Monday, August 27, 2018

Rotary Youth Exchange Orientation on Laurel Island

Every year some students from our District 7980 go abroad on a Youth Exchange experience and we have students come here from various countries. Soon after the students arrive, the Youth Exchange team helps them get comfortable and we provide some instruction on how to get along as an exchange student in New England.  On August 25 and 26th the Youth Exchange leadership of District 7980 hosted an inbound student orientation meeting on Laurel Island in East Hampton, Connecticut.  Exchange students and the Youth Exchange leadership from Districts 7890, 7910 and 7950 as well as students from 7980 were there.

Our District, 7980, has students from Taiwan at Norwich, Italy at Orange, Bolivia at Middletown, Thailand at Deep River, Belgium at East Hampton, Peru at Westport, Japan at New Canaan and Brazil at Monroe.  It is wonderful that these clubs are hosting the students and thanks to Carol Williams and Joanne Corvino who are the leaders of District 7980 Youth Exchange.

Here are Rotary leaders from 7980 and 7950 discussing the training which will soon occur

We have started involving return Youth Exchange students in our program. Here are three past exchange students who helped with this training. They were very helpful and supportive.

One of the training points is to acquaint the students with English idioms. Another is to talk about what they should not do. Here they are getting the information

On Sunday there was a picnic for club Youth Exchange leaders and host families and others. Governor Larry and his wife Sharon attended the picnic met the students and others. Here is Sharon with AG Chris Hoeffel

Here during the picnic some students and visitors took advantage of the recreational opportunities on Laurel Island

More than 90 people came to the picnic on Sunday, met the students and talked about Youth Exchange and other subjects. Many of the attendees were future host families for these students. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Membership-New Members Best Practices

Governor Larry has set a goal of identifying best practices for bringing in and engaging new members. Here we will keep a list of practices used to bring in new members by our clubs in Southern Connecticut.

Rotary International has tips on bringing in new members at

Member Added Practices tried in District 7980-Southern Connecticut

1.     Use the Rotary Club Heath Check to assess your club and determine what your club is doing well and where you might want to make some changes.

2.              Discuss and create a vision for your club to decide what you want your club to be line in the immediate future and in 3 – 5 years.  Take your club through this process in a fun and new location to foster innovation.

3.              Consider varying meeting times and locations, loosening attendance rules reducing fees for new or younger members, varying service projects, and allowing for different kinds of membership.

4.              In talking to prospective members, consider their interests and needs to explain some of the most popular benefits of Rotary membership: community service, friendship and connections, family involvement and international focus.

5.              Use digital communications to promote your club and attract members. Does your club have a website? A Facebook page? Do you update them regularly?  Have you joined conversations in LinkedIn?  Use the power of social media to reach a broad audience.

6.              Post an upcoming club service project or social activity as a Facebook event. This is a good way to connect with people in your community who are not familiar with Rotary and may be interested in getting involved.

7.              Invite a prospective member to a club service project or event, so that she or he can see that your cub is active and involved in the community. Assign a member to contact the prospective members after the event and invite them to a club meeting to get to know the club.

8.              Partner with local organizations like young professional networks or professional women’s organizations to identify prospective members.

9.              Consider young professionals who have participated in Rotary’s programs such as former group study exchange or vocational training team members, Ambassadorial Scholars, Rotary Peace fellows, Rotary Friendship Exchange participants and Rotaractors as well as the parents and grandparents of Interactors, RYLA participants, and Rotary Youth Exchange students, and youth exchange host families.

10.           Membership leads are available on referral. Make sure to check these often for potential leads in your area.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Middletown Rotary Club-An Idea for a Program

The President of Middletown Rotary Club, Eric Rodko, has had some great programs in July including the Official visit by our Governor. On July 31 he invited the Presidents of nearby Rotary Clubs for a discussion of what makes your club great and how to improve your club. He had Guy Tomassi of Guilford and Daryl Porto of Wallingford as well as me, pinchhitting for Mark Cibula of East Hampton.  He asked us three questions and we had a great discussion on how to make our clubs more vibrant. What a great idea for a club program that any of us can do. It fosters interclub interactions and gets us talking about what we like and what we'd like  more of in Rotary.
 On the left, Eric Rodko, President of Middletown, describing the discussion we are about to have

On the left, Guy Tomassi of Guilford describing why his club is vibrant

Eric and the three speakers in the Rotary Club of Middletown  picture frame.
Organize a club event like this at your club.
Isn't that picture frame idea neat!