Rotary Club hits the ground running at annual changeover

The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman,
the original club in the Cayman Islands, got off to a fast start in the Rotary
year by announcing during its changeover ceremony it would fund Art Unlimited,
a joint initiative between the Cayman Islands National Gallery and the Frances
Bodden Girls Home.

The changeover event at the Westin
Casuarina Resort on 2 July saw a new 17-person board of directors inducted and
Lori McRae taking over the role of club president from Cathy Chesnut, who will
now serve as immediate past president. Assistant District Governor Rosie
Jamieson presided over the changing of the board and administered the oath of
office to Ms McRae.

Event emcee Bobby Bodden, a past
president of the club and also a past district governor, spoke about the
accomplishments of women in the club, which did not have a female member until
Alice Anderson was inducted in 1994.

“Our lady Rotarians will again make
history tonight,” he said. “For the first time, we will have two women
presidents in succession.”

Ms McRae becomes the fourth female
president of the club, following Sophia Harris, Sharon Hurlstone and Ms
Chesnut.

In her incoming president’s
address, Ms McRae spoke of Rotary International’s President Ray Klinginsmith’s
theme for the year, Building Communities, Bridging Continents.

“Personally I think this theme is
of particular significance for those of us living in the Cayman Islands,” she
said. “We are a community made up of such a diverse population of people from
many different cultures. We can start bridging continents right here at home,
through Rotary, in an attempt to better understand our unique traits and work
together for the common good of our community.”

Speaking about a fifth avenue of
service – called New Generations – established by Rotary International this
year, Ms McRae noted the importance of youth initiatives in the Cayman Islands.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a
steady increase with issues concerning youth on the Island over the past few
years,” she said. “Everyone in the community has their role to play in an
effort to address this problem. As Rotarians we must lead the way by example as
well as through our vocational projects, and in doing so, better serve our
young people.”

Ms McRae called for her club to
forge closer working relationships with other services clubs.

“We face a lot of competition for
our fundraising dollars these days,” she said. “Over the years our club has
worked hard at developing a number of successful annual fundraisers that we
will continue to run with this year. In addition to those, however, we must
also look for new ideas to supplement the tried and true. Partnering with the
other service clubs on the Island in combined fundraising activities, like our
annual fishing tournament with the Lions Club, and coming together for joint
community projects is just the type of innovative thinking we need to adapt.”

In her last act as president, Ms
Chesnut awarded the Rotarian of the Year award to Sherry Robinson because of
her involvement in many club events over the year.

The Art Unlimited initiative is one
of the National Gallery’s Outreach Programmes. It offers a hands-on, creative
support group that uses art as a creative and emotional outlet for teenage
girls who have suffered from emotional, mental, or physical abuse, experienced
abandonment, or have a history of problem behaviour. The National Gallery said
the programme differs from its traditional education offerings because the
learning outcomes extend beyond the academic to gaining an awareness of social
and community consciousness; improving social and interpersonal skills;
cultivating a sense of self-confidence; and building a sense of community and
belonging by working together toward a common goal.

Four of the young women from the
Frances Bodden Girls Home gave an expressive dance performance during the
changeover event and received a standing ovation from the Rotarians for their
efforts. Afterwards, Ms McRae presented National Gallery Director Natalie
Urquhart with a cheque for $6,000 to become the lead programme sponsor for the
initiative.

Other officers and directors
inducted during the changeover ceremony include: President Elect Eric Bush;
Vice-President Sebastien Guilbard; Secretary Jaslyne Bridges; Assistant
Secretary Katherine Tatum; Treasurer Chris Johnson; Sergeant-at-Arms Alan
Roffey; and directors Ajit Ambekar; Justin Bodden; John Felder; Stephanie
Foster; Bill Hrudy; Garth MacDonald; Lynda Mitchell; Trevor Neckles; and James
Tibbetts.

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