didn’t have enough money to pay her hospital admission fees. 
Tara.Ed first provided ………. with a Tara.Ed Star Kids Scholarship in 2009, when she was in year 5. The Star Kids scholarship provided ………. with a fully funded place in a residential hostel close to the school and covered her tuition fees, school uniform and books.
………. completed her year 10 school certificate exams with flying colours, gaining admission to a competitive science college where, in her year 12 exams, she placed first in her class and won a scholarship to study a combined nursing and pharmacy degree at university. Driven to work in healthcare to ensure that other children didn't suffer the same fate as her little sister, ………. graduated from university in 2019 with a distinction average. She is now working as a paediatric nurse at Holy Spirit hospital in Mumbai.
………. is just one of the 20 828 lives that Tara.Ed has changed since 2008.
Given numerous insurmountable problems in India, Tara.Ed is expected to close later this year. Any surplus funds will be directed to the teacher support programme established in Bangladesh as an extension of the teacher training component of Tara. Ed.
RYLA- Lyndall Dalley, District Chair
The Rotary Youth Leadership Award programme (RYLA) is a challenging 7-day residential program for young people aged 18 to 25 which offers a unique opportunity for motivated individuals to access some influential and inspirational speakers and trainers. With presentations, workshops and exercises, attendees are introduced to concepts of effective leadership including: Leadership Theory, Communication, Resilience, Mental Health, Values & Ethics and Conflict Resolution & Mindfulness. 
It’s a challenging programme and this year turned out to be more challenging than most.  We had 60 participants from across D9700 and D9710 and over a third of them were mid evacuation from their homes due to the bushfires.  Threatening fire fronts and toxic bushfire smoke inundation in and around Canberra had our programme in a holding pattern.  On the evening before our planned start date I heard from the RFS who said we were good to go.  Our comprehensive Risk Management Plan, including an evacuation plan, gave them the confidence to allow our programme to go ahead.  The National Youth Science programme had been cancelled a week prior due to smoke in Canberra and we also had to keep in mind that if we were evacuated many of our participants would be unable to travel home due to bushfire evacuations in their home towns.    So, armed with a boot full of P2 masks we headed off for a vastly different RYLA experience.  Teaching young people about leadership and resilience in a time when their world was so uncertain was incredibly challenging … but we made it through with excellent results.  We had to juggle our guest speakers and introduce some live video lectures as two of them were isolated by the bushfires in Victoria.  As you can probably imagine the mental health component of the programme was more important than ever this year.  Our Club’s candidate, Michael Connoly, was a star!  It is a privilege to watch people you know go through the programme and see the real changes in them by the end of the week.  I wish to thank all involved in the programme with special thanks to Julia McGrath, our 2018 candidate, who did an amazing job returning as a first year Mentor; Bridget Cosyn who gave everyone shoulders to cry on and ensured that we all ate very well for the duration and Melissa Meredith.  Melissa has retired from her role on the Board after 6 years.  She has done an amazing job and has been so supportive of the Board, the Mentors, and the participants.  She will be greatly missed. 
    The Rotary Club of Berrima District (RCBD) is a bit different from other clubs in the area.  We are a smaller Club with a very big agenda.  Internationally, we are partnering with Ramsay Health Australia to re-assign surplus medical equipment to third world countries where there is a critical need for such equipment.  We call this our MAfO Project (Medical Aid for Oceania.  We are also currently fundraising to provide and install some all abilities play equipment into the park at Marketplace,  Berrima. We take both our work and our fun very seriously.  In general we focus on the young folks both in our area and internationally, and aim to help the community become the best they can be.  Curious yet?  Just contact us on  to learn more.
    Club Executives & Directors
    Director Vocational Service
    Director Club Service
    Director International
    Director Rotary Foundation
    Director Youth
    Public Officer
    Youth Protection Officer
    Immediate Past President
    Director Community Service
    Executive Secretary/Director

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    People of Action in service above self

    We meet In Person
    Wednesdays at 12:00 PM
    Bowral Bowling Club
    40 Shepherd St
    Bowral, NSW 2576
    0409 122 141
    12pm, the 2nd Wed of each month at Bowral Bowling Club (guest speaker, general & board meeting), & 6 pm, the 4th Wed of each month. Venue TBA. (fun night to raise money for a cause), & 6 pm, the 5th Wed of each month. Venue TBA. (vocational visit)