You get to do a whole lot of fun stuff when you are a District Governor in Rotary. But I don’t know if you get to do anything too much more exciting than “extending” or “chartering” a new Rotary club. Nowadays, my DG classmates tell me its a lot easier to start “satellite” Rotary clubs than it is to start a club from scratch, and they are probably right. But if you’ve ever watched a group of dedicated people come together to learn about Rotary, get to know each other, and figure out just what the heck their club is going to be, I promise you it’s a process that is amazing. I recently had the opportunity to participate in the charter celebration for our District’s sixty-second Rotary club, the Rotary club of Downtown Silver Spring, and it was a joyous occasion. NOTE: Our District strategic plan calls for us to extend two new clubs each year. Since I closed a club this year does this count as one or am I still net zero?
I suppose what I like best about chartering a new club is that new Rotary clubs really “don’t know what they don’t know.” Who or what is to stop these super enthusiastic Rotarians from making a gigantic impact on their community? Why shouldn’t the members become life-long friends both in and outside of Rotary? And why couldn’t they become true citizens of the world and become completely engaged with Rotary in all of its international majesty? I will say it again…(sorry about this)….but there is no “Good Idea Form” to fill out in District 7620. This group of 26 new Rotarians can do just about whatever they want to do to make downtown Silver Spring a better place, limited only by their skill, imagination, and willingness to work hard at making a difference. Starting a new club is like taking a dive into a pool filled with positive energy. At least for this one morning it seemed like there is nothing that this group of men and women can’t accomplish.
Here is a two minute video of Past District Governor, and District 7620 club Extension Chair, Ray Streib, giving the oath of office to the club’s officers. You might note someone (possibly your RFA editor) calmly and politely asking Ray to hurry up with the speechmaking. I might add that Ray has been involved with extending more than 20 Rotary clubs. I might also point out that he doesn’t read from a script when he gives the oath of office….and neither should anyone else.
I think for once I am going to shut up and let the pictures tell the story here. But I do hope that the new Downtown Silver Spring Friday morning breakfast club does not forget the culture of membership growth that allowed them to grow from a couple of people who wanted to learn more about Rotary, into a new club with 26 members. I just looked it up and can report that the city of Silver Spring has a population of 71,000. If we include the Silver Spring-Kensington lunch club we have about 40 Rotarians serving the needs of the city. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m guessing that about 100 Rotary members would have a huge impact on the city, would get the attention of local businesses as partners, and would make an impression on city government. Come on Downtown Silver Spring…you can do this!
Here is a quick interview with the new leadership of the Downtown Silver Spring club. I wouldn’t bet against this club, would you?
L – R Charter President of the Downtown Silver Spring Rotary Club, Carson Henry, District Governor Nominee “Uncle” Greg Wims, and District Governor Elect, Anna Mae Kobbe.
Club Extension Chair, Ray Streib, making certain that Club President, Carson Henry, doesn’t screw anything up during this important occasion.
New members praying that the speeches will be over soon so that they can finally eat some breakfast.
And finally, the actual Club Charter. You might note my signature next to some guy named Ravi. We didn’t have the original at the ceremony so we gave them a cheap copy in a nice frame that Ray had laying around in his basement. The real Charter will be safely in the hands of the club’s officers shortly.
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