Bringing the Rotary family closer together

Albert E. Kafka, Founder Intarconnect, Rotary Club of Wien-Oper

Change is the only constant in life. No matter how prepared we think we are for it, transition can be challenging. Closing the exciting chapter of our lives as members of Rotaract and moving on to the new adventures that await us in Rotary can be difficult. As a young person, how do we fit in?

I recently joined the Rotary Club of Wien-Oper, in which the average age is high, and there are many experienced people in the club. A desire to help others through this difficulty and to promote true unity among Rotarians led Peter Rabensteiner and I to create Intarconnect. Continue reading

Are you ready for the online challenge?

Members of the NoBorders Rotaract Club meet.

By Patricia Mackenzie, 2017-18 president of the Rotaract Club of NoBorders

As a young professional, I found myself being short on time. I was starting my career, making new friends, and I really didn’t have time to meet in-person multiple times a week. I tried a traditional Rotaract club for just over three years, but always felt guilty when I missed a meeting because I was traveling or working late. I really wanted to be in the Rotary family, but I needed flexibility.

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MusiCamp breaks down barriers one student at a time

By Sharon Bay, a member of the Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club of San Diego, California, USA

I had only been a Rotarian for a year, and was eager for another opportunity to serve, when I was asked by the committee chair of District 5340’s MusiCamp Youth Exchange if I would be interested in hosting two talented musical students for three weeks that summer. My husband and I had hosted an exchange student from Bolivia several years prior and had enjoyed the experience. This would only be for three weeks, and we felt we knew what to expect, so we enthusiastically said yes. Continue reading

Retreating to advance peace

Participants in the Peace Fellows Retreat represented nine nationalities who had worked in more than 100 countries.

By Mayer Ngomesia, 2006-07 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

After a two-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu along a winding road, 10 Rotary Peace Fellows and I from around the world gathered in the village of Nagarkot, nestled in the Kathmandu Valley at the foothills of the Himalayas for the third Rotary Peace Fellow Leadership Retreat. It was a rare opportunity to step back and reflect on the difficult realities and high-stress environment of our peace work, and to ponder, why the work we do matters. Continue reading

Crossing the border from Rotaract to Rotary

Members of the Rotary Club of Sampaguita Grace Park and the Rotaract clubs of University of the East Caloocan and University of Caloocan City.

By I.J. Carido, a member of the Rotary Club of Smpaguita Grace Park, and the Rotaract Club of University of the East Caloocan, Philippines

During the summer when the weather is ever shifting, I joined members of the Rotary Club of Sampaguita Grace Park and the Rotaract clubs of University of the East Caloocan and University of Caloocan City to visit a majestic sight. The journey took us to Wawa Dam, a natural gem located two hours from the bustling streets and towering buildings of Makati and Manila. It was my first time to see a dam up-close and personal and as an aspiring engineer, the structure was a wonderful sight to me. However, what we were seeking lies far beyond the water reservoir.

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Becoming a Rotary alumni is just the beginning

Members of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham attend The Rotary Club of Birmingham’s Annual Rotary Trail Party in May. From left: Erica Murphy, Mary Meadows Livingston, Jeris Gaston, Amanda Martin, and Uma Srivastava.

Jerris Gaston

By Jeris Burns Gaston

If you told me twelve years ago upon finishing my Rotary Ambassadorial Program year in Dublin, Ireland, that this was just the start of an adventure, I would have been hard pressed to believe you. The program itself was such a unique and enriching experience that improving on this worldview changing year seemed impossible. However, as I enter my thirteenth year as a member of the Rotary family, I now realize that being an alumnus is just the beginning. Continue reading

My journey to Hiroshima: reflections on memory

Rotary Peace Fellows from International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

By Lorena Rodriguez, 2017-19 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

Last March, I visited Hiroshima with other Rotary Peace Fellows from International Christian University, hearing stories from survivors of the atomic bomb. Thanks to the Rotary Club of Hiroshima, we also saw the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Hiroshima is full of stories told and illustrated in various ways: in the images, monuments, poems, and human and nonhuman survivors. All these stories made me reflect in different ways about my commitment to memory and peace. Continue reading

How our club attracts and retains alumni as members

Members of the Dupont Circle Rotary Club at a tree planting event.

By Mandy Warfield, president, and Emma Satzger, membership coordinator, Rotary Club of Dupont Circle, Washington D.C., USA

The Rotary Club of Dupont Circle was started six years ago by a group of Rotary alumni, and since then, the club has grown to include many other facets of the community, including individuals who have not had any previous experience with Rotary. Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange changes lives

Dave White

Editor’s note: This is the fifth and last in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

By Dave White, Rotary Club of Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada

I was inspired to become involved in the Rotary Youth Exchange program in the 1980s while I was a secondary school principal and the school hosted our first international exchange student. A young lady, an Inbound Exchange student from South Africa, spent the year at our school. She had never been taught by a non-white teacher and had some hesitations about attending his classes. The trepidations soon disappeared. She grew to know and respect the teacher as a person and thoroughly enjoyed his classes. Continue reading

Dreaming bigger dreams through Interact

Ismael Nieto reads to children during one of his Interact club’s service projects.

Nieto

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

By Ismael Cadeno Nieto, Interact Club of Manta, Ecuador

When I was 10 years old, my parents became involved in Rotary. Since that moment, I’ve assisted in club activities as the son of a Rotarian, and at first, I didn’t like it all that much. But four years later, something changed, and it became one of my favorite hobbies. I was inspired to take action through the needs I discovered in my community. Continue reading