This spring’s Leadership Assembly (March 8 and 9) was an opportunity to celebrate the successes of 2018-2019 and set the table for the next Rotary year, which begins on July 1.
Approximately 175 Rotarians attended this event, including District leaders and club presidents-elect and members of their leadership teams, including for the first time, the presidents-elect of Rotary Clubs of Whitehorse and Whitehorse Rendezvous.
Effective July 1, these two Yukon clubs will become part of District 5370.
District Governor-Elect Tracey Vavrek used the assembly to introduce the 2019-2020 theme set by incoming Rotary International President Mark Maloney (RC of Decatur, Alabama): Rotary Connects the World.
Watch as Mark announces the theme to DGEs at the International Assembly in San Diego in January and read about the course he has mapped out for Rotary’s future in an interview in the March 2019 issue of The Rotarian.
“When you reflect on the theme, what comes to mind?” Tracey asked.
“For me, it is that we share values and follow the Four-Way Test, we collectively take action for a better world, and we are doing this together,” she said.
“We connect with friends we would never otherwise have met. Rotary connects us to people who need our help and through Rotary we are connected globally through countless projects and programs.”
“The world needs Rotary. As you reflect on the unrest and challenges around the world, it is concerning. We know the work we do and our service do create peace within families, communities and around the world. By bringing fresh water to a community, we bring peace and economic wellbeing to the individuals living there.”
Tracey referred to being part of the Project Amigo work week in mid-February with past and future District Governors as “an example of how we connect with others. It’s life-changing—we are helping people reach their dreams.”
She also asked participants in the assembly to imagine a world without Rotary. “Imagine what would happen with polio if we stopped now. Imagine the people who would go hungry in our own communities and around the world. Imagine the children who would not have extra support to reach their dreams. The children of today and of tomorrow need Rotary.”
Continue to grow Rotary
Tracey asked participants to think about how to grow Rotary.
“Membership is a critical topic,” she said, noting the importance of attracting younger people to Rotary. “Only five per cent of Rotary members are under the age of 40.”
“Few organizations span generations and professions and build personal connections the way Rotary does. We blend tradition with innovation and use trust and respect to close the generation gap.”
“Many of us have been able to get younger generations to visit a meeting or participate in a project but getting them to join our clubs has been more difficult,” Tracey said.
She stated that Rotary can offer younger people what they want. “They crave connections—a network of more experienced professionals, mentors with insight, with clout. They also crave experiences. They want to do good.”
PDG and Zone Membership Coordinator Jim Adamson from Washington State (District 5060) followed up Tracey’s presentation by reminding participants of the importance of inviting the right people to join Rotary.
“None of us would have joined Rotary if someone hadn’t asked us. We need to ask them,” he said.
“We aren’t just looking for bodies. We are looking for quality people.”
DG Ingrid highlights 2018-2019 successes
Current DG Ingrid used her time on the stage to “share some highlights of our Rotary year to-date and emphasize the need to follow through on current plans.
“My District Governor journey has been amazing, engaging and rewarding—confirming the true value of Rotary and why we are doing this service work. I am immensely proud to be a Rotarian and the District Governor of this District.”
Ingrid’s favourite experiences so far this year?
“Absolutely, it has been visiting our clubs, engaging in our community projects, and connecting with our members.”
She has visited all 57 clubs, making repeat visits to some.
“Each area of our District is unique and the range of projects is astounding. Some clubs shine with their welcoming atmosphere and signature projects. Some clubs are passionate about international projects and concentrate on fundraising. Some clubs focus mainly on keeping current members engaged in fellowship and attracting new members. Some clubs have chosen to focus on aligning Rotary projects with peace-building activities. Some clubs collaborate, support other clubs’ projects and focus on hands-on projects.”
She emphasized that the culture and value base established in the club is what keeps members engaged.
Highlights Ingrid identified were:
“The District Conference 2018 was fabulous! Some clubs are still following-up with some of our amazing speakers. Thanks to all who participated as volunteers, conference committee members or attendees.”
She reminded her audience of the 2019 District Conference that will be held in Grande Prairie October 3-5.
A second highlight was the relocation of the District office to the Orange Hub in west Edmonton. “It’s a bright, cheerful space accessible to all, with security and maintenance in place.”
Ingrid also referred to the goals in the District strategic plan. “Many goals are completed, some are in progress and some are ongoing.”
She encouraged clubs to create their own plans. “To be change-makers, your club needs a plan of action.”
“One of the main goals this year is to reverse the declining membership trends these past several years. I mentioned that in every single one of my club visits. Every club was asked to retain the current membership and attract three new members,” she said.
“I want to regain the minus 110 members lost last year, plus make a net gain of 50 members by the end of June.”
She urged club leaders to “treat your membership list like a gift. Just because you haven’t seen someone for a while, do not take them off your list. Reach out. Find out what is happening in their world. They are Rotarians and at one time were passionate about Rotary.”
The District membership plan includes establishing new clubs, including the Passport club which is being formed in Edmonton. “We are launching a new Passport club for new and former Rotarians and plan to charter it before June 1.”
5370 reached goal to become a Peacebuilder District
A key District initiative for 2018-2019 was for the District to become a Peacebuilder District, which Ingrid announced during the District changeover event on June 11, 2018, and to sponsor a peace scholar.
“We achieved the peace scholar, as was announced at the District Conference. Out of 1,100 applicants from around the world, only 50 master’s and 30 certificate applicants were chosen, including our applicant, Menasha Nikhanji.
The goal of becoming a Peacebuilder District was also reached.
“We needed to donate $US 25,000 to the Rotary Peace Centres to receive Peacebuilder status within Rotary International. “We have had tremendous support. Clubs and individuals donated close to $24,000, which along with $20,000 in District Designated Funds brings us close to $50,000,” Ingrid says.
“We have reached the goal for this year and are very close to two years of support for the Peace Centres.”
Ingrid closed with words of encouragement for the rest of 2018-2019: “Let’s finish strong! Keep the positive momentum going, finish blazing our trail and we will continue to flourish as we inspire each other as ‘Rotary Connects the World!’ ”