2nd Edition                                                                               13 April 2020 
Welcome everyone to the 2nd edition of “STAYING CONNECTED”.
I am pleased to say our members are healthy and at the moment coping with the stage 3 isolation restrictions being enforced on us all. Over the last week I have been making calls to Club Presidents to see how they, their club members and their families are doing in a time of dramatic change, (no, I have not called everyone yet, you will be called).
The COVID 19 virus has, in a way, impacted Rotary the same as the introduction of women into Rotary did.  Rotary clubs have had to make a choice.  Accept the “new world” and make a difference or cease to exist. I am pleased to say, that our female membership is now 32.92% and delighted that nearly every club is conducting regular meetings (including with guest speakers or TedEx talks), and Board meetings via Zoom, teleconferencing, or other platforms, and attendance for some is even higher than before.  As a District this new challenge is making us stronger and more committed to remaining connected with each other.
I am trying to get to every club’s meeting between now and the end of this Rotary year.  I am pleased to say that I have farewelled one of our Youth Exchange students, Clemence via Zoom, attended numerous first time meetings, including a PJ Party,  which have been a lot of laughs as people learn to use the cameras and audio equipment.  I am very pleased with the way the Rotarians of D9810 are still having fun and enjoying their meetings.
Breaking News  RI President Mark Maloney will be attending our next President’s Meeting on the 8th May. We will be changing our meeting time to 9:00 am to enable RI President Mark to join us.
Stay safe, be positive and have FUN.
Youth Exchange - Message from Rotary International President Mark Maloney
Dear Rotary Youth Exchange family,  
The health and safety of our members, program participants, and volunteers are our top priorities. I wanted to take a moment to reach out to our Rotary Youth Exchange students, their families, and the many volunteer host families. We are closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and continuously assessing its potential impact on programs like Rotary Youth Exchange.  
Rotary International staff have been in regular communication with our district Youth Exchange leaders to keep them informed, share facts and resources from international health authorities like the World Health Organization, and assist them in making decisions as they assess the impact this dynamic and uncertain situation to prioritize safety and minimize risk to students, their families, host families, and their communities.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of this situation, many districts have been faced with making difficult decisions, including whether to end exchanges early. And while I know that these decisions are of course a disappointment to the many students and families that have cut short their otherwise amazing exchange experiences, rest assured they are not taken lightly. Our district leaders are doing their best to ensure our students are safe and supported. And if students are continuing their exchange, we are supporting districts to remain vigilant as the situation may change in the future, and to engage students while still keeping them safe and following social distancing guidelines.
Check Rotary.org for our latest information on COVID-19's impact on the program and continue to work with your Rotary club and district leaders to address any questions or concerns that you may have.
You can also reach out directly to the Rotary Youth Exchange team at Rotary International at youthexchange@rotary.org.
Please accept my best wishes for the health and safety of your family and of all the members of the Rotary family in your area.  
Kindest regards,
Mark Daniel Maloney
2019-2020 President, Rotary International
The Youth Exchange committee for D9810, have been working hard to ensure the students here and overseas are all safe and are in constant contact with them and their families.  On behalf of the District, I would like to thank the committee for the time and effort they have put into ensuring everyone is looked after at this time.
Webinar Federal Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Please register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
If you would like to ask the Minister a question during the Q&A session, you please forward your questions to secretary@rotary9820.org.au prior to the close of business Monday 13th April AEST
Webinar Speakers
Adrian Froggatt
District Governor for Rotary District 9820 2019-2020. Rotary Club of Berwick
Greg Hunt
The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Rotarian, Federal Member for Flinders, Federal Minister for Health
The Federal Minister for Health is responsible for national health and wellbeing and medical research. The Hon Greg Hunt MP has served as Minister for Health since 2017 and has represented the Electorate of Flinders since 2001.
District Governor 2022/23 – Ken Miller
Great News Ken Miller of RC Emerald & District has been selected as the successful candidate for District Governor D9810 in 2022/23. The appointment will be confirmed after the 14 day challenge period expires on 20 April 2020.
Ken is the current District Communications/Public Image Chair.
Staying Connected with schools, supporters and partner organisations
With schools to resume in Term 2, for those clubs with Interact, Earlyact clubs and relationships with schools, we need to make sure those relationships are still maintained.  Even though the District Youth Programs have been cancelled till March 2021.
The schools may choose to continue their Interact and Earlyact clubs, during Term 2, and it is vital that the relationship and connection between the schools and Rotary continues.
Maintaining contact with your supporters and partner organisations during these difficult times is also vitally important.  Once the government lifts the restrictions, we are going to need to work closely with our supporter and partner organisations to address the need which would have arisen, and that Rotary will be in a position to assist with.
Guest Speakers for Club Meetings.
If anyone would like Peter Hitchener as a guest speaker on zoom, please contact Peter Cole (petercole99@hotmail.com) to arrange it.

Peter Hitchener is doing lots of zoom meeting currently and finds it a lot easier than getting out to places as it takes time to travel etc!

If any of the clubs would like him to join their meeting for 20 minutes to 30 minutes for a chat he is most happy.  Just email Peter Cole (petercole99@hotmail.com)  and he will arrange date and time.

Peter H will be joining RC Belgrave Wednesday next week at 7pm to say hello and have a chat to the club, and will be at RC Healesville club on Thursday evening.
and the winner for best costume at District Conference is...
Rotary Club of Emerald & District
We were very disappointed that Shia's District Conference had to be cancelled but as is the way with the Rotary Club of Emerald & District we looked at the theme and then put our own spin on it. Led by Gayle Barrot we adopted the masquerade theme of costume with mask and promoted the theme " Rotary Connects the World" via Lego.Lots of laughter and fun putting this together.
We are hoping that along with Shia everybody from District 9810 has a smile on us.
Accolades to Gayle Barrot, Lyn Beckwith, their spouses Chris & Alan, all the members of the Club who decorated their costumes and sent their photos to John Koenders who put the final photo together
Endtrachoma 2020
Advice on combating COVID-19 has centred on isolation, hand washing and personal hygiene. Given this, how would you feel if access to the basics of personal hygiene was limited or ineffectual.  Remote indigenous communities have isolation to some extent but bathrooms and general water supplies are often inadequate or faulty. 
EndTrachoma2020 has been working hard to address these problems as they relate to the spread of Trachoma but they are just as relevant to COVID-19. This is one of Rotary Australia’s Centenary Projects, working with partners to spread the public health message and improve the state of remote community facilities. Please consider supporting our work in this critical area, and leverage the good work completed so far!
For more information visit - https://www.endtrachoma2020.org.au/projects
Russell Marnock, EndTrachoma2020 district Champion.
PP Rotary Club of Emerald and District.
Online Knox Art Show
It was 14 March 2020, less than a fortnight to the Opening of the 46th Knox Art Show, and we had just been advised that owing to the coronavirus, all public Rotary events were to be cancelled. We called an urgent meeting of the Art Show Committee, comprising several members from Bayswater and Rowville-Lysterfield Clubs, to discuss our next steps.
At that stage, all the artwork had been assessed and the artists advised of which entries had been accepted – over 400 in all. A lot of the advertising for the Show had already been done – the website promotion, Facebook boosts, brochures, press releases, radio announcements and so on.
Two days later when the Committee gathered to discuss the options, most came thinking that we had two choices, cancel or postpone. However, following discussions with the developers of the software used to manage the Art Show, it was discovered there was a third possibility, a 100% online Art Show. After some questioning of how this would work, the Committee embraced the idea and set about working out what needed to be done to make it happen.
This called for nimbleness of foot. Committee members were assigned to:
  1. cancel the venues;
  2. produce stickers to advertise the Virtual Art Show, to be placed on the street advertising signs aready in place;
  3. produce updated advertising posters;
  4. update the website;
  5. advise the artists, sponsors and the public of the change;
  6. cancel the demonstators;
  7. check that the judge was prepared to choose the prize winners online;
  8. work with the software company to ensure that sales and other functions were within the capability of the software;
  9. set the duration and timing of the Art Show, which was extended from two days to two weeks;
  10. send out newsletters to artists, sponsors, art lovers, family, friends, etc promoting the event;
  11. and so on
Generally, the artists and sponsors were delighted to know the Show was still proceeding, with only two artists withdrawing.
By the time the Show was due to go online, all was in place, and visitors to the website – https://www.knoxart.show.org.au -  were able to go online, view the artwork, and possibly purchase a painting.
In all respects, the Show has been a resounding success. With another day to go, there have been over 5100 visitors to the site, more than five times the number of patrons at any of our recent physical Art Shows. In addition, to date seven paintings have been sold. More importantly, the overwhelmingly positive response from artists, sponsors and art lovers has vindicated the committee’s decision to give it a go.
Along the way, we have learned the value of responding positively to the challenge. As a result, we have keep faith with the artists and sponsors, in particular, and demonstrated that Rotarians can be innovative and solution-focussed when faced with a seemingly impossible situation.
Warrandyte Riverside Market Goes Virtual
The Warrandyte Riverside Market has been an institution of the eastern suburbs for over 30 years.  Some 4 years ago a new team (comprising office bearers from the local Rotary Club, as well as the church, community association and other community organisations) stepped forward to manage the market and bring it into the 21st century.

Organisers introduced a new online booking system, guidelines with regard to the best retail mix, better communication and relationship with the local Council (on whose land the market is held).
A website was created and an added emphasis on using social media (in particular Facebook) to drive attendance.

It didn’t take long for the market to sell out many months in advance  - by 2019 we were receiving over 1,000 applications from stall holders per year (for a market that could only fit 180 stalls) and an estimated average attendance of 4,000 to 6,000 people (subject to weather) per market.

Importantly, the Market generated approximately $100,000 per year in donations and grants to the local community, as well as generating retail sales on average of $1,000 to $2,000 per stall holder per market (dependent on what was being sold).

Fast forward to the Virus Crisis.  It was obvious from early March that the Market would definitely not go ahead in April, May and possibly June and July.

No market?

Cancelling the market would impact upon the Market’s cash flow.  Sponsorships, grants, donations that relied upon the site fees and had been committed in advance.

How could we generate those funds?

And it was not just the negative impact on the local micro and macro economy nor the income of our stall holders.   Our market is more than a retail event.  It is about linking people (and their dogs), prompting conversations, social cohesion, maintaining relationships.

In a world where connection is threatened by isolation what could we do to replace it?

We announced that the Market would be cancelled, offered all stall holders (booked for months in advance) a refund, but also asked that if a refund wasn’t necessary at this time we would happily credit their site fee for a future market.  As most of our stall holders attend every market, the majority were happy with this solution – and that helped to protect some of our funds.

We also acknowledged that many stall holders were going to lose the sales that their business was dependent on -  so we invited all those who had booked for April to join us in a Virtual Market; a market that occurred exclusively on Facebook at the same time that our real world market would have run. 

All stall holders were invited to provide 100 words of text describing their project, any special offer, information with regard to (safe) collection or delivery of purchased products, together with a single image.

We uploaded each individual post to our market Facebook Page – scheduled to publish every 5 minutes from 8am to 1pm.  Pre-scheduling meant that the market would run on ‘automation’ allowing us to focus on answering questions, direct messages, and commenting throughout the day (all as text on Facebook) to in turn increase engagement.

Facebook Analytics for the week (from the previous Sunday through to the day after the market) demonstrate the reach and engagement of the posts.  Overall post reach was 21, 799 (a 1340% increase on a usual week);  Page views was 5,329 (a 10148% increase on usual) and interestingly a very similar figure to the ‘real world’ attendance for the market.

We also achieved an extra 411 likes and 440 followers – for a page that has around 5,000 followers prior to the event.

One of the unexpected benefits of the virtual market was the number of stall holders who not only commented on their own posts, but commented on each other, giving testimonials for the other products on offer and giving each other encouragement and support.

The virtual market was a success due to the other improvements that have been made of recent years;  in particular the soliciting of subscribers on the market’s website (which has achieved 1,500 plus subscriber data-base who we email each month to promote market highlights); the growth of the following on Facebook so that we already had a decent size audience before going ‘live’ with the product sale posts.

We gave some thought to setting up an online shop and inviting all stall holders to advertise their products, however, an online shop would not deliver the connections, conversations and community that we achieved by running the virtual market on Facebook.

The feedback from purchasers and stall holders  has been positive and has generated more appreciation than any of our other improvements and we now look forward to the May market which will be presented again virtually.

And best of all?  We could all sleep in.

Rob Edwards
Would this not be a great idea for our District?
We could send message to all members to invite them to "Stand Too" on Saturday 25 April. They can in turn invite their neighbours and friends.
Wouldn't it be great to see all Rotarians working together in all districts to make this happen.
NYSF Group C Staffies 2020
My son, Joel was meant to be a staffie (leader) at NYSF Group C in January 2020 at ANU.  Unfortunately, their session was cancelled due to the bushfires and smoke.  Over Easter they connected up over zoom and took this photo.
Angela Forthun
RC of Glen Waverley
Bird Box Project
As well as being a Rotarian, I am also a member of the Probus Club of Wheelers Hill Inc. At a meeting earlier this year one of our members, Alan Guest, approached me in my capacity as a Rotarian. Alan resides in the Balmoral Retirement Village in Knox. He is a retired carpenter. He has, however, continued to keep his hand in by working in the Men’s Shed at the Village. He found some surplus wood and decided to construct some bird boxes.
Alan asked me if I could find a Rotary Club in East Gippsland to whom he would deliver the boxes. His idea was that the boxes could be installed in forested areas that had been devastated by the bush fires. The hope being that this would encourage birds back to the area to nest again.
I subsequently contacted the President of the Rotary Club of Bairnsdale to ascertain whether they could participate in the project. I received a very enthusiastic response as the Club had been at the forefront of assisting with recovery projects in the area. Arrangements were put in place for Alan to deliver the boxes to Bairnsdale which he did on Monday 16 March. By coincidence the receiving Club member from Bairnsdale Rotary works for the Victorian Department for Sustainability & the Environment, so has contacts with the appropriate people and organisations who will be able to place the boxes in the forested areas.
The boxes have been constructed so the that can be bolted onto trees or held on by a tie. They have different sized entrances to accommodate large and small birds. The boxes with small openings stop bigger birds and vermin raiding them.
A picture shows Alan with the boxes prior to departure to Bairnsdale.
Social Distancing with a Smile
These two photos are of the President of the Rotary Club of Emerald & District. Catherine Elfick taking social distancing to a new level. She decided to dress up before embarking on a shopping trip to the local super market. You will notice THAT SHE HAS CLEARED THE AISLE . Catherine did receive a couple of strange looks but also lightened the mood of most and received a lot of smiles especially from the staff.
Virtual webinar on working from home
Many working people are now working from home – either voluntarily or by company directive – for the first time.
Many will love it – some will not. But it is likely that working from home will now be the new normal, so it will be important for all people working from home - and their employers - to plan and work together on how this can be done safely and productively.
Whilst the focus has been on avoiding contamination, there has been little information or guidance on how to actually manage working from home, especially when people and their families may not be used to doing this and are not prepared for the challenges and traps.
Rotarian Dr David McIvor has written the ‘WORKING FROM HOME SAFETY HANDBOOK; An employee guide to working safely from home’. In the book, David identifies many of the common, and not so common, dangers of a home working environment that are even more relevant in current times.
David has developed a short zoom webinar presentation that he is able to offer Rotary and Rotaract clubs which are holding virtual meetings during this period of isolation and quarantine.
You can contact David at david@worksafety.co. For information on his book, go to www.worksafetyathome.com.au
Rotary District 9810 Training Assembly
Whilst the District Training Assembly as a physical event has been cancelled, we’re still very focused on supporting club office bearers in preparing for the year ahead.  Now, more than ever, Rotary and the community needs strong clubs and well-prepared club leaders.
Our request is that before the 24th May, club office bearers and any other interested members undertake the online learning modules in the RI Learning Centre relevant to their portfolio.  Then, from the week commencing 25th May, we will offer online Zoom-based workshops for each portfolio to consolidate learnings and share ideas and questions with your peer group across the District.
To facilitate this process, we ask that you register via Eventbrite if you haven’t already done so, so that we can arrange the relevant online workshops.
The registration link and details of the online learning modules can be found on the District Assembly page on the District’s website:
PDG Tony Monley OAM
2020-21 District Learning & Development Coordinator
0438 515 273
Finding calmness, whilst social distancing:
  • Limiting news consumption to trusted sources like The World Health Organisation
  • Walking
  • Reading
  • Listening to quality podcasts
  • Daily gratitude, writing, sharing (start a WhatsApp group called ‘daily gratitude’ with your closest friends/fellow Rotarians)
  • Helping vulnerable people in our community
There are incredible resources out there for free for us all to use. Here are some free tools that have been recommended:
And to finish off....
Hi to all.
Hope you all had a great Easter.
Just a reminder that if you or your club would like to be part of "Staying Connected", please send me your photos and articles to
highlights9810@gmail.com prior to the next edition which will sent out on the 27th April.
All the best
Michael Ellinger 
Rotary Club of Oakleigh Clayton Huntingdale
Highlights Editor