Have you ever been asked, “What is Rotary”? Perhaps you were asked after offering the opportunity of membership to a colleague, or perhaps, when a co-worker asks about that pin on your label. Or, if you’re like me, when your neighbor asks why your grass is so long and you’re never home on weekends and you reply your involvement in another Rotary project. Everyone in our Club is committed to Rotary, so how should we answer for others, and more importantly for ourselves, the question, “What is Rotary”
You might start with our impressive statistics: 1.2 million members worldwide, Over 34,000 Rotary Clubs, Representing 200 countries around the world. But these numbers leave out the most impressive statistics of them all, in our quest to rid the world of Polio. Statistics like: A reduction of cases from over 350,000 per year in 1988 to less than 250 cases just last year. Or, Rotary provides the largest financial support of any NGO totaling over one billion dollars. And through the support of tens of thousands of volunteers, Rotarian’s have administered over two billion inoculations to children worldwide. To put these numbers into perspective consider that the Sun is 98 million miles from the earth.
But knowing Rotary is so much more than the numbers, you might add that Rotary is the world’s oldest service Club. Rotary is the only service organization whose membership is based on vocation. Or, Rotary is a fellowship of business and professional leaders. We are the original social network, whose members provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and promote goodwill and peace in the world.
All of this is true, and certainly beneficial to all concerned, but would we have fully described the richness, connection and fulfillment that describe Rotary? I would suggest that one driving component of the meaning of Rotary is Opportunity. The opportunity to make lifelong friendships. The opportunity to improve vocations through ethical practices. And, the opportunity to serve other less fortunate than ourselves. But recognize that Rotary only offers us the opportunity. It is up to us as Rotarian’s to make something of them.
Remember, being a member of a Rotary Club, doesn’t automatically make us a Rotarian. Being a Rotarian is taking part in the opportunities to make a difference. With your engagement, Club 11 can be so much more than it is today. There is much to be done. No matter what your tenure or past service, now is the time to step forward and become involved in the work of Rotary. The opportunities are plentiful. Every second of every day, Rotarians in some part of the world are helping the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the deaf to hear. We clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and heal the sick. Rotarians bring hope. That is why we are here.
Look for your next opportunity to serve. Let us all join together to Engage Rotary and Change Lives
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