Being a Rotarian provides a wonderful opportunity to make friends, to participate in a wide variety of humanitarian projects that benefit my local community and our world, and to network with community leaders and business people who demonstrate high ethical standards. Being a Rotarian has allowed me to know the satisfaction which comes from knowing that somewhere, someone needed my help, and that I took the time to do something. Meetings are surprisingly fun and on very diverse topics. Being a Rotarian helps me become a better person and makes the quality of my own life just a little richer and more meaningful. The following reasons “Why I am a Rotarian” are based on reasons presented by Richard D. King, Rotary International President 2001-02, which resonate with me.
1. Opportunity to Serve: As a service club, Rotary’s business is mankind and its product is service. This is perhaps the best reason for becoming a Rotarian: the chance to do good.
2. Friendship / Fellowship / Community: In an increasingly complex world, Rotary provides one of the most basic human needs: the need for friendship and fellowship. It is one of two reasons why Rotary began in 1905.
3. Business Development: The second original reason for Rotary’s beginning is business development. Everyone needs to network. Rotary consists of a cross-section of every business community. Its members come from all walks of life. Rotarians help each other and collectively help others.
4. The Development of Ethics: Rotarians practice a ‘Four-Way Test’ that governs our ethical standards. The Four-Way Test for Rotarians reminds us that high ethical standards never go out of style. Rotarians are expected to be ethical in business and personal relationships.
5. Personal Growth and Development: Membership in Rotary ensures continuing growth and education in human relations and personal development.
6. Leadership Development: Rotary is an organization of leaders and successful people. Serving in Rotary positions is guaranteed to strengthen anyone’s leadership skills. Leadership is all about learning how to motivate, influence and lead others and this happens in Rotary.
7. Continuing Education: Each week at Rotary, there is a program designed to keep members informed about what is going on in the community, nation and world. Each meeting provides an opportunity to listen to different speakers on a variety of timely topics.
8. Citizenship in the Community: Membership in a Rotary club helps develop better community citizens. The average Rotary club consists of some of the most active citizens of any community.
9. Citizenship in the World: Every Rotarian wears a pin that says “Rotary International.” There are few places on the globe that do not have a Rotary club. Every Rotarian (over 1.22 million) is welcome – even encouraged – to attend any of the 35,000 clubs in over 200 nations and geographical regions. This encourages new friendships in both local and world communities.
10. Prestige: Rotary members are prominent people: leaders of business, the professions, art, government, sports, military, religion, and all disciplines. Rotary is the oldest and most prestigious service club in the world. Its ranks include executives, managers, and professionals – people who make decisions and influence policy.
11. Travel: Traveling Rotarians can meet fellow Rotarians throughout the world. Opportunities like international conventions, participation in vocational training teams, and international grants provide the chance to see the Rotary world.
12. Public Speaking Skills: Many individuals who joined Rotary were uncomfortable about speaking in public. Rotary develops confidence and skill in public communication and the opportunity to practice and perfect these skills.
13. Development of Social Skills: Every week and at various events and functions, Rotary develops one’s personality, social skills and people skills. Rotary is for people who like people.
14. Vocational Skills: Every Rotarian is expected to take part in the growth and development of his or her own profession or vocation; to serve on committees and to teach youth about jobs or vocations. Rotary helps to make each individual a better doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.
15. Entertainment: Every Rotary club and district has parties and activities that contribute to a diverse, yet professional business life. Rotary holds conferences, conventions, assemblies, and institutes that provide entertainment in addition to Rotary information, education, and service.
16. Family Programs: Rotary provides one of the world’s largest youth exchange programs; high school and college clubs for future Rotarians; opportunities for spouse involvement; and a host of activities designed to help family members in growth and the development of family values.
17. Cultural Awareness: Around the world, practically every religion, country, culture, race, creed, political persuasion, language, color and ethnic identity is represented among members of Rotary. Rotary is a cross section of the world’s most prominent citizens who are aware of their cultures and have developed a love of working with people everywhere. They become better citizens of their countries in the process.
18. Nice People: Rotarians are the nicest people on the face of the earth.
19. Fun: Rotary is a fun and exciting place to be.
20. Absence of an Official Creed: Rotary has no secret handshake, no official creed, no secret meetings or rituals. It is an open society of men and women who simply believe in helping others.