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District 5970 PDG Jill Olsen notified leaders of District 6000 last week of the loss of long time Waterloo Rotary member Doug Oberman. Doug contracted polio at the age of 8 and despite living a life of paralysis during which he slept in an iron lung and was unable to travel without it, graduated from law school with honors and returned to Waterloo where he successfully served the community. Keep Doug's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers as they mourn his death.
Last week about ten Rotaract and Rotary members joined forces to participate in the Community Beautification Day, which is designed to honor Earth Day and keep our community clean. Our assigned area this year was the Middle School grounds. Our Team and a team from Redeemer Lutheran Church worked together to pick up trash and spruce up the grounds around the middle school. Thank you to all who helped make this a worthwhile experience. FYI: Rotaract has purchased bags and other tools for cleanup projects. Thanks for letting us use them on Saturday.
The 2016 Council on Legislation may well be remembered as one of the most progressive in Rotary history.
Not only did this Council grant clubs more freedom in determining their meeting schedule and membership, it also approved an increase in per capita dues of $4 a year for three years. The increase will be used to enhance Rotary’s
website, improve online tools, and add programs and services to help clubs increase membership.
The Council is an essential element of Rotary’s governance. Every three years, members from around the world gather in Chicago to consider proposed changes to the policies that govern the organization and its member clubs. Measures that are adopted take effect 1 July.
The tone for this year was set early, when the RI Board put forth two proposals that increase flexibility. The first measure allows clubs to decide to vary their meeting times, whether to meet online or in person, and when to cancel a meeting, as long as they meet at least twice a month. The second allows clubs flexibility in choosing their membership rules and requirements. Both passed.
Representatives also approved removing six membership criteria from the RI Constitution and replacing them with a simple requirement that a member be a person of good character who has a good reputation in their business or community and is willing to serve the community.
The $4 per year dues increase was based on a five-year financial forecast that predicted that if Rotary didn’t either raise dues or make drastic cuts, its reserves would dip below mandated levels by 2020. The yearly per capita dues that clubs pay to RI will be $60 in 2017-18, $64 in 2018-19, and $68 in 2019-20. The next council will establish the rate after that.
“We are at a moment in time when we must think beyond the status quo,” said RI Vice President Greg E. Podd. “We must think about our future.”
Podd said the dues increase will allow RI to improve My Rotary, develop resources so clubs can offer a better membership experience, simplify club and district reporting, improve website access for Rotaractors, and update systems to keep Rotary in compliance with changing global regulations.
Also because of this Council’s decisions:
A Council on Resolutions will meet annually online to consider resolutions — recommendations to the RI Board. Council members will be selected for three-year terms. They’ll participate in the Council on Resolutions for three years and the Council on Legislation in their final year only. The Council on Resolutions will free the Council on Legislation to concentrate on enactments — changes to Rotary’s governing documents. Proponents predict that the Council on Legislation can then be shortened by a day, saving $300,000.
Rotaractors will be allowed to become members of Rotary clubs while they are still in Rotaract. Proponents argued that too few Rotaractors (around 5 percent) join Rotary. Sometimes it’s because they don’t want to leave their Rotaract clubs before they have to, upon reaching age 30. It’s hoped that giving them more options will boost the numbers of qualified young leaders in Rotary.
The distinction between e-clubs and traditional clubs will be eliminated. The Council recognized that clubs have been meeting in a number of ways, and given this flexibility, the distinction was no longer meaningful. Clubs that have “e-club” in their names can keep it, however.
The reference to admission fees will be removed from the bylaws. Proponents argued that the mention of admission fees does not advance a modern image of Rotary.
A standing committee on membership was established, in recognition that membership is a top priority of the organization, and polio eradication was also reaffirmed to be a goal of the highest order.
Learn more about the Council on Legislation
By Arnold Grahl
“Apologizing doesn’t always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.”
Many years ago, in Kolkata, India, I had the chance to meet Mother Teresa. She was an incredible woman with an incredible force of personality. When she walked down the street, the crowd parted in front of her like the Red Sea. Yet when you talked to her, if you mentioned the tremendous things she had done, she almost did not engage in this topic at all. By many reports, if you asked her what her greatest achievement was, she would answer, "I am an expert in cleaning toilets."
The answer was both humorous and absolutely serious. Her business was caring for others. Toilets had to be cleaned, so she cleaned them. There was no question of a job being beneath her. Helping people who needed help was her work, and there was nothing higher, nothing in the world more important than that.
So one day, when an elegantly dressed man came to Kolkata looking for Mother Teresa, the nuns who answered the door informed him that she was at the back of the house, cleaning the toilets. They pointed the way, and indeed he found Mother Teresa scrubbing the toilets. She said hello, assumed he was there to volunteer, and began explaining to him how to hold the toilet brush correctly and how not to waste water. Then she put the brush in his hand and left him standing there, in his expensive suit, alone in the lavatory.
Later, the man came out, found Mother Teresa again, and said, "I have finished; may I speak with you now?" "Yes, certainly," she said. He took an envelope out of his pocket and said, "Mother Teresa, I am the director of the airline, and here are your tickets. I just wanted to bring them to you personally."
That airline director told that story again and again for the rest of his life. He said those 20 minutes spent cleaning toilets had filled him with the greatest joy he had ever known – because by putting his hands to Mother Teresa's work, he became part of that work. For those 20 minutes, he cared for the sick just as she did: with his own hands, his own sweat.
That is exactly the opportunity that Rotary gives us. We might not do what Mother Teresa did – give up our lives, our homes, our families. But for 20 minutes, 20 hours, 20 days of the year, we can be like her.
We can do the work that others will not with our hands, and our hearts, and our sweat, and our devotion – knowing that what we do is the most important work in the world.
There are 1.2 million Rotarians in 35,000 clubs doing good all over the world. This network of clubs makes up Rotary International.
As a club member you help elect your own leaders each year, and your president works with your president-elect, officers, board members, and committee chairs to manage the club. Your club pays dues to RI, and in return RI provides resources, training, and programs to help your club run effectively.
Your club and others in your geographic area are part of a district, led by your district governor. Districts help clubs connect to each other and access Rotary resources. There are around 530 districts, and these are organized into 34 zones. Each zone has about the same number of Rotarians.
Rotary clubs sponsor other service clubs and groups that broaden our reach:
Interact, for young people ages 12-18
Rotaract, for young people ages 18-30
Rotary Community Corps, for non-Rotarians
The president of Rotary International is elected by Rotarians and leads an elected board of directors. The president serves for one year, and directors serve for two years.
The general secretary manages staff at Rotary’s headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and additional offices around the world.
Learn more about Rotary's leadership.
What millennials love about Rotary
From the May 2016 issue of The Rotarian If there is one absolute truth about millennials, it is this: Anyone who says there is an absolute truth about millennials risks being subjected to their collective eye roll. Millennials are individuals, and fiercely so. According to the Pew Research Center, most of them don’t even like being called “millennials,” let alone hearing generalizations about their shared attitudes and behaviors. Case in point: Christa Papavasiliou, 31, recoils at the notion that older folks see her generation as a bunch of selfie-snapping smartphone addicts. “I’m the...
What's next for Rotary?
From the May 2016 issue of The Rotarian Demographic change is a drama in slow motion. It unfolds incrementally, tick by tock, but it transforms societies in fundamental ways – and the America of the early 21st century is undergoing two such dramas at the same time. Our population is en route to becoming majority nonwhite at the same time a record share of us (like me) is going gray. Either trend by itself would be the dominant demographic story of its era. The fact that they’re unfolding simultaneously has created giant generation gaps. The United States is at a moment in its history when...
Crisis at the doorstep
From the May 2016 issue of The Rotarian More than a million refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan streamed into the European Union last year. Most entered via Greece after a harrowing raft trip across the Aegean Sea from Turkey. Once there, they made their way north, often on foot, traveling more than 1,000 miles through the rugged mountains of the Balkan countries toward Germany. That was the uncertain odyssey facing Muhammad Mallah Hamza, a 26-year-old ethnic Kurd, in late 2014 when he decided to leave his native Syria. The trip would lead the recent college graduate to a picturesque...
Culture: Consuming passions
From the May 2016 issue of The Rotarian A friend recently said something to me that was shocking, maybe even a little subversive. She could afford to retire now, she said, because of this amazing reality: “I don’t need to buy anything more. I have everything I need.” Was this America, home of the free parking with purchase and the brave doorbuster shoppers? The land whose fruited plains are dotted with storage lockers and Container Stores for all our excess stuff? My friend maintained her love of country but held firm. She has enough clothes; her house is fully furnished. She is done. And, at...
Travel: Strange trips
From the May 2016 issue of The Rotarian Over the years, I have regurgitated my share of dodgy dishes eaten on the road. I have had my appendix removed in a Tanzanian hospital. I have watched helplessly, imagining the discovery of my shriveled corpse, as my blood pooled on the floor of a guesthouse room in Borneo after I pulled a leech off my ankle. I know that the last place you want to end up while traveling is in the hospital. Yet, apart from the usual bodily afflictions that come with travel, even stranger maladies prey on our minds when we are abroad. Less well understood than their...
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