Thank you to my fellow Executive members for their efforts this past year. We also have a wider circle of friends who we call upon when the need arises. We appreciate their assistance also.
Chris Hodgins continues to make a champion effort and we all thank her for the work she does on our behalf. She represented us at a number of sister city forums and at the Pines Pride day in March this year.
Some of us have been involved in this Sister City thing for many years. No one has been longer involved than Des Dean. Over 25 years of service in a variety of roles including Student Exchange and the Japanese Speech Contest. This year in honour of his work, we made Des a life member. Thank you Des for the magnificent work with this Association.
The highlight of the year was our delegation visit to Susono in October/November last year to participate in the Australian Fair on November 1st. The delegation was led by Frankston Mayor Colin Hampton and CEO George Modrich. Also part of the delegation were myself, Sue Modrich, Margaret Patterson, Rose Conboy, Bev Hanna, Vic Webster, Terri Carroll, Sorin Ionascu, Mirella Ionascu, Jamie Feldman, Rebecca Feldman, Gerhard Hannemann, Jessica Vitkovic and Matthew Clayton. We appreciate the support of the Frankston Council and the local business community in participating in the delegation. Newcomers were given an introduction to Japanese Culture in Tokyo before we visited Susono.
Once again the good folk of Susono excelled in their hospitality and friendship. Everyone made an outstanding contribution to the visit especially Matthew with his singing talents.
A special event at the Australian Fair was a live Skype link between Bell City Susono and the Frankston library in Frankston. 2 hours of joy as friends in Frankston and Susono exchanged greetings. The event was later to be the subject of a Sister Cities Australia award application.
We began the year by participating in a Japanese sister city workshop run by Ross Mouer from Monash University. An interesting and optimistic event that brought together all cities in Victoria that had a Japanese sister city. We learned lots and shared lots and came away hopeful of continuing the links. That initial enthusiasm has diminished unfortunately. Well done to Ross and his colleague Jun from Japan for getting us together and their interest in the Japanese sister cities.
In keeping with family tradition, Kirsten Hood spent several months in Susono at the end of 2009 on a short term visit. Her confident and informative report on her return in February this year told of a rewarding and marvellous time in Japan. Thanks to all those who looked after Kirsten while in Susono. Thanks to the Hood/Menting family for their involvement in our activities.
In our ongoing quest to increase the knowledge of our Executive, Jamie Feldman and Chris Hodgins attended the Sister Cities Australia Conference this year in Rockhampton Queensland. We missed out on an award but we got a terrific written report back from Chris Hodgins on the Conference.
Jamie is working on our new website and finalising some DVDs of our trip last year. We hope both will be completed shortly.
We continue to have a display at the Frankston Waterfront Festival each year. Sometimes small and sometimes big depending on the help we get and whether there is a delegation visiting. This year was a little smaller but a great way to promote our activities to the people of Frankston. A heavy downpour on the Sunday did not dampen our spirits.
Early this year we presented a Business Plan to the Council to detail our plans for the next two years. In February 2012 we celebrate 30 years as sister cities. There are things planned for the next 2 years both here and in Susono. These include:
· A delegation visit to Susono on October 2011 and to Frankston in February 2012.
· A Japanese Festival in Frankston in 2012.
· A digital history to be released next year.
We are reconnecting with the many people who we have touched over the past 28 years. We have emailed and written to their last known address. The search will continue. We will publish a regular newsletter on our activities and events to keep everyone engaged.
At the end of September the Mayor is holding a series of cultural days in Wells Street. One of these will a Japanese day and plan a number of activities to celebrate the Japanese Culture including Taiko and crafts.
Plans are well advanced for our Japanese Speech Contest to be held a few months. It’s an opportunity for local students to display their Japanese Language talents.
FSFA is facilitating the establishment of several sister school relationships between Primary Schools in Frankston and Primary schools in Susono. We are looking at least 3 local schools participating. Overport Primary already a sister school in Susono.
The idea of a public Japanese Garden has been discussed on a number of occasions. We have an excellent Japanese style garden at the Frankston High School that we held our November meeting at last year. It is well maintained by the Frankston High School. We understand that Frankston Council are considering a Japanese Garden in the vicinity of the Council Offices. George Pentland Gardens or Beauty Park would also be excellent sites for the garden.
I thank you all for your attendance tonight and thank you again to all the Executive members. The next 2 years will be very exciting.