Senior Citizens Dinner 2012 at the PCYC Gladstone
Supporting local senior citizens has been a focus of South Gladstone Rotary's Community Service since the early days of the Club's existence.
South Gladstone's focus on seniors was led in large part by Charter Member Clive Dahl's involvement with that sector of the community. Clive would in time be recognized as Gladstone's Citizen of the Year in 1983, would be inducted as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Club in 1984 and would receive the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 1998 Australia Day Honors for his community service, particularly to seniors.
In 1978 then President Roy See initiated a senior's support program whereby the Club provided an annual luncheon for Evenglow members. The program, initially run by Roy's Rotaryanne Joyce has been strongly supported by Rotaryannes, and now, more than 30 years later, is an eagerly anticipated event on the Senior's calendar each year.
In 1986 President Ron Wakelin extended the Club's community service to seniors by initiating a BBQ for them during their annual Senior's Week. That first BBQ was held on the waterfront near the Rotary Waterfall late one Tuesday afternoon, and was memorable in that our Rotarian Clive Dahl led the seniors in a walk through town from their meeting rooms to the waterfront BBQ site. A grand evening's fellowship established the event in the Senior's Week program, and a quarter of a century later it's still a major annual event.
The Senior's BBQ was relocated to the Duck Ponds in R.G.Tanna Park in 1992 during Graham Hartley's presidency of the Club. Memorable events were staged under the Club's marquee with Fred Bowyer leading the usual sing-a-long.
Eventually increasing numbers attending the function, and problems hosting the event outdoors in inclement weather led to a change of venue to the CQ University buildings at the Marina campus. This change was led by President Ron Heymer in 1997. The format was still a BBQ prepared by Rotary, but served in the comfortable indoor setting of the Leo Zussino Building.
The BBQ format eventually changed to a traditional roast dinner, preceded by soup and followed by sweets. The provision of a lamington at the end of the evening resulted in many being squirreled away for morning tea next morning. The comfortable surrounds of the University saw an expansion of the evening's entertainment from a sing-along to a much grander program with bands, choirs and dancers participating.
President Stephen Mills in 2004 orchestrated a further change in venue to the spacious facilities of the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) where South Gladstone Rotary, their 180 guests, and attending entertainers could easily be accommodated.
The venue and format of dinner with entertainment has proved most successful. Peter Liddle has ensured a great soup to start the evening and Rotarian Ian North has expanded the entertainment program. South Gladstone Rotary's dinner during Seniors Week is now a keenly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed annual event.
The Exodus Tutorial Centre was established in Gladstone in 2001 to deliver an intensive, focused literacy program to students identified in national literacy tests as being significantly below expected standards. The centre was a Department of Education and community initiative led by local philanthropist Chris Tanner.
Initially South Gladstone Rotary's contribution was financial as part of its Youth & Community Service program. However, recognition of the wonderful results being obtained led to a higher level of involvement from 2008 with the Club developing a mentoring program involving local community, business and industry leaders.
The mentoring program provided opportunities for participating students to interact with personnel they might not normally encounter, and also raised the level of community awareness of the Tutorial Centre's role and the results it was obtaining
South Gladstone Rotary assisted with the organisation and presentation of the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Tutorial Centre in 2010. The Club again contributed $5,000, leading a contributory challenge that raised over $20,000.
President Tom Stewardson presented Exodus with a further $5,000 at their Graduation Ceremony in November 2011.