Evolution, new blood the key to survival of Rotary clubs: district governor

Jamie Bennett
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Stella Roy, district governor for Rotary clubs in the Atlantic region, gives an address to members of the Humber Rotary Club at the Greenwood Inn and Suites on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014.

With more than  46 Rotary clubs in her jurisdiction, district governor Stella Roy has been a busy woman of late.

The Halifax resident has recently been travelling throughout the Atlantic district, which is also dubbed District 7820, visiting clubs and thanking them for their contribution to the wider organization of Rotary International.

Roy was in the city Tuesday and gave such an address to the Humber Rotary Club at the Greenwood Inn and Suites.

Prior to her address, Roy presented club members Frances Drover and Rick Squire with the True Rotarian award for contribution to their club over the years.

In her remarks, Roy updated members on some of the work being done around the globe on behalf of Rotary.

Many projects, such as the fight to end polio in Nigeria and aid projects in such places as Tasmania, are initiatives which have received funding and support from local Rotary clubs such as the Humber chapter.

After the meeting, Roy said a major part of her responsibility are trips such as this, where she’s able to unite the often disparate clubs by showing the global impact of efforts by clubs in the district.

In some cases, she said clubs will need to be gently reminded to increase fundraising efforts but said both of the city’s Rotary clubs have been active, engaged members of the community.

“If a club isn’t doing anything in the community, then really what’s the point?” Roy asked.

As with many services groups, Rotary has been faced with changing demographics and the need to bring new ideas and younger voices to clubs around the world.

She said recent ideas such as an after-hours club; could be part of the solution since many young people are unable to afford weekly suppers, but might be eager to help with projects.

While it’s too early to tell if Rotary acted quickly enough to stem the tide of aging memberships, Roy said she’s hopeful such programs as Rotaract, which introduces the values of Rotary to school-aged children, will eventually entice younger blood to the organization.

There are also current pilot projects whereby members meet Saturday mornings.

In these cases, a babysitter is provided on-site so that parents are free to do Rotary activities in more of a family-orientated atmosphere.

She’s hopeful these or similar ideas could provide the key to the future.

“It’s not costing them any money, the kids are looked after and they can do the business of Rotary,” she said. “It’s definitely a challenge, but I think we are up for it.”

Organizations: Humber, Greenwood Inn

Geographic location: Halifax, Atlantic, Nigeria Tasmania

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