(The program was reviewed in 2013 with view to improving and strengthening interest. The outcome of the review was to agree that the Associates have been an asset to the Club; that new Associates will be given a welcome pack; that mentoring will be more proactive; and that they will be encouraged to become full Members if their lifestyle makes it possible. In future Associates will pay slightly higher fees to cover Club admin costs as well as their contribution to the Rotary Foundation.)
How did this idea come about?
In March 2005 Orange Daybreak celebrated 10 years since Charter. At that time it was remarked by PP Rtn Graeme Fleming that it was timely to consider the future of our Club. The remaining charter members (5 from original 46) were ten years older and whilst the majority of members were still full time in the workforce, we would start to find it more difficult to keep the level of pace with activities. We should think seriously about succession planning.
In preparation for my incoming year as President (2005-06), I collated some statistical data pertaining to our membership from time of Charter in 1995 to current time (April2005). In 10 years a total of 98 people had become members of Orange Daybreak. Annual membership ranged from 46 in 1995 to 37 in 2005, with average chronological age of current members being 56 years.
As a Rotary Club we considered it as our collective duty to increase the membership. It is from the membership aspect, the concept of the Associates group was born, as a way of introducing more people to Rotary.
The suggestion for a focus group was put forwarded by PE Peter Roan. Initially the focus group comprised 3 Rotarians, (one who was a Club Charter member (10 yrs), PP & GSE T/L; the incoming Pres-Elect who had been a member for 7 years, and a third member who was the newest (2 yrs) and youngest member (in age) of the Club) a former GSE Team member and a couple of other young professional business people.
A survey was conducted in July 2005 amongst young professional people in Orange to ascertain what young people knew about Rotary and whether or not they would see themselves becoming involved.
In August 2005 at the District 9700 Membership Awareness meeting, PP Graeme Fleming, PE Peter Roan presented the outcome of the survey and plans for the future which had my full support.
Following on from the survey, more young people ( >25 years +) were invited to join and participate in the focus group. Rotarian representation also increased with another four Club members becoming actively involved.
Why the Associate Program?
The Associate program provides the opportunity for interested persons to gain a better understanding of what Rotary is all about by participating in the activities of Rotary and by working alongside the Rotarians without the need to meet all the obligations as required by membership. It is our aim that through the Associate Program we can encourage others to consider membership of Rotary.
This marvellous idea was brought to fruition as a result of the commitment given by Peter Roan & Graeme Fleming along with other members of the Orange Daybreak Club and of course, with a small group of interested & selected members of the community culminating in the official launch in November 2005. Orange Daybreak has also had the full support of then DG David Roberts who shared our enthusiasm with this exciting new initiative and has encouraged us throughout each stage of the project.
Several interactive “get -together” meetings were held and the feedback was very positive from both the members and the Associates. Interim guidelines for the program were developed which determined the required minimum level of involvement with the Club ranging from attendance at meetings/ assisting with Club projects and getting to know each other through attendance at social functions all of which were to be on a regular basis. The 3rd meeting of the month was established as the Associate meeting, in which they would attend as a group however, the Associates were welcome to attend any other Club meeting.
An Action Planning workshop was held in January 2006, open to all members and persons interested in the concept of the Associates. At the start of the workshop the formal structure of Rotary was emphasised (ie four avenues of services – Club/ Community /International & Vocational) and that all Associate activities would sit within these perimeters. Under the heading of “Where to from here?” discussions pertaining to structure, community activities, “how do we get more involved?” were held.
The Board of Orange Daybreak at the Extra-ordinary meeting held 10 February 2006, voted unanimously in favour for the continuation of the program and for the formalisation of the Associates’ program. The next stage was to formally welcome and admit the eligible members of the focus group as Associates of Orange Daybreak.
February 15, 2006, the Associate Program was officially recognised with the introduction and formal welcome ceremony. On this inaugural occasion the honour of being the first official Associate was given to Michelle Goodwin-Stivens, one of the prime movers in liaison with Rotary representatives, with the formation of the focus group and subsequent action planning workshop. Michelle had been a member of the Centenary 2005 GSE team to Florida sponsored by RC of Orange North.
Three other young professional people from the focus group were also formally welcomed and admitted as Associates.
From Then to Today (2006-2013)
In the eight years since the program commenced a total of 47 have been formally admitted as Associates of Orange Daybreak, 3 of whom were GSE team members. In 2006, sixteen (16) Associates, from varying age groups and occupational backgrounds were admitted and whilst there has been a good deal of movement during the years as people move on for varying reasons, interest and active participation in the Associate program has been maintained and the average annual number of Associates is fourteen (14).
A positive initiative brought to fruition through shared ideas and enthusiasm, with great results.
Nannette (Nan) Stevenson
Past President 2005-06
Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak