You wake up on Monday morning, go to Sam’s, Office Depot and the grocery store and are home by 10:30 am. You head to the golf course for your noon time round with the usual suspects, come home, take a dip in the community pool and then have your next door neighbors (to the right) over for dinner. Repeat 7 days a week until done.
The question that many retirees need to ask is that while retiring is fun, how many rounds of golf or tennis matches do you need to participate in before you need some outside stimulation?
Enter Rotary International.(www.Rotary.org) In 1905, four friends met in room 711 in the Unity Building in downtown Chicago. They thought it would be great if they would do business with each other and in the room was a stone mason, engineer, lawyer and a tailor. The tailor agreed to work with and promote the engineer while the lawyer promoted and worked with the stone mason. Simple business networking 101.
Within a few years, the members began to look outwards instead of inwards. They realized that while networking was an admirable result of their friendships, they also realized that they were business leaders and could help those in need in their area. The word of Rotary, albeit this was way before email, the internet, faxes and social media, began to spread across America and soon the world.
Rotary International has over 33,000 clubs in 200 countries and enjoys a global membership of over 1.2m members. In 1985, Rotary International passed a bold new rule which permitted women to join Rotary, and thank goodness because many of the clubs consist of 50% women today!
So what does this have to do with you?….
Think about it, you have a world of business and life experience that others can benefit from if you shared your talents. Rotarians are everyday people that simply want to make a difference in the town/area that they live in. Chances are you have already moved to your retirement destination and or are contemplating such a move, so this is to gently remind you that there is an interesting and vibrant world outside your gated golf community.
On a personal note, in 2002 I moved to Shallotte from the north side of Wilmington. I had spent the past 23 years living in the suburbs of Atlanta, Milwaukee, Boston and Wilmington however; it wasn’t until I joined the Rotary Club of Shallotte that I finally felt like I was part of a community. In fact the last time I felt like I was part of a town was in 1975 when I graduated from Ridgewood High School in NJ.
In an effort to appeal to both younger and older members, Rotary today is not the Rotary our fathers belonged to. For example, attendance requirements have been relaxed, meeting times are adhered to, fun is involved in every meeting, fundraisers are successful because of solid team efforts and, each club is always open to learning on different ways on how it can be of assistance to those in need.
One benefit I enjoy is that if I am traveling out of town I always take a look at where there might be a Rotary Meeting that I can attend. Over the years I have attended Rotary meetings in St. Petersburg Russia, San Francisco, Nassau Bahamas, West Palm, West Virginia and more. And when you become a Rotarian, you automatically have over 1.2 million friends around the globe – which is like really cool and especially true for those who like to travel.
Rotary clubs either have breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings. The meetings last one hour and three of the four weeks per month there is guest speaker. Generally clubs have one main annual fundraiser and support over a dozen local concerns. Clubs can range from 15 members to over 200 however; the average club has 35 members. In Brunswick County, we have four clubs:
- Rotary Club of Leland (Friday Breakfast)
- Rotary Club of Shallotte (Thursday lunch)
- Rotary Club of Southport (Wednesday lunch)
- Rotary Club of South Brunswick Isles (Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach) – Friday Breakfast
From my earlier days when I was a training manager for an industrial components supplier, I learned that if the average adult does not learn new information on a regular basis, that our brains turn to mush – and we don’t want that to happen, do we?!! So when you get settled into your new community or if you already are, make good use of your talents and go to this website and find the closest Rotary International club to you. Go and visit them and if the club feels right, then don’t be afraid to join. And if the club/s don’t feel right, don’t be afraid to look up the local Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, etc.
Rotarians care about the people in the community they live in and enjoy giving back, so if this sounds like you or someone you know, go to this website today to find the Rotary International club closest or most convenient to you.
Thank you and have fun! Oh, and in case you are wondering, this is what we call our 4 Way Test:
Of all the things we say and do:
- Is it the Truth
- Is it Fair to All Concerned
- Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships
- Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned