Living a Rotary dream

Desai and his brick

Binish Desai and the brick his company makes from industrial waste.

By Binish Desai, a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student

India is my Nation
Valsad is my Station
Helping is my Aim
Binish is my Name

I’ll never forget the introduction I used as an exchange student.

This year, I have had the outstanding opportunity of not only meeting other youth exchange students from around the world, but of being recognized by my Rotary community as an outstanding alumnus. My youth exchange took place in 2009-10 almost six years ago, and yet my Rotary experience feels like it’s just beginning. Continue reading

Where are all the young members?

Evan Burrell and club

Evan Burrell, left, discusses membership with Rotarians in Sydney, Australia. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

As a former member of Rotaract and now a young Rotarian, I get asked quite a lot, “where do we find more young members like you?”

It may seem like young members are as elusive to catch as Pokémon, but with the right strategy and awareness, it’s not that difficult at all. The truth is, they are really all around us. Continue reading

What defines a Rotary club? You choose

John HewkoBy John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary 

What Rotary has achieved over the past century is remarkable. We were one of the world’s first membership service organizations. Rotary members have made a decisive positive impact in our communities and around the world, from helping to draft the UN Charter in San Francisco in 1945, to spearheading the most successful global health partnership in history with the launch of our PolioPlus program in 1985, bringing one of the world’s most feared diseases to the brink of eradication.  Continue reading

How to reach prospective members in the workplace

The Rotary Club of Cayman Island's project team to Guatemala.

The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s project team to Guatemala.

By Gina McBryan, a member of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands 

We all have our stories of how we were introduced to Rotary, and for the most part, those stories are positive. I could have been a Rotary member much sooner, had someone approached me.

I’m sure every club encourages their members to bring along guests and sponsor new members. For the past five years I have been a Rotary member, I’ve heard the same words of encouragement from my club leaders. And worldwide, our membership totals have remained stable. This makes me think of that line about the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results.” Continue reading

Reason to love Rotary: mentoring young leaders

160803_youngleaders

Mentor a young leader, and discover yet another reason to love Rotary.

By Programs for Young Leaders staff

You’re up at 5:30 a.m. for your sunrise meeting. You stay long after the sun goes down to clean up after your club’s event. And, last spring, you raced daylight across twelve time zones to join other Rotarians at a national immunization day. Rotary moments? You’ve got 20. You love everything, from polo shirts to Paul Harris Society pins, except for this mentoring stuff.

For you, youth service has the awkwardness of a school cafeteria, the uncertainty of a drama club trust fall, and the terror of a university quiz on German declension. It’s small wonder you’re first on the list for the highway cleanup, with its predictable neon vests, and last to host an exchange student, advise an Interact club, or mentor Rotaractors. Continue reading

How can you make your Rotary club multi-dimensional?

Multi-lifestyle club diagram

A model of the Multi-Lifestyle club approach adopted by the Rotary Club of Harrogate Brigantes’

By Richard Bosworth, a member of the Rotary Club of Harrogate Brigantes, North Yorkshire, England

At the beginning of 2013, I was serving as membership chair of my club when I realized that we needed to do something to slow the loss of membership. Three years later, we have a vibrant and growing multi-dimensional club – we use the term Multi-lifestyle Rotary Club – that is making full use of the digital age and is discovering smarter ways of operating to secure our long-term future. How did we do it, and what do we mean by a multi-lifestyle club? Continue reading

Are you willing to be third class, and serve?

Tiffany and baseball players

Tiffany Ervin with participants in a special needs baseball league her club sponsors.

By Tiffany Ervin, past president of the Rotary Club of Four Seasons – Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA

In the days of the American wild west, if you wanted to travel a great distance, you had to go by stagecoach and it was a very long trip. There were three different classes of passengers – first, second, and third class. The seats were all the same, but the prices were different. Here’s why… Continue reading

How to handle a social media crisis

150209_burrellBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

There seems to be a social media crisis or PR nightmare almost every other week nowadays, and even your Rotary club isn’t immune to a potential crisis that can blow out of all proportion.

Crisis planning is essential and an effective crisis plan is based first and foremost on truth, transparency, and sincerity. Every Rotary club should have a strategy for how it will deal with a public relations disaster, either online or offline. If your club does not have a plan in place, I recommend your club devise one as a matter of urgency. Continue reading

The day Rotarians saved my exchange

Geddes and the GSE team in Colombia

Ian Geddes (back row fifth from left), members of the exchange team, and their Colombian hosts.

By Ian W. Geddes, past governor of District 1020 (Scotland)

I have many Rotary stories to tell, but this one happened in Colombia. I was chosen by my district to lead a Group Study Exchange team to Bogota. As a Spanish teacher in Scotland, my dream had long been to travel to South America. Having been chosen as leader and then having negotiated a sabbatical from my school, my team and I finally set off for Colombia.

One week into the trip, the day after we had visited the fabled El Dorado, I fell ill. At first I thought it was just altitude sickness as we traveled along the Andes at 11,000 feet above sea-level. But no, it turned out to be appendicitis. Continue reading

Building a better tomorrow for youth of Kenya

Class beside new bathrooms

The author with Kenyan students and their teacher in front of the new bathrooms provided by Rotary.

By Sarah Rolfing

No matter how many times I visit the slum in Nairobi or the poverty-stricken schools in the outskirts of the city, I’m not prepared for the feeling of despair that follows. Basic human rights, such as educational opportunity and access to healthcare, are constantly upended by poverty in many regions of Kenya. Children are often the most vulnerable, and the impact on education and the advancement of society is significant.

Lack of resources should not compromise the right to education, particularly in a society that has considerable disparities in wealth. Since 2013, the Rotary Club of Sumner, Washington, USA, has partnered with low-income schools in Southern Kenya to provide bathroom facilities for students with special needs. Lack of basic sanitation at schools across the region is common, negatively impacting health, hygiene, and attendance. Poor health makes education an afterthought, and Rotary’s investment in creating healthy environments for students in Kenya is impacting thousands on a daily basis. Continue reading