Minnamurra Rotary Club’s last act has been the donation of its final $33,000 to worthy causes.
“Deciding to close the Club was a hard decision, which taxed members emotionally,” says the former President Brad Wenzel. “We were established in 1985 as an off-shoot of Kiama Rotary and have a proud record of supporting international, national and local causes.
“Back then there were enough active members in our area to be a strong and dynamic standalone club.”
The final donations were made to Rotary Against Malaria; Disaster aid water purification; The Kiama Downs Surf Club; the Kiama High School Orchestra;
The Imagination Library; Jamberoo Public School (for IT items; Kiama Public School (for IT items); Minnamurra Public School (water tank for vegie garden); Australia Rotary Health; SENTRAL (for youth activities in Kiama); SAHSSI (previously known as the Woman’s refuge); and the Kiama Men’s Shed.
“We have also donated our purpose built and much used and loved BBQ trailer to the Kiama Downs Surf Club,” says Brad.
Declining membership, an issue facing many service clubs during a period of generational change, made the closure the only option.
“We were faced with a situation of only five active members, which wasn’t enough to warrant continuing as we didn’t have the manpower for effective fundraising,” Brad says.
Those people have the option of joining Kiama, Shellharbour or Gerrringong Rotary Sunrise Rotary clubs if they want to stay in the Rotary fold.
Minnamurra Rotary’s biggest event for the last ten years has been its annual Emergency Services Expo at School Flat.
“The joy the event has given to so many people has been quite inspirational,” says Brad. “In this day and age of forms and compliance and regulation and red tape to be able to bring helicopters and fixed wing aircraft into the harbour area has been quite something.
“However, unfortunately, even this event is likely to draw to a close as the emergency services people are also finding it difficult to commit to the event for many different reasons.”
On a broader front, Brad fears that if service clubs aren’t able to attract a new generation of members,
society will suffer.
“Service clubs do a lot of good, and if that stops there is going to be a big funding gap,” he says.