Posted by Roger Lindley
 
On 3rd of July 2013, then District Governor Suparie Chatcunyarat for Rotary District 3360 announced her support for formation of a new English speaking Rotary Club in Chiang Mai. She appointed Elsie Choy, a member of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai North, as her personal representative to help in the formation of the new club. Elsie would later become a charter member of our club but eventually returned to be a member of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai North. Elsie became an honorary member of our club on our first year birthday celebration. Roger Lindley was the provisional president for the club and T.J. Bouma was the provisional secretary.
 
Charter Secretary T.J. Bouma and Charter President Roger Lindley in back and Adviser Elsie Choy at center, surrounded by other Charter Members at the 1st club meeting.
 
From our first notice sent to potential charter members for club: “We hope you, or others you know, can come to learn more at our first meeting, Thursday, August 22 at 7:30 pm.  We’ll give an overview of the objective, goals and history of Rotary International and Rotary in Thailand.  Also, we’ll share more details about proposed club projects and requirements for membership. We plan to continue meeting every Thursday evening, starting on August 22, at least through September to gauge if sufficient interest exists to charter the new club.”
 
At our first meeting on 22nd of August there were about 64 people in attendance in the upstairs dining area of River Market Restaurant. Over the coming months the weekly attendance numbers dropped into the mid-teens. To form a new Rotary Club requires having twenty persons commit to being charter members of the club.
 
The club initially met on Thursday evenings but due to some having conflicting meeting on Thursday evenings the meeting day was changed to Tuesday which continues to be the club’s meeting day.
 
Finally, on 9th of February 2014 we had the required twenty charter members and attended the regular Wednesday meeting of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai North on the 12th of February to obtain signatures from our sponsoring club’s president and from the District Governor. The signed documents were faxed to Rotary International and they issued the club charter dated 21st of February 2014.
 
The Rotary International President’s theme for the Rotary Year 2013-2014 was Engage Rotary, Change Lives. This aligns well with our intent to be an engaged service club with heavy focus on service to our community.
 
Of the original twenty charter members, there are six still with the club: Colin Jarvis (now an Honorary Member), Shana Kongmun, Nancy Lindley, Roger Lindley, Jerry Nelson, and John Schorr, Nancy Lindley and Roger Lindley.  Our member turnover is a reflection of the transient nature of the expat population of Chiang Mai, and not any special dissatisfaction among outgoing members.   It presents an interesting membership recruiting challenge.  
 
We're looking forward to our 4th birthday to be celebrated at our meeting on 20 February.
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