Rotary International Convention 2009 – Volunteering


The afternoon of the first day was my turn to volunteer. There was no pressure to volunteer but no good reason no to. There were two perks of volunteering, the first was an orange cap with the Birmingham convention badge upon it (Believe me, it’s a perk, one American asked wher eto buy them from) and the second was meeting Rotarians from all over the world as I gave out the goody bags.


One of the noticable traights of Rotarians is their age, most Rotarians are over 60, many over 50. Being the only male volunteer that looked youthful (now I’m the grand old age of 33). Immediately I was given the job of moving boxes full of goody bags from the back store into the distribution area. Having moved all those in fairly quick time, I had to get bags from the ‘container’. No problem I thought, these boxes are easy to move and they told me there was a pallet truck – just like being at work really. Well, not quite. All the bags that were boxed had already been moved in, all the remaining were loose. Some small attempt at bundling them had been made, strapping them in groups of 20, but most of these fell apart if not when carried when the whole pile would collapse. Still, there was no point moaning about it and another Rotarian, Colin, who came from Scotland was helping too, so we had a good chat about the differences in our clubs and the projects we’re involved in.

Giving out the bags, we had one returned from an Australian lady who (rather appropriately as she said herself) had been given an incorrectly printed bag. All the text and logos were printed upside down! So, I gave her another and suggested she tell all the local media back home how we Brits had made merry fun with her by giving her the misprinted bag, and that they can use it as an excuse to recruit more people into the great environment Rotary is. She went away happy. Rotary really is as much about fun and fellowship as “Doing Good Things“.

The next post will be about the Opening Ceremony that was held this morning but that will have to wait until later. Shortly we leave for the Medieval Spectacular at Warwick Castle.

Rotary Internation Convention 2009 – First timer notes

Here I am, hooray! blogging from the NEC for free, at a net cafe at the Rotary Interational Convention in Birmingham.

In another 15 minutes I’ll be off to be a “HOC Ambassador”, HOC means “Host Organising Committee”, and ambassador means I volunteered to help. In my case, I’m told I’ll be handing out goody bags.

We (Rhonda and I) arrived early this morning from the Peak District where we’d been camping and walking (more on that later, with photos of the wonderful midsumer English weather – gale force winds, rain, thunder, lightning…. guess the weather God forgot what summer means). Getting our pass was a breeze – we were booking number 51 thousand and something and they found our envelope within a minute. A quick wander around the “House of Friendship”, get our goody bag, then off to find our hotel in Birmingham.

The “House of Friendship” has lots of stands, many representing charities, many representing fellowship (like the Fellowship of Flying Rotarians (if I remember that correctly) – may be I’ll get back to flying one day). One thing I found funny, a stand taking 4 spaces, selling just handbags – larger than many of the other good causes and larger than some of the Rotary parephenalia stalls. Speaking of which, Rhonda said she’d make me a Bow Tie in special colours… guess I should learn how to tie a bow tie then.

Of to volunteer now. If there’s no image with this post, it means the internet connection is so slow here I couldn’t get one in time. Although I have logged into my MovableType admin page OK, my home page still isn’t up, and even the RI home page isn’t loading.