Rotary Club of Tenterfield installs its youngest president

The Rotary Club of Tenterfield hasn’t been shy in its endeavour to inject some young blood into the organisation, and its success was evident on Tuesday night with the installation of 29-year-old Skye Stapleton as its new president.

Ms Stapleton will be supported by a committee she feels is a balanced combination of experience and fresh ideas. Her secretary for 2018/19 is Melissa Blum, another of the club’s new guard.

Also on the board of directors are Christine Foster (executive secretary), Karen Tapscott (treasurer), Ralph Manser (vice president), Caitlin Reid (promotions and president elect), Harry Bolton (Rotary Foundation), Jim Byrne (youth service), Frances Overell (club service), Jan Cross (community service), Yvonne Horn (membership) and Keith Butler (immediate past president).

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In her acceptance of the office regalia Ms Stapleton announced she was keen to see the causes supported by the club to continue, but to lift the club’s profile. 

“One of my goals for this year is to improve the public perception and understand who and what Rotary is in Tenterfield,  and that we’re more than just events,” she said.

Those events include Halloween Night, Jazz in the Bush (coming up November 3), Christmas Carnival (December 6), Braidies Trivia Night (just gone), and many raffles, street stalls and movie nights.

The club continues to sponsor local teenagers to attend Rotary camps, and to transport Tenterfield High School year 11 students to the driver awareness program in Tamworth. Rotary Youth Exchange student Aaron Blacker is currently in Japan, and the club will soon welcome a Japanese student in return.

Local schools also continue to receive the club’s financial support in the form of sponsorships, as did the Tenterfield Tennis Association, Men’s Shed, Show Society, Community College, Social Development Committee and Let’s Talk Mothers Playgroup, plus the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

Local donations along with Rotary initiatives including Rotary Health, Rotary Foundation, Orange Sky Laundry, School of St Jude, Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children, Shelterbox, disaster relief in Fiji and Polio Plus brought the contributions of the Tenterfield club to $19,298 for the past year.

Special guest at the handover was District Governor Darrell Brown, who spoke of Rotary International’s incredible success in reducing polio cases by 99.9 per cent since 1988, partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Closer to home, 2017/18 Rotary International president Ian Risely had said protecting the environment and curbing climate change were essential to Rotary’s goal of sustainable service, and challenged every Rotary club to make a difference by planting a tree for each of its members by Earth Day on April 22, 2018. The new grove of golden elm trees at Rugby Park – one for each Tenterfield member – met that challenge.

Membership-wise Mr Brown said the organisation was on the road to recovery with more younger members, more balance, and more women. The Tenterfield club is evidence of that.

 A highlight of the club’s changeover dinner – its 72nd – was the announcement of six Paul Harris Fellowship recipients, each reflecting a US$1000 contribution to the Rotary Foundation. Geoff Sullivan received his third Sapphire (initial fellowship plus three more), Karen Tapscott her second Sapphire and Ralph Manser his first Sapphire. Christine Foster, Jan Cross and Yvonne Horn each became Paul Harris Fellows.

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