Our new vision statement: why should you care?

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Stephanie Urchick

By Stephanie A. Urchick, chair of Rotary’s Strategic Planning Committee

We are now more than a year into the process of revisiting Rotary’s strategic plan, a process that will allow us to examine our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in order to move the organization in a direction that will allow Rotary to thrive in the years ahead. Our new vision statement is the first lap in that three-year journey.

You may have seen the vision statement and wondered what its relevance is to you. Continue reading

Together we transform, one mangrove at a time

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By Hope A. Sealey, president, Rotary Club of East Nassau, Nassau, Bahamas. Photos by Alyce Henson, Rotary International.

Storm damage and coastline erosion are threatening many shores around the world, especially islands in the Caribbean. On top of these concerns, climate challenges are vastly affecting the natural ecosystems of these islands. And the island of New Providence, Bahamas, is no exception.

Bonefish Pond National Park, which was established in 2002, has one of the last remaining mangrove systems on New Providence island. During the time of its establishment, part of the park was a dumping ground but the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) – a non-profit organization that manages the country’s national parks – has been working ever since to clean up the park and turn it into a thriving mangrove area.

Some people might ask, why mangrove trees? Continue reading

Rotary alum turns trash into treasure

Binish Desai’s company makes bricks from industrial waste otherwise destined for the landfill.

By Binish Desai, a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student 

I started my journey in Rotary as a Youth Exchange Student in 2009-10, hosted by the Rotary Club of Waukegan, Illinois, USA. I’m now a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and Rotary helps me live out my dream, a dream I have had since age 11 – giving back to my community in service.

In 2005, I created my first brick using industrial paper waste and chewing gum. Similar bricks of recycled materials would go on to make thousands of stand-alone toilets for rural communities by 2015. Continue reading

The opportunity that changed my life

Jireh Mabamba, second from left, with members of Rotaract in Minnesota.

By Jireh Mabamba

Sometimes, all you need is a chance – that one opportunity of a lifetime. Rotary gave me that chance.

I grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where human life has little value. Children are taken from their families and forced into the army, women are raped daily, and men are killed in front of their loved ones. Massacre is the norm. The only way to survive this brutal environment is to flee the country, and when I was nine, that’s what my family and I did. Continue reading

No checks please! Better photos tell better stories

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By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada (District 5040)

I was recently at a Rotary conference in Karachi, Pakistan. One session was a series of short presentations on club service projects. Most of the presentations were in Urdu, which I don’t speak. Fortunately, several speakers had very good slide presentations. I could understand the presentations. Photos of children at computer terminals with smiles or women at a clinic told me about the projects. I missed details but not the main ideas.

When photographs are used, they tell better Rotary stories. Continue reading

Unexpected lessons from my disaster relief experience

Yannis Comino with ShelterBox aid supplies.

By Yannis Comino

Over my summer break at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, I decided to trade in the warmer weather of Australia for an English winter. Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing? Well, the only way I can explain it is — I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. During my New Generations Service Exchange at the headquarters of ShelterBox International in Truro, Cornwall, I gained priceless insight and first-hand experience in disaster relief management. Continue reading

Why plant trees when you can plant seaweed

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By Parry Monckton, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

In early March, members of my club joined the Operation Crayweed team at Mona Vale Beach to restore the denuded reef on the Sydney shore coastline. We decided to help plant a Crayweed forest as part of our unique response to RI President Ian Riseley’s challenge for Rotary members to plant trees around the world. Underwater trees, you see, are just as important, if not more so, to restoring the health and vitality of the world’s oceans. Continue reading

Ideas Factory sheds light on club innovation

A facilitator leads the discussion during the Ideas Factory.

By Daniel Vankov, president of the Rotary Club of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

At the Rotary Club of Brisbane, we attempt to be the motor behind major community initiatives in our community, in Queensland, and beyond. As members, we have a duty to continue our impact and expand it. Getting a good measure of the club, our strengths and weaknesses, so we can build on them is not easy. For humans, we can look in a mirror to do a self-assessment. At least externally. But organizations don’t have it so easy. We knew we needed to create the right mirror to get a good look inside our club. Continue reading

The key to pitching Rotary to young professionals

Michael Walstrom leads a presentation on attracting young professionals into Rotary.

By Michael Walstrom, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Downtown Boca Raton, Florida  

I think most would agree that Rotary has struggled to attract and retain young professionals. At a district conference in 2016, my district governor, Eric Gordon, asked me to put together a program for “YP” development. This was a new committee, so I was starting from scratch. I was 38 at the time and two years into my Rotary journey. The only thing I really knew was that I had a lot to learn. Continue reading

6 tips for recruiting Rotary Peace Fellows

Rotary members share ideas about recruiting candidates during the Rotary Peace Symposium in 2015. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

By Rotary Peace Center staff

Whenever Anne-Marie Bach, Rotary Peace Fellowships Subcommittee Chair for District 1470 in Denmark, talks to clubs and districts about the Rotary Peace Fellowship program, she describes it as “the diamond of Rotary.” The program is multifaceted, helping peacebuilders from all over the world shine brighter in their work and have a bigger impact together than they might alone. Continue reading