Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Membership Plan

Why do people stay in Rotary Clubs? Something in the club experience meets their needs, satisfies a desire they have.  In many clubs the members are friends with each other and stay in, just to keep up their friendships and enjoyable associations. The weekly meeting is a convenient way to do this. Providing service and creating value for their town is also an important need satisfied by the current membership model.

An essential element of the current member experience is the periodic meeting. And this meeting is an essential element of the value which members see.

Why would people join a Rotary Club. They might be looking to create new friendships and provide value to their town. The reputation of the club might be attractive to the potential new member. They might expect to enjoy the activities of the club. They might want to establish contact with the "movers and shakers" who are in the club. In any case finding the people in a town/area who are interested in a club is not a simple nor easy task. Most clubs find that a very small number of members bring in the vast majority of new members. That is not changed by cajoling and programs etc.

Once the person who is interested in joining the club is found, the membership experience s/he is looking for, must be provided quickly so that the person will remain in the club. Currently many clubs leave the assimilation of a new member to chance. It should be planned and organized.

There may be people who are not interested in the currently structured member experience. In particular it has been said that younger people do not have the time nor interest for a weekly meal meeting. The existing range of club experiences is very broad and there is the ability to make it even broader.

There may be nothing special about the meeting location. It's the conversations
and enjoyment of others company as well as service to your community
Here's a Rotary member with 62 years of service. He has valued the
friendship of club members and they have valued him.

Here are two new members of the New Haven Rotary Club. It is crucial that
we involve them in task and activities with other members on day 1
Here's a Rotary club program with the local Emergency Response team.
What a great opportunity to have a public meeting. The ERT reaches
out to the community and your Rotary club gets some visibility

So here are three elements of a membership plan(you may have additional ideas)
1. Finding New Members
 Hold public events, meetings, service projects(maybe one per month) and give these happenings lots of publicity. Make it clear at these events that membership in the Rotary Club is a possibility and to talk with a member. One club had a public event every month for 6 months and signed up 11 new members. Rotary Means Business is an excellent example of a Rotary Event that could be a public event and could be an attraction for new members.
2.Keeping New Members
 As soon as a person is inducted into the club assign an existing member to do a task with him/her for a month. Assign different people to do tasks with him/her in the next two months. These tasks can be small things like being the greeter at the meeting or doing the card game or ??  The idea is to have at least three different people work with the new member and hopefully establish friendships. Assign the new member to a specific service or fundraising committee right when they are installed.
3.Attracting Different People to Rotary

 To attract people who are not interested in the current member experience, find a few people, particularly younger people, and ask them to create a new member experience. It is very important that the new people design the new situation and that it is not done for them. Our goal is to have these people's creativity and knowledge create a whole new paradigm. You don't like a weekly meeting with a meal, well what would you like? Make this a satellite club. The members of the satellite club don't have to attend the existing meetings(but they can) and they establish the rules and duties for this new organization. The satellite club has its own service projects and fundraisers but it can also work on the main clubs' activities. If club members want to work on the satellite clubs activities, that's great. At some clubs where I have mentioned this, the club members are only focused on their existing clubs' meetings and projects and are not at all interested in this type of approach. The idea here is to create a new entity which gives a new and different set of people a Rotary experience. There will be synergy between the two entities but they need to be independent. By making it a satellite club we avoid a lot of red tape and it will work with a lower number of people.

Orange RC-Installation of Officers of Middle School Interact Club at St. Martins

The Interact Club at St. Martin De Porres school in New Haven is sponsored by Rotary Clubs at Orange, New Haven and Derby-Shelton. The Interact Clubs' officers for next year were installed on May 18 at Orange Rotary Club. The students are always inspiring. Of course Lynda Hammond of the Orange Club, who has done so much for that Interact Club was present. PDG Colin Gershon of New Haven and PDG Ernie Louise of Derby-Shelton were also there to celebrate the yearly transition. 

Governor Elect Larry Gardner did an inspiring job of Installing the new officers. 

Here's the soon to be past President reviewing her year. She was as
well spoken as any Rotary President

The President of Orange Rotary Club, Robert Sigler,  conducting the meeting and encouraging
Happy Sad contributions

Governor Elect Larry installing the Officers of the Interact Club
The young man,fourth from left, who is incoming President has been involved with
the Interact Club since third grade. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

West Haven Rotary Club- May 16

West Haven Rotary Club is widely known in District 7980 for its pranks and fun. So I attended the meeting to get a head start, since they love to have pranks on the Governor. When Paul M. attended his official visit, they walked out as he started to talk. Of course when they shortly came back he said  "...  in conclusion"  .Any Governor goes to his official visit at West Haven with trepidation and preparation.
Roland Depew the immediate Past President was in charge because
President Diane was not available.
 Rich a long time member recounted some of the pranks and fun of the West Haven rotary club. They visited North Haven Rotary Club and came in with a marching band. Also they visit other clubs and bring a 5 gallon bottle of Long Island Sound water, containing added undesirables. Since I'm from East Hampton Rotary Club they told the story of going to East Hampton in 1990 or 1991 and stealing a pig, the device which contains the money for Happy/Sad. Then when East Hampton wanted it back they brought a live pig to East Hampton. After much frivolity the money pig was returned.

Here is Rich installing three new members in West Haven Rotary club.
Bob Knapp, a PDG, was scheduled to do the installation but the
storm prevented him from coming.

Monday, May 14, 2018

District 7980 RYLA- Spring 2018

RYLA Spring 2018 was a wonderful experience for about 71 students. They spend Friday through Sunday and are learning leadership skills the entire time
Here's the registration desk for the start of RYLA.
 It is quite well organized so we don't waste valuable time on details

This is an exercise called chairs. The participants start sitting on chairs and
end up with a self supporting structure of just the students. They learn
to rely on each other.

Here are some participants working on a project during RYLA

RYLA is student led. These are the 2018 Student Directors.
There are 16 facilitators who work with the participants very closely

All the participants participate in the RYLA Challenge. They develop a service project
which they present to Rotary Judges. The Judges provide some funding and recommend
paths forward for the teams. Each participant speaks during the presentation
This team proposed providing computers to students who do not have them

Friday, May 11, 2018

Madison Rotary Club-90th Anniversary Celebration

Ninety years of service to the Madison Community and the World. They started in 1928, just before the Great Depression. How does a Rotary Club survive a depression? The club is a real contributor to the community and this was a wonderful celebration.

The club celebrates it's 90th year and Jack Davis has 62 years of service.
He and his wife were present and celebrating

PDG Rick Benson discussed the Rotary Foundation's 30 year effort on Polio
And we are very close, no new cases since March and only 8 for the year
They celebrated their past Presidents and lit a candle for each President
 Past President Ruth DeSarbo was a key in organizing the event and current President Michael Perry made sure it all went well

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Stratford Rotary Club 60th Anniversary

It's remarkable what each of our clubs do for their towns and for the world. Stratford RC celebrates 60 years. They started in 1958, seems like so long ago. Women were just about to join Rotary and Eisenhower was President and they started on their journey.

Here's Jeffrey Krause the current President of Stratford.
With a lot of help he organized the celebration of their 60th
So what do you do on your 60th anniversary. You give over $72,000
to various organizations in your town.

Here's Pat an early President of Stratford Rotary Club and one of the first
women Presidents of District 7980. She reviewed the history.

And here's the Past Presidents of Stratford Rotary Club who came to the dinner.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Rotary District 7980 RYLA Training Weekend for May 2018

District 7980 RYLA is a three day event held at Camp Hazen in Chester Connecticut. The facilitators and Directors are all high school students. The RYLA chairs are Rotaractors. It works great because of the effort and in particular the training of the student facilitators.
Dave a Rotarian advisor with Kristen, right.
On the left is a Rotaractor who attended RYLA on Long Island a few years ago

During Training weekend the facilitators present as if they were at RYLA
so that the other facilitators can comment and help

Here's Kristen and Hailey the co-chairs talking with Justin a Rotarian advisor

Some of the activities are carried out by a single facilitator. Here
is a practice run.

One of the activities is Community Building and here's the facilitator chairs for that activity
enlisting the help of the other facilitators

Some of the activities require quite a bit of thought about how to do them properly
Training weekend is the culmination of about 6 months of preparation by the Chairs,
Directors and the facilitators

They are expecting about 80 participants so 16 facilitators, two student directors and two RYLA chairs are involved

Friday, April 13, 2018

Rotary Club of the Stoningtons, that's in Connecticut-April 13, 2018

The Rotary Club of the Stoningtons is a small club with a great fund raiser. They have a golf tournament on Fisher Island, that's an Island in Long Island Sound. They have lots of golfers and lots of sponsors. Just going to Fisher Island is a treat.

The club does a lot of service in town and around the world. They sponsor an active Interact Club at the High School.

In the center of the picture is Carol Umphlett who is President Elect

Here is the group planning their Fisher Island Golf Tournament

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The 50th Anniversary of Rotaract celebrated by District 7980 on April 9, 2018

This year is the 50th anniversary of Rotaract and our 7 Rotaract clubs celebrated it in style.
Each club talked about their activities in the last year.

There are seven clubs:
Sacred Heart University Rotaract
Yale University Rotaract
Quinnipiac University Rotaract
University of New Haven Rotaract
UCONN Avery Point Rotaract
Stamford Community Rotaract
Fairfield University Rotaract

Kevin Guptill congratulating the Rotaractors. He is the Rotarian
Chair for our District

And Governor Trish congratulated the Rotaractors especially about the projects
they have been doing

The Assembled group celebrating the 50th Notice Kristen Foster in the middle,
she is the Rotaract District Representative
There were also some Interactors present who look forward to being Rotaractors in the not so distant future. 

District Training Assembly-April 7, 2018

The District Training Assembly is a chance for all Rotarians to get together and talk about best practices and how to have more fun. The Incoming Governor has a chance to help his incoming Presidents work with their teams to be ready for the upcoming Rotary Year. This Assembly was held at the Sheraton Four Points in Meriden, Connecticut. A very large crowd of Rotarians came and left feeling more knowledgeable about Rotary things.

At this Assembly there was a recognition of the District 7980 Interact Board and Interact and Rotary Clubs which raised about $10,000 for the Gift of Life. Three Interactors gave an oversized check to Lynda Hammond the District Chair for Gift of Life. PRIVP Abe Gordon(I know-Past Rotary International Vice President) and PDG Bob Voessler were also present representing the District effort for Gift of Life.

The three Interactors who helped the Gift of Life fund raising effort
 Also the finals of the Four Way Test Speech contest were held at the Assembly. Four wonderful high school speakers, all of whom were winners.
A participant in Four Way Test speech contest

Another  participant in Four Way Test speech contest

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Four Way Test Speech semifinals at Trumbull- March 24, 2018

High School students prepare a 5 to 7 minute talk on any subject but they must incorporate the Rotary four way test in the talk. The students in this competition ranged from sophomores to seniors. There were two winners here and they go onto the finals at the District Training Assembly on April 7 in Meriden. They were remarkable with great poise and all with something important to say. One of the winners had competed before and did not win but practice makes public speaking easier.

Here's a sophomore 

And here is another competitor, a senior, there were eight competitors

And here are the Judges, there were five including a local Trumbull councilman
Mark Davis and Roy Fuchs have organized the Four Way Test Speech contest throughout our District and have done a great job.

And here's the 4-way test.

The 4-Way Test
Of the things we think, say or do:

1.     Is it the TRUTH?
2.     Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3.     Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4.     Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Ukraine Open World Delegates Visit Devon Rotary

Had a wonderful time on Saturday welcoming the team of young professionals from Ukraine. Devon Rotary hosted these visiting delegates as part of the club’s Open World project. The team arrived in Washington, D.C. a few days ago and came to Connecticut by train. While here they will tour Milford, Yale in New Haven and New York City. In the photo front row (L to R) are: Anton Kukhliev, Svitlana Kolodii, Khrystyna Shovkoplias, DGE Larry Gardner, and Ulyana Stadnyk. In the back row are: Roman Oleksenko, Tetiana Kidruk, Rotarian Ed Bonessi, and PDG Henry Scopp.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Fairfield Rotary Club Celebrity Luncheon

Each year the Fairfield Rotary Club finds a great/famous speaker and holds a celebrity luncheon fundraiser. This year it was Dan Patrick of Sportscasting fame. He is host of NBC's football night in America and The Dan Patrick Show. He told us about how he became a well known sportscaster. And he gave us some tidbits on when we are on live TV i.e. don't give up the microphone.

Here's Dan Patrick talking about his experiences with other sportscasters and with Tom Brady

Mark Graham on the right was the Master of Ceremonies. He is a member of
the Fairfield Rotary Club. It's amazing the capability of Rotarians

Invention Convention at Hamden March 17, 2018

Invention Convention is a Science Technology Engineering and Math activity for Kindergarten and up. The students make an invention and then prepare a poster and a model of the invention. The school then has a competition at which the students explain their ideas and their work to 3 or 4 sympathetic judges. The students are arranged in groups of 6 to 8 students, so they hear each others' ideas and work.They comment and help each other.  Some Rotary Clubs(East Hampton and others) support this activity by providing judges and modest funding.  Here are some pictures from the semifinals which were held at Hamden Middle School. There will be more semifinals at East Hartford and then the finals at UCONN Storrs. It's a great program.

I was a Judge at Hamden. Here's our instructor teaching us the basics of Judging. Be nice to the students is job one.

Here's the students in their judging circle. There are two Kindergarteners, two in first grade
and two in second grade. They were all winners but four will go to Storrs

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Amber Alert Banner at the East Hampton Rotary Club

Amber Alert is a program for giving children IDs for safety. At events where children are present Rotary Clubs set up the facilities to ID the children and put them in a database which is available in case of a problem. Below you can see a banner which gives pizazz to the process. Any Rotary Club can order a similar banner to jazz up their process. 

Here's the banner with Kevin Reich, President of East Hampton Rotary club
Mark Morgano on the right the Interact co-chair at East Hampton and a
member of the East Hampton Interact Club.

Niantic Rotary Club February 28, 2018

Niantic Rotary Club meets at the Flanders Fish Market, a restaurant on the Connecticut Coast. A great venue for a great club.
Eva Menon is the President of Niantic this year
The President elect is James Lombardo, he's a retired School Superintendent. 
David Putnam was also at the meeting, he's involved with the clubs Youth Services.
And of course Donna Gada, the AG, is also a member of this club.

And Richard Gada worked out the details of the Niantic Gala
a fund raiser coming up soon. Note the  Rotary jacket. Next to him is James Lombardo the
President Elect.

Here's Gerry Gilstad, he played some songs in memory of Pete Seeger
We all remembered

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Training for CPR and AED(automatic defibrillator) by East Hampton EMS and Rotary

Here is something that any Rotary Club can facilitate. The East Hampton Rotary Club helped the East Hampton Emergency Medical and the Town hold a training in CPR and AED on February 24. Over 90 townspeople were trained. The Rotary Club helped with some of  the organization and funding, pretty minimal, and the EMS provided the training and expertise. Here's some pictures(thanks to Terry Concannon for the pictures).

It started with a short talk on what we would be doing and on the East Hampton EMS

We split into three groups of 8 participants per group. There were four dummies(no not us, the practice  dummies)
per group. Each pair had a dummy to practice CPR and AED on.

If you haven't had CPR training in awhile it's different. From the side and no mouth to mouth

Here's the participants in action doing CPR

Positioning your shoulder over the chest of the victim is important.
This was a great session(2 hours) and the participants left feeling confident that they could do CPR and AED if it were needed.
Your Rotary Club could organize a session like this in your town.