Incomiong District Governor Sylvia Ploude Addressed the Club Membership, reviewing her plans for the upcoming year
The following remarks were presented at the July 6, 2009 Meeting of the Waterville Rotary Club held at the Alfond Youth Center.

This coming year will be full of opportunities as well as challenges as we embark on a new era of the way Rotary will conduct its programs and services in the future.

Ninety-six years ago, Paul Harris told those at the 1913 Rotary Convention in Buffalo, New York: "It is a far greater undertaking to be a good Rotarian today than it was yesterday; it will be a far greater undertaking tomorrow than it is today." Paul Harris's challenge is now your own. RI President John Kenny says "that YOU are the Rotarians and the leaders of tomorrow".

You have a responsibility because the club is the most important part of Rotary. John Kenny says that "everything begins and ends with our clubs".

Without clubs, there is no Rotary. Every single Rotarian is important. So never underestimate the power of your club and the good works that come from the heart to serve your community, international and global projects, while enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow Rotarians and exchanging vocational expertise. Our clubs work together through our district with the support of the Foundation. That is why, in 2009-2010, our theme will be: "The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands" â€" "L'avenir du Rotary est entre vos mains". You have been asked to participate in shaping the future of Rotary. What an incredibly empowering statement that is. It is full of hope and yes not without its challenges as we step through the threshold of a new future in Rotary.

The Rotary Foundation is at a pivotal point in its history. It is in the midst of transforming our way of thinking and operating and building with the "Future Vision Plan". This grassroots effort will ensure Rotarian commitment when the Future Vision Plan is implemented throughout the world in 2013. The Rotary Foundation chose 100 Rotary districts in June to serve as Future Vision Plan pilot districts for a limited implementation of its new grant-making model. Fifty of these are from underdeveloped countries. Those chosen will participate in the Future Vision Plan for the years 2010â€"2013. However, due to the competitiveness process and great number of districts that applied, District 7790 was not among them. That, however, gives us time to prepare so that we are ready in 2013.

District 7790 will focus primarily on Membership and Every Rotarian Every Year for 2009-2010.

Membership has its challenges but also great opportunities. It is through our membership that our club functions and grows. In the last few years, membership has been declining for a number of reasons. The economic status and the recruitment of young professionals whose lives are fast paced are areas of concern. So we, as clubs need to be creative to accommodate the best time to meet, to look at the quality of speakers, and to recruit a wide range of members with different age, gender, religion, ethnicity, and those who are physically challenged. We also need to expand the classification list of qualified professions. Did you know that sixty percent of the current world population is under the age of 35? The average Rotarian is much older. New members bring new ideas and energy. They are the future generation of Rotary leaders. President John Kenny is promoting the following membership goals for next year:

• A minimum net membership increase of one member per club

• A retention rate of 80 percent

• At least one new club per district

The goals that clubs have established for year 2009-2010 averaged to 3 new members per club. That means that we should have at least a net increase of 150 new members in our district by the end of June 2010. Congratulations on your efforts to achieve this goal.

My dear Rotarians, we cannot grow Rotary's membership worldwide without growing Rotary's public image or public relations in every community. But the real public image leadership and inspiration must come from you. Wear your Rotary pins with pride, bring awareness of success stories, tap into Rotary International's Public Relations Programs such as Humanities in Motion which are 15, 20 and 30 second public announcements for the radio and television. Some clubs have made use of Humanities in Motion at the movie theater before the movie starts. Perhaps the best new public relations story for Rotary International in recent years has been Shelter Box which is a disaster relief program that has taken the world by storm. Shelter Box has now raised over $45 million dollars and sheltered more than 60,000 people in 46 countries. We now can respond quickly to natural disasters anywhere in the world. So you see, there are many ways to increase awareness and bring in new members.

The second focus is the support of the Foundation's Every Rotarian Every Year, Paul Harris Fellows, and the Permanent Fund. Your contributions to the Rotary Foundation support both local and global projects identified by Rotarians around the world. When you make your donation to Every Rotarian Every Year to the Foundation, you can be confident that 50 percent of those funds will come right back to your district in three years to be used for educational and humanitarian programs and for projects in your local community. This includes Paul Harris Fellows if it is charged to the Annual Program Fund.

Your generosity of contributing $100 per Rotarian per Year goes a long way in making this world a better place to live. The Permanent Fund is the Foundation's endowment. Principal funds are not spent; only earnings are used to support programs. The goal set for the Permanent Fund is to raise US $1 billion dollars by 2025. These contributions are often endowment or bequest gifts.

My friends in Rotary, increasing Rotary's capacity to provide service is an area of great need. Rotarians worldwide are addressing the global challenge of Water, Health, and Hunger, and Literacy with the most important being Water. Water is essential to human life, yet many take safe water for granted. Today, 1.1 billion peopleâ€"nearly 20 percent of the world's populationâ€"lack access to safe, clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion are without basic sanitation facilities. Every eight seconds, a child dies from a preventable waterborne illness. One of the Rotary International's goals by 2015 is to reduce by 50 percent the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Through grants, clubs can make a huge difference in the life of another fellow human being. Clubs can work together and with their districts in the pursuit of clean water, health and hunger and literacy in impoverished areas around the world. We still have countries whose people are ridden with health issues like famine, malaria, AIDS, alcoholism, and heart disease.

Many of these are due to lack of resources, poor water and poor farming practices. Literacy also continues to be a challenge. There are 800 million people on our planet that still cannot read or write. Two-thirds of them are women and three-quarters of them live in developing countries. Without the prospect of an education, these people are destined to a life of poverty without hope for the future. We as Rotarians are aware that literacy is needed at home as well as abroad and the lack of literacy skills can be a problem for adults as well as for children. So there are many opportunities for Rotarians to serve and get involved with projects. Can we do it? Yes, I believe we can. Remember, the Future of Rotary is in Your Hands.

Rotary International's mission is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. It is here that your donations of Every Rotarian Every Year will determine the number and types of programs the district will be able to offer in the future. We have until 2013 to prepare for this plan.

I'd like to take the opportunity at this time to thank you for your generous gift for the District Project. The project is in Portovieojo/Cojimies, Ecuador. Because we were not chosen as a Pilot District and Ecuador was, our district will complete the one-year phase of a three-year project. This focus is for a Water Purification/Filtration System plant that cleans the water from the salt as Cojimies is very close to the ocean. This is the most important phase of this program and Ecuador can then seek other chosen Pilot Districts for the other two phases. Because of you, children and their families will have good drinking water and sanitation in the prevention of disease.

The Foundation supports work that no one else does, in a way that no one else can. Rotary International's number one priority is the eradication of Polio. When Bill Gates addressed the International Assembly in January, he spoke of the need to finish what we've started. Even though the number of polio-endemic countries has fallen from 125 to 4, we still have poliovirus circulating in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. To this end, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $255 US Million Dollars making it a total donation of $355 Million. In response, Rotary has committed to raising a total of $200 million dollars by June 30, 2012. So far clubs around the world have raised $91 US Million â€" so we're almost halfway there. Even so, each club is being challenged to double their efforts by organizing a public fundraising event, to be creative and look outside Rotary to meet this goal and to continue with their own club donations.

Its second priority is to work through our Foundation to achieve a better world through the six areas of focus of the Future Vision Plan. They are:

1. Peace and conflict prevention/resolution

2. Disease prevention and treatment

3. Water and sanitation

4. Maternal and child health

5. Basic education and literacy

6. Economic and community development

Its third priority is the implementation of the Future Vision Plan and the fourth is to support the Annual and the Permanent Program Fund.

One of the areas that's sometimes overlooked is the second Avenue of Vocational Service. Yet it is one of the basic foundations of Rotary that promote "High ethical standards in Business and Professions". In 1910, at the first Rotary convention in Chicago, Arthur Sheldon, known as the father of vocational service, said that "business is the science of human service" and that "he profits most who serves his fellows best". How true this maxim was and still endures today. The Four-Way Test is as relevant today as it was then. One has to be ethical first, then one has to lead by example. In Gandhi's words, "A man is the sum of his actions". We also need to restore the importance of classifications. Paul Harris said it best, "Each Rotarian is a connecting link between the idealism of Rotary and his trade or profession". Vocational awards, classification talks, and career guidance are prevalent and useful activities. Please continue them with enthusiasm for Rotarians are talented, creative, experienced people. When they share knowledge, they can truly brighten up the lives they touch.

In Rotary we have many programs to serve youth. There are local and international programs, programs to support the underprivileged or to sponsor the gifted and talented. Our four structured youth and young adult programs are Rotaract, Interact, (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) better known as RYLA, and Rotary Youth Exchange. All four programs have an international and a local dimension. Internationally, the young participants are our ambassadors of goodwill and peace. Living abroad, the students get an inside view of their host country's life. They learn goodwill and understanding by networking, by tolerance, and by discovering diversity in the world. I encourage you to participate in these programs and make improvements where necessary. Remember, the Future of Rotary truly is in Your Hands.

If I can leave you with one thought, it's this: Mother Teresa, who was a longtime friend of Rotary, was once asked how she was able to keep doing the work that she did. How did she go on, day after day, doing work that was so difficult, so overwhelming, and that sometimes seemed so futile? Her answer was simple. She said, "I do what I can, where I am, with I have". One cannot ask for more. Thank you for your Good Works in Rotary. The District Conference for 2010 will be held in Lewiston on May 21, 22, and 23rd. We plan to celebrate Maine and Quebec's unique heritage at the Franco-American Heritage Center on Friday, the 21st followed by a special program at the cultural center. You're in for a real treat. Also our International Convention for 2010 will be in beautiful Montrealâ€"practically at our doorstep from June 20th to June 23rd. I look forward at seeing you there.