3 ingredients to keep members happy

Members of the Metro Bethesda Rotary Club enjoy a service project.

By Barton Goldenberg, member of the Metro Bethesda Rotary Club, Maryland, USA

I had the pleasure to be invited recently to an online Rotary discussion regarding member apathy. We were two past district governors, an assistant governor, two past club presidents – one from a large club and one from a smaller club— and a community service chair from a large club.

The topic was why some (many?) Rotarians are reluctant to participate or get involved in Rotary activities. Based on a district-wide survey of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic I facilitated in June at the end of my governor year (results are posted on our district website), we knew we would be facing membership challenges this Rotary year, particularly around member engagement. Continue reading

RYLA fuels creation of new clubs

Jeffrey Thompson, Elizabeth Piwonka, Madalyn Smith, and Sarah Jenkins were motivated to create a new club from their experience leading RYLA camps in District 5830 in 2019 and 2020.

By Sarah Jenkins, president of the E-Club of Leaders in Service (District 5830), Texas, USA

In 1996, Rotary District 5830 held its first ever RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). On the 25th anniversary, a group of alumni decided it was time to start our own Rotary club. Rather than creating a traditional club, we decided to be innovative and chartered the Rotary E-Club of Leaders in Service in February 2020 with 22 Rotary program alumni, all former participants and staff from RYLA 5830. Continue reading

3 ways to create a harassment-free zone at Rotary

Katey Halliday

By Katey Halliday

We have no place for harassment in Rotary. People won’t join or stay if they are exposed to harassment.

Rotary’s policy on maintaining a harassment-free environment at meetings, events, and activities makes it clear that harassment will not be tolerated. It even stipulates that all Rotary leaders, including club presidents, shall be provided with annual training on Rotary International’s policies on the topic. Continue reading

Pursuing our mentoring moments

Elizabeth Usovicz

By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International director-elect

When I speak with Rotary members about the importance of mentoring future leaders, I often hear, “I would love to be a mentor, but I don’t have the time.”

My response is a question and this story. Continue reading

Why I finally joined a Rotary club

Erin Maloney watching a recording of the 2020 Virtual Convention on her laptop. (On screen is her brother, 2019-20 Rotary International President Mark D. Maloney

By Erin Maloney

Until this summer, I had never really thought about joining a Rotary club. Even though I have been involved with service – from anti-domestic violence issues to giving music lessons – for all of my adult life, I was not interested in the traditional model of Rotary (with weekly meetings).

Living in Turkey, I was becoming more interested in reducing human trafficking, as I was concerned that female university students from abroad were being “groomed.” After the COVID-19 pandemic, however, it became more difficult to address this issue. Continue reading

What you can do to make your club more LGBTQ+ inclusive

Grant Godino and members of the LGBT Rotarians and Friends Fellowship.

Grant Godino

By Grant Godino, president-elect of the LGBT Rotarians and Friends Fellowship and member of the Rotary Club of Strathmore, Australia

As I have started to share my ideas, opinions, and stories about LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender diverse, queer, and questioning) inclusion in Rotary, I have heard so many of our leaders say to me: “We’re a really decent club/district. We don’t have any bad people. So, we don’t have a problem. Right?” I’ve also heard things like “Why is Rotary doing something so political” and “There are no gay people in my community.” Continue reading

Sunrise after Dark increases Rotary’s diversity in Louisiana

Sunrise After Dark members

New members of the Sunrise after Dark satellite club during an induction ceremony earlier this year.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about flexible club formats in this course in the Learning Center

By Tracey Antee, past president of the Rotary Club of Opelousas Sunrise, Louisiana, USA

During my tenure as club president in 2019-20, I made a goal of starting a satellite club that would meet after regular business hours, hence the name Sunrise after Dark. A young professional group in the community just ended, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to reach out to these individuals and invite them to join Rotary, within the ease provided by the satellite format. Continue reading

The magic of Rotary: touching lives in Indonesia

Eva harvests paddy field

Eva Kurniaty harvests a paddy field that was turned into productive land through a global grant.

Eva Kurniaty

Eva Kurniaty

By Eva Kurniaty, Rotary Coordinator, Past District Governor, and member of the Rotary Club of Jakarta Sunter Centennial, Indonesia

When I was a district governor in 2013, there was a Rotary club in my district, in Cilacap, Central Java, that only had a few members. My senior leaders advised me to terminate the club since they were inactive, held no meetings, conducted no projects, and never contributed to The Rotary Foundation. But I was determined not to end it; I knew it was possible to revive it. Continue reading

What Rotary has to offer young members

Paxton

Tory Paxson and her family

By Tory Paxson, vice president, Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club, District 7780, Maine, USA

What’s life like for people between the ages of 18 and 35 in the Boothbay Region of Maine? Through Rotary, young people take on leadership positions that expand their skills while they serve. Rotary does more than help during a crisis like COVID-19; it provides experiences that translate into a better future in any career. Continue reading

Hybrid meetings keep all members engaged

Hybrid meeting setup

A hybrid meeting setup with a webcam on a dampened tripod, a laptop, and a projector.

By Patrick Eakes, Zone 33 Rotary Coordinator

Patrick Eakes

Patrick Eakes

In our area, the global pandemic arrived like an unwelcome dinner guest. Within a matter of days after the first local case of COVID-19, my Rotary club’s meeting location closed, and gatherings of 50 or more people were prohibited (my club has over 100 members). Face-to-face Rotary meetings came to an almost immediate halt.

David Stovall and Stephanie Urchick, Rotary International Directors, and Director-elect Peter Kyle immediately set up online meetings for all Rotary members in Zones 33 and 34 to attend. They held these meetings twice each week and posted recordings on social media, setting an explicit example for district and club leaders of how they could maintain and strengthen the engagement of Rotary members even during a pandemic. Continue reading