By Fernando Pinto Nercelles
When I learned about the changes approved by the 2016 Council on Legislation that allowed Rotaractors to join a Rotary club while maintaining their Rotaract membership, I immediately saw an opportunity and knew that I had to take it. Why?
It’s quite simple, I feel dual membership is one of the most effective ways devised to achieve the best of both worlds. Rotary and Rotaract combined is an approach that definitively and once and for all, leaves behind the prejudices of age, maturity, money, prospects of service, and friendship.
This challenge put in front of us gives us the unique opportunity to get the best of Rotaract and Rotary. Dual membership in Rotaract and Rotary allows us to build more dynamic clubs with greater scope of perspective, more debate, more ideas, and more and better service in more communities. I think we should not forget the most important part of Rotary—Service Above Self. I am grateful to my friends of the Rotaract Club of Vitacura, Chile for teaching me that.
Rotaractors bring new energy and motivation to everything we do and develop dynamic friendships and professional networks with everyone we meet. And now, as a Rotarian too, I have made a renewed commitment to continue learning and growing together with those who know best the path of service, but also to serve as a bridge between both worlds. My hope is that more Rotaractors will join Rotary every day, expanding the limits of our service.
We must continue to explore and refine this important new opportunity, delivering clear ideas and effective advice on how to properly implement dual membership in our clubs and districts. For example, my club, the Rotary Club of Huelén is composed of almost 40 percent former Rotaractors and the Rotarians in the club understand the importance of including young people in service.
As a younger professional, I do not have the means to afford expensive dinners, not to mention high membership fees. So my new Rotary club made the decision to charge me only the Rotary International dues, and not a penny more. The opportunity to be a Rotarian was within my reach and today it is a reality.
I invite and encourage my fellow Rotaractors to dare. Approach your sponsoring Rotary clubs or other clubs in the area and ask about the options. Or, if you can’t find a Rotary club that’s right for you, start your own. It’s possible! And to my fellow Rotarians, I invite you not to wait for the Rotaractors to approach you, come and invite them to join your clubs. Just like that, we all contribute to a more committed Rotary — a Rotary Serving Humanity.