Home' Rotary Down Under : September 2014 (NZ Pacific) Contents www.rotarydownunder.org 11
Is it time for
Rotary to get
back to basics?
Rotary was founded on the basis of four objects,
which were clear, well-defined and enabled
members, new and old, to appreciate the
objectives of their membership.
Today, these principles appear to have morphed
into a large and bewildering array of acronyms,
the intentions of which have created a wealth of
committee chairpersons, committee members and
a backroom host of assistants, all of whom are
diligently working away to justify their existence.
It is not so easy, then, to try to assimilate new
members without the simple guidelines the four
objects used to provide, as while those acronyms
roll off the tongues of the enlightened, eyes of
the others seem to glaze over and it is hard to
retain their interest.
The structure of Rotary meant we were led
from the top, and in pyramid shape the members
formed a solid base. This pyramid is in danger of
toppling over as it appears to be becoming top
heavy. With membership of some clubs declining,
and with an increasing average age, the support
vital to clubs’ existence and the ability to service
the calls being made in regard to those many
functions now operating, is in question.
Rotary Club of Hamilton East, NZ
Well said in your August editorial – ceremony
coma will simply not go away in Rotary and until
it does it will continue to contribute to Rotary’s
anachronistic image in the community.
Maybe it has come to the point that in order
to ensure the old timers don’t enforce their old
ways on an organisation trying to become relevant
and contemporary, Rotary central commands
redesigned formats for district conferences, zone
meetings, international conventions, etc. and
forces local organising committees to follow them
to the letter of the law.
Husband of Rotarian of 24 years.
I read with great interest the observations of David
Hughes, of the Rotary Club of Parkes, NSW, in our July
RDU referring to the Sydney Convention; a convention
dear to my heart from the days of the 1990s when I was
a member of the Rotary Club of Quirindi, NSW.
Every Rotary International Convention and every one
of my District 3450 installations I have attended has left
me with the same feeling. I belong to a closed shop ...
very much like the Old Boys’ Club of my Welsh boarding
school. The only difference is that we wear a different
tie every year... why, I never know, if we are serious
about advertising Rotary.
As David rightly states the House of Friendship is a
real eye opener ... It is always my first stop. First, to
wander in bewilderment at the huge array of Rotary
enterprises, second to look for Rotary friends from past
conventions and third to sit with Rotarians from all over
the world and just go through introductions and talk
about our clubs and districts ... and exchange name
cards and banners.
How great it would be if we had a culture of bringing
non-Rotarians into the House of Friendship without any
fee, walking them around the stalls and letting them
discover what we, as volunteers, do best ... every day
of the year. And to see their eyes pop when they see the
array of costumes from all over the world all carrying
the Rotary logo. If we could not get just one of them
into Rotary I would be very surprised.
I still remember the centennial year convention in
Chicago when we paraded through the city ... what an
advert that was for Rotary. As Rotary Youth Leadership
Award (RYLA) chair that year I was able to fund our two
top Rylarians to the convention and watch them do a
great job in advertising Rotary when they returned home.
So, I do hope David’s letter reaches out to our
leaders. One of my lasting memories of Sydney was
being stopped by two stewards as I was leaving. I had
placed my identity bits and pieces away in my bag. They
demanded to know how I had got into the hall. I felt
like grovelling at their feet and begging forgiveness.
They were obviously under instructions. I just thought,
“Is this the House of Friendship? Is this the true face of
Rotary?” Unfortunately, it was, and is, and will for ever
be ... unless David’s letter reaches out to our leaders
and provides a vehicle to Light up the World.
Rotary Club of Queensway, Hong Kong
The true face
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