In 2010, I attended the Asia Pacific Regional Rotaract Conference in Sydney. It was the first time APRRC had been held in Australia. Evidently, Australians had been conspicuous by their absence from conferences elsewhere. The Sydney conference was a good first attempt, given many of the organisers had never been to one before. Nonetheless, there were some things that could have been improved.
I came away from that conference interested in the potential of the conferences, convinced of Rotaract’s ability to melt borders, and inspired by many of the people I had met. I also wondered whether my district, which centres on Canberra, would be able to host APRRC at some time in the future. 2014 seemed like the ideal time, given the Rotary International Convention will be in Sydney that year, and APRRC could serve as an ideal warm up act for Rotaractors from our region. We would have made the bid this year in Thailand. For various reasons, including the relatively small population of Rotaractors in our district (we only have two clubs at present), we decided to do away with that idea. Instead, it was generally agreed by senior Rotaractors that a bid for the Australian Rotaract Conference might be more appropriate. ARC is only in its third year in 2012, but few (or no) other districts were forthcoming in making a bid.
These conferences provide a number of advantages, including the opportunity for personal development of host members and a chance to boost interest in Rotaract in the region. They also offer good fundraising opportunities. For attendees, the conferences should give them a chance to meet and network with other Rotaractors, be inspired, and hear from great Rotaract and non-Rotaract speakers.
I’m very pleased that we won that bid. By happy circumstance, the conference director will be my girlfriend Meghan, who is the 2012-13 District Rotaract Representative.
This morning, we had the first meeting of our district Rotaract committee since we received official word on the bid. We have a lot to do, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.