Every year, Rotary turns the page

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The RI motto and logo for 2019-20.

 

By LARRY JONES
Rotary District 7190 Governor 2019-20

July 1 marked the start of a new Rotary year. Each year the entirety of Rotary leadership changes, and in District 7190 this includes the District Governor. And so, as we start a new year, I am pleased to join Rotarians and those who believe in the ideals of Rotary. It is my humble belief that a strong and vital Rotary movement is in the highest interest of people everywhere.

At the end of June, Rotarians from District 7190 held a changeover event to mark the end of one Rotary year and the start of the next. It was a family event, with many kids and other non-Rotarians attending. No mention of family is complete for a Rotarian without talking about our Rotary Family.

We come together to identify and solve problems; and have fun. We raise money to provide fresh drinking water we’ll never taste. We plant trees for food and shade we’ll never eat, or sit under. We provide books and computer learning tools for children we’ll never get to tutor. We donate vaccines for the world’s children to stop polio — and we will end polio! There are six million children who would have had polio were it not for Rotary. If you’ve been a Rotarian for 50 years or 50 days, this is part of your work, part of our shared legacy.

But Rotary is more than these few things, because Rotarians are always looking for the next problem to solve.

Our affiliated organizations that do big things, such as ShelterBox and Gift of Life, are only part of the story. Most of the work of Rotary is done at the grass roots, in our communities.

A recently-completed study shows that the 1.23 million Rotarians around the world dedicate 45 million volunteer hours each year, about 40 hours per member, with a value of over $850 million dollars.

Our theme for the coming year is “Rotary Connects The World,” and indeed it does. Rotarians come from around the world; I’ve met people from most countries on every continent except Antarctica. That said, I understand there are two clubs there!

Meeting Rotarians in other countries is an experience akin to seeing friends you didn’t know you had. They embrace the same values, share the same hopes for a better world, and, like us, they take action to improve the lives of others. Ours is an amazing network of caring people, centering around our core value.

Our vision statement from Rotary International says it all:

Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change –- across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

This statement does not mention Rotarians. I submit to you, if we help engage people in our communities in the work of Rotary, not necessarily in the name of Rotary, we will be most successful. Much more gets done if no one cares who gets credit; indeed, there even is credit.

Community, connections, change — our watchwords for this year. What Rotary does is a noble cause, a high calling, a worthy endeavor. As we celebrate what we’ve accomplished, let’s be all the more determined to build a bigger and better Rotary experience, and connect the world.


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