By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada
One of the difficult decisions I made recently was to change Rotary clubs. I had moved from the city of Vancouver to the suburb of Ladner. I had continued commuting for a few years, 45 minutes each way, to my Rotary meeting. When I finally decided to join a club only 10 minutes from my home, I left friends of many years behind and was introduced to new friends. The network of friends in my old club and the new friends in my current club are why I stay in Rotary.
My network of Rotary friends goes far beyond my Rotary club. I have made Rotary friends from many countries. Rotary has taken me to every corner of the world. Rotary conventions and opportunities for volunteer service have extended my network of friends from Sudan to Russia to India to Australia. Social media keeps me connected to this extended network of Rotary friends.
I experienced firsthand at a recent Rotary meeting the opportunities offered by the Rotary network of friends. My local member of Parliament (MP) is a member of my club. Not surprisingly, Rotarians often have questions and advice for her.
Even after the bell rang to end the meeting, a table of eight members continued their discussion with our MP for another 20 minutes. I know that not everyone at the table will vote for the MP’s party. This was an open conversation on local and national issues. For our MP, it was an opportunity to hear from her constituents, and for members of my club, it was the chance to talk to their federal representative candidly as a Rotary member.
There is no better place than a Rotary club to meet people from diverse backgrounds who offer friendship and networking opportunities. Every Rotary club in the world, no matter how big or small, has one common trait — friendship.
To me, Rotary friendship means standing outside a grocery store in December selling calendars to raise funds for community projects. Friendship means attending club social events at a member’s home. It means supporting a club member who is ill. It means giving polio drops to children in India.
Local and global networking and friendship are the reasons I stay in Rotary. They are the reasons that being a Rotarian is such an exciting and gratifying experience.
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