By Erin Wagner, a member of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis South, Minnesota, USA
I am a product of Rotary’s youth programs, which taught me some amazing lessons. For example:
A farm girl from Idaho, my youth exchange to France (2001-02) and the associated culture shock taught me to be aware of and question my assumptions, and to recognize that people are people all over the world.
Delegation did not come naturally to me. Fortunately, within the framework of Rotaract, I got to take part in projects I simply could not pull off alone. In my inadequacy, I learned a fundamental appreciation for the skills and efforts of every contributor.
When my Rotary district hosted the international convention in 2007, I was hired to serve as the secretary to the host organization committee. Still in college, I had the privilege of learning basic skills (like preparing financial documents, writing grants, and participating effectively in meetings) from experts in banking, fundraising, and management. Conscious of how much I had to learn, they nevertheless expected a level of professionalism commensurate with the opportunity, and held my hand as I found my way.
One Rotarian surprised the Rotaractors by cashing in his frequent flyer miles so that we could visit the Chilean school for which we were fundraising. We learned a lot from seeing first-hand the impact of our efforts, but what has touched me the most is his motive. He saw value in our education and development as humanitarians, an education we could not have accessed without his assistance.
Tying these lessons together, I have learned that the essence of gratitude is the impulse to share the goodness with others.
Now a college graduate and small business owner, I was able to use my expertise in social media to pay forward that gratitude in three ways through a 2012-13 Public Image Grant. By using paid promotion on Facebook to draw the public’s attention to the District 5950 (Minnesota, USA) Facebook page, we were able to:
- Educate people in the community about the opportunities for service, fellowship, and learning available through Rotary,
- Help local clubs make the public aware of their mission and attract new members,
- Share what we learned and document our strategy online at http://houseandhoffman.com/facebook-for-rotary.
But even so, service is a funny thing. This attempt to repay my debt of gratitude has only left me richer as it has deepened my connections throughout the community, in my district, and around the world. In the end, doing justice to the kindnesses shown to me will require a lifetime of service.
Hi Erin. I really do miss you at our Minneapolis south Rotary Club. But you certainly made a huge contribution during your time here. I hope things are going well for you and your husband. He really hit a grandslam when he married you. Jesse!
Our club has recently set-up a FB page and your timing with this great article could not have been better! As I know next to nothing about FB your piece gave me a total different insight on how to use this tool. Thanks again!
I am currently the President of the Rotary Club of Balmain, Sydney, Australia. This Club was responsible, 20 years ago, for sending my daughter Kate Burleigh, on Student Exchange to Gaylord, Minnesota USA – an experience we all remember with great affection in spite of the lapse of time. I hope you are coming to the Rotary International Convention in Sydney in 2014 so we can say ‘G’day’ in person.
Cheers … Ann Burleigh
Oh beautiful to say the least.fundraising is a very difficult thing in local communities in Nigeria. Perhaps because people have not being economically enpowered,but need star in the face at every turn. Am a member of RC VANDEIKYA HILL TOP,DIST.9125-NIGERIA.
I am a Rotarian for 28 years and I want more young people to join Rotary
Pingback: Today’s Links | Rotary International District 3040
I begin to work for the YEP of district 4520 this month, as a secretary, despite of never had made a travel out of my country. I have a bachelor degree, but was facing a serious problem with unemployment, even speaking two languages. The district 4520 gave me the great opportunity to work with all these wonderful people, here and around the world. I’m knowing Rotary bit by bit, and one day I’ll want to be a member too. I’m so proud of my work! And I’m loving it, too!
great message and very true, Erin. Giving more yields such great rewards which leads us to want to give some more. Be generous to others with your gifts; you will be richly rewarded!
Pingback: Using Facebook to promote Rotary | Warsaw Rotary , Club 3393, District 6540
Ooh! This is fabulous Erin. Yes you certainly have the opportunity in your life time to engage Rotary and change lives in our communities