By Ramkumar Raju A., Rotaract Club of Madras Central, Tamil Nadu, India
Last April, I was asked by RI Director P.T. Prabhakar to form a team and help gather 10,000 Rotaractors for a Presidential New Generations Conference to be held in Chennai, India, for then President-elect Ron Burton. We have more than 25,000 Rotaract members in our district but I was overwhelmed by the request.
I said I didn’t think it would be possible without the support of Rotarians in our district.
I was going crazy, and wondered how we could fund such a large effort. But our district governor told me to leave that to the Rotarians, and give it our best effort.
A team of Rotarians and Rotaractors was formed and we selected the theme, “We Are the Change,” which brought a big smile to my face. Now I was ready for the challenge, and ready to be “the Change.”
Every minute of working for the conference was a learning experience for me. Every time I got an email from RI or a call from an RI director, every time my governor told us how proud of us he was, every time a Rotarian patted us on the back for the good work we were doing, I was amazed at how well Rotary and Rotaract were working together.
The most anticipated event was an attempt to set a Guinness World Record by forming the largest human image of a hand. We worked hard and together we did it. Now we are “officially amazing”
The impact of the conference has been incredible. We signed up over 3,000 new Rotaractors, and we’re not done yet. We are getting ready for another Guinness World Record attempt on 29 March when District 3230 attempts to enroll 10,000 organ donors in one hour.
I am especially grateful to Rotarian Isak Nazar, the event chair, who told me this: “Ram, we are going to create history and when such a big team is involved mistakes will tend to happen. You are a leader; don’t loose your cool. At the end of the day if something goes wrong, I will take it up.” These words were very touching and motivating to me.
Throughout this process we learned team building, communication, crisis management, and decision-making. And above all else, the power of Rotary.
Thank you President Ron and Jetta, and everyone else who gave us your support.