I never wanted to join Rotary. Actually, that’s not strictly speaking true, because back in 1993 I had wanted to join when I returned after a Rotary-sponsored educational trip to the USA for 6 weeks. (Yes, Rotary still has various amazing scholarship schemes for young people in particular, hopefully to resume post-pandemic.) Americans couldn’t believe I wasn’t a Rotarian, but I was steeped in knowledge and understanding of the organisation – after all, I was representing them. However, back in the day, British clubs didn’t want me. A minor detail – I was female. Now things have definitely moved on from those days and Rotary is now inclusive and welcoming of all ages and gender. But I then resisted the calls to join. In truth, by then I was too busy in my career to want to go to meetings weekly and have dinner/listen to a speaker. Even though I’ve done more than my fair share of speaking at Rotary dinners and conferences – even the national conference in Belfast – over the years. So I kept steering a parallel course – never joining a ‘traditional’ club, but very often heavily involved in Rotary activities (including a district 1200 conference delivered earlier this year) especially through my husband. In fact, I met him through Rotary – he says he has a lot to be thanking Rotary for, I say it’s got a lot to answer for! And I’ve always admired and respected the collective power of Rotary actions speaking louder than words, and what clubs and districts achieved locally, nationally and internationally.
Then I started to hear about ‘Global Hub’ (I’m a Rotary member via this route) & ‘passport clubs’: a modern way of being involved in Rotary with no compulsion to attend meetings face-to-face unless you want to (though for many the networking/socialising is important). And it sat comfortably with me and how I want to further my giving to the community – after all, the online virtual world is arguably here to stay.
So I’m excited to see how we develop our own passport club – Rotary Without Borders, which welcomes people from all walks of life and areas, be they existing Rotarians or non-Rotarians, individuals or family groups. No laboriously long meetings, no fuss, no rituals, and committing as much or as little time as we want.
Each of us is individually capable of making a difference, but most of us can achieve more with the ideas, support, and energy of a collective body. Let’s get together and pool ideas for project involvement, and see how far we can spread the actions which we propose. Initiatives which bind local and even global communities are even more important in our current times. (And if you doubt potential global impact, take a look at how Rotary has all but eradicated polio world-wide. That’s the power of people working together.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.