I feel Rotaract, as a leadership development program, is an excellent way to recruit Rotarians.
But often we get a lot of flak because for the most part Rotaractors do not take the next step and join a Rotary club once we ‘graduate’ from the Rotaract program.. This I believe is a failure on the part both Rotaracts and their sponsoring Rotary clubs. Each fails to create a bridge to make that step possible. More often than not, it feels more like a giant leap. Let me elaborate.
Too often Rotaract clubs operate with almost complete independence from their sponsoring Rotary club. This is a great opportunity. We should be working towards creating a shared culture, a sense of a shared identity. Both Rotaractors and Rotarians need to be open, collaborate in service activities; be it community service, international, or club service. We need to share experiences in our Rotary life. In the end we are part of one
family, and not Rotaractors on one side and Rotarians on the other. I am happy to count many Rotarians as friends, and I’m able to have a few laughs with them over a glass of beer or wine, regardless of their age or background. We are bound together by the vision set forth by so many Rotarians that came before us: fellowship and service.
Regarding the differences in our meeting formats, I believe we’ll end up somewhere in between the formal meetings and the eClub model: less frequent meetings, but more support and communication through technology and social networks. For example my current Rotaract club meets only once every two weeks – at a bar. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and there are few formalities. Between each meeting though, we communicate extensively and frequently through Facebook, text messages and so on..
I think that we as a younger generation tend to focus a lot more on seeing quick results. We’ve been spoiled by modern technologies’ instant gratification. So make sure:
(i) You *show* us the impact of the things you do, rather than just tell
(ii) Get us involved as quickly as possible and
(iii) Try and get us involved in things that will help us connect to our community and other people.
For all the technology we use, we are still very much human, and we crave to connect with others and to help change the world for the better. No amount of high-definition screens can substitute real human contact and connections. Rotary is well-positioned and capable of doing this and more.
Guillermo Galdamez, is currently a Master of Library and Information Studies Candidate – Specializing in Knowledge Management at McGill University Montreal, Quebec. He is the Past President, Rotaract Club of San Salvador – Cuscatlan and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng), Management Information Systems from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.