By Dominica Pradere, past president, Rotary Club of Montego Bay, Jamaica
When Jamaica’s borders closed in March 2020 from the COVID-19 pandemic, I was packed and ready for a trip to Trinidad and Tobago, where I planned to connect with other Rotary members, as I normally do when I travel. Naturally I was sad and disappointed at having to cancel my plans. Lockdowns and curfews, as well as government restrictions limiting the movements of citizens, further isolated many retirees like myself as we tried to “stay safe.”
My club began meeting online immediately. I became aware that many clubs around the world were doing likewise, and my life was transformed when I received a spreadsheet created by the Rotary Club of Mount Lawley, Western Australia, Australia, showing details of clubs that had started to meet virtually.
During a discussion of candidates for an upcoming club election, a member objects to one candidate on the grounds that she’s a mother of young children and wouldn’t have the time to commit to Rotary. What would you do?
You are on the planning committee for your district conference that will be held in-person and virtually. Part of your committee’s job is to decide how to involve members of Rotaract. Someone suggests they be asked to manage the Zoom registration and provide technical support for virtual participants to leverage their tech skills. However, others mention there could be more meaningful ways to engage Rotaract members in your conference. What would you do?
By Bernd Meidel, District 1950 Public Image Chair (Germany)
It’s important that Rotary and Rotaract clubs tell their stories in ways that help communities understand what Rotary does and why our work matters so as to inspire others to get involved. Appointing a club public image chair can increase your success at making the club’s communications consistent and unmistakably Rotary.
As the District 1950 Public Image Chair (Germany), I have been responsible for promoting Rotary and its activities on the district level and helping clubs develop their public image. Here are a few things I have observed:
By Damien Walker, Director of Public Image and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Salisbury City Rotaract Club (Australia)
As the public image director for the Rotaract Club of Salisbury City in Australia, my job is to tell my club’s story. I share how we are a dynamic club that provides the entire Rotaract experience without the need for additional, outside commitment; how we ask our members to come as they are and give as they can; and how we are social club that volunteers and values fellowship and friendship. Additionally, I wear the hat as our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) director where I ensure we offer a welcome space for everyone to thrive.
Your club members have generously volunteered to host Rotarians from a district in another country as part of their Rotary Friendship Exchange program. Your club’s Rotary Friendship Exchange committee wishes to require all host families and visiting families to complete a background check as a precautionary measure of security. Other club members protest that only individuals of good standing become club members, so a background check is costly and unnecessary. What would you do?
By Jayne Hulbert, past governor and Rotary Foundation chair, District 5150
The eradication of polio is personal to me. My sister and my husband’s father both were victims of this dreaded disease when they were only 5 years old. I joined Rotary because of our fight against polio.
Last year, when I learned that Rotary had created the fundraiser site, Raise for Rotary, I immediately knew I wanted to use it. I am always looking for ways to make it as easy as possible for people to donate to The Rotary Foundation. As part of District 5150’s PolioPlus fundraising campaign we set up our first Raise for Rotary website. It was a huge success.
During the pandemic, your club service projects have been coordinated virtually partnering with local groups that provide community resources. Now your area is allowing in-person gatherings, but you have several members who are immune-compromised or cannot get vaccinated for health reasons. How can your club plan inclusive service activities that won’t exclude these members.
By Eva Palmer, assistant governor for District 7280 (Pennsylvania, USA)
Our club is very committed to working with our community and telling people about Rotary. It’s woven into everything we do, including our club’s strategic plan. So when I heard that the city wanted to update the welcome signs leading into our town of Oil City, I jumped at the opportunity to help beautify our city, support tourism efforts, and promote Rotary at the same time.
By Isaac B. Owolabi, past governor of Rotary District 7670 and a member of the Rotary Club of Asheville-Biltmore, North Carolina, USA
I am grateful for my involvement in Rotary, not only because it has allowed me to make many friends but to grow in countless ways. My excitement for Rotary has increased over the years because I have been fortunate to have been offered many opportunities to get involved, learn new skills, and lead. This is what is meant by participant engagement, a pillar of our Action Plan. And it is necessary if we want our clubs to thrive and grow.