Posted by Franz Huber on Mar 15, 2024
This week, we greatly enjoyed welcoming the Rotary Friendship Exchange Team from District 7430, Pennsylvania. After they were picked up at Aratula on Monday (coming in from the previous hosting club, Tenterfield), we enjoyed a group dinner on Tuesday evening at the Northcliffe Surf Club. On Wednesday morning, they "formally" presented to our club as well as several members of the Rotary Club of Mermaid Beach (who are co-hosting) at the Surfers Paradise SLSC. Despite some technical hurdles (the video file that was intended to be played went AWOL), it was a most enjoyable and informative morning, with PDG Cindy Hornaman (picture left) giving us a traditional talk (traditional as in without Video or PowerPoint) about her District. 
The State of Pennsylvania was the second state to be admitted to the Union, in 1787. It was founded through a Land Grant by William Penn, an English writer, religious thinker and influential Quaker, during the colonial era. Today, it is a powerhouse industrial state, with major industries located in various cities throughout. One of the most unique aspects is its Amish and old-order Mennonites. 
Rotary has a very strong presence. District 7430 has 47 clubs, ranging from 20 - 100 members, with an average of about 40. One of the most successful projects is the formation of Young Professional groups. They also have founded several Satellite clubs, participate in Youth Exchange (both short and long term), RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award), various STEM camps and events and international projects with particular emphasis on Cambodia. Another major recent project was an IT - Dental - Medical Education week in Zambia. 6 days and over 3,200 patients!
As those of our members who actively participated in hosting and catering for our guests, Rotary Friendship Exchange is a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience. Our guests departed on Friday morning, some were off to tour Tasmania.  Our member Paul Seymour will go over to Pennsylvania in September. A big 'Thank You!' go to Mario Fairlie, who hosted 2 couples, and Charles Thomasson's parents Robert and Margo, who also hosted. After the meeting on Wednesday, we took them to view our Wheelchair Project Shed, then drove to Mt Tamborine to sample the delights of cuckoo clocks and a walk through Rainforest down to the Curtin Falls. On Thursday, some toured the big shopping centres, whilst I had the pleasure of taking a group of 4 on a slightly longer bushwalk, the Twin Falls Circuit at Springbrook National Park.
There is a Photo Album - see on right side.