If you love Rotary like I do, (if you’re reading this post you probably suffer from the same affliction) then we can probably agree that Rotary can be the most frustrating, aggravating, confusing, and downright perplexing organization on the planet. Yet….here we are, together, trying to push this boulder up the hill and make the world a better place. So I thought, since its Valentine’s Day, I would write a little love letter about Rotary and skip all of the negatives (for once) and just focus on what I love about our organization. Don’t get all dewey eyed on me, but here goes.
I love Rotary because I love the people who join it. Rotarians are the most ridiculously positive people, always trying to make something better in their own way. Doesn’t matter if its club related, community related, or globally related, Rotarians seem to want to make things better. In my old age I’ve found that hanging around with positive people is a necessity.
I love that Rotary is a kind of “one stop” shopping place to learn about my community. I can join any non-profit board in my town and they would be glad to have me, but when I do I’m focused on one organization, one school, one disease, one shelter, one whatever. Rotary is the one place where I sit in the catbird seat and see the entire picture, both locally and internationally. It’s nice to have that kind of perspective.
I love the Rotary Foundation. Where else can I donate money and have 75 cents on the dollar returned to people I know for local or international service projects?* If I give a dollar to cancer research and they give me the money back and ask me to figure it out, I’m probably going to be a little upset. It’s truly extraordinary to support a Foundation that depends on Rotarians just like me, for the most part in my District, and around the world, to accomplish our humanitarian objectives, together.
I love that Rotary members tend to be community leaders. I realize that this definition is a little squishy, but for the most part I can get in touch with most people in my town with no more than two to three degrees of separation from the members of my Rotary club. One degree of separation if I count the Rotarians in other clubs in town. The non-Rotarian leaders of my community still make it a point to come visit us and let us know what they are up to. They obviously think that our group is relevant, and I really like that.
I love Rotary because it gives you a chance to push WAY out of your comfort zone. Rotary let me hone my leadership skills and do good for others in my Rotary club, in my Rotary district, and my Rotary zone. If you want to, and if you are any good, you can lead up to 1.2 million Rotarians if you have a mind to do it. The opportunities to do good in the world are pretty much endless in Rotary, and I really love that about us.
I love that Rotarians truly are the “heart and soul” of polio eradication. I know it isn’t “cool” to say so anymore and a lot of Rotarians are sick and tired of talking about polio. But I’ve had the amazing, once in a lifetime, privilege of actually interviewing the Rotary leaders who came up with the idea that we could eradicate polio, and I still wonder how I’m lucky enough to be associated with such a marvelous goal. I love what we’ve already accomplished in our polio campaign, and I love the amazing achievement thats right over the horizon.
I love my Rotary club. I’m lucky because my club is comprised of a fairly large group of men and women who enjoy laughing out loud before 8:30AM on a Friday morning. I get it. We do good in the world. We heal the sick and feed the hungry. But at the end of the day, we enjoy each other’s company and I really appreciate having a network of like-minded, good folks, who have my back, to call my friends. Actually, it’s more like a family.
Happy Valentine’s Day Rotary!
*This is Valentine’s Day note for Pete’s sake, but for those who are interested, 75 cents includes 50 cents of SHARE distributions + 25 cents of World Fund matching dollars for global DDF. Aren’t I a romantic?