By Laura Tussing, Rotary Club of Lancaster, Ohio
What can you do when a global pandemic shuts down international and regional travel, the ability to visit your favorite restaurants, or even the ability to attend your regular Rotary club meeting?
Two members of our club came up with an ingenious answer that has engaged our members and captured the attention of new members. Matt Wideman, immediate past president, and Jamie Culver, president-elect, felt that profiling long-time members with a video interview would be the perfect solution to keep members connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jamie interviewed some of our longest tenured Rotary members for 15-minute video vignettes that allow them to tell their stories, recounting the early years of their careers and how their club experience has changed over the years. These “Senior Member Spotlights” solved an immediate need to provide programming for our switch to virtual meetings. But they have also been a huge hit with our members, particularly newer members who are learning things they did not know about the club and their fellow members. Even some long-time members are learning new things about people they’ve known for years.
We’ve conducted four of these interviews, and plan to do many more. While we set out to keep people connected in a virtual environment, we soon realized the project was also capturing our history and legacy, reminding us of our roots and preserving stories before they are lost. We also share them on social media, where they can attract younger generations who use social media frequently to stay connected and learn about their world.
The pandemic has changed the way we meet and do business. These video interviews keep us connected and teach us things about each other. They will not replace the need for regular gatherings, but they have opened our eyes to new possibilities through technology. It’s been a win for all, young and old.
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