Sharing and caring the conference theme
THINKING outside the box is the unofficial motto of an innovative Rotary conference coming to Ballina next week.
In fact the event which has the theme Rotary Shares Because Rotary Cares, is so big it has taken the skills and resources of three clubs to create and manage.
From May 5 to 8, the District 9640 Conference will be held at the Ballina RSL and is hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Ballina, Ballina-on-Richmond and Alstonville, will see more than 450 Rotarians and their partners and families descend upon coastal town.
Conference chair Col Lee AOM, of the Ballina-on-Richmond Rotary Club, said the organisers have invited a wide range of speakers to address members on everything from key issues facing their communities to topics of interest to Australians in general.
"Our speakers include Ita Buttrose AO OBE, distinguished journalist Kerry O'Brien and Noel Pearson the Aboriginal Australian lawyer, academic and land rights activist,” he said.
"We believe we have speakers to suit every taste encompassing a wide range of topics to entertain and enlighten us all.”
Mr Lee said they are fortunate to also have Professor Lyn Griffiths, Rotary International director Noel Trevaskis, DG Stephen Lamont, Rebekka Battista, Rowdy McLean, Paul Rippon, Mark Pampling, past RI president Bill Boyd, MC Lloyd Morris and a special guest performance by Rachael Beck.
He said the conference could not have gone ahead if it were not for the incredible input from members of the three clubs and the support of their families, local businesses and organisations.
Mr Lee said not only was the conference a great opportunity for Rotarians to come together and exchange ideas, solutions to challenges and inspire each other, it was also good for local businesses who would benefit from the surge of visitors.
"We estimate the conference will bring around half a million dollars into the Ballina economy,” he said.
"Many of the attendees will be staying from Friday night and then a couple of days after the conference to visit the area and enjoy all the sights, restaurants and shopping.”
He explained District 9640 cuts across the New South Wales and Queensland border.
"Our district has 52 clubs, nearly 1300 members,” hesaid.
"It runs between Grafton in the south-east, Glen Innes in the south-west, Goondiwindi in the north-west and the Gold Coast in the north-east”.
Mr Lee said the conference will benefit the charities Our House, an accommodation facility providing cancer patients of the Lismore Cancer Clinic and their families a place to stay at a low cost whilst the patient is receiving treatment and Southern Cross Learn About Driving Skills (Southern Cross LADS), a not-for-profit organisation located in the Northern Rivers Region of NSW, founded by members who have been impacted by, and are actively concerned about, the number of vehicle crashes, in particular those involving young people.