Lt. Governor Linda, Past Lt. Governor Larry, Past President Richard, fellow Kiwanians and guests.
The route has been a rather long one but extremely enjoyable. Back in 1957, I was asked to join my Key Club at Fisher Park High School, a club sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa. After 4 years as a Key Clubber, including time on the executive, I joined Circle K at Carleton University, again sponsored by this club. These experiences convinced me that some day I would be a Kiwanian and, hopefully, a member of this Kiwanis Club.
That grooming taught me many things about leadership – how to run meetings, how to stand in front of a crowd and speak, without dying in the process, how, by surrounding myself with good people, I'd end up looking better , how and when to compromise. I firmly believe that these qualities, which were instilled back then, will assist me in this opportunity that you, the members, have given me. Little did I realize as a teenaged Key Clubber, when I was fortunate enough to attend several of these meetings, that one day I would occupy this chair.
The challenges facing our club today, and probably back then, are very similar to those facing most service clubs and volunteer organizations. Declining attendance, membership retention and attracting qualified new members are concerns. Be assured that I and your Board are investigating options to ensure that this club, not only continues to succeed in its fund-raising role, but retains an atmosphere of fellowship and fun. You will be hearing more about these developments in the ensueing weeks and months. There has been some experimentation already, with some success and some failure. Your Board will continue to search for the correct recipes, to allow us to thrive for years to come. Please remember that, in spite of these areas of interest and divided opinion, this club has thrived for 85 years by doing most things correctly, with much consideration for the membership, especially when significant change is involved. Be assured that this process will continue, with no decisions of major importance being undertaken, without input from not only the Board, but Committees and members.
There are several new endeavours being investigated and, possibly, a revisit to one of our most successful fund raisers from the past. These, if pursued, will certainly be welcomed, especially in light of the number of major requests we have received from the community, most of which have very large numbers attached. Several of these have originated from hospitals and the requests total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We will continue to enhance our considerable reputation for sponsored youth programs.
As most of you know, we sponsor four Key Clubs, at Nepean, Glebe, Lisgar and Sir Robert Borden High School and two Circle K Clubs at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. There will likely be an announcement soon, about a third Circle K Club at Saint Paul University. As well,we sponsor the 211 Air Cadet Squadron and the Governor General's Foot Guard Cadets. All of these programs support several hundred of our community's young leaders, some of whom may well become members of this club.
By virtue of the electoral procedures, you, the members, have given me the opportunity to surround myself with some outstanding individuals for the Board in the upcoming year, a nice mixture of experience and newer members. We look forward to an exciting year, one in which we continue the legacy of this great Club.
I would be remiss if I didn't thank Past President Richard for his guidance and support, in his year as President, and I look forward to his continuing this role in 2002-2003, as Immediate Past President. In addition, the Past Presidents Council has already been extremely kind in providing ideas and sound advice. These incredible resources have been a constant stream of encouragement and I thank them for that.
Perhaps I can put this Presidential launch in another perspective. My (almost) lifelong friends, Bob Pentland and Earle Maguire, who are present today, and thanks guys for being here, have put up with me for almost five decades. You only have to do so for one year.
Rick Barrigar President