Program Report: Rotary Experiences

Monday’s meeting about the “Rotary experience” was a smorgasbord of Rotarians’ activities and opportunities.  The takeaway was the many ways Rotarians become engaged as individuals in their communities and globally.

One of the most important ways Rotarians can contribute is by becoming a Paul Harris Fellow.  Financial contributions to this program have enabled the Rotary Foundation to spend more than three billion dollars on life-changing, sustainable projects.  Club Foundation chair Andy Esser loves to brag that the Rotary Foundation is among the most responsible and efficient charitable organizations in the world.  Andy presented Paul Harris Fellow awards to four club members: Geri Lail, Reggie Hodges (+2), Emilee Collins (+3) and Barker French (+5).

President Brady called our attention to a list of Rotary Fellowship interest groups.  Any Rotarian in the world can plug into one of these groups who members share common interests, hobbies, and activities.  He also reminded us that September is Alzheimers Awareness month.  Our club has been “passing the cart bucket” for Alzheimers research since 2006-2007.

A recent club innovation is the formation of “new member groups.” Bryan Piccirillo described a project of groups four and five.  They have organized a showing of “Resilience,” an award winning documentary about a dangerous biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect during childhood.  The film will be shown at the Carolina Theater at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23rd.  A panel discussion will follow.  The expert panelists are all club members.

Remember the Rotary Tree Team?  Emilee Collins and Jenny Levine reported that the Tree Team has sprouted into a Green Team.  This involves a three year commitment to plant 500 trees annually, to participate in environmental stewardship programs and to advocate environmental justice.

When new members are inducted into Rotary they are reminded that they are part of a worldwide organization and that they would be welcomed at any club in the world.  As proof of that, President Brady and three club members told about their experiences visiting clubs while travelling abroad.  Brady had recently exchanged club banners in Kavala, Greece.  Emily Egge told of visiting three clubs in the United Kingdom.  In Durham UK she met several Rotarians whom we hosted last November and who gushed over the warm welcome they received.  Emily had a sound piece of advice: don’t wait until your last day in town to visit a Rotary club.  Otherwise, you are likely to miss out on something that outsiders would likely never get to do.

Melissa Mills attended a Rotary environmental sustainability action group conference in Vancouver and told of getting to know the organizer, PDG John Anderson.  Matt Kopac spent time in Curitiba, the largest city in southern Brazil.  It is recognized as an excellent example of a planned city and, recently, placed third among the “greenest” cities in the world.  Curitiba Rotarians quickly put together what he called “a group study exchange for one.” Both Matt and Emily noted the clubs they visited enjoyed “happy hour” before meetings.

President Brady challenged us as Rotarians to “think big—locally and globally.”

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg

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