Posted by Mike Van Horne
I am learning one challenge with The Rotarian magazine each month is reading beyond the RI President’s monthly message. Smart editors have placed the brief message or letter right inside the front cover, and it is sometimes difficult to go further than that place without pausing to reflect on the insights about Rotary in the 21st century. In the January message, RI President Ian Riseley directly addresses two aspects of diversity in Rotary that are staring our club squarely in our collective faces: a lack of diversity in age and a lack of diversity in gender.Our club did not arrive at our current situation intentionally, though we should probably not rush to conclude it just happened without taking time to reflect on what may not have been or may not be attractive to younger potential Rotarians and female potential Rotarians. But if we are committed to surviving beyond our first 25 years, we need more younger members and more women members. I do not know for certain what will attract either group to Rotary membership, but I recall from PETS 2017 that the most inspirational presentation to me was from a 25-year old woman Rotarian, who said clearly and eloquently that her generation is very interested in service. Could a start to addressing our pressing challenges lie in our mustering the energy to undertake more frequent, even if less dramatic, service projects and finding every avenue possible to publicize the opportunity open to all to join us in “Making a Difference”?The final paragraph of RI President’s January message seems to me to bear repeating (so I will): “Whatever brought each of us to Rotary, we stay because we find value in Rotary membership and believe that our service has value to the world. By building clubs that reflect the world in all its diversity, we will build even more enduring value in Rotary: Making a Difference.”Let’s raise a toast to a Happy New Year in Rotary service.YIR, Mike