Aug 172020

 Message from the District Governor – Membership Summits and New Innovative Clubs

August 2020

When I looked ahead to serve as your District 7770 Governor, I could not have imagined this year.  Going through the trainings and following the steps of prior leadership, anticipating what lay ahead and the anticipation of all the club visits with all that comes with it with excitement.   As with all of you, excitement is not the word to describe the obvious.  I was fortunate to come in behind PDG Johnny Moore and witness how well he handled the Covid 19 twist before us all.   While I have had to curtail in person visits, I have enjoyed those I have made to date.  Inspired every time I meet with the board members and hear how they are carrying on.

As you may know, RI’s theme for this year is “Rotary Opens Opportunities.” In line with this theme, RI President Holger Knaack said“ Rotary isn’t just a club for people to join but rather an invitation to endless opportunities” — that may be opportunities for new friendships; opportunities for partnership and collaboration; opportunities for self-growth; or opportunities to support and serve our communities. Having been a Rotarian for 33 years, I know all of this to be true.

What else I know to be true is this, membership is the key to opening the doors of these possibilities.  Without strong and committed members we cannot have strong clubs. Without strong clubs, we cannot create the change we hope to see through the foundation and through our service projects.  Without membership we cannot grow our family of Rotary in our clubs, in our communities or across the globe.

 Together we need to be more proactive and innovative in our approach to growing membership.  Holger recalled Paul Harris infamous quote when he said, “we have to revolutionary from time to time. And now is the time to be revolutionary.”  He believes that a way to do this is by creating new club models and rethinking what we know to be Rotarians. We have held the same type of club meetings for the most part for 100 years.  Workplace changes, time constraints being placed on many caring for children and aging parents, the rising costs of meals have contributed to the decline in membership.  Therefore the district has PDG Jimmy Williamson leading an action group for Innovative Clubs to help our clubs create new club models in their communities.  This month and into September there will be a series of Membership Summit Zoom trainings being held by District Membership Chair, Digit Matheny.  Every member should consider attending to learn way for you to add to the membership growth in your club.

What can we really do to have a healthy membership and a healthy club during this pandemic? All I can say is that we are in this together. Rotarians are a resilient group.  I know you all will preserve.  The world (and our individual communities) need Rotary now more than ever and we must focus on the positive and on what we can achieve.

I, along with the rest of the District leadership, am here to serve and support you anyway we can.

Pauline Levesque,

Rotary International District 7770 Governor 2020-2021

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