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Club Service Corner with Ed Davis
Speakers Make for Good MeetingsI have
never been one of those Rotarians who makes my meeting attendance decision
based on what’s for lunch or who is our speaker. I go to Rotary meetings
because, alas, I enjoy Rotary meetings. I
do realize, however, that the day’s program does influence the number of
members and guests at some meetings. I saw this first-hand when we had former Connecticut chief
forensic guru Henry Lee as our featured speaker several years ago. We had
members and guests materialize out of the woodwork! Folks just seem to love his
tales of gore and the accompanying photos! The room was filled to capacity.
often struggle with the challenge of finding new and interesting speakers. And
certainly not every presenter lives up to our hope that they’ll be both
informative and entertaining. All we can do is our best to provide a creative
schedule of diverse and entertaining programs for our members to enjoy.
overlooked resource for quality programs is our own membership. We are
surrounded by interesting people with unique careers, hobbies, experiences and
histories. Some of my favorite programs in this category include a Rotarian who
biked New Zealand, another who collected and studied graveyard tracings, and
(my personal #1) a member who attended “Clown College” and worked for Ringling
Brothers! A good program chair will cull through the club’s members in search
of these unique stories and storytellers. You are certain to find some hidden
gems in your own membership roster.
itself offers a broad menu of potential speakers who can put a face on some of
the many worthwhile initiatives that we support through our service
initiatives. Anyone who has administered polio vaccine, or helped install a
clean water project or even volunteered in a soup kitchen or literacy program
will have a host of personal stories to tell about how the experience has
changed their life. One glance through the District Directory or web site can
provide leads to some of the most inspirational speakers you might wish to
invite. These folks are often willing to share their experiences and their
enthusiasm with your members.
without a speaker is like a stew without spices; it may have been good, but it
could have been so much better! Quality programs help us to attract and retain
not only members, but their renewed commitment to Service Above Self. Why not
take an opportunity to assess your club’s program history and spend some time
and energy on improving this critical area of your club service agenda?
For the Fun of It!
and I recently went to dinner at one of our favorite Milford restaurants. It
was a Thursday evening, and as we approached the hostess I noticed that a group
of Milford Rotarians were gathered in a private room nearby. They were wearing
their badges; it looked like any other Rotary meeting. Except the Milford
Rotary meets for lunch each Thursday at a restaurant across town!
shy, unassuming guy that I am, I immediately crashed their party to see what
was up. Linda Bouvier informed me that it was their “Fifth Thursday”
celebration. It seems that Milford has created an evening social event in the
form of an extra meeting four times a year (in months where they have a fifth
meeting day). They have some food, some cocktails and a great deal of fun.
Spouses and guests who might not be available at lunchtime are welcome to
participate (as are the occasional visiting Rotarian who stumbles in). It
looked like a great deal of fun. Candace and I joined them for a drink after
we’d had our dinner.
I am told
that the regular lunchtime meeting on “Fifth Thursdays” has a slightly reduced
attendance, but that many Rotarians will attend both the luncheon and
after-hours get-togethers. Now who would have thought that a club could improve
attendance by having more meetings? When you think of it, however, what
Rotarian is not up for a little fun and fellowship after a long day’s work?
am a firm believer that there is no great idea that is not worth stealing, so I
brought the idea to my home club, where it was well received. Bridgeport Rotary
will launch its inaugural “Fifth Tuesday” celebration on July 31st at Captain’s Cove Seaport. We’ve decided
to travel with our after-hours gatherings so that members could experience and
patronize various Bridgeport eateries. I expect that A Good Time Will be Had by
Rotary we spend a great deal of time, energy and resources on “Service Above
Self”, and I am glad that we do. No one can question the positive impact that
Rotarians have had in local and world communities. We make a difference!
if Paul Harris and his buds hadn’t enjoyed each other’s company, I doubt very
much if Rotary would have survived, much less flourished to become the world’s
premier service organization. You, I and all of our fellow Rotarians meet and
work together because we like to do so. Rotary is fun!
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- Ed Davies is a member of the Rotary Club of Bridgeport and co-Chair
of the District 7980 membership committee
- Articles was original published in District 7980 Newsletter,
"The Beacon" and is republished here with permission of the
opinions expressed by the authors of each Make-up Article do not
necessarily represent the opinions of Rotary eClub One and its editorial