In Rotary we often hear about the 1.2 million members in 35,000 clubs across the world, but did you know there also is 134,000 Rotaract members in 8000 clubs across the world?
Rotaract clubs are an incredibly important part of the Rotary family. As their international branding says clearly they are “partners in service” with Rotarians across the world.
Often we mistakenly refer Rotaractors as future leaders or future Rotarians ….. I would like to make a moment to reflect on this innocent mistake.
I would put to you Rotaractors are today’s leaders ….. their service to the world community is valuable today, their views ae critical that they are heard, their leadership of their peers moves the world to a more peaceful model in a way that older people could never achieve.
Our immediate past president has accomplished great things in her time with rotary and outside of rotary because she is driven to help others, who have experienced what she has and to help carry them through. She has not only raised money and spread awareness, she has given a voice to so many young people who have to live with the effects of the abuse they suffered. She didn’t just set a moral standard for this club, she lived it and pushed others to live it as well. There is a reason so many Rotarians and Rotaractors admire her and want to see her do well. It takes courage to stand up to the people we disagree with but even more, courage to stand up to our friends. Ashlee does both exceedingly well. When we are challenged for saying or doing something that we don’t realise is wrong we have two options. We could either feel guilt or empathy. Guilt and anger are merely defensive mechanisms used by our ego, Empathy is the stronger emotion because it asks us to remove ourselves and stop asking what we meant, and ask instead how we make others feel. It is a hard lesson to learn and an even harder one to teach, but it’s what makes Ashlee unique as a leader because she challenges us to move beyond our ego and serve others before ourselves. Before I can begin to talk about the year ahead of us, I would like Thank Ashlee Evans for leading us this year.
Fortunately for us all, this year there will be no tea puns in the presidential speech.
I would just like to say how indescribably proud I am to have been the president of this club, a club that has changed the template of Rotaract meetings and achieved so much in the past 3 years.
This year, I spent most of my time in and out of psychiatric care, but the one thing that always went smoothly was how this club continued to run without me and that would not have been so if it weren’t for our secretary, webmaster, and glue that keeps us all together. Damien Walker is the heart and soul of Salisbury City Rotaract and I’d like for everyone to give him a round of applause for his efforts and devotion to the Rotary cause.