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President's Message DECEMBER 2015
Family of Rotary Month
As we approach Christmas and the New Year we are more conscious of a focus on family and family reunions. People celebrate on some level, commerce - except retail - slows down and many families take their annual holidays. So December is indeed a time to reflect on family values and how Rotary shapes those values. In Rotary we see our life priorities as family, work and then Rotary. But ideally we should not isolate Rotary from our family life. In some clubs, children are not only welcome but an integral part of Rotary meetings.
Beyond the immediate family is the family of Rotary. This is a large family indeed. The members include the alumni of all the programs that Rotary supports directly and indirectly. There are the major programs such as Youth Exchange, RYLA, RYPEN, GSE, NYSF, Ambassadorial, Peace and Global Grant Scholars and many others. Sadly we all too often lose contact with these family members after they complete their program. It is the responsibility of Rotarians to do our best to keep them within the family of Rotary. Sometimes, like close family, there is a breakdown in the relationship and we go our separate ways. Too often it is the Rotary club that fails to reach out and keep that relationship vibrant or at least ongoing. Most of us individually have many names on our Christmas list for which the annual exchange of cards is the only regular contact. It costs nothing to send an annual email message to our past program alumni each year, other than the effort to do so. Obviously the list will be difficult to maintain as the years go by but if these family members feel that we care, they will make the effort to ensure that we know how to contact them.
We should ideally not just keep in contact annually. These alumni have been the beneficiaries of Rotary generosity and it is not unreasonable for us to ask them for assistance occasionally for some of our projects. We should also ideally invite them to club functions from time to time. Many prominent Rotarians began their Rotary journey by participating in Rotary programs. How often do they have to wait for the invitation to be asked to become a Rotarian? It will not always be the right time for program participants to become Rotarians, especially our exchange students but if we keep track of them and they know we really care, that time may come sooner than we expect.
Who belongs to our Rotary Family?
· Fellow club members
· Spouses and spouse groups (e.g. Inner Wheel)
· Children, parents and other relatives
· Families of deceased Rotarians
· Youth Exchange students and their families
· Interactors, Rotaractors and RYLA members
· GSE team members, Ambassadorial Scholars and alumni
· Global Networking Groups
· Friends of Rotary
Why is the Family of Rotary important?
· Allows us to build lifelong friendships
· Enhances our personal families' relationships
· Builds world understanding and peace
· Improves international solidarity and tolerance
· Contributes to membership growth
· Contributes to diversity of age, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion and profession
· Improves Rotary's public image
· Strengthens clubs and their commitment to service
How do we care for fellow Rotarians like family?
· Remember birthdays and anniversaries
· Assist when they are sick, lonely, or having difficulties
· Share their grief during and after a death in the family
· Celebrate at births, weddings, etc.
How can Youth Exchange students become family members?
· Encourage club members to invite them to their family functions
· Communicate with the students' families back home
· Maintain lifelong contact after the student has returned home
How can we involve Interactors, Rotaractors and RYLA in the family?
· Invite them to participate in:
o Projects, fundraisers,
o Club and district social events Christmas parties,
o Changeover ceremonies,
o District conferences,
· Have them attend other Interact, Rotaract, and RYLA activities
How do we keep Foundation Alumni involved in the family?
· Invite them to join Rotary Invite them to speak at meetings
· Ask them to participate in club projects Communicate regularly when abroad Welcome them upon their return.
[From District 9820]
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