Virtual Rotary Choir keeps the music going

Members of the IFRM Virtual Rotary World Choir during a recent online concert.

By Bonnie F. Sirower, past district governor of District 7490 (New Jersey, USA) 

A lot of Rotary members are not aware of the opportunities they have to dramatically increase their friendships and connections through a Rotary Fellowship.

I first joined the International Fellowship of Rotarian Musicians (IFRM) at the 2005 Rotary International Convention in Chicago. I was drawn to their booth in the House of Friendship by the number of people having fun singing to the accompaniment of a pianist. I joined the fellowship right then and there and for several years, participated in the Rotary World Choir at conventions during the Interfaith Service on Sunday mornings. What a beautiful way to be together – making gorgeous music with people who had previously been strangers. 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

Who couldn’t use a wave of positivity right now?

Degree 33 surf team

The Degree 33 Surfboard Team consists of a half dozen members of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship who raised more than $400,000 last year in the 100 Wave Challenge. This year due to COVID-19, participants can take part around the globe during an extended two-month period.

By Brett Morey, chair of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship and past president of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, USA

The world could use some more positivity. And we’re going to give it to them with a fun-filled global Zoom event Thursday evening, 3 September featuring former World Champion of Surfing Shaun Tomson of Durban South Africa. Continue reading

Rotary and heavy metal

The Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship booth in the House of Friendship, 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany.

By Felix Heintz, founder and chair of the Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship, with Manouchehr Shamsrizi, co-founder and the fellowship’s director of partnerships

What do Rotary and heavy metal music have in common? The similarities may surprise you.

Every year, a special event takes place in Northern Germany where 100,000 heavy metal enthusiasts from all over the world gather. Jörg Scheller of the Zurich University of the Arts, who not only holds a doctorate in cultural studies but is also part of a heavy metal band, has summarized this community as “a hybrid, multi-ethnic and globalized fairground for all shades of color, mentality and gender,” and “a playing field of complex identities.” Continue reading

SURF’s up: Who says Rotary can’t be fun?

High school students enjoy a bonfire event in 2016.

By Brett Morey, chair of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship and past president of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, USA

Have you ever thought of turning a hobby or passion into something even more beneficial through Rotary? I am a third generation Californian and grew up bodyboarding at Huntington Beach and Del Mar, before starting to surf 34 years ago. Back in May, I got this crazy idea to do something with my interest in surfing. Continue reading

Making connections through the Travel and Hosting Fellowship

Tilak during a visit to RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA

Tilak Thapa Magar during a visit to RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA

By Tilak Thapa Magar, a member of the Rotary Club of Kathmandu North East, Nepal

I joined Rotary in 2012, and as a tourism entrepreneur in Nepal, quickly became acquainted with the International Travel and Hosting Fellowship. In the course of my work promoting tourism opportunities in Nepal, I have traveled to Europe and Asia extensively, and to the United States three times. But I had never had an opportunity to plan a visit and make “connections” with other Rotary members through the Travel Hosting Fellowship.

Last year, I contacted fellowship members through email and to my big surprise received an overwhelming response from many of them with an invitation to visit them. They wanted to host me during my visit. Continue reading

Flying high with Rotary Fellowships

The author on an intercontinental flight to Texas.

The author on a cross-country flight to Texas.

By Michael Graves, member of the Rotary Club of Plainview, Texas, USA, past district governor, and world president of the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians

In the summer of 1990, while I was in Washington and Oregon with my young family, I made some new friends, members of the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians, who became an extended family to me. Continue reading