Since 1968 when Rotaract was started to supplement Rotary International, it has evolved and gone through so many changes. The face of today’s Rotary, is probably the best we have had so far. But the good news is that it even gets better!
In my journey as a Rotaractor, I have met three categories of people whom I have dared to invite to join the big happy Rotary International family, either as Rotaractors or as Rotarians. There are those that visited, got to know what we do and did not commit but will occasionally show up on a big project or event (bless their hearts); those that just decided it’s not their ‘thing’ – perhaps because all the answers to the popping question “What is in it for you” were not what they exactly wanted to hear, or perhaps because despite efforts to explain otherwise, they still hold on to the old concept of “Rotary is a cult”. And then there are those that have actually chosen to stay since, and these are my favorite people. The latter will be my focus in this piece.
The very first time I got to know about Rotaract, I also learnt that it actually meant “Rotary in action”, and that by joining, I would be part of the ‘power team’ for action, ideas, and efforts to promote the good brought to the world by members of the Rotary family. The same actions indirectly create avenues for service that will attract more youth to be part. My hopes were certainly high, and they have still not disappointed.
Every time we celebrate the goodness of the service rendered by Rotaractors around the world, one can only affirm that to talk about the future of Rotary is to magnify the beauty of Rotaract. Because, that right there, is the future of Rotary.
In the recently concluded 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto, the Immediate Past Rotary International (RI) President, Ian Risely displayed very high hopes for the future of Rotaract and I choose to agree with him. Well, I always had a similar opinion.
“We have set some ambitious goals for Rotaract, but I honestly feel the future of Rotaract looks rosy.” – Ian Risely, RI President 2017-2018.
Echoing his words, we must all agree that Rotaract just gets better every time, both in numbers, membership diversity, and quality of projects taken up by Rotaract clubs all over the world. Rotaractors currently champion massive projects that could as well be taken up by Rotary clubs, and this is the impressive bit.
What does this imply? There has been enough empowerment, inspiration and exemplary leadership. If utilized well, and coupled with the ambitious goals, efforts and great ideas from all members of Rotaract clubs, this could be the pathway to a better Rotaract and Rotary in the future. Better yet, it could pave way to a better relationship between Rotaract and Rotary providing solutions that many of us have been seeking (so help us God!).
This 2018-2019 Rotary theme, “Be an inspiration” – probably my best so far (never mind that I always thought ‘Be a gift to the world’ topped the list), calls upon all members to influence positive change both within the people around us and in the communities we live in. It is overwhelmingly beautiful to simply look at what has been accomplished by Rotaractors over the years. The activities all the year round ranging from Literacy Promotion, Health, Women/Girl-child Empowerment, Environmental Protection, and Nutrition Promotion, have changed lives, inspired more members to join, and created lasting relationships/friendships within the Rotary family.
As Rotaractors however, we ought to look within and inspire the same change we want to see in Rotaract/Rotary so that it starts with us. Rotaract has raised phenomenal ladies and gentlemen that make a very strong generation of leaders both within and outside Rotary.
The challenge to all of us is to inspire each other enough to stay, influence others to join, and make Rotaract an even a better avenue for service and lasting friendship.
As Paul Harris once said, “the story of Rotary will have to be written again and again” and in this we all have a role to play. Today, Rotaract is providing the script, and the only choice you and I have left, is to play our roles in the story well for the generations to come. Let’s all continue the good service as we BE THE INSPIRATION!
Norryn Gloria Busingye
Rotaract Club of Kigali City, Kigali, Rwanda (D9150)