If Not Now, When 

 I had the pleasure of getting to sit in a room full of Rotarians from all different places and talk about leadership, ethics and Rotary. If you have not been to a Rotary leadership institute training yet, go!


Why did you join Rotary? Sitting in a college classroom again surrounded by strangers—like a freshman, new and excited—this was the first question we were asked. As a recent graduate from Pitt this gave me flashbacks to my first-year seminar. It was such an open-ended question that had endless possibilities. As I sat there and thought about my college experience, I realized that an unusual amount of time had passed while all eyes were on me. (because I sit in the front row) I quickly answered with what I thought to be the most obvious answer “to help people” and they moved on to the next person. Glad to have all eyes off me I refocused and listed to the surprising about of people that said they joined to grow their business but stayed for the amazing people.

What an idea, joining rotary for personal gain. I give Rotary my time, my money my ideas I couldn’t wrap my head around this answer at first, so I decided to make a list of ten things I have because of Rotary and my answer for every single one of the ten were names of people I have in my life because of Rotary.  This made me think about all the networking we really do in Rotary—not only in the members but in the speakers that come talk at our meetings and those we do events with like Drop the Anchor and Furry Fun days. And it made me realize how rotary has formed friendships of mine that I otherwise wouldn’t have made. I thought about Bob and Betty Harper and how without rotary our paths would not have crossed—how much I like them both and their stories of grandkids and life. Then I thought about all the people in rotary that have a different point of view than mine and how much I have learned from them. In fact, I am surprised about how much I have learned from our speakers both members and guests about things like history, global warming, dog training—things I thought I knew about already (like every other 24-year-old). I think of how much I know now compared to a year ago when I would swing by occasionally to have lunch with my dad. I have learned plenty from Rotary not just the speakers but by doing.  I know more about website design after being “voluntold” that I would take over Shippensburg Rotary’s website—public speaking, they asked me to give my classification talk which helped me get better at writing and giving speeches( this came in handy because later this year my sister got married and I had a maid of honor speech to give)  All these things are a huge part of who I am as a person today, parts of my identity, part of what makes me marketable as an employee, as a person. If I am being honest, I joined Rotary because that was the next step as an adult in my family. I graduated high school—had a full-time job—time to give back to my community; it turns out my community has been giving back to me. Rotary tricked me—I thought I was being a good person, helping others/being charitable—when Rotary was making me a better person, a better employee, a better student while I was having a blast. When I look at how much I have gotten from just 35 dollars a quarter I’m shocked that we don’t have 300 members when it is this much fun. Do not get me wrong, Rotary is about helping others, but it is so much more fun than you could imagine. We are trying to cure polio, by selling shots for shots. Shots, of alcohol and all the money went to eradicating polio with vaccination shots—who wouldn’t want to help such a great cause in such a fun way. Drop the Anchor is a family friendly event put on by The Shippensburg Rotary Club that costs the public nothing, that is fun and has kids activities—we don’t sell tickets, we don’t ask for donations we just put something wonderful on for the community free of charge.  I could spend all day writing about the amazing things Rotary does and it would not do this club justice. The point I am trying to make is that for as much as you give back in Rotary to the community or international—you get it back in spades, in personal growth and development—in friendships and networking—in fun and laughter. So, why will you join Rotary?