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

Planting seeds of motivation to support the environment

Members of the Rotaract Club of Nürtingen, Germany, plant trees in a cleared area last spring.

Dominik Huhndorf

By Dominik Huhndorf, vice president of the Rotaract Club of Nürtingen, Germany

My Rotaract club established a project, Treety of Generations, to motivate clubs around the world to plant trees in cleared areas. In doing so, we show the power of working with Rotary.

We began by finding two partner clubs on different continents who were as passionate about the environment as we were: The Rotaract Club Cumbayá, Ecuador, and Club MOP Vaishnav, India. With this strong alliance, we launched a pilot project. 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

Love, loss, a novel, and a new Rotary club

Soumya and Rupa Mohanty

“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”
—Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

By Soumya Mohanty, Rotary Club of Bhubaneswar Smile, India

We all fall in love, at different stages of life. But there is always that one person you meet and hold dear to your heart. No matter how many new people you meet or how many acquaintances you make, you look for traces of that one person in anybody and everybody. That is the kind of impact they have on you. Now imagine never being able to see that person again – because that is how destiny likes to play. And all you have left are memories that last a lifetime. 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 Raise for Rotary: Doing Good with the World Fund

Trustee Brenda Cressey

By Brenda Cressey, Trustee and Rotary Member of South Portland-Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA

Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to take part in a multi-project mission with more than 100 Rotarians, spouses, Rotaractors and even a few new Rotarians from Rotary District 5280. We flew to Panama to visit project sites, perform cataract surgeries, and deliver wheelchairs.

There were several “Rotary moments” on that trip, but the truly unforgettable moment for me was when a grandfather, having no legs, was presented with the gift of mobility in the form of a bright red wheelchair. Continue reading

My miracle and ending modern slavery

Chiang’s class at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

By Mina Chiang, Rotary Global Grant Scholar to University of Sussex, 2017-18

I will never forget the miracle that changed my life. I call it a miracle because the sheer chance of it happening is close to zero.

I was living in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, at the time supporting the establishment of a new science university for a local Catholic church. There was a small museum next to the university that tells the story of the town’s role as a major port and central hub during the slave trade centuries ago. I have always had a passion for helping the vulnerable and deprived, and had secured master’s degree offers from some of the best International Development programs in the world. But my family and I lacked the resources for me to pursue an advanced degree. Continue reading

Turn your fundraiser into a socially-distanced moneymaker

Rotarian Mike Pollard confers with volunteer Janie Griffin about the price of an item at the barn sale.

By Marty Peak Helman, Rotary Zone 32 Innovative Club Associate 

The Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, in my district has held an annual fundraiser every summer, selling donated items during a live auction the first weekend in August. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the club, like many others, faced a problem:

How can a club hold a fundraiser during the pandemic, when traditional sponsors are facing economic hardship, community members have little extra to share, and social distancing alters the rules of what is possible?

Continue reading

Bring sunshine to a stormy day

Taking part in a service project in Manila.

By Maria Elena “Marilen” Tronqued-Lagniton, past president of the Rotary Club of Cubao Edsa, Quezon City, Philippines

I shall pass this way but once. Any good that I can do or kindness I can show let me do it now.

But what if today was the last day of your life? Would you be fulfilled with how you have invested your time? Would you have any regrets? Time is the currency we begin each day with. It is our most valuable and most limited asset. Continue reading