‘Family’ is a word that is often seen as operating on two levels: the macro interpretation that groups like-beings together such as Rotarians sharing the same values and motivations making them an international family; and, the micro interpretation that refers to parents, children and relatives. 

Rotary clubs fit between these two categories, and Peter Nichols believes that his Club, Rotary Wyndham, has achieved growth and stability through bringing the “Club family” and the families of members closer through encouraging spouse memberships.

Rotary Wyndham’s focus has always been on membership, and keeping members active. According to Peter, all new members recruited to the Club embody the spirit of Rotary, and that ensures member retention.

The Club encouraged wives to become members rather than them being supporters of their Rotarian husbands, and this inclusion has resulted in almost 50/50 gender balance with Club projects involving most members.

When Peter relocated his business from Melbourne’s northern suburbs to Werribee, he was invited to join the Rotary Club of Werribee by Past District Governor Ian Knight. Peter accepted, as he was impressed and inspired by the range of community leaders represented in the Club. Two years later in 1985, when Rotary Werribee chartered Rotary Wyndham, Peter became its Charter President.

In a normal world, Rotary Wyndham raises most of its funds from a fun-run and Bunnings BBQs. The club does provide some support for overseas projects, but primarily focuses on local needs, such as homelessness and the Western Emergency Relief Network, which helps local families through supplying them with second-hand furniture and equipment.

Peter believes that good Rotarians see their club as an opportunity to build on friendship. He doesn’t believe that the drawcard is joining the worldwide family, but it is rather the appeal of the specific club doing valuable things and providing opportunities to make new friends, and a new “family”.

Married to Noreen, Peter and his wife have two daughters and four grandchildren, who are his main focus these days outside of Rotary. 

For Peter, it truly is family at all levels!