Is this Rotary’s highest profile time of year?

Over the next few weeks Regular Rots all around the world will be gearing up to undertake charitable collections; run their annual sleigh rides; deliver presents to children in less privileged parts of the community; dress up in costumes; rattle buckets at pantomimes; host and transport pensioners to various christmas lunches and some will even slip into their alter-ego that is Santa Claus.

As a result of each and every one of these amazing Rotary community projects there will be Rotary branding and Club names all around towns and cities across the world as the organisation has it’s busiest volunteering time of the year. And if there’s not, then there should be.

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Rotary Clubs around the world will be getting ready to dust of their Santa sleighs to bring a smile to faces of the children in their local communities

This really is a great opportunity to let people see that we are not just affluent, men in suits who go to lunch in the town’s best hotels – but that we are a diverse group of individuals keen to help out in the local community in what ever way brings benefit to the residents therein.

Sometimes this blog can be critical of the organisation that is Rotary International – but generally this is more about the processes, procedures and systems that are in place, along with the ‘wading through treacle’ feeling Regular Rots get in trying to take things forward. That principle is never going to change.

However, although with a falling membership, Rotary is still an amazing organisation that every single one of the 1.2 million members around the world can be proud of in terms of what it is achieving day-after-day.

The achievements being made in terms of humanitarian aid around the world; educational and literacy projects; water and sanitation as well as a desire of peace to name but a few throughout each and every community can undeniably only be commended.

These are backed up by the more local type of projects mentioned at the top of the blog with the local Regular Rots donning santa hats and christmas jumpers; singing, dancing and being general merry (are Rotarians allowed to have fun?) in order to promote the organisation they are proud to be part of.

Over the course of the next few weeks, there will be many, many thousands of pounds raised by members for great causes. Many children will receive gifts where they otherwise wouldn’t and many pensioners won’t be lonely this festive period – and all thanks to their local Rotary Clubs.

So, on this weekend that is the over-commercialised ‘Black Friday Weekend’ let’s think forward to all the great projects that will involve many Regular Rots over the next few weeks – and reflect that those bargains many were hunting for over the last 48 hours (and will continue to do so) are merely a pipe-dream for many others in your own community.

Therefore, if you’re involved with the Club in the forthcoming weeks – go out, be proud and pleased that your Rotary Club is once again making a massive difference to you local community. This may be one of the busiest times of the year for Rotarians around the world at this wonderful time of the year.

But let’s not forget the irony that for many in our communities that as we set out to open the first door on our advent calendars – this will be saddest, loneliest and most challenging next few weeks they will experience since their calendar sat on the same dates last year.

Thankfully Rotary is still trying to make a difference to these members of community – we should all be proud of this.

 

Images by Pensacola Winterfest by CC

Happy 1st Birthday RotaryBlogger

Exactly 12 months ago to this very day RotaryBlogger.co.uk pushed open the doors to the blogosphere unveiling the good, the bad and ugly of Rotary International when it released its first ever public post.

225219132_1ade3c9ea6_zIn the 365 days that have followed, this little blog is now averaging over 2,000 unique readers every month and looking on track to substantially increase that by the end of 2015. With readership from all over the world and the actual subscribers list growing day-by-day (you can do this on the right hand column of the blog) – the vast majority of additional referrals are coming through the increasing number of social media RotaryBlogger shares via Facebook and Twitter.

This weekend’s blogpost therefore reflects on some of the bigger, most popular and more controversial posts that have been released by RotaryBlogger over the last 12 months. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this little sojourn down memory lane – maybe even introducing the some posts that newer readers won’t have seen before.

The first RotaryBlogger Post

District Rotakids Conference 2014, Lancaster

District Rotakids Conference 2014, Lancaster

On this day one year ago RotaryBlogger released “Rotakids…what more proof do we need?” a blog which extolled the virtues of Clubs being associated with the amazing Rotary sub-brand that is Rotakids. The first post outlined the way in which the Rotarians of the future view their little clubs, with the amazing comment from one parent, “Its [sic] about the only thing he tells me about at school is RotaKids!!”

The post went on to highlight that the Rotakids section on the rotarygbi.org website was lacklustre and uninspiring – and certainly wouldn’t have appealed to our potential Rotakids ‘clients’ – with a clear suggestion that some testimonials from our many enthusiastic Rotakids around the islands should be easy to find and would undoubtedly enhance the page. 12 months later the Rotakids section of the website remains in exactly the same lacklustre and uninspiring format! Oh well, maybe in next year’s review…

Most read post of 2014

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Oi..! Wake up the DG is here

On 9th November RotaryBlogger posted a slightly controversial post “District Governor’s visit…who cares?” which became the most read blog of 2014 and second over-all in the last 12 months. The post focussed on the annual district leaders competition which puts them to the test to see how quickly they can grab a bite to eat at each of their clubs. The post attracted 50 comments which all agreed the principle of a District Governor visit is now an outdated practice in the world of modern technology. Some readers would have been surprised that past RotaryGBI Presidents as well as past, current and future District Governors made comments supporting this view.

Some of the current and incoming District Governors had already contacted Clubs to say they wouldn’t be making one-to-one visits to every Club in district based on the fact they had frankly ‘more important things to be doing’. And it seemed that no Clubs were outraged by the fact they weren’t receiving a DG visit…funny that eh?

Most read post of 2015

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Hearing loop – as much use as a chocolate kettle

Interestingly the most read post in the current year, and actually of the last 12 months was a blog that was titled, “I’m a Rotarian…I don’t need a mic“.

The post spoke about the problem of Rotarian speakers at events who take the unilateral decision that they don’t have to use a microphone simply because in their opinion their voice is loud enough. This without taking into account the hearing capabilities of their audience members.

The blog went on to explain how such a patronising decision on the part of the speaker makes the induction hearing loops installed in the premises entirely useless. But then we don’t really have to worry about that because after ‘Rotarian I’m-Loud-Enough’ has finished speaking we can all go and use the chocolate kettle to make our coffee in at break.

The fact this Rotary-related blog was shared far and wide on a number of ‘hearing-related’ websites as well as on social media channels would suggest this is the reason the blog takes top-slot in the RotaryBlogger Chart rundown.

Most worthwhile blog

Of course RotaryBlogger would say they have all been worthwhile in some way. However, without doubt the most useful blog and subsequent discussions as a direct result of the post centred around what became the somewhat controversial topic of the processes involved in electing the RotaryGBI President.

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If it wasn’t for those pesky kids – we’d have got away with it

If it wasn’t for those pesky kids” was a post which looked at what was appearing as a more and more undemocratic process in selecting the person who would lead the organisation in these islands. RotaryBlogger had hoped to publish interviews with the potential presidential candidates – but rules, regulations and red-tape prevented that happening until after the ballot was closed.

Where some of the candidates were keen to take part and engage with the electorate, others point-blank refused to even respond to the blog for fear of being hung-drawn-and-quartered in the car park at Alcester for breaching the non-canvassing rules associated with the ‘big job’.

The social media storm that was somewhat catalysed by the blog resulted in the author of the Blog being invited to a teleconference meeting to discuss how social media and canvassing could be accommodated in the future. This resulted in a much more positive blog being released called “Listening leads to progress” which detailed the discussions and the views of the committee who had played host to ‘RotaryBlogger’. Progress has almost certainly been achieved and they were listening – time will tell whether it was close enough.

The biggest campaign

RotaryBlogger’s strapline is “the good, the bad and the ugly of Rotary International” and there is no doubt that in some quarters the issue of Equality and Diversity is the very ugly side of the organisation.

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Could equality and diversity be Rotary’s KABOOM! moment?

RotaryBlogger.co.uk has continued to highlight the issue that is massive equality and diversity ignorance that appears to exist in some echelons of Rotary. Over the last 12 months a number of posts have been published highlighting the elephant that is the Rotary gender issue such as, “Female domination in Rotary” and “We’ve got a ‘Lady Member’ let’s celebrate“. The latter of which prompted the first Guest Blogger in Sue Wilson who picked up the topic and published her “Thanks…I can find my own table” which was a brilliant view from a ‘Lady Member’ that was reflective of how our female Regular Rots can be treated by their ‘gentlemen’ colleagues.

And more recently RotaryBlogger somewhat upset the apple cart (or should that read District) when yet another gender based blog was published. “Rotary’s ticking time bomb” attracting a high number of comments condoning what was presented and the actions of the Club highlighted in the post. Despite being given the opportunity, the District involved opted not to respond or reply to the post. Read as you will…

RotaryBlogger will continue to campaign on the issue of equality and diversity, a topic which actually goes far beyond the gender imbalance issue to which many Regular Rots think it is limited. Some Rotary clubs in these islands urgently need to drag themselves into the modern world and realise that not only is law not their side – but an increasing number of the colleagues aren’t either. Change in this regard is coming…

Here’s to the next 12 months

RotaryBlogger never set out to become an online ‘Rotary Red Top’ but more-so to challenge those in change-making positions into thinking about some of the points which are important to Regular Rots in taking the organisation into the 21st Century. And although the blog may be a bit of a thorn in the side of some – it now appears that some of the organisations key modernisers are reading the blogposts as well as listening and in some cases even contributing to the comments made on RotaryBlogger.

There have been wobbles during the last year where consideration was given to pulling the blog. However, it has been the comments from those who have been in contact privately to say how much they like what the blog is trying to achieve that has ensured the continuation of a new post being published every week.

In concluding this ‘birthday party’, RotaryBlogger would thank all the Guest Bloggers for their contributions. But more importantly would also wish to extend a massive thank you every single reader, commentator and subscriber. Without your support and encouragement there is no doubt the blog would have been laid to rest long before now.

All that remains to say is…here’s to the next 12 months.

 

Image by Lynne Hand by CC
All other images have been formally acknowledged by Image by CC in their respective blogposts