Attending the RI Convention (virtually)

Rotary members watch the debut of Rotary’s VR film, “One Small Act” at the Atlanta Convention.

By Bill Pollard, Rotary Club of Churchland, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA, and past governor of District 7600

It would be wonderful if every Rotarian could experience at least one Rotary International Convention. It is a great venue to hear from our leaders, listen to keynote speakers, learn useful information at breakout sessions, and visit with Rotary Fellowships and Action Groups in the House of Friendship. Of course, the best part of attending a convention is the opportunity to enjoy fellowship with Rotarians from all over the world.

I have been a Rotarian for 29 years and have had the privilege of attending the conventions in Los Angeles (2008) and Birmingham, England (2009). I have great memories of both. Each year, I encourage members of my club and district to attend if they are able. This year my club had four members go to Atlanta.

During the past several years, social media and the Rotary website have enabled Rotarians not able to attend a convention to experience it virtually. Every day during the Atlanta convention, I enjoyed seeing the photos and comments from my Rotary friends who were there. I especially enjoyed seeing photos of Rotarians who are friends on Facebook meeting for the first time face to face. I would also visit the Rotary website to check out the articles, photos, and videos. I was able to enjoy the speeches by Bill Gates, Andrew Young, Jack Nicklaus, our Rotary leaders, and others. I watched the opening ceremony at the House of Friendship and the celebration of The Rotary Foundation’s 100th birthday.

Bill Pollard, right, with his mother and incoming President Ian Riseley at a zone institute in October.

I love being a Rotarian and I cherish my Rotary friendships. I look forward to attending more conventions and I hope every Rotarian will have the opportunity to do so. But when I am not able to attend a convention, I will be there virtually thanks to the Rotary website and my Rotary friends on Facebook.

As we approach the end of the 2016-17 Rotary year, I want to congratulate my “80-year-young” mother, Joan Pollard, for having a fun and successful year serving as the president of the Rotary Club of Petersburg, Virginia, USA. In May the club celebrated its 100th anniversary.

7 thoughts on “Attending the RI Convention (virtually)

  1. This was my first Convention and certainly hope it will not be the last. So much fun to meet individuals from around the world and get to participate in many events while exploring Atlanta. Inspiring and energizing.Thanks to Bill for his comments above as I enjoyed posting pictures about my adventure.


  2. I have been energized and re-charged after attending a convention. Its a transforming experience. I have been a Rotarian 2 years and I attended last year’s convention as well as this year’s. I am truly inspired. I hope I get to attend the Toronto one.


  3. Pingback: Attending the RI Convention (virtually) | The Rotary Club of Carteret

  4. Hi! I totally agree with you… attending at least one convention must be a MUST for every Rotarian. I have seen pics, videos and posts and people were really enjoying every minute. I hope I can attend one in the near future.
    Greetings from Rio Tercero, Argentina D4815


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