Monday, June 14, 2010

An End of Season Report

Dear All,

Well another Club season has gone by and it was a very busy one at that. Many changes and innovations have made the CCR even more dynamic and fun for all. I base this on the feedback and comments that we have received from those of you who have enjoyed this season's events.

First the big innovation of the year has been the introduction of our blog which replaced the weekly e-mail bulletin as a source of information on CCR events. This made a world of difference in communications with the membership. Our blog master Will Hobbs kept it all up to date, well designed with photos and graphics, giving us a professional look. And we are hoping to expand the photo section with more slide shows and presentations over the next few months to highlight the many events.

Another big change was the historical walks with Olivia Ercoli - her newly re-vamped weekend programmes have been drawing between 25 and 30 eager participants. We had many other activities during the year, theatre evenings, bar outings; our cooking classes with Wendy Holloway were a big draw as were the wine tastings with Paul Ares and Linda Champoux. No doubt the quality of the presentations and what is on offer attracts people. We also had several Scotch tasting evenings with Rachel Rennie who teamed up up with Allen and Farhana Rahman to produce an elegant evening and made converts from people who never thought they were scotch drinkers. They also hosted an incredible BBQ in the countryside to help celebrate the beginning of summer in true Canadian style with a distinctive Indian twist. Our Annual Potluck dinner chez Cindi Emond and Pietro Cordova was once again a big success. I wonder if we can really call it a Potluck, everyone brought such a variety of beautiful and delicious dishes, something to please almost every palate - perhaps not quite your old style potluck of years gone by.

Of course one of our biggest events of the year was the celebrated Annual Holiday Season Dinner Party at Palazzo Brancaccio in the centre of Rome, we have never had a more prestigious event in such a regal setting. A special thanks to Vice-President Laurent Beaulieu for all the work he put into that and so many other events. We also re-discovered the talents of Sylvie Gagnon who catered the antique Tram dinner trip across Rome. That event could only seat 28 people and we had far more request for tickets than we could accommodate. I think we would have needed 3 trams to accommodate everyone but that was not possible. This one will probably be repeated.

The Book Club is just wrapping up a successful season which saw members not just reading a wide range of books but having the opportunity to talk with several of the authors whose works had been the topic of discussion at the monthly meetings.

ANDOS was our chosen charity for this past season and our members were very generous with donations and CCR member Leslie Scott was involved in translating their informative brochure. The lottery was a great success and we were able to give a sizable donation to this very worthy cause. Many thanks to you all.

I also want to thank our very first Club Patron Roberto Melaragno, President of Drivers in Italy and his spouse Marzia Verdone for their very generous financial support of the Club. Drivers in Italy is Canadian owned and Roberto and his crew have been helping people discover Italy since 1993.

I would also be remiss if I forgot to thank our Honorary Patron Ambassador Anne Leahy for her time, generosity, enthusiastic support and the offer of her Residence to host events. In particular her active participation in our events has been much appreciated. Did you know that we are the envy of many social clubs in Rome? So much so that many are asking to become members of the CCR. However the Executive feels that we wish to continue to reflect Canadian culture and ideas in Rome and Italy, which means we have put a cap on non-Canadian membership at 40%. This still allows us to welcome friends and associates whose interest in and contributions to the CCR are invaluable.

I wish to remind all members that the CCR season runs from September to June and that membership expires at the end of June. Memberships should be renewed by September 30, 2010 so be on the lookout for an e-mail about renewal from Laurie Federgreen. Speaking of membership Laurie signed up more members this past year than ever before. She has done a fantastic job of keeping our list up to date. So please contact Laurie to renew your membership as soon as possible so you can participate in the exciting events planned for the 2010-2011 season.

We at the Executive have also taken note of what our members are saying and in the 2010-201 we will endeavour to have a mix of 50% free events and 50% paying events.

We wish to give you quality and variety in the events we organize. It is important to remember that during these difficult financial times around the world, our Club is not immune to raising prices. It is very difficult, if not impossible to have an event for less than €35 if food and drinks are included. We often have to rent space and include such things as cost of waiters or security which sometimes is imposed by the facility where we have our events. As we look around Rome and see costs for things such as Museums raising to €10 and even that morning capucc and cornetto costing more we have to face the fact that the days of low cost are fast approaching an end.

You will also note that most if not all of our events are hosted by Members and organized by us, which is a very good sign that people in our community have a lot to offer.

For the 2010-2011 season I will be continuing as President with the able assistance of Laurent Beaulieu as Vice-President. As well as her work with the Book Club Cindi Emond is our Senior Events Coordinator with Antonella Lemongiello (a recent arrival from Calgary) assisting her as Junior coordinator. Marielle Lacroix will be handling the funds as Club Treasurer; as mentioned Laurie Federgreen is our Membership Coordinator and Leslie Scott is an Associate Executive member. Keeping up the public image of the CCR is Anna Ambrosini as Club Paparazza and Will Hobbs as Web Master. Linda Champoux and Paul Ares will once again see to the Wine Tastings but are adding an exciting new event to their portfolio involving our National Sport - Hockey. Hockey? Italy? Wait for that one, it should be fun!

Well there you have it the past year in a nutshell, hoping everyone has a wonderful summer and looking forward to another season of - as our blog says - Canadians and friends living, laughing and loving in Rome.


And just a reminder that a left click on any of the photos will open a larger version in a new window.