Of the long list of things I have yet to do in Rotary, I can now officially scratch off going to Charter Night for a new club. In this case, our newest club in District 7620 is the Rotary Club of Federal City which chartered with 42 new members. That’s right….42 new members! The backstory for the club isn’t all that interesting. Rotaractor Navin Valliappan gets together a few good friends and they decide to start their own club based on the notion of community service, good fellowship, and as he puts it, “being cheap.” (Navin…we like the term “inexpensive” but that’s OK.) Enter District Club Extension Chair, Ray Streib, who proceeds to make the drive from Glen Burnie to City Hall in DC about a zillion times in support of the new club. Mix in a little District Governor Peter Kyle, Membership Chair Darrell Nevin, and a lot of well-wishers in fellow clubs in the District, and voila….you have a new club made up almost entirely of enthusiastic young professionals.
The Charter ceremony was full of pomp and circumstance. First of all, the reception was held at the Embassy of Pakistan in DC. The guest speakers were the Pakistan Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Ward 4 DC Representative the Honorable Muriel Bowser, and our own “His Excellency” District Governor, Peter Kyle. However, it may have been Past District Governor, Ray Streib, who rescued the evening by bringing some order to the chaos of getting all of the new members properly sworn in. I happened to sit next to Ray during the ceremony and I can tell you he had the look of a proud papa, as well he should.
As I watched the proceedings I found myself thinking that brand new Rotary clubs have the opportunity to create their own traditions. I was chatting with new club President, Navin, after the ceremony and related the same thought to him. This club can do anything it wants to do as long as it has strong leadership and a club of excited, educated, and motivated members. But guess what? Every single club in the District has the same opportunity. With each new year our clubs swear in a new leadership team with the opportunity to make positive change in their club and in their community. They can start a new tradition any time they want to.
To me that’s the single most exciting thing about Rotary. There is no “Good Idea” form that has to be approved by RI or the District. If it helps do good in the world, or if it adds to the fellowship of being in Rotary, then go ahead and do it. How great is that!
So best wishes to the new Rotary Club of Federal City. We are all looking forward to watching you become a force for good in DC and in our District.
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