Wendouree Rotary Club over the last 3 years, has had a men's health focus as its major community event of the year. In previous years a Men's Health and cricketing day was held offering free men's health checks along with a game of cricket. The event was changed this year to entice more participation by a broader range of the community and thus Rotary MenZone concept was born.
The idea of this event was not only to highlight the vast and varied array of Men's and boys hobbies and interests available in our region, but also to get the male population to think about their health and reduce the incidence of preventable disease.
The inaugural Wendouree Rotary MenZone Expo was held on the 14th of October, 2007 and was sponsored by numerous community enterprises which assisted in the advertising of the event.
Many car related clubs were present on the day with Hot Rods, Sporting Motorists, Go Carts, and Classic racing cars and Motorcycle clubs all on show. Other clubs and hobbies who participated included the army reserves, ultra light planes, police drag cars, field naturalists, radio controlled aircraft, steam engines, model aircraft, Gem clubs, Camera Club, Astronomy, Hot Air Ballooning, Gemstones, Gyrocopters and holiday options to name a few, with nearly every conceivable Sport and Recreational "Toy" you can imagine including giant chess.
Most men take an interest in maintaining their vehicles and their car in good working order, but how well do they look after their own bodies? It is acknowledged that men are reluctant to seek help to have their health checked and tend to defer or ignore health needs. With health issues including prostate cancer, bowel cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, Australian men have a lower life expectancy and greater levels of serious morbidity than women.
As men take an interest in maintaining their vehicles in good working order, a novel way of checking men's health at the Expo was to liken it to a car service with the major part of Rotary MenZone being the free Men's Pit Stop program which created an awareness of the need for regular self-maintenance much the same as they might look after their cars.
The Men's Pit Stop was based on a mechanical concept likening parts of the body to a motor vehicle. The participants put themselves 'over the pits' and undergo a range of non invasive tests including checks for chassis, ( torsion, flexibility), exhaust emissions & fuel additives (smoking & alcohol), oil pressure (blood pressure), spark plugs (testicular cancer) and duco (skin cancer).
The Men's Pit Stop was a huge success on the day, with men constantly queued for a check. The Expo provided a venue that was relaxed and convenient for men to take a quick health check to see if their body is in roadworthy condition or requires follow-up maintenance. They were then issued with either a "canary" sticker or a road worthy sticker.
Through the checks the men who participated will now be more aware of any areas that may be of concern to their health and it is hoped that they would feel comfortable to follow up with a regular medical check with their GP. The Expo achieved its aim and became a reality. The Rotary Club of Wendouree is now working on the next Rotary MenZone Expo to be bigger and better next year!
PP John Emery is trying out one of the classic cars on display at Rotary MenZone.