By Barry Rassin, 2018-19 RI president
Time has really flown by. As the Rotary year draws to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished together.
When I started my year as president of Rotary, I set a number of goals that I hoped Rotary clubs all over the world would strive to achieve. One significant goal was important, but simple: double Rotaract.
I realize that was quite a lot to ask clubs. But there’s a reason why I didn’t ask Rotary clubs to simply grow Rotaract. I chose the goal of doubling Rotaract because it gave us something specific to reach for, and I believed that whatever we managed to accomplish this year would still be significant.
And we have done exactly that. Since 1 July 2018, we have started 1,148 new Rotaract clubs around the world (as of 24 June), with 24,254 new Rotaractors. These numbers are growing every day. I am so impressed by this growth. In the process, we raised awareness among Rotarians of the power and potential of Rotaract. In addition, we have also worked to increase engagement and gather feedback from Rotaractors.
Last, but certainly not least, an important piece of legislation was approved during the Council on Legislation that now includes Rotaract clubs as a membership type of Rotary International. I championed this item because I believed it was the best way to make Rotaractors our equal partners in service. This will also help lay the foundation for emphasizing and growing Rotaract as a critical part of Rotary, while still allowing for the unique experience that Rotaract clubs provide.
To Rotaractors around the world: I am so glad I got to meet so many of you. You have all truly inspired and motivated me throughout the year. I traveled to over 55 countries in the last year and everywhere I went, I was met with the same level of energy and enthusiasm. I will always look back fondly on this year, including all the selfies we took together. And to those of you I didn’t get the chance to meet, I hope our paths cross someday. Thank you for all that you do and all that I hope you continue to do, as you continue on your journey as a part of the family of Rotary. Most importantly, thank you for being the inspiration.