The key to a successful multi-generational Rotary club

Emmanuel Rey

Emmanuel Rey addresses his multi-generational club.

By Emmanuel Rey, a member of the Rotary Club of Villa Devoto, Argentina

In 20 years as a member of the Rotary family, I have learned much. I began my Rotary journey as a member of Interact when I was 12, and six years later moved on to Rotaract. After passing the maximum age of 30 for that program, I proudly became a member of my Rotary club two years ago.

At first, I dreamed of building a big and youthful Rotary club, especially as I observed how hard it was for my fellow Interactors and Rotaractors to bridge the generation gap and become members of Rotary. But while I was still a Rotaractor, an old friend of mine gave me a new perspective. He said, “when I’m 30, I’m going to join a Rotary club with older people, to be the link with young people.”

Membership diversity strengthens Rotary clubs.

My friend kept his promise, and his words still ring in my mind. I have come to the conclusion that “youth is not a number, it is a state of mind,” as one of my Rotary mentors, Enrique Blaistein, taught me. A club is not young by the age of the people it comprises. It is young by the characteristics exhibited by its members, such as dynamism, resiliency, strength, and a desire to work. In other words, the youth of a club is not the average age of its members, it is the spirit with which they work.

Membership diversity strengthens Rotary clubs. I had the luck to join the Rotary Club of Villa Devoto and I have friends who are in their 70s. We’ve been able to break down generational barriers and work together, learn from each other, join forces, and pool our knowledge to serve Rotary and enhance our personal and professional lives.

I have come to the conclusion that effective clubs are clubs that find a way to blend the knowledge and experience of older members with the strength and drive of younger members. This is the greatest challenge facing Rotary as an organization, and the success of any club depends on how well they do this.

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10 thoughts on “The key to a successful multi-generational Rotary club

  1. Hello everybody. I am part of the Quetzaltenango Rotary Club (Guatemala) and we have a very large age gap to deal with. I was 27 when I entered (no Rotaract active) and about 75% of my fellow Rotarians were above 60 years old. I had a relatively easy experience adapting since my father is a member (and has been for about 30 years) and I already knew most of the other members. I have seen many new members leave probably because of this age difference so it has been a challenge. We ended up forming a new group of younger members meeting at a different time and lower dues and this has helped significantly, but I agree with this article in the sense that “youth is a state of mind” and somehow regret that our recent growth had to mean some sort of “separation”.

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  2. Pingback: What does a Rotary club designed by younger members look like? | Rotary Voices

  3. Am Alice a rotaract in a newly charted Kampala Naguru club thanks for this encouraging and motivating information. I will keep on following you.

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  4. It is indeed an inspiring story by a young Ratarian deserves rounds of applause. If there are few hundreds of Emmanuel Rey, Rotary as an organization would be able to scrap all forms of membership drive programs. In this aspect all the Rotary clubs should put in good effort to identify young Rotarians with the calibre of Emmanuel Rey.

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  5. The key to a Rotary Club’s continuity is diversity. Having a mix of older members (filled with knowledge and experience) and younger members (oozing with strength and drive), but both generations passionate and committed and engaged to Rotary service…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on themailerdotme and commented:
    Youth is not a number, it is a state of mind….Effective clubs are clubs that find a way to blend the knowledge and experience of older members with the strength and drive of younger members. This is the greatest challenge facing Rotary as an organization, and the success of any club depends on how well they do this

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The key to a successful multi-generational Rotary club | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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