Posted by Brent Watts
My pursuit of 61 hit some domestic issues this week, as Vacation Bible School has overtaken the Watts household. So…I have been unable to add to my 9 clubs visited in the first month in the "Pursuit of 61". However, I was very fortunate to join our speaker for today at the Rotary Membership Seminar last Saturday.
Other that a visit to the District 6920 Conference in Georgia 7 years ago, this was my fist event I have attended on a District level.
As I entered the facility, I realized that my travels over the last month have allowed me to network with quite a few of the people my wife likes to call “Rotary Famous”, including past Rotary International President Frank Devlyn. Maybe with a lot of networking and visits to more of these types of meetings, I can be Rotary famous as well one day.
Seriously, this was a great event and one that I believe everyone should take the time to attend an event like this in the future, as I will be trying to go as often as I can.
The two most distinct things I saw in the people attending this conference; was the diversity of people from different walks of life and the reasoning for their joining Rotary in the first place. No so shocking, this was quite a bit of the focus during the event, how to become more diverse, flexible and engaging.
There was the typical opening and closing that you would find at any large event, is was very well run and efficient, as I would expect from a bunch of business people running an event and the choice of topics were very broad to reach a different cross section of wants and needs of the attendees.
The scheduling was seven 45-minute sessions running three times during the event. So, all seven sessions repeated 3x during the event. After a little conference with Andrew we picked mostly different sessions to attend as you might expect from a planner like Andrew and a salesperson like me, our interests were a little different. Our options were:
  1. Is Your Club Healthy? – led by Dr. Charles Grant
  2. Building a Diverse Club – led by AMC Tom English
  3. Strategies for Attracting New Members – led by Bill Griffin
  4. Kick-Start Your New Member Orientation – with a panel of past DG’s and AMC’s
  5. Best Practices for Engaging Members - led by AMC Carol Lester
  6. Practicing Flexibility & Innovation – led by AMC Rosemary Lengefeld
  7. Your Membership Plan – led by PDG Bob Gebhard
I believe Andrew attended the Kick Start, Best Practices and Your Membership Plan and I chose to attend the Strategies, Best Practices and Practicing Flexibility sessions.
What I figured out was that the message is effectively the same - we are all different people, from different backgrounds, with different reasons for joining Rotary (everything from business networking to being around friends) AND the clubs in Rotary need to learn a lesson from that, not everyone wants a club that sings, but some do; not everyone wants to meet for breakfast, but some do; not everyone comes to the meetings to listen to great speakers, but some do and I could go on forever. However, most clubs are made up a diverse mixture of people who believe they are doing something great for the community with their FRIENDS, not everyone but I know I do!
PS: Andrew took me to an excellent Vietnamese restaurant in Little Vietnam afterwards, ask him the name and location, it was incredible.