Thursday 19th of March was the date of the last Face-to-face meeting of the Rotary Club of Pinjarra before restrictions stemming from the Covid-19 Virus Pandemic necessitated a suspension of meetings.
Now, some 65-odd days since that day, the Club has been held together in a number of ways.
The Board assisted President Vince to set up a "Phone Tree". The Club's membership was divided into groups of four, and the members within each group was asked to make a point of contacting each other, by telephone or email, so that communication and connection could be preserved. That of course, is not to preclude any other contact between members from taking place, but that at the least, some from amongst the members would in consistant touch. Comments made to me from quite a number of members has shown that the Phone Tree system has been embraced, and members are enjoying receiving or making a call.
President Vince has been producng a weekly Newsletter. Distributed each Thursday evening by email, the format loosely follows the agenda that which a face-to-face meeting would follow.
The reader is welcomed, and a link to an "opening song" is provided. The Rotary Club of Pinjarra is unique inasmuch that each meeting still begins with the singing of a song. Our Rotarians do not possess, shall we say, the first voices to be invited to join a choir. However, the songs are usually sung with gusto, and set the mood for the meeting that follows.
The Newsletter then provides Rotary-related news, before the announcement of the weekly raffle winner. Club members are levied a dollar per week to participate in the raffle which is conducted by Rotarian Bob de Bijl. Bob has a "mysterious on-line app" which provides the name of the winning Rotarian. The raffle prize is generally a promissory note that allows the winner to collect a bottle of wine when the Club meetings resume, but other prizes have been donated for a number of the raffles.
A "Sergeant's Session" within the Newsletter provides the opportunity for members to report the mis-deeds of their fellows, and a 50 cent fine is imposed. A miscreant is limited to receiving a maximum of two fines per newsletter, and it does have to be said that President Vince has been the Club's most consistantly fined miscreant.
The Newsletter provides a "Joke of the Week" contributed by Rotarian Geoff Hayward, whose dry sense of humour brings a smile to the reader. Other members have also contributed a joke for publication, although some have not been used....
A weekly Inspirational Quote is published, following on from a tradition started by Past President Geoff Booth during his year as Club President. The quotes vary from the humourous to the profound, and come from luminaries such as Plato, Sir Winston Churchill, and that wonderfully prolific source, Annonymous.
As a replacement for the weekly guest speaker who would appear at a Club meeting, the Newsletter contans a series of snippets published under the title of "And now, For Something Completely Different". The subject matter in this section again is very varied, about generally ramdom matters such as a sports car being made from cardboard, to ramblings about bird-watching.
Geoff Hayward, as well as being a humourist, is an amatuer stargazer, and has produced a series of articles, published weekly over a six-week period, on "The Life of Stars" which have appeared in the Newsletter.
The Newsletter ends with a weekly link to a different version of the Australian National anthem.
Members have been very kind and generous in their comments about the Newsletter, and while it is giving the reader some pleasure, it will continue to be published.
After some four or five weeks of working and living in solitary confinement because of the social and physical distancing limitations caused by the Covid Crisis, the Board tested the world of vitual meetings, and conducted their April meeting using the "Zoom" platform. This proved to be successful, and the Club's first general zoom meeting was conducted on Thursday, 7th of May. The Board was absolutely delighted that 28 members either logged in from their devices, or attended the home of another so that they could share a device while participating. (Just in case you were wondering, social distancing regulations, and limits on the number of persons gathering together were observed on the occasion.) Rotarians Rob Davis and Beth Aitken spoke to members giving a brief overview of a hike they had undertaken during a visit to the United Kingdom last August (2019). Although a wetter hike than they had hoped for, they enjoyed the experience and were able to relate some of their more enjoyable experiences to the audience. One member (who remains nameless), logged in while wearing a dressing gown. (If he had smoked a pipe and we could had seen his slippers, he may have been accused of mimicking Hugh Hefner!!) He has been fined for being too relaxed while attending a Rotary meeting.
The club resolved to continue meeting in this way on a fortnightly basis, and a second Zoom meeting was conducted on 21st of May. On this occasion, 20 Rotarians participated. It was pleasing to see that "new to the technology of a virtual meeting" members logged in.  On this occasion, Richard Hordacre spoke a little about the history of his "Hamel Nursery" business, and about some of the trees which will grow well in our local soil. The meeting featured members wearing crazy hats in support of The Rotary Foundation. Two of our lady members in particular thoroughly embraced the opportunity to demonstrate their craziness, although the level of craziness they achieved exceeded all expectations!!
The Board has reviewed the make-up of the incoming Board for the next Rotary Year. In order to maintain continuity within the Board, President-Elect for 2019-20 James Tabor generously offered to stand aside. The Board was then able to resolve "that the term of President Vince Costantino be extended to June 2021. A Treasurer (Murray Chapman) and Secretary (Kelly Bain) for the 2020-21 Rotary Year have been nominated and elected at a recent Special General Meeting. Mervyn Williams was nominated and elected as President-elect for the 2020-21 Rotary Year at the Annual General Meeting last October. These elected Board Members will serve until June 2021. Appointments and elections for a new Board in 2021-22 will be conducted at an Annual General Meeting in October 2020, or whenever it will be possible to conduct that meeting.”
The remaining members of the 2020-21 Board will be:
  • Community: Miles Hewitt
  • International/Foundation: Brett Loney
  • Membership: Andrew McCormack
  • Vocational: Geoff Booth (who also will serve as Vice-President)
  • Youth: Geoff McLarty
James Tabor will offer himself for the position of President-Elect for the 2021-22 Rotary Year.
The 2020-21 Board will begin its role from Thursday 18th of June 2020.