At the International Assembly last January, while listening to (now) Rotary International President (RIP), Mark Maloney, I experienced a moment of sudden revelation.
Mark told us that last year we set a Rotary record that we didn’t want to set for the number of people who left our organisation.
From this epiphany was born my “Breaking the Chains” theme for District 9820.
As RIP Mark added: “We already know what the barriers are to an engaged and diverse membership. It is time to act on what we know.”  “Member engagement that is not what it should be; and [we have] a member demographic that skews steadily older”, RIP Mark continued.
We all knew this, but have not responded with the enthusiasm and appetite for change that our “Baby Boomer” generation earned such a great reputation for.
It’s not too late! Let’s lead change again, let’s regain our mojo and focus to get our clubs truly ready for the next generation of Rotarians. We can be groovy again!
"Breaking the Chains" is a shortening of “breaking the chains of the prison of the mind”, as it is in our minds where the true obstacles to progress and adaptability reside. We need to recognise and acknowledge institutional and personal fears; anxiety around change; and recognise group think.
Every club should aspire to be in a stronger position at the end of June 2020 than they were on 1st July 2019. It’s not for the President alone to drive, it’s not for the Board to drive, it’s for the whole club to engage and embrace new strategies for the future.
We are "walking the talk" in District this year too. Big changes have and are happening in District to better support clubs and great care has been taken in the selection of speakers and programme for the District Conference on 20th-22nd March 2020.
Membership Chair, David Hanlon. has a tremendous amount of resources and tools available to help you. Visioning Chair, Phil Dressing, and his team are well trained in facilitation to help you put together your club’s vision for the future. Public Image Chair, Linda Reeve’s team has gone from 1 member to 8 members contributing this year, all dedicated to assisting your club.  
Some major upgrades are also happening in the Youth programmes, championed by Youth Co-Chairs, John Reeve and Rob Cook.  
There will be heavy use made this year of the new Webinar capability that we have added to our IT tools; as our vision is to make all training as accessible as possible, for all District 9820 Rotarians. 
Coming up are the “Breaking the Chains District Governor’s Tour” Cluster events. All Rotarians are encouraged to attend their cluster’s event, as the messages I bring from Rotary International and from District 9820 are for everyone, and I believe they are very inspirational and positive. Wendy will also talk on her Partner Programme “Polio – the End Game”.
It is time to act on what we know!