An official with Rotary International spoke at this week's Portage Rotary Club luncheon. Rotary International District 5550 Governor Ken Krebs summarizes the presentation he made regarding Rotary.
"We are called to use the gifts that each of us have -- the varied gifts, because no one has the two same gifts -- to join together, use those and be a gift to the world through service in Rotary."
Krebs shares his thoughts on the local club.
"You've got a great group here. It's a fairly large club, as Rotary clubs go. It's a reasonably well-balanced club. You do have younger members. They're very enthusiastic, they're community-minded, and they're one of the clubs that never ceases to amaze me with wonderful things that they're doing for their community."
He notes some interesting efforts being made globally. "The polio campaign started back in 1985 when Rotary was a little bit innocent about how you go about eradicating a disease, and thought it could be done in a matter of a few years. We started in the Philippines. A couple of years into the project it was realized that we needed help. So, we teamed with the World Health Organization and UNSECO, and got different international governments online. We have been working hard at getting those two drops on the tongue of every child in the world ever since, to eradicate the disease. We're very close because the wild polio virus hasn't been seen now in a month. Occasionally a case will pop up that's derived from the vaccine. The oral vaccine is a live virus, just weakened. It lives in the gut of the child receiving it, multiplies, and it does change genetically slightly. Polio is spread by feces. So when this child goes to the bathroom, and if there's not good sanitation around, another child who has not been immunized may contact that, and contract a form of polio -- not as devastating as the full wild polio virus, but they can catch it. So, to eliminate that, we're now going to the injected vaccine which is made from the dead virus. That way it cannot mutate in the gut. It just causes the body to form the proper antibodies to fend off polio. And that will hopefully stop the cycle within the three years that we're projecting."
Krebs says the club's seeking to appeal to a younger generation. "Like many other service clubs, we're facing changing times, and we're working very hard at making our meetings more acceptable to the younger generation who, compared to some of us we think are impatient, really want to get on with life. They want to do their fellowships, and to do some business networking, but, like most people, they want also to give back to the community. So, we are trying to shift our meeting styles and our membership styles to suit the newer lifestyle of today's young professionals."
He adds there's exciting news in China. "China has sort of opened the thin edge of the wedge, in that they're allowing Rotary clubs to be formed in China now. There are limitations on who can be a Rotarian, but we're growing rapidly, and I was advised yesterday that we now have ten active clubs in China."