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.
Join a discussion on membership best practices.