Written by Christine Grodecki, Engagement Associate, Regional Coordinators Programs
While Moderator John Lawrence was in town for the moderator meeting in November, I had the opportunity to sit down with him and get to know him a little better.
John is from Brisbane, Australia and joined Rotary in November 1988. He has always been interested in international service and attended his first club meeting at a colleague’s suggestion. As we were talking, he discussed fond memories of his time spent in Thailand working on a project called “Children of the Golden Triangle.” The project built dormitories and toilet blocks, classrooms, and infrastructure for refugee hill-tribe orphans and children. He reminisced, “Nothing compares to the feeling of being grabbed around the ankles by a group of small children and knowing that you are directly impacting their lives in a meaningful way.”
He is passionate about supporting the Rotary Foundation. When soliciting new donors, John always talks about how accountable Rotary is to our donors. He reinforces our excellent record: almost every cent that is donated is used to fund projects. He says, “Rotarians make a difference with 1.2 million members worldwide.” He is excited about our shift towards measuring outcomes and worldwide impact. He hopes the data gained from these measurements can be shared with the world, truly impressing on others the impact Rotary makes worldwide.
We wrapped up our chat by talking about the upcoming 2014 Coordinators and Advisers Institute. John is extremely excited about bringing together the four groups of regional leaders. “It’s the perfect opportunity for them to share experiences with each other and start working together.” He feels the coordinators and advisers are especially important because they broaden their impact through training and communications and are “the conduit from the board and trustees to districts and clubs”.
Before John headed back into the moderator meeting, I asked him who he would interview if he could talk to anyone in the world. He answered almost immediately: Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, a microfinance organization.
By Corneliu Dinca, Rotary coordinator, part of Zone 19, Vocational Service Leadership award 2010-11
What can we do to help district governors increase the number of active and engaged Rotarians? These members help build vibrant clubs and promote the image of their districts. As coordinators, we can help Rotarians connect with each other in a variety of ways. There are few ways for this to happen.
- Encourage Rotarians to register for MyRotary and search Discussion groups to connect with other Rotarians in their vocations.
- Develop a district vocational service strategic plan.
- Focus on connecting Rotarians with others in their vocation through a district members’ data base, sorted by occupational codes. This way each district vocational group will be very well identified, becoming more proud of its identity and more opened for vocational service.
One way my region celebrates vocational service is to hold a Vocational Service Forum. These team building events bring Rotarians together to share their vocations and discuss opportunities for service.
Is that enough? For a Vocational Forum, YES! For a forum focusing on Vocational service and strategic planning, NO! Some more steps are needed:
- Identify Rotarians who are already involved in a club or district project related to their vocation and ask them to speak about their experience.
- Find Rotarians involved in Rotary Action Groups and invite them to speak on how districts can adapt this international service model to fit their service projects.
- Hold a series of workshops led by previous vocational service project or vocational training team participants, focused on developing district vocational service projects.
- Invite Rotarians to think about how their vocations can contribute to and increase Rotary Service.
It’s not enough only to speak about our vocations. Let’s use these skills to bring in new members, increase fellowship, and encourage vocational service!
Vocational service in action! Director Paul Davis, a Toronto filmmaker, cameraman, and former youth offender, starts off a scene starring student actor Trevor Williams during a session of the Power of One Film School, a branch of the PACT LifeSkills program. PACT is funded with help from over 15 Canadian Rotary clubs.
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