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People of Action

People of Action

By Tony Gedge, President RCMG

'No, do we have to?' said Billy and Tallulah, my thirteen-year-old twins. They got their Internet fix on the car journey to San Pedro, and woke up slightly as we reached the registration desk. We were greeted with big, beautiful smiles by Lorraine and Pamela.

Our annual Rotary Walk reminded me of our family trip to India four years ago.

First stop Calcutta. Every inch of pavement was taken by enterprising Indians. A man ironing clothes with an old iron. Next to him a woman toasting and selling chestnuts, sharing the same kettle drum fire with the iron man. And beside her, and all within a few square feet, an old man selling odd shoes but not a matching pair in sight.

The Beach Walk was a truly harmonious wholistic eco system working beautifully, all together, as one, with one important, purposeful, and progressive goal to raise at least 5,000 € for Fundatul & Homeless Angels. Would we do it?

Barry set off first with his largest group of walkers at 9.30a.m. Myself, Tony, next on the middle walk, then Martina for the short walk.

CAN WE ATTRACT YOUNGER MEMBERS?

On the walk Joanna told me she liked the Bangkok Rotarian visitor’s idea of mentoring young entrepreneurs and professionals within our community. We could interview 5 members, then use these videos on Facebook. The videos would help us to invite people to a workshop on how to build a business, to live a more remarkable life.

And we could join forces with a University and then run a competition for a limited 5 people offering 12 months’ worth of free mentoring worth 6,000 Euros per person. That’s 30,000 Euros of free mentoring and this fits in perfectly with measuring local community volunteer hours.

Another idea we discussed to attract younger members is to start Rotary Marbella Ted Talk. It is three years since an event was held in Marbella and we can gain a free license to hold our own event. We can earn money from ticket sales for our chosen charities. The exposure, credibility, and affinity would be huge. On the back of this we could create a virtual club, and hold a monthly meeting early evening at one of our chosen charities, where volunteer work will be carried out. All this on our walk.

Along the way a few had knee problems, Campbells dog staged a sit-down protest, and Laurie made it back safely.

Ian as usual was busy taking pictures and took superb shots of the walkers. Finola helped with registrations, and helped Victor walk with Myles. Myles was in a wheelchair after a hip operation. In true service above self and fellowship, Victor picked up Myles from hospital and wheeled him along the promenade. This was not as easy as it sounds; the wheelchair got stuck and nearly fell into a hole.

THE SECRET TO DOUBLE OUR MEMBERSHIP

On the way around, I spoke with an Italian lady about the formation of their new club Estepona Sotogrande. I said the International President Elect who had just died gave a short presentation in Atlanta about how his District had more than doubled new members (and member retention). His secret?

A compulsory Rotary Leadership Institute Day for all new members. I have approached District twice as a matter of courtesy to see who will run this day. But I have heard nothing. I have twice met with the amazing founder David Linett, and he gave me all the material to run the day.  I am thinking of holding a day at El Chorro at the La Garganta hotel, which we have used for six years now for our dentist clients as a weekend retreat: Living A More Remarkable Life programme. We could also walk the Caminito Del Rey afterwards?

GENERATION Z

I was proud my kids could see first-hand there is more to life than their world view through a phone. I am fearful for their future (Generation Z) and the narcissism that selfies are creating. They are the most photographed generation ever yet they haven’t yet made a mark on the world.

During lunch, which was very special food indeed, I learn a lot from sitting next to Christof from Rotary Club Vienna about transport economics. Ian explained why electric cars are definitely not the future!

On Sunday morning I spent a few hours learning about Edward Bernays, the godfather of PR, and Freud’s nephew. Amongst other PR campaigns, he seduced women into smoking by having suffragettes smoke at a 1929 New York Easter Parade and calling the cancer sticks, Torches of Freedom!   American politicians and planners were aware of Freud’s ideas about the power of the primeval unconscious urges, and believed that these had manifested in the brutality of the Second World War. They were concerned that the melting pot of the USA could contain similar dangers. They felt they could control this hidden enemy by diverting such urges into the acquisition of consumer goods. Bernays was a master of getting humans to do irrational things, (‘the engineering of consent’) in the objective of creating a more stable society.

Thank you, Joanna, for your psychological wisdom and for turning me onto Bernays. I have bought all his books and watched 2 documentaries so far in the hope I can get Rotarians to do irrational things. Added to that…

THE GERMAN BUTTERFLY

Ralph flitted from table to table like a busy butterfly keeping his guests entertained. It helped that they won all the raffle prizes. And a couple of his friends recognised my Leeds accent and live not far from where I was born. Yes, Germans in Yorkshire, holiday home in Spain, and know Ralph. Incredible!

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and wish to thank Ralph & Barry, and everyone who was there getting things done.

Much gratitude to all walkers, lunchers (the German Massive), helpers, and generous donors who could not make it. And sponsors for the jackets Jim, and Mary & Philip from B Sure. Plus, Barry for the lanyards. Thank you, Lorraine and Pamela, for organising.

And now the important part. Barry informed me he had brushed his teeth and Ralph announced we had raised 4,789 Euros. Barry kindly made it up to a stunning 5,000 Euros.

Finally, my friends, Joanna spent great effort buying fluorescent jackets and sashes with the words ‘PEOPLE OF ACTION.’

Today we were all people of action. I felt I belonged, accepted for my warts and all. Belonging to 'people of action' who I class as my friends. I share the same values as you. I truly care about others as I know you do too.

Here’s to more 'people of action' events in our local and global community for the greater good of humanity.
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