By Erin Mills, Rotary Scholar and charter member of the Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay
A little over six years ago, I packed my luggage and boarded a plane for Montevideo, Uruguay, as an Ambassadorial Scholar from Arizona, USA, to that tiny corner of the world I now call home. It’s where I teach future English language educators at the University of Montevideo, where I teach middle school children from around the world at the American International School, and where 24 young professionals and I are taking Rotary into the next generation.
On a breezy, Saturday afternoon in March, surrounded by familiar faces and scrumptious Uruguayan masitas (small cakes), those young professionals and I began hashing out the dos and don’ts of starting a Rotary club. Many of us had been members of Rotaract (Rotary’s program for people ages 18-30), or even Rotary clubs, but we couldn’t find a club that fit until we decided to start our own.
We didn’t have a place to meet, so we rotated meetings among the houses of the founding members (reminiscent of Paul Harris and the founders of Rotary who rotated offices before they had an actual meeting space). With the support of our sponsor club, the Rotary club of Montevideo, we received our official charter about three weeks ago and became the Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The energy and enthusiasm this club has for Rotary and its mission is producing quite the momentum for change in our local and global community. We are already involved in supporting a local non-profit that works with Leukemia patients. Other members are putting together workshops to get Rotary members up to speed on how to use social networks to their advantage.
We are also very excited about organizing a fundraising event we coordinated as Rotaract members. The event is an Oscars for Rotary, we call it, “La Rueda de Oro” or the “Golden Wheel.” Clubs that enter have the chance to win a Golden Wheel in categories such as best outreach program for new members, best service project, etc. Even clubs from other countries have a chance to enter the international category. It’s a great way to simultaneously raise money for a good cause and create awareness about the projects that the various Rotary clubs in Uruguay, and around the world, are carrying out.
We’re a new club, in a small country of three million people, but we’re here to make a change and carry Rotary’s mission of service into the next generation.
- Join our global celebration of membership during the month of August. Post a photo of your club in action on Facebook, Twitter, Vine, or Instagram using the hashtag #WeAreRotary to be included in our gallery and show how Rotary makes a positive impact in the world.
- Watch RI President Gary C.K. Huang’s video on membership
- Signup for the webinar Membership: It’s Now or Never
- Find other ways to celebrate
- Connect with alumni on Facebook