Rotary scholarship worth the ‘calculated risk’

Avenida del Libertador, Buenos Aires

Avenida del Libertador, Buenos Aires

By Christine Cloonan, former Rotary Scholar

I first heard about the Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship during a coffee meeting with a fellow member of a women’s business network now known as Ellevate Network. My life path prior to that had been clear, but not always direct.

My goal was to study to get the best education I could with the ultimate purpose of getting a “good job.” But to the bafflement of my older relatives, landing on that good job took a bit of exploring. My first job was with a law firm, which convinced me not to go to law school. Accepting a one year teaching fellowship, I began a five year teaching career and earned a Master of Spanish at Middlebury College. I then developed an “itch” to go abroad to perfect my language skills and explore new places. Continue reading

3 ingredients that make a Rotarian remarkable

Our neighboring club, Sunyani East, presented exercise books and other supplies to students at Nwawasua school.

Our neighboring club, Sunyani East, presented exercise books and other supplies to students at Nwawasua school in September. Remarkable Rotarians donate time to projects such as this.

Dominic KornuBy Dominic Kornu, Rotary Club of Sunyani Central, Ghana

I first visited the Sunyani Central Rotary club in August of last year as a guest, and was instantly welcomed and integrated into club activities. I knew from the start my relationship with the club was meant to be.

I was immediately encouraged to be part of visits to project sites. My professional skills in information and communication technology were tapped to help design fliers, revamp the club’s website, and teach members about Internet security. It’s been an exciting and challenging year as I grow as a Rotarian. Through it, I’ve come to understand and appreciate three main ingredients that make a Rotarian remarkable: Continue reading

Rotary scholar pursues his dream to visit every U.S. national park

Meyer at the Grand Canyon

Mikah Meyer at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Rotary has helped Meyer reach for his dreams, including visiting all 400 plus U.S. National Park sites in a single tour.

By Mikah Meyer, former Rotary Scholar

Growing up as a pastor’s kid in Nebraska, I had a strong desire to get out and see the world. But I would never have had the opportunity to pursue my dreams if it had not been for Rotary.

I was awarded a Rotary scholarship during my junior year at the University of Memphis, while earning a degree in voice performance. I heard about the opportunity through a teacher who had been a Rotary Scholar herself, and a close friend who had been a Rotary Youth Exchange Student. Continue reading

How to identify your club’s membership problem

Rotary Club of James RIver, Richmond, Virginia

Members of the Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA.

By Richard Cunningham, Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA

My club is a relatively young club (10 years) and does not carry some of the baggage older clubs do, although we certainly have had our problems. The club had dwindled down to just four members at one point before I transferred into it in 2012.

Near the end of 2012, a small team embarked on a structured and planned process of cultural change. Under the umbrella of “Service-Centered Leadership,” we have been able to achieve some amazing results. The club has grown to 24 members and is on its way to stabilizing at 40 active members, at which time we will look to seed another club.

Continue reading

How a Rotary Scholarship to Ireland changed my life

Dave Revsine

Dave Revsine

By Dave Revsine, former Rotary Scholar and studio host for the Big Ten Network, adapted from a presentation to the Rotary Club of Deerfield, Illinois, USA

A year in Ireland as a Rotary Scholar changed my life. It is something I still think about every day. It altered my life trajectory, and allowed me to see the world in a different way.

I was entering my senior year at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and trying to figure out what to do with my life, when a good friend of my dad’s, a professor at Rice University, set up a lunch to talk about my career aspirations. As a history major, I had good grades, was starting an LSAT review course, and figured I’d probably end up going to law school. But I wasn’t excited about it. 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

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

A proud son

Bill and Joan

Bill Pollard and his mom, Joan, president of the Rotary Club of Petersburg.

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

In 1988 at the age of 25, I was invited by Tommy Adkins, a retired banker and neighbor of my parents, to a meeting of the Rotary Club of Petersburg, Virginia. I had just started my banking career in my hometown of Petersburg and I remember calling my mom, Joan Pollard, asking her about Rotary. I recall her telling me it was a service oriented club and that my mom and dad had friends in the club.

We discussed it for a few minutes and I told my mom I would go because it would help Continue reading

Want members? Then get social!

160609_getsocialBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

Did you know more than a billion people use social media every day?

Social media is readily accessible, instantaneous, cost effective and user friendly. It offers your Rotary club a fantastic opportunity to communicate more effectively with members and supporters and can energise the way you promote your club and find new members.

Here are just a few examples of ways your club can use social media: Continue reading

16 ideas for breathing life into your club

Participants in the summit draw their ideas on paper.

Participants in the summit draw their ideas on paper.

By Anabella Q. Bonfa, District 5320 membership chair

How do you breathe new life into your Rotary club? We held a young professional summit recently in southern California, USA, attended by 52 members of Rotary and Rotaract — some new and some with many years of experience — who came together for half a day to share their thoughts. Everyone had fun, and many creative ideas surfaced. Here are just a few:

Plan events that are family-friendly to engage members with young children. Continue reading