By Elizabeth Davis, a member of the Rotary Club of Lake Norman-Huntersville, North Carolina, USA
What would happen if we gave the younger crowd a space to call their own?
This was the question that our club president, Kamlesh-Chandan (Kam for short) posed to us recently as we discussed how to recruit young professionals.
After a little more thinking, Kam and our club developed a term for our approach, YP 35 (short for young professionals under 35 years old). From there, we started to rally our members and members of other local clubs to seek out young professionals in the area who could call Rotary home.
A club they can call their own
It was an instant success. At an initial meeting to explore interest for YP 35, fourteen enthusiastic young professionals gathered to discuss their new club over food and drinks. Now, more YP 35 meetings and events are scheduled to take place.
YP 35 is a success because of how it’s structured. YP 35 was able to easily and immediately start up thanks to the mentorship and financial support of its host club the Rotary Club of Lake Norman-Huntersville. However, because it puts an emphasis on engagement over attendance and has the autonomy to structure meetings and events as its members prefer, Rotarians in YP 35 still have a club they can truly call their own. From picking how often they prefer to meet, to where they meet, to what areas of service their work will revolve around, YP 35 is by the members and for the members.
Young professionals are interested in Rotary
When asked about any concerns that YP 35 might try to split off from the Rotary Club of Lake Norman-Huntersville, Kam said such a scenario would be perfectly fine. For him and his fellow Rotarians, the main goal is to bring more, and younger, members into the organization. If they can do this by starting a new club, then their goal is accomplished.
Ultimately, what starting YP 35 has shown is that there is, in fact, a desire among the young professionals crowd for a service-based organization. Young professionals are interested in Rotary. The key is to give them a space to call their own.