On 7 September, we held a “Success Seminar” in Zone 32 with a twist: a post-lunch panel of four Millennial Rotary program alumni talking about their challenges to joining Rotary. The four panelists were a current and a past Rotaract President and two former exchange students.
Some of the comments we have heard time and time again but some were revelations.
- Carrie, a former exchange student, commented that she had been embraced by the family of Rotary, had been asked to be a Rotary Exchange (ROTEX?) member and help with exchange orientations, but had never been asked to attend a Rotary meeting.
- Beth, a 21 year old member of a Rotary e-club, said that we need to engage and empower younger members in meaningful ways. Millennials do not just want to participate in Rotary projects; they want to help lead them too.
- Kristina, a Rotaract club president, further elaborated on this topic by pointing out that there are leadership-building commonalities between Rotary, Rotaract and Interact programs but that newer generations aren’t asked to lead. Don’t assume they just want to be another committee member.
- Enrico, a former exchange student from Italy and past President of the Rotaract club of Yale, opened our eyes when he talked about the passive invitations to meetings and events he has received from some Rotarians.
- Enrico also commented that sometimes when he attends a meeting he is afraid to start a conversation because he doesn’t know what to talk about.