Australian Rotary Group Visits Connecticut

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Church Hill Classics a Destination Site


There are times Church Hill Classics is literally on display for certain groups and individuals to tour. We may not be one of the Newport, RI, mansions, but we do have our fair share of visitors who are interested in seeing the 47,000-square-foot, two-story building. The custom framing facilities houses the entire operations – Customer Service, Accounting, Order Entry, Sales, Marketing, and Production.


So, it wouldn’t be surprising for members of the local town government, other business people, interns, sales reps, or business prospects to have made arrangements for a tour of the company.

For the first time, though, an international group came for a visit. Coming from Australia were four young professionals who are members of a Rotary Group, (Rotary District 9750), in Sydney, Australia, a Rotarian leader, plus some non-Rotarians. The trip to the United States was part of the Australian Rotary Group Study Exchange Team.

“The Rotary Foundation’s Group Study Exchange (GSE) program is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for business people and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are in the early stages of their careers. The program provides travel grants for teams to exchange visits in paired areas of different countries. For four to six weeks, team members experience the host country’s culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas,” according to the Rotary International website.

The Australian group arrived in the U.S. for a month of visiting sights in the southern half of Connecticut. While in Monroe, they also toured Wolfe Park, a local park, and Victorinox Swiss Army.

Dave Wolfe of the Rotary Club of Monroe (Rotary District 7980), explained that “Each week the team is hosted by local Rotarians in different part of the District. During their third week they will be hosted in the area that includes Monroe. The team visits various Rotary clubs and sights in each area. A “vocational” day is designated each week for the team to meet with those in their own vocation.”

The tour of CHC went well, according to Helen Taylor, National Sales Manager, who led the tour.

“They were all very impressed with the operations, technology, and workflow,” said Helen.

Mr. Wolfe gave some background regarding the team. He said that Rotarian Howard Davy, a retired insurance executive, is leading the Australian team. Other members are Sophie Hunter, a police officer; Rebekah Schulz, library manager; Dr. Zoe Terpening, clinical neuropsychologist; and Perri Calderwood, assistant principal (special education).

L to R: David Wolfe (Monroe Rotary), Phil Lindstrom (Monroe Rotary); Team Members: Zoë Terpening, Sophie Hunter, Perri Calderwood, Rebekah Schulz; Helen Taylor (Church Hill Classics National Sales Manager)

After the 30-minute tour, the Australian Rotary Group attended a barbeque (or should I say barbie?) that evening at the home of a Rotarian from Monroe.

The next tour awaits…

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