I was going to write a message this month about not always following tradition. It was about how to consider new alternatives, rather than “we’ve always done it that way.”
I’m sure the message would have been wonderful, but instead I decided to not do what I have always done.
This month, I encountered a message from a club president in their club bulletin that I thought was much better than what I could have written, was much more eloquent and much timelier.
I would like to thank Lisa Zuk, from the Rotary Club of Comox, for allowing me to edit her message and pass it on to you.
Here it is:
The Comox Rotary Club doesn’t have a head table. When I was first introduced to Rotary 20 years ago, they certainly did. The President sat up there and probably the board.
Then suddenly we had a President who didn’t want a head table. We all sat together as a club. The next year the head table was back at the front. I eventually left Rotary but, when I returned several years later, the head table was just a distant memory.
The head table may have disappeared that first time on a whim, but what is important now is that it is gone for good. Now no Rotarian in our club is seen to be more important than another.
At the very core of Rotary and of being a Rotarian is our belief in equality. That is not an equality that sends us into the community to recruit Rotarians to fill a quota. It is not about making sure we have gender equality, racial equality, cultural equality, and sexual orientation equality. It is far more subtle than that. It is about making sure that, right here, starting at the grass roots, we have equality within our club. We are all equal. We are all important and all a very necessary element of this club.
Without each and everyone of us, we are a little less. Without your voice, your commitment, your presence, and your heart, we are not as equal as we should be. If you aren’t here. letting us know how you feel and what is important to you, and why you are a Rotarian, we are just that little bit less.
And that is on you. Diversity, equity, and inclusion, starts at home. You are responsible for taking part and being part of this group. We can’t force you. Either you are or you aren’t, but always know that without you, there is just a little bit missing, right here.
Johnny and I just spent 5 weeks in Hawaii. We visited a couple of Rotary meetings, and they were excellent. It is through this connection that the following Sunday, we found ourselves in a picturesque little church.
The minister said something that really resonated with me. “You can’t have more faith or less. You either have it or you don’t.” It is totally up to you how much you want to take from that. It’s your responsibility. Fill your cup, or long for more. All your choice.
That is like Rotary. You can choose to be a Rotarian in membership only, or you can choose to jump right in and make it a total experience. And why, oh why, do anything if you don’t want to do it all the way?
So here is my challenge to you. Take your enthusiasm, your energy, your love of Rotary, your Rotary experience and share it. Go get ‘em.
You don’t have to stop with new members. Phone someone we haven’t seen for a while and invite them to come with you to Rotary. Let’s get them back here where they once belonged and let’s get them engaged.
Imagine if every Rotarian gave as much as you do, imagine what we could accomplish, imagine how amazing we would be then.