Meeting Date: 17 January, 2014

Prepared By: Dick Strayer, Charter President


Buddy Club Program


When the Rotary E-Club of One World was chartered in June 2012, it became obvious that an E-club has many advantages over the traditional Rotary club including cost, flexibility, diversity, et al.  It was also obvious that an E-club does have one significant challenge—Fellowship, especially an E-club that is dedicated to being an international club.  One World Rotary club’s motto and mission includes the fellowship and is, in fact, the Fourth object of Rotary. With members from about 20 different countries and six continents, this was a challenge we had to meet.
Many methods to promote fellowship were attempted. Meetings by mass email were a disaster. Worldwide teleconference meetings were better but lacking. Video conferencing meetings by several different methods Globalpreneuer, GoToMeeting, webinars, were somewhat more successful yet not satisfactory. One of the major problems is, with members from so many different time zones, to arrange a convenient time that did not conflict with work, school or family. Additionally, internet reception, different bandwidths and servers varies significantly, some members do not have cameras and use of earphones is marginal.

That is why the idea Buddy Club (BC) was conceived and developed. Initially, it was anticipated that the member would attend a local club perhaps once a quarter. BC has expanded far beyond the original concept and encompasses most of the requirements expected of a Rotarian.

The majority of One World Rotary members are former Rotarians that transferred to the E-club.  These members have no problem in establishing a BC and frequently contribute more to their former club, outside of meetings, than before. It is more difficult with members new to Rotary because they have no Rotary experience or contacts. They are frequently uncomfortable with walking into a Rotary club meeting, all of them as strangers. To assist in this effort, a mentoring program is being implemented to assist the establishment of a BC for new members. A letter from the President of One World Rotary to the President of the BC is quite useful.One World Rotary had a booth at the Lisbon International convention. The one item that was the most attractive was the Buddy Club concept. Many Rotarians realized that they could continue in Rotary and still maintain a relationship with their former club. Probably the most interested were E-clubs that were in the process of being formed. 

Activities in BC cover almost every area of Rotary. Many hold positions in their BC, some with positions at the District as well as the International level.  Following are some examples.

International Service.  International service in an E-club is rather unique as the E-club may have a member living at the site of an international project.  One project in process, One World Rotary is the sponsoring club providing 550 wheel chairs to Guyana.  A OWR member living in Guyana, is the primary contact with the host club which happens to also be the member’s BC.

Wheelchair Project Chapter 1: 1:21 min


Community Service.  In an International club, the community is the world,  Therefore community service is International service.  Most, if not all, members are involved in local community service even if it is not a Rotary Function.  The BC offers the member to participate in the Community service projects of their BC.  One member who lives part time in Canada as well as Mexico has two buddy clubs.  This is one of many examples and involved the BC of Vallarta Sur Rotary Club along with Rotary Clubs of El Tuito, and Anchorage Alaska to deliver and assist in how to use water treatment buckets:International Fellowship.  To promote international fellowship, One World Rotary tries to schedule fellowship trips.  Such a trip was made to an international project in Tampico Mexico with three BC members as part of the team.  The team is in the left photo where the right photo is the team with the host club 


Fund Raising.  A fund raising event is quite difficult for an International E-club.  Not only in about 20 countries but also in just one country.  In the USA, One World Rotary has members  from the East Coast (New York) to the West coast (California), from the Northern border (Washington) to the Southern border (Texas) and States in between (South Dakota).  Many members assist their BC in fund raisers as the one shown below that involved three One World Rotary members:

Pooch parade: 4:00 min


The BC, in turn, assists One World Rotary in financing One World Projects. Three BCs provided most of the funds for a $36,000 project in Guyana.

Youth Program.  Members participate in many youth activities of their BC.  One is the chair of their BC’s Interact.  Another OWR member’s son is an exchange student sponsored by two BCs of other One World Rotary members.  
Two members of One World Rotary participated in a 15 hour program similar to RYLA named YES (Youth Empowerment Summit) at the local Camp Rotary as shown here:

YES! Promo 2014: 2:08 min:


Membership.  A major, unexpected benefit of the BC was increased membership, not just the E-club but also the traditional club, the District as well as Rotary International. A very rough estimate is that 40% of Rotarians resign for two reasons: Cost and inability to attend meetings--both are mitigated in an E-club. These members can transfer to the E-club and adopt their former club as their BC. The member can still attend social functions and participate in their BC’s activities as desired. When the member’s circumstances change, they can transfer back to their former club.  Several One World Rotary members have done just that. 

Once a member resigns entirely from Rotary, the probability of their return is very low. The BC concept to retain members in Rotary can have a significant impact on worldwide Rotary membership which could be dramatic.
The Buddy Club Concept has been the primary or only reason that a new member has selected the E-club of One World Rotary as their club.

Rotary Education.  It is difficult to provide Rotary training for members from all around the globe. One World Rotary is working to establish electronic training which should be beneficial. A Buddy Club or its District can provide direct, live educational programs which has benefits beyond written and video educational training techniques.

Public Relations.  A One World Rotary member will help inform their BC of the benefits of an E-club. At the same time, the member through announcements or perhaps a club program can help promote the BC’s fund raisers and projects on a global basis. For example, see the May 17th 2013 program, Cajun & Blues Music Festival.

The Buddy Club has many benefits beyond the original intent of providing Fellowship. This in turn has enhance the experience of being a member of an E-club. This is a new concept created by One World Rotary, new to Rotary, and still evolving. Please give us any feedback on the usefulness, viability and suggestions for improvements.


Addendum:  There are literally hundreds of examples and praises of Buddy Clubs, a couple are:

New Member from Australia:  I have cleared the way for my transfer from the RC of Ashmore tonight and the President will send the letter of good standing, via email shortly.  His reaction to my decision was most gratifying and will allow me to continue my association with his club in your ' Buddy Club' system.

My buddy club:  I was able to attend their first meeting at their new location at Wood Ranch Golf Club. I have been on several socials with the club this year, Super Bowl, Pizza night, Group hike. I still put together the newsletter for them once a month. I am on the Gator run committee, one of their fundraisers. I also participated in another Fund raiser, the Pooch Parade.
(The member is also the Chair for the District Conference.)

Buddy Club Benefit Concert.  I performed a Benefit concert for my Buddy Club.  The buddy club is in Anapa, Russia. One World Rotary member, on left, is a classical pianist who performed with his father who is an artist and also a Rotarian.


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