Since my term as Northern Cape Area Chairman (2013-2014), I have had the opportunity to raid 3 other Area Conferences (Actually 6, if you consider the Tri Area to be three Area Conferences in one) and this is my personal thoughts, about inter Area Raiding.
After my outgoing speech last year March, I decided to travel to some of the RTSA Area conferences that were going to be held during the year 2014-2015. This was kicked off by one of the oldest twinning arrangement between two areas in RTSA. The 4F’s between the Northern Cape Area and the North Natal Coast Area. For those of you that don’t know what the 4F’s stand for, here is a brief description; Fellowship, Friendship, Fun, Fraternity. That’s basically what Round Table stands for. If you read our aims and objects, we as Northern Cape Area do exactly that through this longest standing twinning agreement. The comradeship experienced on such a trip, is unbelievable and the friendship bonds between two Areas are strengthened beyond all recognition. This was the first step to fuel the burning fire of Fellowship, Friendship, Fun and Fraternity between myself and the rest of RTSA. I figured; “Why stop here?” “Let’s kick it up a notch” Low and behold! This is what happened. I placed a few more tours on my menu for the year. The Croc tour, en- route to ARTSA in East London, Eastern Cape Area Winter Conference held in Middelburg and the Tri Area held in Eshowe.
I do believe that my passion for extending the fellowship and friendship barrier, was fueled by my ASSCO year, where I met such unbelievable Tablers and partners and I obviously did not want this to end. (I think each and every Past Area Chairman would agree with me on this one) This is where I would like to voice my opinion about “Cross Boarder Raids” and attending ARTSA’s.
A few years ago, I was saddened by a comment from a fellow Area Tabler; “Why should he attend an ARTSA, if he’s not a “Top Brass” Tabler? It means nothing to him as Joe Tabler!” My dear friends. This is where you have it a wrong. ARTSA is there for any Tabler, whether he be President or the latest inductee into this amazing Association to live out the Aims and Objectives of the Association. How can you further these aims by being a hermit? I personally have made friends for life (Nationally and Internationally), through attending these functions. Getting to know how an Area operates, asking questions about the day to day running of Table etc. etc. Not only the business side to Round Table, but most importantly, the fun part. (Who would’ve thought that playing guitar in the wee hours of the morning, would bring Middelburg’s locals to join in on the fellowship?) This is what we want to achieve, in order for our association to survive. Promoting our Association, through fellowship and fun. We need the public to be jeoulous of us and wanting to be a part of it.
Through friendship, I have had an invitation extended my way, to attend the German AGM in June this year and start my international Friendship chapter of my Table career. If it is meant to be, I will be attending this prestigious event and hopefully setting up a twinning agreement between my own Table (Douglas 224) and Rottweil 224 in Germany.
Our immediate Past Area Chairman (Michael Donaldson), mentioned in his outgoing speech, that Round Table is the University of life. Wow, What a statement; I truly believe this gentlemen! No other association grants us the opportunity to build such strong bonds between friends and complete strangers. I always revert back to my recharter speech for Douglas 224: We as Tablers meet as Strangers; Grow up together during our Table Career as best friends, but at the end of our career, we leave and part as Brothers. I don’t know about you gentlemen, but family means the world to me and the Brotherhood experienced among ourselves, is something that no one can take away from us. Make it count while you can.
In closing, I would like to leave you with a final thought. Too many times, I have heard 41’er say that they wish they had spent more time, getting to know his fellow Tablers. How can you respect and love someone, if you don’t get to know that person first. Go out gents and embrace these opportunities and make every moment count.