Week 16 – What does the future of Rotary look like?

Last weekend I spent a whole day on planet Rotary.  That means I went to the District Conference which is held once a year.  The morning session was a showcase of the talent which the Rotary Youth competitions reveal, and we were treated to some truly outstanding performances from young musicians and young writers during the course of the morning……..but

We had some amazing speakers in the afternoon.  My favourite was Ken Robertshaw a Rotarian from West Yorkshire who paddled a canoe the whole length of the Mississippi river from source to mouth.  He raised money for his favourite local charity by doing this and had the experience of a lifetime.  I loved it and bought his book ………but

Conference is always a great opportunity to meet other Rotarians from all over our district of Somerset,, Dorset and parts of Wiltshire,.  An opportunity to share what we do in our clubs, and the challenges we face ……but

But…….  Rotary. like most other membership organisations, has a problem.    Our members are getting older.  Well aren’t we all, but this has serious implications for the work we do both locally and overseas.  There are fewer and fewer Rotarians in the UK who have the motivation or stamina to paddle down the Mississippi.  Those that have are members of the younger clubs, young working people with enthusiasm, skills and motivation to go out there and help improve lives.

And that is why for me the most inspiring speaker of the day was from Frome Town club, which started last year, the third Rotary club in Frome.  They have created a new kind of momentum for Rotary in Frome, with all three clubs working together to “punch above their weight”.  They were certainly an inspiration for me.   Is there a lesson here for Rotary in Sherborne?

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