Ken Hussey, AG for Jefferson City
Generation Y. Millennials. Echo Boomers. Generation Next. New Generations. Lots of words to describe the same group of people. What we are really talking about is the future of Rotary. Now, our challenge as Rotarians is to develop ways to engage new generations and recruit them to become Rotarians in the future. This may seem like a daunting task, but we already have the resources and opportunities that are needed to be successful in our efforts.
First, there are fairly simple ways to engage the youth in our communities. Is your club sponsoring a student for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)? If not, consider doing so this year. It provides your club an opportunity to connect with local youth, and once they have attended, they can present to your club on their experiences. Does your club participate in a Youth Exchange? This is another great opportunity to provide another local youth with a life-changing experience as an exchange student. Consider supporting a local non-profit in your community that works with youth. But do not just write a check to the non-profit. Find a way for your members to engage in hands-on service with these youth, to truly experience the impact you are making in their lives.
Second, build a relationship with the Rotaract Club in your area. Or consider starting one if your community does not have a club. Rotaract is a great opportunity for new generations to begin a connection to Rotary, network with their peers, and engage in some wonderful service projects. Conduct a joint social or service project with the Rotaract Club. You will quickly discover the passion and enthusiasm these members have for making a difference not only in your community, but also the world. One piece of advice though: treat them with respect and as your Rotary equal. Too often, Rotaract can become an afterthought by our Rotary clubs. They are thought of as the group that plans the happy hour social or does the grunt work on a service project. However, we need to embrace them as full members of our Rotary family, and treat them with that level of respect and inclusion.
Third, take a long look at your club and whether it appeals to new generations. Ask a friend or colleague not in Rotary what their perception is of your club. You will probably get a lot of different answers, and I suspect many of them will not be things that appeal to new generations. Ask a young professional what would make your club appeal to them. Determine the needs of this group in your community. What are they looking for in Rotary? How can your club help meet these needs? How can your club adapt and change to meet these needs? One of the most frustrating phrases for this generation to hear is, “Well, because we have always done it this way.” If that is the answer to why your club functions a certain way, then you might rethink that function and whether it is essential to fulfilling the mission of Rotary.
Finally, let’s assume you now have some New Generations members in your club. What do you do to keep them as members? Engage them, encourage them, and empower them. Generation Y may not have much disposable income to donate to the Rotary Foundation or to fund a service project. But they have time, energy, and a willingness to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Hands-on service projects can provide the experience they are seeking. You could also consider adding some of these new members to your program committee. If your weekly programs are not of interest to a younger generation, then you will have a hard time getting them to show up at meetings. You might offer a program on how to use Facebook and Twitter appropriately, which could really benefit all generations of members. What you will probably find is that there are many topics and programs of interest by all generations in your club. The key to success is including these new members in the decision making process of your club so they are engaged and empowered.
The future is bright for Rotary because we are doing something now about new generations. However, Rotary International can only do so much. You must take the lead in your club and community to engage new generations. At one time, each of us was asked to join Rotary and given this great gift. Take it upon yourself to be the difference in your club and share this wonderful gift with a young professional by asking them to join 1.2 million people around the world to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace.
September: New Generations
- District Simplified Grants award announcement: September 15, 2011
- Youth Exchange Inbound First Orientation: September 9-11, 2011
October: Vocational Service
- Group Study Exchange (GSE) Team from District 2120 in Italy arrives in St. Louis: October 2, 2011
- GSE Team Leader applications due: October 1, 2011
- Youth Exchange preliminary applications for 2012-2013 due: October 15, 2011
- Rotary Reunion/District Conference in Jefferson City: October 21-22
November: Rotary Foundation
- GSE Team Member applications deadline: November 1, 2011
- The Rotary Foundation Banquet: November 11, 2011
- Youth Exchange full applications for 2011-2012 due: November 11, 2011
- Youth Exchange Inbound Second Orientation: November 12-13, 2011
- Form 990 for Rotary clubs due to IRS: November 15, 2011
- Youth Exchange Outbound Interviews: November 19, 2011
- Hold Rotary Club officer elections for 2012-2013 in your club
- Youth Exchange Outbound First Orientation: December 3, 2011
- Submit 2012-2013 Club officers’ data to Rotary International: December 31, 2011
- Ambassadorial Scholar applications for 2013-2014 available on RI website
ROTARY REUNION/DISTRICT CONFERENCE
Go to DaCdb or the website (rotary6080.org) and sign up for the Rotary Reunion coming October 21-22. Hotel reservations need to be made by September 23 to get the great discount. Friday will be a hands on project, tour of the Supreme Court Building, awards given to clubs for 2010-2011, a Black Jack Tournament, and a Texas Holdem Tournament with the grand prize being a week stay at a condo at the Lake of the Ozarks on a week of your selection. Saturday will be a day of education and tours and Foundation programs. Tours will be of the old Penitentiary and the Missouri State Capitol. You will hear from the Youth Exchange students, Italian GSE team, the Australian GSE Team, and hear a most fascinating Polio story. A Trivia Night (gather your table of 8) will benefit Polio Plus and the Panama Project. The workshops will be as follows. Please let your Foundation Chair and Membership Chair and Public Relations Chair know that these workshops are our Seminars in those areas for this year. Come join us for fun and learning in the Capital City.
2:45-5:00 Saturday, October 22
- Train the new club trainer
- Starting new clubs and membership
- Foundation and the Future Vision Plan
- Idea Sharing: club projects, fund raisers, speakers, etc
- Public relations and Rotary Awareness
GSE TEAM LEADER
Applications for GSE team leader to Italy May 20-June 20 are due October 1. If you would like to study Italian for the next few months and lead a great group of young adults to the wine country of Italy, go to the website and under Educational Programs click Group Study Exchange. On that page is all the information and the application. It will be a great experience. The Italians are very fun loving people.
Please consider a contribution to Rotary’s $200 Million challenge. To date Rotary has responded by Rotarian gifts of $186 million dollars. The Challenge will be completed on June 30, 2012. Your contribution through Rotary will help ensure that we do our part to successfully complete the Challenge to eradicate polio.
Choose to Mentor
Rita Esterly, District Governor
As Rotarians we are in a prime spot to be mentors to the next generation of Rotarians. The fifth Avenue of Service, New Generations, gives us the opportunity to pass on our love for our Vocation and our passion for Service. It also allows us to express to the younger generation our belief in ethics which we know as our 4-Way Test. I specifically want to comment on mentoring in three areas: our Millennial Generation in our own clubs, our Rotaract clubs, and our Interact clubs.
First, we need to begin looking for Millennial Generation members to join our Rotary clubs. The Millennial Generation is the cohort group born between 1980-2000. The oldest of the Millennial Generation just turned 30 last year. The hallmarks of this generation are service, friendship, diversity, and the desire to be mentored. This Millennial Generation is a perfect fit to become Rotarians. There are 75 million Millennials just waiting for us to ask them to join us. The key, however, is to ask them in groups of two, three, or four. They like to do things with their friends.
When you get three of them to join your club, it is like throwing a pebble into the water. The ripple effect will be far reaching, not only in membership that will grow your club exponentially, but also, in new, creative, innovative ideas about how Rotary can thrive in the coming years. Look for them in your neighborhood, in your church, in your children’s school, in your gym or YMCA, and in other community organizations to which you belong. They are there and they have a heart of service.
Second, our Rotaract groups are so full of energy and they want to be part of what we are doing. They actually energize your club when you partner with them to do a service project. Sure, they have their own service projects, plenty of them. They also want to be asked to join us, not only in our service, but also in our training such as PETS and Club Retreat, in our fun such as our fund raising efforts and our parties, and in our fellowship such as our Rotary Reunion and the Foundation Banquet. They want to be part of what we are doing. By partnering with them, we get the opportunity to mentor them in our vocations, our service attitude, and our ethics. So take every opportunity to invite your Rotaract Club to be part of what your club does.
If you do not have a Rotaract club (ages 18-30) in your community, think about starting one. In 2006, I invited 10 young people in my community to my house one Sunday afternoon for a BBQ and the result was the formation of a Rotaract club. I am so proud of how those young people, many of whom are Rotarians today, took the challenge and started a club. Within seven months they had twenty-five members to charter their club. Today they have over fifty members. Start a Rotaract club. The youth of your community will appreciate it and you will have members who will want to join your club in the future.
Third, Interact students are the group ages 12-18. What I know specifically about ages 12-14 is that at those early years of adolescence, they are just starting to form their identity of who they want to be. If we can mentor them at that age about vocations, service, and ethics, these areas provide a foundation for them on which to build their identity, not only, in their adolescent years, but also, in the future. These students are the next generation of Rotarians. Nurture them well. I encourage clubs in every community to start an Interact club with the help of a popular teacher who will support your efforts.
Any time you have the opportunity to mentor someone, not only the younger generation, but also friends and colleagues, talk about your passion for service, your love of your vocation, and your ethical standards which we know as our 4-Way Test. In this way, Rotary won’t just be a club you go to have a meal once a week, but it will be a passion that energizes you. Choose to be a Rotarian every day of your life by mentoring and make a difference in the world.