By Darren Lum
With two presidential terms already served Ted Brandon the Rotary Club of Haliburton’s incoming president said his experience is at the root of why he’s taking on the role for the third time.
“That’s why I accepted the position. I felt that we’ve been very very successful over the last two years in attracting a lot of new members which is great so our club has grown but over half of our club is relatively new with little Rotary experience. So I just felt it was important to have someone step in who had a pretty strong understanding of the role and the responsibilities. That kind of knowledge was already there so all these other distractions as a result of the COVID-19 and the different ways of doing business that would be [made less challenging by] … not having to worry about the details that a less experienced Rotarian might have” he said.
This is Brandon’s second term in three years. He takes over from Brian Nash who served his full term. Brandon officially takes over July 1.
Brandon helped with the launch of the Rotaract Club and while at the club’s 75th anniversary gala in 2019 asked Len Pizzey to write the book Profiles of the Presidents. Pizzey a retired journalist and former owner of the Haliburton County Echo had authored the first Profiles of the Presidents book for the club’s 50th anniversary in 1994.
“I’ve kept pretty busy so stepping in as president it’s not going to be a … big change in terms of the time commitment or what have you to step right in” he said.
Brandon wants to ensure the continued health of the club.
“We want obviously to keep all our members safe and healthy given the world we live in currently but we also need to look at the health of the club and just make sure everyone is doing OK and we maintain our momentum and we don’t lose members” he said. “There’s always a danger when you start cancelling things that they never come back.”
He noted annual events but also referenced projects such as the construction of the welcome centre for Head Lake Park which will start in late-summer instead of spring as it was delayed by COVID-19 restrictions.
Like other organizations the Rotary club has taken their weekly Thursday meetings online using video-conferencing application Zoom.
The change has come with adjustments for the members but there is a positive aspect to it Brandon added. In the past the club’s meetings included guest speakers who needed to be within a short drive away to attend. These virtual meetings permit guest speakers to be from anywhere there is access to Zoom.
“The world is our oyster in the Zoom world. We can have speakers from anywhere in the world” he said.
Another challenge is the limit to fundraising due to event cancellations.
“We obviously need to figure out how we move forward and the monies that we have because some of our fundraising events have been cancelled. Some we’re still going to try and we don’t know if they’re going to be as successful as they have been in the past” he said.
One of those events they’re going ahead with is the Rotary Car Draw which will be conducted through the mail instead of on the street.
“As much as we question should we do the car draw? It’s our major fundraiser. It generates a lot of money we put back into the community and we just felt that it was important to give it a try so that we can try to maintain supporting those initiatives and organizations that we have in the past” he said.
Brandon noted the recipients of their charity efforts include Food for Kids Heat Bank Haliburton County the food bank and the Good Food Box. Their work will be needed more than ever he adds due to COVID-19.
Brandon said keeping a strong membership is a constant for him whether as a member or as a president.
“The more hands on deck the more work and more projects we can take on so membership is always a focus of mine” he said.
The club currently has 32 members and is in its 76th year of service.
Brandon welcomes new members and encourages anyone interested to contact the club.
Coming to several meetings is an important first step before joining as it gives a potential member insight into the club and how it works Brandon said.
“We always invite potential members out to a meeting and encourage them. And if they’re not sure just keep coming and if in four or five weeks you think it’s something you want to do then great. If not that’s great too” he said.
Anyone interested in becoming a Rotarian can email email@example.com to learn more.