Our goal in 2013-14 is to Engage Rotary, Change Lives. All of us know that Rotary has incredible potential to do good work. It’s time to recognize how much more we could be doing and start working on new ways to turn that potential into reality. We’re going to do this by engaging Rotarians – by getting them involved, by getting them inspired, and by making sure that all Rotarians know just what a gift they have in Rotary.
We’re going to make sure that the work we do in Rotary is solid, effective, and sustainable. And we’re going to make sure that Rotary itself will last – by committing to our goal of 1.3 million Rotarians in our clubs by the year 2015.
That goal is a little different from membership goals we’ve had in the past. The goal isn’t just bringing in new members. The goal is growing Rotary. The goal is making Rotary bigger, not just with more members, but with more involved, engaged, motivated members who will be the ones to lead us into our future.
Each of us has our own reason for joining Rotary – but I believe we all want to make a difference. We all want to be doing something meaningful. That is absolutely essential for us to remember when we talk about membership.
We’re not asking just anyone to join Rotary. We’re looking to attract busy, successful, motivated people who care. We’re asking them to take their valuable time and give it to Rotary. So if they say yes, and they come and join our club, then we’d better be showing them that their time in Rotary is well spent.
We have to make sure that every Rotarian, in every club, has a meaningful job – one that makes a real difference to the club and the community. Because when you’re doing something meaningful in Rotary, Rotary is meaningful to you.
In Rotary, we all have something to give. At every stage of our lives and our careers, Rotary has something for all of us – a way to let us do more, be more, and give more. Rotary gives our lives more meaning, more purpose, and greater satisfaction. And the more we give through Rotary, the more Rotary gives back to us in return.
This is an incredibly exciting time to be a Rotarian. This Rotary year can be one of the greatest years we have yet experienced in Rotary – but it is up to each one of us. We are now writing the last chapter in our fight against polio.
While it has been a long, hard journey, we have learned many valuable lessons. We have learned that as a group we can move mountains, we can change people’s lives for the better, and we can honestly make a difference in our world. Perhaps the greatest lesson has been that the more we challenge ourselves, the more we can achieve.
We are also embarking on a new chapter in the storied history of our Rotary Foundation. We have the rare privilege of launching an entirely new grant structure we’ve come to know as Future Vision. It gives us the opportunity to challenge ourselves to do the absolute most we can, with all of our resources. Just think how much more we can do with a stronger Foundation, with stronger clubs filled with more Rotarians who are fully engaged in Rotary service.
It’s time for us to recognize that the real challenge we face isn’t just bringing new members into Rotary. It’s turning all members into true Rotarians. It’s helping members get engaged in Rotary – helping them realize the potential they have, and how their Rotary service can change lives. We need to make sure that every member is active and contributing, and making a real difference – because when you’re doing meaningful work in Rotary, Rotary is meaningful to you.
When we realize what we can achieve in Rotary – when we really engage Rotary – that’s when lives change. We change the lives of the people who need us. That is inevitable. And along the way, our lives are changed as well. That is also inevitable. That’s what our theme is all about in 2013-14: Engage Rotary, Change Lives.
It’s time to open our eyes to the potential each of us has through Rotary. Rotary lets us reach higher, do more, and be a part of something larger than ourselves. No matter how much we give to Rotary, we get more in return. And that, too, is inevitable. In 2013-14, let’s turn all of our potential into reality. It’s up to us. We can do it by engaging in Rotary service, by getting involved, by staying inspired, and by remembering every day the gift we have in Rotary. Together, we will Engage Rotary, Change Lives.