Monthly Archives: October 2014

New Rotaract Club Charters at McDaniel College

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Here’s a group of happy young people committed to serving others through Rotaract. From left back row: Natarsha Towner, Roger Isom, Natia Jackson, Leah Afadi-Yomedan, Precious Ibe.  Middle row: Hailey Clark, Nicole Hill, Adrienne Nichols, Erma Quimat, Morgan Stanback . Bottom row: Sophie White, Leigh Brownell, Alyona Skovorodnikova, Mariah Ligas, and  Nicole Hill

One of the best things about being on the District’s Leadership Team is getting to meet the many different people committed to serving others in our District.  On October 6th I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in for DG Bill Fine, (who had the very acceptable excuse of being at the White House for Rotary Day), to represent the District at the Chartering Ceremony for the new Rotaract Club at McDaniel College.

Here’s some stats for you.  If you don’t know (I didn’t), Rotaract stands for Rotary and Action.  Rotaract clubs are for young men and women ages 18 to 30.  Rotaract is one of the world’s largest youth organizations with 175,000 members in 7,500 clubs in 156 countries around the world.  As usual when it comes to Rotary, the scale is off the charts.

If you think this about young folk not knowing how to deliver the goods from the standpoint of doing meaningful service projects, then think again.  This group already does a fantastic job on a project they call “Unsung Heroes” where they honor employees at McDaniel College that deserve recognition by the club.  They are also a positive force in supporting the Oktoberfest event in Carroll County.   If you get a chance to meet them you will realize that this is an accomplished group of scholars whose participation in Rotaract is just one of their many activities.  They are so busy that the club typically meets late in the evening in order to accommodate member’s impressively busy class and work schedules.

Equally impressive was the support that Carroll County Rotary Clubs showed at the Chartering Ceremony.  Past President, Jim Lightner, from the Westminster Club, presented the group with coffee mugs featuring the Four-Way Test, Peter Whitford, from the Bonds Meadow Club, gave a stirring talk about service opportunities with a prescient mention of Ebola.  Past President, Bob Jackle, of Bonds Meadow, presented the Charter, and somewhere along the line one of the clubs (my bad for not getting this in the notes) presented the new club with a bell and gavel.  Other Rotary brass included Area Governor, Mark Milby, President of Bonds Meadow, Wanda Lynn, and current Westminster Club President, Nora Drury.  Special mention to Rotarian, Margaret Boudreaux, of the Westminster Club, who is a Professor of Music at McDaniel and the “fairy godmother” of this group….I mean Club Sponsor.  NOTE:  If you were there to support the club and I didn’t mention you, please don’t shoot your intrepid RFA reporter….it was past my bed time.

So add another lesson learned in my journey to DG and another thing to my To-Do List – learn a lot more about Rotaract in District 7620.  When young people are this committed to community service it deserves our full attention.  Stay tuned for more Rotaract news here at RFA.

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L-R – Yours Truly, Rotaract President, Nicole Hill, AG Mark Milby, Rotaract Club VP, Roger Isom, Wanda Lynn, Rotaract Club Secretary, Natarsha Towner, Rotaract Treasurer Morgan Stanback, Nora Drury, Margaret Boudreaux
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AG Mark Milby looking like a proud papa. Sykesville Club member, Elizabeth Milby was on hand to keep husband, Mark, on his best behavior. She failed.

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Shake It Off Rotarians! And be a District Leader, Too.

Lonely-Leader

The latest idea to come pumping out of the District 7620 factory for creative, productive, and innovative new ideas, is to hold a Leadership Development meeting for Past Club Presidents, and especially Immediate Past Club Presidents, who suffer from IDUWNLTMA syndrome.  (I Don’t Understand Why Nobody Listens To Me Anymore).  You can often find them sequestered all by themselves in the corner of a club meeting.  As you get closer you realize they are still stuck in “the good old days” of their past presidency when everything was good and pure.  Now?  Not so much.  The club is following a new President now, and the new President is…well….OK I guess.  What to do?  WHAT TO DO?  It’s a sad situation that the District 7620 Leadership Team is determined to resolve.

The answer for these Past Presidents is to attend our new Leadership seminar where they will hear all about the many opportunities available in the District for them to put their skills, leadership abilities, creative ideas, energy, and passion, to good use.  While they may sadly be “old news” in their Rotary clubs, at the District level they can be a shining light, appreciated by all for their service.

If you know of any Past Club Presidents, and especially Immediate Past Club Presidents, one who are suffering from IDUWNLTMA, please refer them to the upcoming meeting. (Saturday, October 25th, 9AM, at the Holiday Inn in Laurel, Md.  Call Sherry at the District office to reserve a space).  They will learn about a variety of opportunities to serve their fellow Rotarians in a different way.  A way that leverages their best ideas to benefit not just one club, but possibly every club in the District.  New Generations?  Foundation?  Membership? Youth Exchange?  Public Relations?  We appreciate you, Immediate Past Club President.  Come talk to us.  We understand your pain….

Here’s a clip about who IS the leader.  In so many ways, it could be you!  (Forgive me if I’ve shared this with you before.  It’s just TOO good.)

On a completely different subject, it occurs to me dear Ready, Fire, Aim, reader, that there are times when we get entirely too serious about Rotary.  Yes, we all know we are here to promote world peace through our humanitarian service projects.  And yes, “doing good in the world” all of the time can be a burden, but sometimes you have to just shake it off and lighten up.  Is there anything that says that we can’t have a lot of fun while we are doing all of this do-gooding?

So, solely in the interest of reminding “all-concerned” to shake it off once in awhile, I offer you the latest Taylor Swift video.  If you do not find yourself tapping your feet to this video, regardless of your age, geographic location, political affiliation, and state of your latest snafu in getting your global grant approved by the Rotary Foundation, then you need a break.  Thank you Taylor Swift.  (This video is four minutes long.  If you don’t think you have four minutes to watch the video, you REALLY need to watch the video!)

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After 40 Years, Rotary Finally Achieves It’s Goal!

 

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A great looking bunch of young men and women at the Gallaudet Awards Luncheon…. and the students looked pretty good, too. What a privilege it was to get to know them.

Sorry, if you were thinking that Rotary finally eradicated Polio, unfortunately we’re still “this close.”  I was speaking of Rotary District 7620’s goal of funding a $500,000 Rotary scholarship fund to support the education of students at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.  Many know Gallaudet as the leading educational institution in world for the deaf.  I was proud to attend this year’s awards luncheon, where District Governor, Bill Fine, announced that we reached our goal.  Here’s some background on this incredible achievement:

The Rotary District 7620 Gallaudet scholarship fund was founded in 1974 and has supported the education of more than 250 students.  Former PDG, J. Roland Cumberland served as DG in 1973-1974 and former Rotarian, Henry Tate, member of the Potomac Rotary Club, served as the founding Chairman of the Endowment.  In addition to seeing the development of the scholarship program, Henry led the District in funding an educational center on campus.

Over the decades the endowment for Gallaudet has been supported by many individual clubs in the District and for the past three years the District has provided $10,000 in matching funds to help meet our goal.  This year’s banquet program lists 26 different clubs as donors.  This was my second year attending the annual awards luncheon, and I can report that it is simply not possible to be around the scholarship recipients at Gallaudet without being amazed at their enthusiasm and accomplishments.  Instead of me trying to explain the excitement of the moment, here is PDG, and long-time Scholarship Chair, Pat Kasuda, giving you her take on the proceedings:

For me, a highlight of the luncheon, other than getting to know the scholars, is the performance of the Gallaudet Dance Company.  These woman are amazing dancers.  When you consider that they dance without being able to hear the music….well….it’s truly remarkable.  Here is a short clip of Gallaudet dancers Emily Catalfamo, Pershea Jefferson, Rhiannon LeLievre, Jessica Nortey, Janejera Rungreang, and Tanisha Russell, performing “Singing in the Rain:”

I thought perhaps the best way to give you an idea of just how great this event is, is to give some of the scholars a chance to say thank you to Rotary on video.  So here are three of this year’s fourteen scholarship recipients, Jazzmin Washington, Kyle Murphy, and Lucy Upah, telling you in their own words (signs) about their journey at Gallaudet.  (Translations provided below each clip.)

“Hello,  My name is Jazzmin Washington.  I am a sophomore at Gallaudet University.  I’m pursuing a double major in Biology and Chemistry.  My inspiration comes from my mother, who has suffered from leukemia since I was 7.  Due to this, I have an aspiration to attend medical school and become an anesthesiologist.  When I’m not studying, I am reading, or participating on the Gallaudet women’s basketball team.  I also work as the Hours Program Student Assistant in my free time.”

“Hello, my name is Kyle Murphy. I’m a grad student from Baton Rouge, Louisiana studying for my master’s in social work. I want to thank all of you for the Rotary scholarship and for supporting Gallaudet University and our community.”

“Hello, my name is Lucy Upah.  I am from Nigeria in Africa.  I am here as a 2nd year student of MPA in Gallaudet University.  I am very happy to receive the Rotary award.  It’s a huge help/support for my studies.  Thank you, Rotary!”

So what do you think of these students?  And what do you think of our District accomplishing our objective after FOURTY YEARS!  It kind of makes you feel a little better about committing to a three-year strategic plan in our Rotary clubs, doesn’t it?

Thanks to everyone who helped to fund this project over the years.  And thanks to our hardworking scholarship committee, who meets to carefully evaluate the scholarship applications each year.

DG, Bill Fine, in his remarks at the luncheon, said that for him, this event is one of the highlights of the year.  It’s easy to see why.  So…now that we got this Gallaudet scholarship program out of the way, can we lick this Polio thing once and for all?

 

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From Yawn to Wow. And I do mean “wow!”

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Membership Chair, Darrell Nevin’s, seminar was pretty good, but his technique for hanging his note pages evenly across the front of the room had everyone buzzing. Talk about “wow!”

Full Disclosure:  Darrell Nevin, District 7620 Membership Chair, is the guilty party responsible for recruiting me into Rotary.  One day, eighteen years ago, back in our old neighborhood on Gold Needle Way in Columbia, as we checked the mail in our clustered mailboxes, he asked me if I ever considered “giving something back” to the community. When I said yes, he asked if I wanted to join him for breakfast at a Rotary meeting and swore I would meet the funniest group of people I’ve ever met.  I went.  He was right.  I joined.  It turns out that joining the Columbia Patuxent Rotary is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I’ve been swilling B&B and “talking Rotary” with Darrell ever since.  I might be one of about 40 or 50 people Nevin has recruited for Rotary.  Not to shabby…

From Yawn to Wow!  If nothing else, District Membership Chair, Darrell Nevin, has a way with words.  One of his latest seminars is called On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow!  I mean, this guy is the Johnny Cochran of membership slogans.  (OK…for those who don’t know:  Cochran was the attorney who, when speaking about the bloody glove left at the scene of the crime at the OJ Simpson murder trial, gave us the memorable phrase, “if it doesn’t fit  you must acquit.”  You say you don’t remember the OJ Simpson trial?  I can’t help you. (sigh))  Other Nevinism’s?  How about:  “Mumbo Jumbo to Membership Mojo.”  Or, “Shrugs to Hugs.”  Or, “Not growing is a Disservice above self.”

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From left, Charlie Olson, Annapolis Evening Club, Marshall Larner, President of the Annapolis Club, and Barton Goldenberg, Past President of Metro Bethesda and current AG, desperately trying to figure out how to “Define Your Why.”

But I digress, Nevin’s From Yawn to Wow membership seminar is just another in a series of legendary membership seminars for District 7620.  Darrell’s not-so-secret secret is that on the way to helping us grow the membership of our Rotary clubs, he also helps us “fix our product.”  And that means we all get a healthy dose of expert advise about how to be a better Rotarian.  Love him or hate him, Darrell isn’t shy about sharing his opinions.  It’s just that after many, many, success stories in the District, with clubs doubling in size after following his advice, we’ve all figured out we might as well listen to what this guy has to say.

What does he have to say about membership?  Not much.  He only gives us comprehensive directions for how to form a membership committee, organize it, and run it.  How to prepare a hit list of membership prospects, a group he calls our “backyard 100.”  How to make the invitation to come to a meeting…er….not a meeting we are taught.  Come to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  We all have too many meetings.  How to follow up with our new prospects.  How to hold a fireside chat, and how to create a new member checklist for retaining our new members.  The newest item on the checklist is for all new members to attend Rotary Leadership Institute.  In short, Nevin covers virtually everything you need to know about growing a Rotary club in specific detail, giving us examples, forms, and inspiration.  How good is that for an evening that included dinner?

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L-R: Mark Messick, President of Mt. Airy, Rotary, and Tom Neff, Immediate Past President of Mt. Airy, Rotary, scheming about how they are going to take their club from 22 members to over 40 members this year. (Guys, don’t call to complain that I made up your membership goal for this blog post.  I was gonna say 50 members this year but I thought that was pushing it.)

You can find Darrell’s membership booklets in a new section on the left side of the District 7620 website at Rotary7620.org.  Visit to find the GROW Membership Training Booklet and the Extreme Makeover for Small Rotary Clubs.  You will be glad you did.

Thank you Darrell for your tireless efforts on our behalf.  And thanks to all of the  Rotarians who showed up for another large does of information, inspiration, and yes…when Darrell is speaking, perspiration.  (Hah!  I’ve got a little Johnny Cochran in me, too.)

Please consider growing your Rotary Club.  It’s the best way I know for your club to do more good in the world.

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The “Membership Maestro” standing at right, mesmerizing the crowd with his “membership mojo.”

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