When most Rotarians think about the “new generation” they picture children – in our case, the Interact Clubs (The Rotary International Programme for high school aged children). I have come to realise, however, that for many of us the next generation is much older than 16-18.
For me, the next generation has already reached the “ripe old age” of 30+ and is looking for a place to call “home” in their society and culture. They are the doctors, lawyers, teachers and business people we see every day. They report the news on television, radio and in the newspaper. They teach in schools and they manage our town council offices. We forget, however, that they are the age of our own children. Why? Because we see them at work and not at home, in the garden, at the dinner table or in front of the television. Those young adults at home are “the kids.” That young adult in their office is “the grown up.”
One major focus of Rotary International for 2007-8 is membership recruitment – more bodies, more hands, more ideas and (face it) more money to do more projects! When most of us think about prospective members we think about our colleagues – the 50 to 60+ year olds with whom we have business connections or long-lasting friendships. What we tend to overlook is that “youngster” with whom we trust our money at the bank, our investments at the stockmarket and our health at the doctor’s offices.
So what can we do? Begin with a clean piece of paper and your favourite pen. (Mine is a Cross Pen given to me 20 years ago by my daughter who is now over 30 years of age.)
Make a list of your contacts this week:
Your business partner
Now, look for the person “in the wings” looking to take their place. Find that up and coming “youngster” with the drive and energy to fill the spot left when your lawyer, doctor, accountant, banker, etc. is ready to retire. Look at home (or wherever your children now live) and ask yourself if those “youngsters” you raised are ready for the big step up.
This may be hard to fathom, but you need to realise that those “kids” you overhear talking about “the old man” or “the old woman” as they look your way are not looking over your shoulder. We do not always need to look down the street for new Rotarians. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes and look around ourselves.
This week I proposed a new member to our Rotary Club. She manages an office for a multi-national organisation with an office here in Luanshya. She is the age of my children and is highly regarded by both her supervisors and employees. I almost overlooked her because she looks so young… then I remembered that I am looking much older these days.
The “New Generation” for Rotary is the “Now Generation.”
“Rotary Shares” so Share Rotary,