Posted by Pete Leenhouts on Jul 22, 2018
Rotarians recognize the importance of our governing principles, which have been developed over the years to provide us with a strong, common purpose and direction. They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world.  

The Object of Rotary is the first of those principles, and the one we are considering over the next weeks.

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise. This week, we pause to consider the third element of that Object: to encourage and foster the application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life.

Service is at the heart of being a Rotarian. It’s not enough for Rotarians to attend weekly meetings, though that is indeed important. Rotarians seek to take action to serve others in their personal, business and community life. How is this be accomplished?

Serving others at the personal level involves being attentive to other people - interacting and listening to them, supporting them as needed, lending a hand if necessary. This is really the core of the first part of the object of Rotary - the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service, and of course, underscores the importance of attending Rotary meetings on a regular basis - either in person or online.

Serving others at the business level reflects the standards we considered a week ago when addressing the second element of the Object of Rotary - namely, high ethical standards, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each occupation. The relationship an ethical business has with its customers is at the center of importance.

Serving others at the community level, the focus of our topic today, can involve a wide range of Rotarian activities. Rotarians, alumni and friends can:

- Join a Rotarian Action Group, and support service projects around the world. These independent groups include Rotarians, family members, Rotary program participants and alumni who have expertise in a particular field. Members advise clubs and districts and collaborate with them on service projects. We’ve been listing RAGs over the past six months on our Facebook pages - there are over fifteen of them to consider.  Learn more at rotary.org/actiongroups.

- Join or form a Rotary Fellowship that’s related to your vocation. Rotary Fellowships are international groups of Rotarians, family members, and program participants and alumni who share a vocational or recreational interest. Many fellowships are related to professions, such as Editors and Publishers, Health Professionals, Lawyers, Photographers, and Police and Law Enforcement.  See more at rotary.org/fellowships.

- Volunteer to work on a service project, and use your vocational skills to serve others. Think about the skills that make you successful in your business or profession: perhaps you have training in some branch of science or medicine, are handy with tools or machinery, know how to start a business, have expertise managing finances, or can influence others through public speaking or writing. Use your unique set of talents to make a difference in your community. Share your expertise through your district resource network. If you have technical expertise in one of Rotary’s six areas of focus — or with project planning and implementation; community assessment, measurement, and evaluation; or other important aspects of large-scale project grants — let your district international service chair know. Lend your skills to local clubs, and help develop projects with greater impact.

- Participate in a vocation-related Rotary Friendship Exchange. Work with your district Rotary Friendship Exchange chair to organize an international, reciprocal exchange between two districts interested in exploring a professional field in a new cultural context. Involve young professionals, and organize activities allowing exchange participants to experience cultural immersion while exploring their field in a new environment.

- Take action to participate in any one of a number of Rotary programs - for example, the global eradication of polio; a Rotary Community Corps; Rotary Peace Fellowships; Rotary youth programs such as Interact at the high school level or the Rotary student foreign exchange program, and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards; Service exchanges, or Vocational Training Teams - to name just a few!    

The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life dates back over a century to the first year of Rotary’s existence, when new Rotarian Don Carter drafted what would become known as the third element in the Object of Rotary. Rotarians adopted the change to the organization’s constitution with alacrity, and by their actions made Rotary’s slogan - Service Above Self - a reality in communities all across the United States, and then, around the world. Today, Rotary has evolved into a global organization that partners in multi-million dollar projects with such organizations as the World Health Organization in our effort to eradicate polio. Yet, the true heart of Rotary’s service to our communities are the smaller projects of direct benefit to those communities - such as the Jefferson Teen Center support, the Rotary Pavilion in H.J. Carroll County Park, and the Chimacum Elementary School playground, to name but a few of our local projects. Rotarians are focused on taking action to provide service above self, not only in our personal and business lives, but in our local and global communities as well.       

RGP-S16

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