By accommodating a new, time-poor generation of professionals, businessmen and women and community-minded people, Rotary Nowra has been steadily increasing its membership over recent times.
Bohdan Brumerskyj was recently inducted as a Rotarian following his long association with Rotary Nowra.
He was first involved as an International Exchange Student to Germany and later, in the leadership role of a Young Achievers Australia program.
For this program Rotary Nowra selected local high school students to bond as a team, form a company, develop, market and sell a product and then close the company by observing all best-business practice guidelines throughout the process.
Rotarians, with their range of skills and experiences, mentored Bohdan and his team throughout the project.
In the near future Bohdan will give a ‘Behind the Badge’ story to his fellow Rotarians that will create a stronger bond with them when they find out more about his life and what else he has accomplished.
They will find out then that they have much more in common with Bohdan than they currently realise.
Last week another new Nowra Rotarian, Caroline Smart, gave her ‘Behind the Badge’ talk and surprised her fellow Rotarians with her life’s story and her wide range of skills and experiences both in her employment and her humanitarian service work.
Focusing more on her post school experiences, Caroline talked about her son Cameron, daughter Amanda, grandson Benjamin, and how, with her husband Bob, they started their family life by running a small grocery store, newsagency and post office at St Georges Basin.
Following that Caroline formed a company in Sydney with two others in 1983 to improve functionality of coloured TV’s imported from Korea.
The quality of the soldering work, in association the computer chips and heat-sinks on the circuit-boards, created massive performance problems in Australia and created a new industry to rectify the problems to meet Australian standards.
Caroline said that their business boomed until 1991 when residential and commercial interest rates hit 17 per cent and 23 per cent respectively in the credit squeeze that Paul Keating said we had to have.
This interest rate hike closed their and many other local and Australian businesses.
Caroline said that following a chance meeting back in St Georges Basin with an engineer specialising in O-rings, she got caught up with his enthusiasm about a new product that he had developed that replaced standard water tap mechanisms.
The mechanism both reduces maintenance problems and increases water saving efficiency.
Caroline’s daughter and her now son-in-law also saw the potential of this simple modification and they bought the invention from the engineer, and started a company called Aqualoc that manufactures and markets these mechanisms to the plumbing industry.
With the business growing, Caroline took on the company’s administration role full-time and now part-time.
Around 13 years ago Caroline became interested in Kairos Prison Ministry Australia when with a friend from her church group she attended the closing ceremony of a four-day Kairos short course at the Long Bay Goal.
Six years later she became involved in the program that has two focuses, their inside program that councils and assists men and women inmates on their rehabilitation path back into society and the outside program, that assists and supports the spouses and families of inmates to cope with their circumstances.
A phrase commonly used in Kairos is “It’s the prisoner who commits the crime however it’s their families who do the time”.
Caroline said that the work she does with Kairos is emotionally draining at times, however the genuine appreciation shown by both the inmates and their families is equally as overwhelming, and the fact that their program has dramatically cut the reoffending rate is most rewarding.
For more information on Rotary Nowra or becoming a Rotarian please make an enquiry by contacting Rotary Nowra through rotarynowra.org.au