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President's Message JULY 2015Greetings
A year ago, Rotary International invited us to present new ways to conduct Rotary meetings. The Flexible Club Pilot should address weaknesses in traditional Rotary clubs and allow a fresh approach that will fix entrenched problems that are excluding people aged under 50. There is an expectation that there will be less emphasis on the traditional weekly meeting and greater emphasis on Service Above Self. Many clubs want to try the fortnightly meeting concept (same as Lions) that is favored by many younger professionals. NOTE - the Rotary Club of Sydney CBD, whose members became part of Rotary eClub One, handed back their charter when RI forced them to revert to weekly meetings after their authorized trial of meeting once per fortnight ended.
Also a major problem to be addressed in the pilot is “weak and unattractive weekly meetings that are perceived to be designed by silly old men for silly old men”. This includes the outdated sergeant's fine sessions, long-winded reports from committee chairs, singing corny old songs from the Edwardian music hall era, boring guest speakers from charities who simply come along to ask for money, meetings that run beyond their allotted time because of poor chairmanship, high cost of meals, menus of "Rotary comfort food" for the over 70's, and failure to acknowledge the needs of younger men and women who may need to drop out of meeting attendance due to a sick child or other household emergency.
Also, there is concern that thousands of older Rotarians are focusing on 100% meeting attendance and writing a few checks, but are not interested in actual volunteer service work.
The pilot started July 1, 2015 and is to end on June 30, 2017. After that date, the participating Rotary clubs will be required to revert to whatever scheme is prescribed by RI. Because Rotary eClub One is already deemed by RI to be an innovator and thought leader in the worldwide community of e-clubs, I think we can achieve our goals within our current Constitution and By-laws. We can be a key influencer without the administrative and regular formal reporting workload that the new pilot requires.
Are you participating in this Pilot Project? Are you aware of clubs that are? By clicking the tab “Contact us” you can share your creative ideas. Did you start a satellite program for young people bringing their brown bag to meetings? Have we checked on the concept of Rotary e-interact? The young are constantly connected to their devices anyway so they would always be in touch. Give us feedback on these questions.
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