Last fall, the Rotary eClub One sponsored the first ever rotary e-club in France. I was able to make a simple and short presentation via the internet from California.
You need to notice first of all that there is a dash between the “e” and “club”. Their official name is rotary e-club1740 because of their District (Southwest of France) but they like to be called “Rotary e-Club de France” as if there was only one! And so far there is. The French do not believe in e-clubs as they would lose the fellowship of eating delicious meals with wine once a week.
So, how could a French e-club start? With much difficulty and of course with a President from the US – Kate - mastering the French language very well. After only six months in existence they have about 30 members in six different countries. Their official language of communication is French of course. They might be the first e-Club in France but they are the fourth Rotary e-Club of the world in French language.
They meet on the internet weekly with voice and camera. It creates technical problems slowing the process. They also have a forum and exchange lots of emails addressed to all the members as a group, not in BCC.
Each member of that e-club selects a “buddy club”, a terra club they share a lot with and participate with. Three or four times a year, the members in the same geographical area will organize a get together with a fundraising of some kind for a local cause, and a dinner.
I was invited on the 13th of April to their first ever gathering with five of their members living in the area. Also in attendance were Rotarians from 3 local clubs, the local District’s Governor and his wife who drove back from the District conference for the evening, the club President (Kate - who drove 5 hours to be there), a Rotary International President Rep and his wife, two new members inducted that night.
The evening started with a classical and Spanish guitar concert fundraising for an event taking place the next day in Antibes nearby. Then we had a dinner with all the members and guests, banner exchange and induction of new members.
It is interesting that the local Governor wondered what he was doing there because not many local members were there. He noted that Rotarians from the e-clubs were not at his District Conference. I promised him that will change next year as I already made contact with the Governor elect to participate and even present something.
The next day, we witnessed a great fencing meet for people with handicaps including wheelchairs, blindness and people with mental retardation (a Down-syndrome person won a trophy in his category. It was an international meet with fencing champs from Belgium, Belarus, Italy and France. Spain is invited next year.It is nice to see the Rotarians of the e-Club France raise money and donate right there and then to the cause.
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