Bright and early Brian from Gainsville rotary took over the driving duties and we arrived at our next club. As we were a tad early (1hr 30mins!) we decided to check into our motel and collect our thoughts before returning to the church to give our talk.
After our presentation to a 130 strong crowd we were divided up for our vocational visits. Allison went to visit INK (Interactive Neighbourhood for Kids) which is a mini town with shops and businesses and various other kid sized attractions aimed at giving them a fun, interactive and educative experience. Phillippa Lewis Moss who is on the board of directors and an active volunteer was the guide but it was also lovely to meet the staff and find out how passionate and dedicated they were. Gainsville is rightly proud of this innovative place.
Gareth was whisked off to the city hall to meet the finance director Melody N. Marlowe. He enjoyed a good chit chat and they compared revenue streams and local funding issues. Steve had a whistle stop tour of the whole of the fire department and got to drive a big fire truck. Roy visited a trailer manufacturing plant specialising in car transporters. Although the plant was very old the quality of production was excellent with good metal blasting and spray finishes. It was a very well planned tour.
Andrea visited the Challenged Child and Friends which is an integrated school taking 50% main stream kids and 50% special education students. It was impressive to see the two mix so well. The 6 therapy rooms offered the children physio therapy, occupational health and speech and language therapy. Andrea also visited a day care facility for the elderly offering services to senior citizens. She also signed a confidentiality agreement so she could work in the school the next day.
At four o’clock we met at a wonderful museum which had an original log cabin dating from around the 1820s. It also had a memorial garden for the men and women of Gainsville serving in the armed forces and displays inside which told the story of Gainsville through the history, industry and people of the area.
That evening we were sadly denied the opportunity to go onto lake Lanier but instead were rewarded with a wonderful dinner at Rotarian president Rick’s house with his family and several invited guests, and Chris. The fish was delicious (another entry for the recipe book) and company even better. We were sad to leave.
So sad in fact that we felt obliged to drown our sorrows until around 1am in the morning at a local bar called The Monkey Barrel. We now know why the Rotarians have been unwilling to leave us to our own devices and we suspect that someone behind the bar served us a ‘bad pint’ at one point.
Some of us definitely felt a little fragile the next morning.