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Our Oxford Scavenger Hunt Returns…

Following the success of last year’s event, we will be putting on another Scavenger Hunt this May.

Teams of up to 4 people will take part and try and track down all our clues, including opportunities to take pictures and earn bonus points by finding some of the Rotaract members.

The Scavenger Hunt will be on Saturday 13th May, starting from Bonn Square in Oxford city centre (near to Beaverbrooks & Argos). From 12 noon, teams will assemble and be sent off at staggered intervals to find their clues.

The teams will have 2 hours to complete the puzzles and then race back to the Castle Quarter, where those in on time will be in with the chance of winning a luxury hamper!

Entry is £3 per person with proceeds going to Helen & Douglas House. So bring along friends and family for a fun afternoon of exploring. Open to all ages and you don’t have to be a member of Rotaract to enter (although we do let our members enter too!)

Championing Rotaract in the Thames Valley District

At the beginning of 2017, our President Emma was invited to speak at the Rotary District 1090 Conference held in Bournemouth, alongside current Rotaract District Chair, Rachel Gerrish. Here, she shares her thoughts about Rotaract and why everyone should be involved in their local group.

District 1090 Chair for Rotaract, Rachel Gerrish, and President of Oxford Rotaract, Emma Wilberforce.

For anyone who doesn’t know about Rotaract, it is an international organisation with many locally-based voluntary groups for young people to develop skills and make an impact on their local community. The age range is specified as 18-30 but ages in groups vary because those who join these groups tend to be the giving types, so want to stay involved even past the ‘cut off’, something which speaks volume for Rotaract.

Rotaract stems from Rotary International, who have championed the Purple 4 Polio campaign. You may have seen purple crocus beds decorating your local towns – this is all part of raising awareness for the campaign and a good example of Rotary’s work within the community.

At the end of March, I went down to Bournemouth to speak about the importance of Rotaract and these are some of the reasons why you should get involved in a Rotaract group near you, either by supporting it or joining it:

  • Being a member of Rotaract means you can develop skills for your personal and professional life, such as self-confidence, team leadership, event organisation and public speaking.
  • Rotaract is an evolving organisation and members can be involved in its ongoing shaping and development.
  • Members have opportunities to take part in worldwide initiatives like Rotary Youth Leaderships Awards (RYLA) or Rotary Youth Exchange.
  • Local Rotaract groups can choose a cause they are passionate about to support each year, which offers opportunities to develop relationships with local businesses, volunteer in the community, and create and organise fundraising events.
  • Groups offer the opportunity to build new friendships and make international connections, affording the chance to travel and be welcomed at Rotaract clubs across the globe.
  • People get involved in Rotaract and Rotary in their spare time, as volunteers, so it makes an excellent hobby outside of work and you meet a lot of like-minded people.

For more information on Rotaract, visit www.rotaract.org.uk

Oxford Rotaract celebrates World Rotaract Week

On Wednesday 15th March, we celebrated World Rotaract Week at The Brittania pub in Headington where we took part in some great activities.

These activities included creating a banner where we wrote down answers to the following question: “What Does Rotaract Mean to You?”

We encouraged members and new members to write down a reason about why they were a part of Rotaract as well. Some answers included – being involved in the community, meeting new people, raising money for charity and volunteering.

 

One group in serious video planning mode!

We also got into teams and made videos using the subject ‘Celebrating Rotaract’.

Our teams had 20 minutes to plan and film their video representing what they thought was so great about Rotaract, both at club level in Oxford and more generally as an organisation.

You can view our winning entry below:

Our President, Emma Wilberforce, summed up her reason for being in Rotaract, “I love meeting new people and getting involved in our local community. It’s great to see that there are other like-minded people out there! Rotaract is a great thing to be a part of and I would urge anyone between 18 – 30 years old to join their local club.”

Some of our reasons for being a part of Rotaract.

Oxford Rotaract are always looking for new members to join in and our next meeting is Wednesday 29th March, 8pm at The Brittania Inn. You can also view our upcoming events on our Calendar.

Here’s to Rotaract!

What does Rotaract mean to you? A lot of happy people!

Letters to Myself: a workshop with writer Becci Sharrock

Becci pictured with Oxford Rotaract members

Becci with Oxford Rotaract

On Wednesday 1st March, we invited in writer and theatre maker Becci Sharrock to talk about her new arts project and theatre show Letters to Myself. The show is the result of a six month programme of workshops and drop-in sessions asking as many people as possible to write a letter to their past, present or future self. Letters received so far have been long and short, silly and serious.

Ahead of a UK tour, including a date in the Burton Taylor Studio at Oxford Playhouse on 4th April, people from across the country are now being invited to write their own letter to themselves. A section of the show is being reworked to include ‘local’ letters at each tour venue.

Becci’s talk was about her career as a writer and producer and more about the project. She has some interesting stories to tell and shared some of the letters with us.

Envelope, paper, biscuit and teabag for Letters to Myself project

The letter writing kits!

All of us took home our free letter writing kit, complete with tea bag and biscuit, and have been challenged to write our letter before the Oxford show! An interesting and inspiring talk – thanks Becci!

To find out more about the project go to www.letterstomyself.org.uk or follow Letters to Myself on Twitter.

 

How to Write Unforgettable Fiction – Virginia Burges

At our meeting on 30th November, we welcomed self-published author and blogger, Virginia Burges.

She talked to us about her book ‘The Virtuoso’ and gave us her advice for budding authors on how to write unforgettable fiction. With her engaging tone and useful visual props, we were all fascinated by her writing journey and the way to do it, some of us may even start penning a novel in our spare time!

Virginia Burges She also told us she is hoping to make a film out of her book, having already worked on creating a soundtrack for her book – a first for an author. It aims to summarise the book through music. You can listen to the track here:

Watch this space for news of the film premiere!

If you are interested in reading her book, you can Buy it on Amazon.

Virginia also writes her own blog, which you can follow at https://rhapsodyinwords.com/

Cheese & Wine Tasting Night

On Saturday 26th November, we held a cheese and wine tasting night to celebrate our 6th birthday as a club!

img_0251We decked the hall out in rustic style, with wine bottles dripping with candle wax and checked table cloths and welcomed over 30 people to our evening in Kennington Village Hall.

Four of our members held cheese & wine stations and our groups went round in turn tasting each one and learning something new, which would come in handy for our test round in our quiz later! As well as the tasting stations, we laid on some delicious nibbles and a bar.

We collected over 13 raffle prizes, including tickets to Cinderella at the Oxford Playhouse, entry to Waterperry Gardens and a beauty voucher and sold tickets on the night as well, with all proceeds going directly to our chosen charity, Helen & Douglas House.

See photos from the night.

We are in the process of counting the profit made from the evening and will post our final amount on here very soon.

Thank you to everyone who came along to support us!

Bake Off Night & Packing Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

On Wednesday 2nd November, we gathered unused shoe boxes together and prepared eight gift boxes for an amazing cause, Operation Christmas Child.

packing-shoeboxesWe wrapped up the boxes with some festive wrapping paper and filled them with a wide range of gifts such as toys (e.g. stuffed animals, balls), stationary (e.g. colouring pens, pencils, notebooks), and clothing (e.g. hats, gloves) that were suitable for boys and girls aged between 2 and 14 years old.

shoeboxesNot only that, in celebration of The Great British Bake Off, we brought over loads of cakes to eat as we watched the final on TV and packed the shoe boxes.

 

cakes

And they were delicious!!

 

Upcoming Event: Cheese and Wine Tasting Night

wine-and-cheese-finalTo celebrate our 6th birthday, join us for a fun-filled evening of delicious cheese and wine tasting (plus nibbles!)
The event will be held at Kennington Village Hall on Saturday 26th November at 7.30pm.
On the night, there will also be a food and drink themed quiz, a raffle and a paid bar!
Plus, we’re donating all proceeds to our chosen charity, Helen & Douglas House.
So come and support us, what better way to spend an Autumn’s evening than sipping wine and tasting delicious cheeses whilst supporting one of Oxfordshire’s amazing charities?!

Buy your tickets online now – £12 online and from club members, £15 on the night (includes a free glass of wine or juice on arrival)

Please share our poster with your friends and colleagues!

Volunteering at Oxford Half Marathon

As part of supporting our charity of the year, Helen & Douglas House, we went along to volunteer at the Oxford Half Marathon on Sunday 9th October.

volunteer-group

We cheered on all of the runners, with particularly loud cheers for all the runners for Helen & Douglas House, wearing their bright orange t-shirts. We also handed out jelly babies as runners came past to give them that much-needed boost as they hit mile 12, to carry them through to the end.

It was amazing seeing all these people run through the course, some with smiles on their faces, others deep in concentration. We really enjoyed playing our part on the day and a huge congratulations to all the runners, including one of our own members, Sam Cobley, who managed to set a new PB!

In Pursuit of Slow with Speaker, Author & Coach Jackie Jarvis

We were delighted to welcome Jackie Jarvis to the first of our October meetings. After years of pushing hard for results in her business life, (as a business owner and coach) our speaker Jackie Jarvis felt the urge to do something completely different.

Over the last 2 years she has walked over 900 miles of two of the famous Camino’s to Santiago de Compostella (in Spain).

This experience allowed her to hear what she calls her ‘Voice of Slow’. It is these powerful messages she now feels compelled to share to benefit us all.

Such a thought-provoking and inspiring talk with lessons to be learnt for everyone. Thanks Jackie!

Jackie is also currently working on her book ‘In Pursuit of Slow’ which is due to be release next year. We hope to have her back to tell us more about lessons in how to stress less, be happier and accomplish more. For more information, visit the In Pursuit of Slow website.