A Look back and a Future Vision

 

This first year of our E-Club has been truly interesting, unique, hectic, frustrating and very rewarding.

Unique. An E-Club has the same requirements as a traditional, land-based Rotary club. However, that is just not possible, at least not in the same form. This was made abundantly clear early when the District asked for a Community Needs Assessment report. Having members in 15 countries and 5 continents, what is our community? The World? We are to assess the needs of the World!?! The District required mandatory physical meetings of some of our board positions when these members did not live in the USA or even on the same continent! And that is the way the year went. For most situations we had to be creative in how we approached each accomplishment.

Opposition. There was some animosity towards the E-Club by some Rotary District members and clubs. There were expressions of fear that the E-Club would attract (steal) members from the Traditional clubs. That just did not happen—we had six current members of clubs join as their only other alternative was to drop out of Rotary due to inability to make meetings times. Two of those have since gone back to their former clubs and we expect that. Members might all return to their former clubs. And that is why e-clubs are complimentary to the traditional clubs—not competitive.

Challenging. The biggest challenge of the year was the rapid growth in membership. We started with 18 charter members and four that joined just before July 1. There were over 70 applications with most of them being outside of our District and from around the world. Each one had to be examined for membership. This included long distance discussions and in many cases, education as to what Rotary is, does and requires. Very time consuming. The pace of growth has slowed. Membership in an E-Club will be volatile, in fact, that is one of the primary functions of an E-Club—to provide a Rotary place for those that cannot attend a traditional club until the Rotarian is able to return to his former club.

Rewarding. The most enjoyable and time-consuming aspect of this past year is also membership. Meeting and getting to know people from all over the world was fascinating, educational and enjoyable. Most of the members came with a passion in their heart to help humanity and pursuit of World peace. Our members come from all walks of life, different religions, and different political persuasions. They ranged from 18 to 80 years old, new to Rotary to Past District Governors and beyond. It was enjoyable meeting all, even those that could not stay with the club.

 

 

RESULTS

One World Rotary had an excellent year especially considering this was the first year, the concept was new and challenging, difficulties in communications and being a burden on the District that did not really know what to do with this new creature. In some areas the club excelled over traditional clubs and in other ways we were significantly deficient.

Membership. Increase in membership was mind-boggling. This cannot be compared to a traditional club. An E-Club has significant advantages over a traditional club, primarily, lower costs, much, much easier to attend and an unlimited, worldwide area from which to obtain new members. In fact, cooperation between the E-Club and traditional clubs will result in increased membership and retention in the long run for all.

International Projects. In this area the E-Club has some unique advantages. One interesting example, is the shipment of 550 wheelchairs to Guyana. This is a One World Rotary project where the primary contact from our club actually lives in the host country. This provided direct contact with every Rotary club in the Country and one of the best ever coordinated project. Another unique example was the building, support and trauma treatment for abused women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The primary person is a member who lives in the Congo supported by two members who travelled there from Sweden and one from the USA. Listed elsewhere, numerous other projects were done or cosponsored with our sponsoring club, Simi Sunrise and my Buddy Club, Moorpark Noon.

Foundation. Although our foundation giving was not significant, there were 8 PHF's granted this first year. There are over 40 PHF represented in our club by members and family. Some of our members in poorer countries cannot be expected to meet the financial goals in the US.

 

 

RECOGNITION

So many people have contributed so much to make this a very successful year and a successful club.

Creating the club was significantly facilitated by Sherrie Wight, a charter member and Charter Secretary. Sherrie not only did a magnificent, excellent job as Secretary, she also helped in many areas such as membership, created our club banner, prepared programs (8) and many other things. Even after she resigned to join a traditional club, she continued to support our club. She is an honorary member of the club. Sherrie's husband Dave also made significant contributions to the club and was the Charter Treasurer.
The other absolutely crucial to the creation of the club was Wendy Campanella. Although Wendy was not a webmaster, she did a great deal of study and work to create our web site. She continually makes improvements. More about Wendy later.

Programs. Programs are very crucial to an E-Club. Besides the three primarily in charge of programs, Sherrie, Wendy and George; several other have contributed. Thanks to Claude, Ulf, Peggy, Gunilla, Tom, Lisa G., Robin, Amanda, Vicki, Marc, Richard R., Lori, Nik, Dawn, Jay, Joe, Bob, Mike and Susan W. Twenty-three people contributing is very impressive. Thank you!

Individual Contributions. Most members contributed in some way. I feel obligated to recognize them even though I know I will miss some and I apologize. Contributing a program is sufficient in its own right so this list is of other activities. Amanda—wheelchair project, Donna—DG visit and others, Amani, Ulf, Vicki and Gunilla—Congo Abused Women project, Michel—Interact for traditional club, John—program conversion to French, Richard R—weekly announcements and Facebook, Marc—RFM every week and special advisor, Julie for shipping membership items, Cindy—video conference and others, Richard S—teleconferencing, Lori—shirts, Community Service, Fellowship etc., Alisha—obtaining booth for Lisbon, Susan W. for posters/booth, Bob—club shirt, Saeed—publicity, Nik—music and book, Marty—support/Eclub info, Sue C—support/enthusiasm, Sunita—Silver Jubilee for women AND Vic for all those magnificent Newsletters. Thank you, thank you!

Members. Those that brought in a new member received 100 PHF credits for each New member. Receiving PHF Credits are Wendy, Dawn, Mike, Richard S., Richard R., Cindy, Vicki and Jay. Thank you.

Wade. Wade was our chartering District Governor. He was instrumental in obtaining the Charter and continually supported the club in far too many ways to mention here, right up to on-site operation of our Booth at the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon. He earned and deserves to be an Honorary Member. Thank you Wade.

Nonmembers. We are grateful for the help and support that we received from our Sponsoring club and President Ernie Gilbert.

 

SPECIAL RECOGNITION

The Paul Harris Fellowship is named for Paul Harris, who founded Rotary with three business associates in Chicago in 1905. The Fellowship was established in his honor in 1957 to express appreciation for a contribution of $1,000 to the humanitarian and educational programs of The Rotary Foundation. Those programs include an array of projects that save and invigorate the lives of people around the world and enhance international friendship and understanding. Foundation programs provide educational opportunities, food, potable water, health care, immunizations, and shelter for millions of persons.

Rotarians are given a Paul Harris Fellow to those whose life and contributions demonstrate a shared purpose with the objectives and mission of The Rotary Foundation to build world understanding and peace.

One of the awardees, created our website, continually improved and maintained the Website. With a background in Internet marketing was able to obtain recognition and to attract, not only make-ups that contributed to the club's revenues but also brought in the most new members. This member also created at least eight programs and assisted many others with their programs.

Even though the second member was with the club less than 10 months, he immediately was involved as a webmaster and added improvements. Also managed programs and created at least eight programs and very eager to assist others.

Both of these individuals devoted significant contributions to our club every week.

It gives me great pleasure to present to each of you on behalf of the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation, these two emblems of a Paul Harris Fellow: the certificate and a lapel pin. Please accept congratulations and sincere appreciation for your commitment to our goals of world understanding and peace. Please congratulate and recognize our newest Paul Harris Fellows.

They are true Rotarians.

Wendy Campanella George Firican
 

 

A brief look at the future

After a great first year, there is plenty of work to do. Very Briefly:

  1. Programs will remain the critical area. The response this year was overwhelming. Every member should get involved. It is not difficult and many people will help.
  2. The Buddy Club has shown significant benefits. All members should get involved with a Buddy Club and collectively, improvements and refinements can be made.
  3. Education of new members needs to be vastly improved. There appears to be three steps involved.
    1. A mentorship program should be considered.
    2. Work with the District to develop new, advanced techniques of education.
    3. The Buddy club can be a key to increasing the education.
  4. Fellowship is an inherent deficiency of an E-Club--three possible keys.
    1. Try to create a single event that will attract virtually 100% of the members to meet physically.
    2. Each member can sponsor at least one new member in their physical location—I call it a pod. This will provide the opportunity to meet and work with another member.
    3. Again, the Buddy Club system was created to provide fellowship with other Rotarians.
  5. Membership will always be a challenge and must continually be pursued.
  6. Education and Rapport with the District, club and individual level about eclubs must be established. The E-Club is not understood by most. The E-Club has the potential to be very beneficial to other Rotary clubs, to the District and to Rotary. Rotary International understands the benefits as they have just approved unlimited Eclubs.

If an E-Club fails, the members will be the least harmed--they can join eclubs anywhere in the world. If an E-Club fails, the District and the individual clubs will be hurt the most.

The Best E-Club in the world will be the Eclub with the Best District support.

 
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