In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 7

t s u J tered! r a h C Rotary’s youngest-ever president at 22, Australian Holly Ransom didn’t mince her words after taking up an invitation from 9980’s past-district governor, Jonathan Usher, to share her perspective with members. Not only did she spell out the perceptions she held before joining Rotary – “male, pale and stale” – but her surprise at discovering, of Rotary’s global membership, just two percent were under 30 and only 12 percent were women. Sitting in the audience that day in May 2015 was Rotary Club of Dunedin Central’s Susanah Walker, then 37, a fashion designer, who owns boutique clothing brand NOOZ. She enjoyed her club, and made its traditional format work for her, but knew, for her friends, it wasn’t a good fit at all. That got her thinking … and into action. By that July, Dunedin’s fledgling NRG club had held its inaugural meeting. As well as rock-solid backing from 9980 district governor Janice Hughes, NRG has enjoyed strong support, advice and practical help through her Dunedin Central club, particularly from president Derek King, and long-time champion Jonathan, Susanah says. In all, NRG has raised more than $35,000 to date, turning their skills and talents to everything from organisation and co-ordination, to security and traffic management, marketing, innovating and relationship- building. In the past two years, they’ve tackled countless projects, including the highly-successful Dunedin Brick Show, to which NRG is now an official partner, designing and delivering “kiddy distraction packs” for Dunedin Hospital’s emergency department, and co-ordinating corporate “jumbo tennis”. NRG also puts its weight behind organisations and events like Parent-to-Parent, which supports families of children with disabilities, children’s counselling service ChatBus, Foster Hope Dunedin, and HopeWalk, run ... rather than getting too by the Life Matters Suicide hung up about age, we like Prevention Trust. to just think of ourselves as ‘young-spirited’.” Late last year, NRG Dunedin members Shannon and Mark Clarke travelled to Thailand Susanah Walker, and Cambodia with the Rotary Dunedin NRG president Project Starfish mission, which As young included staying at the Rescue professionals, students and parents, what the new Mission for Children to roll out horticultural, dental and members lacked in free time, they more than made up medical projects. (See the full story on page 52.) for in ideas, enthusiasm and social conscience. Of the current membership, Dunedin’s average age is With Jonathan’s help, Susanah oversaw NRG’s very 26. first project, a “pop-up op shop” which raised $6500 “In reality, we range from 20 to 40-plus – rather than for Adisyn’s Hope for Others, a cause spearheaded by getting too hung up about age, we like to just think of fellow NRG member Emmerson Morgan, and named ourselves as ‘young-spirited’,” Susanah says. for her daughter. With the proceeds, Emmerson has “We have a great mix of members – business owners, just donated three CuddleCots to Dunedin Hospital’s managers, stay-at-home parents, marketers, truck Queen Mary Maternity Centre for