This June, Atlanta will welcome the world for the International Rotary Convention. What a blessing to have this incredible gathering of people committed to service so nearby! I’ve heard how inspiring these events are, and this one—the centennial celebration—is poised to be exceptionally so.
If you’re unsure about attending, I strongly encourage you to make the commitment. I’m confident you won’t regret it! It will not only provide a chance to make new friends from faraway places, but will no doubt increase your enthusiasm for and commitment to Rotary service. And don’t forget that our District Governor, Dave Raese, will be traveling with fellow Rotarians to Atlanta via train from Washington, DC. He’s extended an invitation to all area Rotarians to join them, as they plan to arrange transportation from Morgantown to the DC station.
Why attend the Rotary International Convention? Here’s one testimonial posted on a Rotary blog following the 2015 Sao Paulo gathering:
Why I never miss a Rotary convention
By Phyllis Jane Nusz, past governor of District 5220 (California, USA)
In 1997, as an incoming club president, I was sent to Glasgow, Scotland, for my first International Convention. I have never stopped going since.
Why? It was amazing to see people for the first time from all over the world, the different languages, dress, and food. But we all had the same dedication to Rotary. I ran into so many people I never knew before but today are still my friends, and I share Christmas cards with them, take part in club projects with them, join together for family activities, and so much more.
Rotary conventions have helped me see the world: England, Australia, Singapore, Argentina, Canada, Portugal, Denmark. It’s not just about hearing the inspiring speakers at big sessions, but also experiencing the House of Friendship, and it truly is that. More than 75 Rotary Fellowships have booths where you can learn more about joining, and connecting with other Rotary members who share your interest. There are fellowships for music, quilting, yachting, chess, wine appreciation, stamp collecting, and more. I now belong to five and serve on the board for two. Plus I have sung in the World Choir for 17 years for the Convention Ecumenical Service.
The convention is the biggest annual family reunion in the world. It is something that should be experienced at least once by every Rotarian, and something some of us wouldn’t miss any year. Come join the fun.
While you ponder and perhaps dream of the Convention, remember that January is National Mentoring Month. Mentorship is important in all aspects of our lives: personal, academic, professional—and even service. I’m grateful to those in Rotary who have patiently worked to mentor me—people like Rick Phalunas, a driving force behind our E-Club—and the instructors at our Rotary academies and conferences.
Remember that no matter how old we are, we can benefit from learning from others’ experience and wisdom, and no matter how young we are, we can offer a helping hand and open heart to someone else. In honor of all mentors—formal and unknowing—I leave you with a 2013 Ted Talk from Michael Benko, co-founder of the Student Success Academy, who talks about mentoring’s critical importance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyKdKY2HPU
, and Lori Hunt, a community college director of multicultural services, who shares her own story of its power: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Atme26C0l5E