This weekend was my first RIBI conference, an eye opening three days, where I have had the pleasure of hearing from inspiring speakers and meeting lots of amazingly friendly Rotarians.
I have been brought up around Rotary since I was small through my parents but I knew very little about the wider Rotary world until I joined The Rotaract Club of Edinburgh 18 months ago.
Over the last 18 months I have immersed myself in Rotaract, taking up the position of Secretary which I have held for the last 9 months. I have learnt about projects and charities I knew very little about. I have visited and heard from many Rotary Clubs and met some truly remarkable people.
I went to the conference expecting to be inspired and driven to be a better Rotaractor, but the conference delivered on so much more than that. I have heard tales of striving against all odds, be it Sir Tim Smit fighting to get the groundbreaking Eden project underway or Simon Weston fighting to regain a life after horrific injuries suffered in the Falklands War. I felt immensely privileged to have my photo taken, along with a number of other Rotaractors from across the UK, with Simon after his talk. On Sunday, the highlight for me was Olivia Giles, a meningitis survivor who despite losing her limbs and becoming a quadruple amputee has devoted her life to ensuring that people in Africa have access to orthotics and prosthetics.
I have heard about the phenomenal work that Rotary has and is doing to eradicate Polio and to provide hope to children in war torn parts of the world. It was also good to hear how Rotary works within Great Britain and Ireland especially the ladies raising awareness about prostate cancer. It was inspiring to hear the amazing stories of the Young Citizens Award winners.
However, for me, one of the most interesting talks of the event was given by Colin Spurway. This was about a group of young people in Cambodia taking charge of prime time TV and radio and spreading the word that young people can be amazing. It is such a shame that in the UK the opportunities for young people to display the good about what they do is so limited. We regularly just see the worst that society does.
I am leaving this conference inspired to make a difference in my community and the wider world but mostly I leave proud to be associated with Rotary.