Rhondda Sweetman joined Plimmerton Rotary in 2017 and tonight, she told us a bit about her Rotary journey.
'I was first introduced to Rotary when Les became a member in 1989. He was a member for 22 years, including being President at one stage and he became a Paul Harris Fellow. I was quite happy being the wife of a Rotarian, as much of this time Rotary was a male-only organization.
Les decided to retire from Devonport Rotary so that he could become fully involved in his musical interests. I missed Rotary, so when it was suggested to me that I should join, I jumped at the chance. That was at the end of 2011, shortly after I had sold my e-commerce business. Naturally, it was suggested to me that I should assist with the website and with social media postings. The club had a website, but it was quite basic, so my friend Libby and I set about revamping it. We hired a web designer, laid out our requirements and the work began. The end result was a simple, easily run website, which had a few nice features. For example, it employed the use of a hashtag, so that when I updated the news section a tweet would be sent out. I never knew who read those tweets. I attended a Zoom course on Social Media on Saturday during which Ramola recommended that we use Twitter. We were doing that 10 years ago in Devonport. I was given a Paul Harris Award for the work that I was involved in.
When I joined the club, the main fundraiser was the Wine & Music Festival, held each February. This was a massive undertaking, taking the whole weekend, with people coming from all over Auckland. Initially it was very successful, but gradually other similar festivals started popping up in other equally attractive places around Auckland. What shut it down in the end, was that some members were having to personally guarantee that it would make a profit. I don’t know the details- but I know that it became unacceptable.
The club then moved onto the Fine Homes Tour - held every second year. As many of you know, Devonport and its surrounding suburbs are full of fine homes and in our club, we had a number of Real Estate Agents who were a great help in identifying these homes. Convincing the owners to open their homes to the public was another story.
This became a very successful fundraiser.
How does this translate to Plimmerton? I’m not sure.
Libby, a friend at Devonport Rotary, always asks what we are doing at Plimmerton and I keep an eye on Devonport and even attend the occasional meeting.