President Mike and Past President and Membership Chair Richard joined over 400 other Rotarians and their guests gathered in Fort Lauderdale, FL., on August 24-25th 2007 at the seventh and final Presidential Conference this Rotary year -specifically focused on membership development and retention.

Attendees heard from several speakers, engaged in two panel discussions and interacted with each other in structured networking exercises, all in pursuit of strengthening the organization by attracting, recruiting and retaining Rotary club members.

Rotary International Director Barry Rassin, the convener of the conference, spoke of his own experiences in Rotary and how much the organization has become a part of his life. He emphasized the importance of remembering the tremendous favour that every Rotarian is first given when a membership offer is extended and he encouraged those at the conference to return the favour by, in turn, recruiting others to become Rotarians too. Barry hails from Nassau and this is the first time that a Bahamian has been named as one of the 19 Rotary International Board members. We in the Bahamas are very proud having Barry represent us at such a high level.

Taking a good close look at one's own Rotary club was the message of Conference Chair, and Past Rotary International Director, Bob Menconi. In a very entertaining opening segment, and then by proposing item-by-item assessment tools, those in attendance were given much to take back to their own respective Rotary clubs for consideration and implementation.

Rotary International Membership and Retention Chair, and Past Rotary International Director, Ron Beaubien impressed upon the Rotarian audience the importance of Members Getting Members, or "MGM" as the best way of first sustaining, but ultimately growing, the organization.

In addresses the evening before the conference and during the daylong conference itself Rotary International President Wifrid J. "Wilf" Wilkinson made it clear that the opportunity - and the responsibility - of keeping Rotary International a strong, vibrant organization is in the hands of current Rotary club members. "Never in our history has the world needed more that which Rotary provides through projects, programs and hope for the future" said President Wilf.

Attendees were offered the opportunity to sign large "pledge boards" in affirmation of each Rotarians promise to bring at least one new Rotarian into the organization by December 31, 2007. At the culmination of the conference those boards, literally filled with the signatures of those in attendance, provided a clear visual message of the dedication to the goal set: each Rotarian recruiting one new member each and every year.

President Mike commented that this was the best and most informative Rotary confrence that he has ever attended apart from the Rotary International Conventions he has attended. One of the best things is the fellowship shared with friends from around the district and the region.

Membership Chair Richard garnered information which he will be presenting and using in the club during the Rotary Year.