Goodness – where did those months go!  Here we are in December and I imagine we’re all looking forward to a short time of relaxing, reflecting and re-energising with our families and friends over the holiday period.  What a strange year it has been – unlike any other – and I think we can all look back and reflect on the fact that we’ve adapted, we’ve got to know ourselves better, we’ve acquired new skills – in short we’ve survived and even thrived during one of the greatest challenges most of us have had to face.
We’ve now visited all but a handful of the Clubs in the District.  It’s been a very special experience. Each Club is unique – and often fly under the radar.  There are some great community projects around our District for which we need to be better at telling our story.  I do think that we could collaborate better with our communities, involving them in our projects where possible and letting them know that we are we’d like them to consider joining us. If they help us grow, we can continue to help our communities.
While the main challenge that I hear from Clubs is decreasing membership, it’s great to see some Clubs really enjoying each other’s company and emphasising fun and friendship as a priority.  RI President Holgar encourages Clubs to focus on engaging with their members and ensuring that everyone is involved in projects and activities and therefore remain committed members. Another way of engaging new members is to give them responsibilities and leadership opportunities early in their Rotary life. 
I’m putting thought into considering how we can grow our membership through starting new Clubs.  Satellite Clubs exist in our District but need to be well thought through.  They open an opportunity for a group of people to meet in a different way from that of the parent Club. This shouldn’t create a competitive concern – there’s room for all of us.  Another increasingly popular Club style in some Districts are Clubs that are Cause-based. They operate solely to focus on their passion / cause, perhaps not meeting in traditional ways over a meal.  RI President Holgar emphasises that we are no longer bound by the traditions we’re so familiar with.  The point is to find ways to ensure we continue to serve our communities in ways that are relevant to our lifestyle and demands.
December is Fighting Diseases Month. As we know, we’re almost there with our fight with Polio – though cannot afford to ease our focus yet. Of course fighting disease is top of mind at the moment as the world awaits a vaccine to fight COVID 19. It’s fascinating to hear that lessons learned through the distribution of polio vaccines in some of the very challenging countries are likely to assist in the distribution of COVID vaccines. Our centennial flagship project Rotary Give Every Child a Future is proudly making a difference to the lives of 100,000 children in nine pacific countries in vaccinating against three serious diseases - Rotavirus to prevent rotavirus diarrhoea, pneumococcal to prevent pneumococcal disease, HPV to prevent forms of cervical cancer.
Kevin and I wish you and your families a happy, peaceful and safe Christmas and holiday period. We’ll see you again in 2021, looking forward to continuing our year of Rotary growing opportunities!
Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete ki a koe.  
DG Gillian Jones