S OUR CLUB IN ince we launched District 9980’s magazine In Gear, that wonderful Waimate club and those dynamic Dunedin Next Rotary Generationers have had the spotlight shone on them as part of our regular feature, showcasing the fantastic attitudes and impressive works among our southern clubs. As I near the end of my district governor’s tenure, and the countdown to May’s annual 9980 conference heats up, for this edition, I can’t go past my Rotary stomping ground of the past 13 years, and the great, great folk who make the Rotary Club of Wanaka something truly special. When long-time Wanaka Rotarian Tony Brown invited me along to a meeting shortly after I moved to town, I desperately wanted to say no … but he’d extended such a warm, enthusiastic and kind welcome, that, frankly, I didn’t have the heart to. Didn’t he see? I was too young, too female, too modern for Rotary. As I sit here in 2017 as 9980’s district governor, apparently not. The reality is, for my husband, Clayton Hope, and me, so special are our clubmates to us, they’re like a second family. They share our values, loyalty, sense of fun, our love of our community and a deep drive to “give back” through meaningful humanitarian works, both in our own backyard and further afield. As Rotary internationally encourages us all to explore new ways to attract, engage and inspire members, Wanaka is a bright beacon of hope. It’s not so long ago that our club’s numbers were dwindling, and a very small group was shouldering the lion’s share of the work. If you missed Tony’s piece in the last In Gear on turning around a struggling club, it really is a must-read – he has his finger so firmly on the membership pulse, Rotary International recently officially recognised his contribution.