Claremore Rotary: So? Is IT FUN?

centennialRotary District Governor Larry Long’s Visit To Reveille Club Raises Important Question About Service

Reveille Rotarians were on their feet Thursday, as 6110 District Governor Larry Long asked them to reimagine, rethink and reinvigorate Rotary.  If this sounds like just another club report, then you better stop for a minute and hear me out.  Because this wasn’t just another (may I say) boring District Governor’s stump speech. 

Long, who is on a tour of the 79 clubs in District 6110, said he was in Grove Wednesday and he “shook things up” – intentionally. He continued shaking things up at Reveille Thursday morning with his hand-raising version of the Four-Way Test. 

Reciting the traditional mantra “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”, Long raised his right arm, then his left arm and then both arms and asked the question, “IS … IT … FUN?”

“Now do it with me?” he instructed.  

And, we did.  Not just once, not just twice, but three times before the morning breakfast meeting was over.  How’s that for waking you up and getting your attention?  

Long began by sharing a poignant story about his personal friend, “Nellie.” Nellie’s from Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Long met Nellie in high school at Ponca City.  She traveled to the United States to learn English. Coming to America was more than just a dream; it was her only hope to change the course of her life and that of her family.  Nellie did not speak English when she arrived in Oklahoma. But, a year later she returned to her home country fluent in English and ready to serve others.  Her experience in Ponca City transformed her life.  She became a successful educator and a game changer for family, community and even for people in other countries.  Now a clinical psychologist, Nellie recently led a trauma treatment team for people suffering from the devastating impact of a tsunami. 

“Why do you think she has been able to do all these things?” Long asked.  It was because of Rotary.  Rotary paid for her to come to the United States.

Nellie’s life is an example of what makes Rotary unique.  Rotary not only impacts local communities, but in so doing it also reaches around the globe to bring about world changing events that impact for good the human condition, one person at a time.  

So why is membership down in Rotary Clubs and so many other civic and service organizations around the United States?  Last year membership was down more than 700 in 6110 alone.  Yet, surprisingly, around the world membership trends are up and rising.  

Reveille Rotary is one of those clubs that has been barely holding its own, losing one or two each year for the last five years.  The noon club has had some of the same challenges.  It seems we are doing all the right things. We are participating in and completing meaningful and relevant service projects. We are following the rules. Paying our dues. Giving. Serving. 

Governor Long thinks the answer can be found in the question he posed, “Is it fun?”

Perhaps we’ve been doing so many good things in life out of routine. It’s really not so much fun anymore but we still get up in the morning, look ourselves in the mirror without even seeing our own faces.  We get in our cars and drive to work without even seeing the roads we travel.  We talk to people in person and on our phones and by emails throughout each day, yet never really connect. We get up once a week and attend a club meeting, volunteer our time, give our money. But we do it without passion. We have forgotten why we do it. We don’t ask others to share in the FUN of serving others. We need to reignite our understanding of why Rotary in the first place.

Bottom line: Rotary is more than a social or civic club. As founder Paul Harris defined Rotary’s vision, it is a means to “harness the great power of friendship to help do the world’s work.”  I believe the current membership of Reveille Rotary understand this.  We are engaged.  We are committed to making Claremore and Rogers County a healthier, safer, more fun place to live, work and play.  We understand that to grow the impact of what we do we must make new and more friends.  So, we are inviting you to join us and share in the fun. 

We are committed to the “Nellies” across the sea, as well as those next door. We feed Rogers County children who are hungry.  We clothe children who need shoes.  We make sure children who have no reason to celebrate Christmas have a reason and can.  We help others who help others.  We train leaders for the next generation. And, we are more.  Through membership in Reveille Rotary, our reach is international. We do our part to end polio around the world for good.  We volunteer so people in places we will never visit have needed medical supplies. We know we are blessed. We are committed to “Be a Gift to the World.”  We Dance With the Stars.  We do Boots ‘n BBQ.  And, we have fun. 

Are you passionate about serving others?  Do you want to have fun doing it?  Visit next Thursday’s Rotary breakfast meeting at the LaQuinta Inn Community Room, 6:45 a.m.  Call 918-557-2200 to RSVP.

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