Posted by Rick Taylor on Feb 13, 2018
Happy New Year everyone. I hope the holidays were special and that the prospects for the coming year are looking good for you and your family.
Time to Rethink Your Club
January is traditionally the time for making New Year’s resolutions. I am proposing that every club take steps to “consider” club resolutions, but think of them as experiments. That way, if you decide not to continue them after trying, that is fine. Rethink your club operation and how well it serves current members, encourages new members, and facilitates the functioning of the club. Rotary International long ago dropped the idea of one-size-fits-all for Rotary Clubs. For example, your club may want to meet formally twice a month instead of every week, may want to have a meeting each month devoted to working on a service project, or may want to have periodic meetings that are social and include families. It is entirely up to you and your fellow club members. Rotary International not only permits this kind of flexibility but encourages it.
Supporting Rotary Youth Programs
In less than a month, the 2018 RYLA program will be here. This is a great opportunity for high school juniors. We have just selected our outbound students for the Youth Exchange program, and they have begun their training. Rotary has the best youth exchange program in the world, providing support and training for every single student. Rotary has great youth programs, including our Interact and Rotaract clubs. If your club would like more information about any of these programs, contact me and I will put you in touch with the right people.
We are moving toward having Youth Exchange scholarships so that qualified students whose family cannot afford the expenses of youth exchange can still study overseas. We have one such student from the Wooster club, who is raising money through a GoFundMe page. If you want to help, her name is Daisie. Click on her name to go to her site.
Reaching Out Beyond the Club
One of my themes this year was encouraging Rotarians to reach out beyond their club. That could be as simple as attending one or more nearby club meetings. But I want to encourage everyone in the district to consider attending either the District Conference (held in Warren on May 10 and 11) or the Rotary International Convention (held in Toronto on June 24 through 27).
The District Conference will be on a Thursday night and Friday (ending around 4 PM). It will be a fast-paced, entertaining, and inspirational conference. We have an excellent list of speakers, including the Rotary Coordinator for Zone 29 (16 districts in 5 states and Canada); John T. Capps, who has spoken all over the country about Rotary, our own Geoff Goll, who raised more money for Polio Plus as the Zone coordinator for Polio than any other zone in the world, and Brian Blasco, author of two books and an outstanding motivational speaker. We will also have the Youth Exchange talent show and Cultural Exchange, several other speakers from the district, the district winners of the 4-Way Test Speech contest, and several recognition ceremonies. You can register online starting in late February.
The RI Convention is very convenient this year (in Toronto). You will need a passport, but you will not need to learn another language. Toronto is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city, the perfect setting for an International Convention. If you have never attended and RI Convention, you will be amazed by all that it has to offer and by how inspirational it is. I guarantee that you will leave swelled with pride for being a Rotarian.