Coast Rotary Club forced to disband after 37 years
AFTER 37 years of working within local and overseas communities, the Kawana Waters Rotary Club has been forced to fold due to dwindling numbers.
Former club president De'Anna Delaney said it was a sad day not only for the members of the former club, but for the communities that it served.
She said that unless perceptions were changed, service clubs across the Coast risked the same fate.
"It's unfortunately a trend that we are seeing at service groups everywhere," she said.
"The club only had about 14 to 16 members for the past 10 years and a lot of clubs have shrunk and haven't had the young people coming in. It's a sign of the times."
Ms Delaney said she thought people perceived Rotary to be a club for "older people" and that was why they were having trouble attracting new blood.
"People don't understand that as a young person you can get a lot out of the club," she said.
"You can learn a lot of life skills like how to run a meeting, handling money and invoices and skills that can be used in day to day jobs.
"You also build a lot of contacts with business people and politicians. It's so much more than what people perceive it to be."
Ms Delaney first joined the Rotaract Club, a version of Rotary catering for 18 to 36-year-olds, when she was 18 years old.
She said while the club had evolved from then, there was still an image of it being an organisation for "businessmen in suits".
"We've tried to open up the club so that it is as appealing to as many people as possible," she said.
"It's so much more than just meetings.
"Being apart of the club opens up a whole word of possibilities with different groups and activities that you can take part in.
"We need to promote that message otherwise more and more groups are just going to end up having to disband."
Ms Delaney said her son had been apart of the Rotaract Club of the Sunshine Coast and it had given him the confidence to get in to the workforce.
"The skills and confidence he gained from it helped him to get an amazing job," she said.
"It meant he was confident enough to get out there and just talk to people, which is something that you don't always just learn by going to school or university."
Ms Delany said with the growth that was occurring in the Kawana district with Bokarina Beach and the new hospitals, it was vital that people continued to support service clubs in the area.
"If we don't support our clubs then the community doesn't get get access to our funds, it's as simple as that," she said.