“Rotary’s Gone Mad”

If you don’t know that this is Jack Nicholson in arguably one of the best unscripted moments in movie history, from the movie The Shining, and If you don’t know the famous line, “Heeere’s Johnny!, ” And you don’t know who Johnny is, or who said that line every night on the Tonight Show…..I just can’t help you.

For some it might be a stretch to see this image of Jack Nicholson going mad in the movie, The Shining, and instantly relate it to our current District Governor, Peter Kyle.  But not for me.  Because one of DG Peter’s favorite phrases when he gets frustrated with Rotary bureaucracy is , “Rotary’s gone mad!”  This line is usually uttered with his hands waving in the air and a look of pure disbelief on his face.  Rest assured he doesn’t mean that Rotary has literally gone mad, as Nicholson does in the movie.  He means that Rotary has become an organization that has lots of moving pieces and ever growing complexity.  For District Governors, and for the rest of us, there is a lot to know if you want to excel at this Rotary thing.  Rotary gone mad is just an expression of frustration that there seems to be too much to know about Rotary for those who want to just show up and do good.

This blog is about how to deal with helping club officers get the information they need to best “do good in the world.”  But before I get to all of that, sit back and watch two minute and ten seconds of what Rakutenplay.com says is actually the single scariest moment in movie history.  After polling audiences for what they thought were the scariest movies, they hooked viewers up to heart monitors and showed them the films.  They then measured the jump in the audience heart rate during the movies to get the exact scariest moment in each movie. They then compared jumps in heart rates to see which movie moment was the scariest. This two minute clip is the winner of the scariest movie moment of all time award causing audience hearts rates to jump an incredible 28%!  WARNING:  There is no violence, blood (well…just a little knife slash at the end), foul language or anything like that in this clip.  But I hate scary movies, and this two minutes, which doesn’t even have the benefit of being in the context of the rest of the film, still scares me to death.  Don’t watch it unless  you either like being reminded of the few scary moments you’ve spent in the movie theater, or,  you just have a morbid curiosity to see if this scares you as much as it scares everyone else.  FULL DISCLOSURE:  I was the guy who watched the movie, JAWS, and thought the shark looked real.  FURTHER DISCLOSURE: My daughter thinks I’m a wimp.


If you’ve composed yourself after watching the clip (Shelly Duvall plays opposite Jack Nicholson) let’s get to the issue of trying to overcome Rotary’s “madness” of complexity.  One of the best ways I know to learn what you need to know to effectively run your club is for you and your club’s officers and committee chairs to attend the upcoming District 7620 District Leadership Assembly on Saturday, April 5th, at the Sheraton North hotel.  Why?  Because your club’s “skill players” can go there and for $25 learn what they need to know to be a great committee chair, treasurer, secretary, foundation chair, etc.  Here are the session titles:

Area Governor

Community Service

and Partnering


Community Service and Partnering

Foundation MOU 2014-15 Certification

End Polio Now Panel

Foundation Global Grant Nuts & Bolts / Panel Discussion


Strategic Planning



Your Club Meeting as a Show

New Generations

Public Relations


Public Relations



Strategic Planning




Seriously?  Everything your club needs to improve is on the agenda.    In short, it is no longer enough to have good intentions about Rotary do-gooding.  You actually have to know how to plug into all of the fantastic resources available to you through Rotary AND our Rotary District so you can maximize your efforts and be as productive as possible for the time you invest.  None of us have unlimited time for Rotary, so this is a great investment in doing more with less.

I can’t end this post without a shameless plug for the session I will be running with Laurie Reuben of the Columbia-Patuxent club on strategic planning.  Laurie is an expert in strategic planning, and lot’s of other organizational development stuff….like….experiential learning, and she is currently helping the Columbia-Patuxent club go through the strategic planning process.  She has put together many of the tools the club is using to develop it’s plan, and she is willing to share!  For my part, I just like hanging around with people smarter than me and cracking a few jokes.  If your club either 1) doesn’t have a strategic plan, 2) has a strategic plan but isn’t engaged with it, or 3) already has a functioning plan, then you should have a few club members attend.  It will be an invaluable one hour show. Just remember to tip your waiters and waitresses before you leave.  (This is a joke….there will be no waiters and waitresses during our session.)

ALL of the sessions are going to be fantastic.  Our District’s Training guru, Paul Frey, has done his usual outstanding job in pulling all of this together for us.  Between the District Leadership Assembly, RLI, and yes….attending the District Conference, we don’t have to turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining and “go mad” trying to keep up with Rotary.

PLEASE forward this blog around to your club’s leadership and ask if they are attending. The Assembly is April 5th at the Sheraton North in Beltsville from 8AM to 2PM.  The $25 includes continental breakfast and lunch.  The link to sign up is on DACdb.  If you don’t know how to sign up on DACdb you REALLY need to go to the District Leadership Assembly.  See ya there!





5 thoughts on ““Rotary’s Gone Mad”

  1. Ed McMahon. Do I get a prize? Maybe another bottle of Spanish red ala Chesapeake PETS?

    Trying to get incoming leadership to attend is a little like herding cats. I’ll be there and you’ve convinced me to attend your Strategic Planning session. I need to know it!

    1. My best suggestion is to try another browser. I have run into several complaints that the videos don’t run on the blog but it usually can be fixed by switching from IE to Chrome to Firefox. Unfortunately, that’s all I got for you. Thanks for reading.

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