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April-May 2021 | Features

Rotary: the gift that keeps on giving

Rotary: the gift that keeps on giving

We are living a moment of change and opportunity. It’s also a time when people get volunteering and why Rotary should grasp the opportunity right now to grow

Now, more than ever, our communities need people of action – the world needs more Rotarians! As friends and neighbours, we want to come together in new ways. We need to truly listen to each other and need Rotary’s Four-Way Test.

Even though we cannot travel as easily as we used to, we still want to be globally connected; we need the global connections that Rotary provides. As the world changes, so does Rotary and we, as Rotarians, should ask our friends to join Rotary now.

 

Rotary members choose their projects.

While it is true you can volunteer without paying dues, if you want to have real impact in the area of service you choose, with projects you choose – Rotary is your best option.

In fact, Rotary is the only organisation I know of where the members raise funds for their cause; plan the project they want; and actually work on the project.

In other organisations, the leadership chooses the project – not the members.

While it is true you can volunteer without paying dues, if you want to have real impact in the area of service you choose, with projects you choose – Rotary is your best option.”

My district recently formed the Rotary Club of Minnesota Veterans, a Rotary club formed to serve veterans.

The members of this club decided shortly after starting, to partner with other District 5950 clubs to secure a $20,000 grant, to update and furnish a family room at a Haven for Heroes home in Anoka, Minnesota.

Haven for Heroes is a stand-alone, non-profit, substance and alcohol-free board and lodging facility which provides recovery and transitional housing to service members and veterans.

Rotarians from across the district came together, leveraged district grant funds and did the work. Club members chose the project they wanted and made it happen.

 

A worldwide network allows for a greater global impact.

Rotary also provides its members with a network of other individuals with similar values, to work together to serve on an international level.

Because I was a Rotary member, I was able to lobby our district and secure a $75,000 contribution of District Designated Funds.”

Last Spring, our district wanted to help out with COVID-19. We did not know exactly where to start. Then, I received a call from Rotary International letting me know about 13 Rotary International districts in Italy that were trying to minimise risk of infection for healthcare workers. At that time, Italy was one of the worst COVID-affected areas.

Because I was a Rotary member, I was able to lobby our district and secure a $75,000 contribution of District Designated Funds.

We joined four US districts and a district in Japan to partner with the Italian districts. The result was a €1,300,000, life-saving project that provided an innovative high-tech solution minimising the risk of infection for healthcare workers across Italy.

Rotary membership leads to lifelong friends.

There is so much value derived from being a Rotary member (opportunities for educational and vocational development, leadership development, networking, etc).

However, the greatest value Rotary offers is the lifelong friends that develop while serving with your fellow Rotarians.

York Rotary Club

The greatest value Rotary offers is the lifelong friends that develop while serving with your fellow Rotarians.

Whether you serve locally or internationally, you will develop friendships that will last a lifetime.

I look forward to my weekly club meetings to catch up with friends.

As a result of partnering on a project in South Africa, we have wonderful friends in Johannesburg who we look forward to visiting. And our ‘family’ has increased in size because we hosted youth exchange students from France, Czech Republic, South Korea, Belgium, Spain and India.

To me, all of these friends are not only worth the price of my membership dues, they are priceless because they add a richness to my life.

 

One last thing you need to know – it’s no longer your grandfather’s Rotary.

In 2016, Rotary, at its Council on Legislation (COL), changed its rules to allow for greater flexibility for clubs to change its meetings’ times, locations and formats.

At its 2019 COL, the organisation elevated its Rotaractors to full Rotarian status.

Rotary’s governance changes have reshaped Rotary to allow it to form new and innovative clubs, including cause-based clubs that are changing the face of Rotary.

For example, our district recently formed the Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking and the Rotary Club of Network for Empowering Women.

These new types of clubs are offering new choices for Rotary members.

I was recently invited to speak at the Membership Summit organised by Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland.

There, your upcoming Association Leader and Director-Elect, Nicki Scott, explained how she sometimes compares Rotary membership to a petrol station.

Rotary’s governance changes have reshaped Rotary to allow it to form new and innovative clubs, including cause-based clubs that are changing the face of Rotary.”

Nicki is absolutely right when she suggests if you have four petrol stations on one intersection, people are much more likely to come there. It doesn’t matter which direction they are coming from, with more choice they will find it much easier to refuel.

So let’s make it easier to people to discover Rotary. Just like the petrol station, it’s the fuel they are after, more than the name of the garage.

 

When to join Rotary? Now!

Rotary GB&I offers a platform where you, for minimal dues, can work with like-minded individuals, from around the world, having a great impact on issues important to you.

Make the world a better place through implementing projects that you chose while, all along, building lifelong friendships.

Rotary welcomes all members who believe in our motto of ‘service above self’.

Please encourage your non-Rotarian friends to look at joining one of our traditional clubs or one of our new and innovative clubs.

They should join Rotary now – it’s well worth the price of admission!

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