Question: what is better than one Rotary log a week?

Answer: two!

The 2 minute tidbit this week was the announcement, by Mark Sullivan, of a new committee: the Commercial Wreath Committee.  There is a market out there for wreathes for businesses and Rotary is going after it!  Mark is leading the charge!

The Basic Needs Committee is having another drive on October 26, 2012 in concert with Philbrick's Market and is looking for volunteers for 2 hour shifts on October 26.  Please help.

President Nancy asked for one, just one, line of Happy Birthday and not only got the whole rendition, but a very poor one at that! 

Peter Billip returned from a 3600 mile bike trek from Puget Sound to York, Maine.  He asked members for a retroactive donation of one cent per mile which is only $36 each member.  What a great way to raise money for the club!  We also got a happy dollar out of it.  Marie Brownell gave a happy dollar because she is going to get to call each of us for the Christmas tree sales. Tricia Cummings gave a "grumpy dollar" because her daughter was grumpy when she got up this morning.  (If your Editor had to give a dollar for every time his 13 and 15-year-old daughters were grumpy, he'd be broke).


District Gov. Marty Helman was introduced by our own Diane Foley and in this lady has far too many accomplishments for this slow-typing Editor to write.  Just some of them include: president of the Boothbay, Maine club, Rotarian of the Year, Katrina volunteer, Paul Harris Fellow, a volunteer to promote literacy abroad, author, business owner, an airline pilot and, just to keep herself busy, a quilter.

Marty is obviously a fan of Rotary, but she came to us on a mission to shed light on the fact that Rotary is losing their members in this country and it is getting worse.  World wide membership in Rotary is stable, but that is only because of gains in membership in Asia.

While the Rotary Foundation is the most effective private foundation in the world, and while there are $1.2 million volunteers trying to make the world a better place, our district had 2200 members 10 years ago and has 1800 members today.  We are losing, on average, 40 members a year.  The dropout timeframe is anywhere from six months to three years, assuming people want to join in the first place.

Why is this happening?  Marty believes that it is a generational thing.  Our goal needs to be to attract people under 40 years old.  Generation X and generation Y folks are community oriented, but they are finding other outlets for their community desires.  The world is changing and young people are attracted by social media.  Rotary websites need improvement.  Rotary also needs to identify new issues relevant to today like polio cure was years ago.  The vocabulary needs updating.  For example, instead of referring to Rotary "programs", they should refer to "activism".  Rotary could also look at its weekly meetings and see if there's a way to update them for the 21st century.  Our "Rotary speak", seargent -at-arms, fines, all may seem old-fashioned to younger people.  We have to begin to look at Rotary from the perspective of those we are trying to attract as new members.

In an attempt to put action to her words, we all just received an e-mail inviting us to a District Membership Seminar hosted by the Rochester Club at The Governors Inn at 78 to Wakefield Street, Rochester on Friday afternoon, September 28 from 2 PM to 8 PM.  The cost is $32, which includes dinner and the agenda includes Rotary International young professionals outreach, social media tools, clubs that have adapted to attract younger members and information on the just-hatched e-club of New England.

Marty also encouraged us to find our own individual passion.  What keeps you in this slightly dated organization, she asked?  And  in what organization can you provide food for your community, immunize children worldwide, help people with prosthetics, address the needs of orphans, assist flood victims, and provide services and respect to veterans?  Marty gave us this challenge: as you celebrate 90 years as an organization, never forget that you joined Rotary because you were an inspired individual who wants to be a life-changer.  Go find your passion, open yourself to the multitude of opportunities, and go do it!

New member Cindy won the raffle but not the match, which is now $1400!