It is that time of the year when the incoming presidents and secretaries learn from veteran Rotary leaders the nuances of leading their clubs in the coming Rotary year. The presence of RIPE John F Germ and RI Director Manoj Desai added flavour and a uniqueness to the two-day MD-PETS and SETS of Districts 3051, 3052 and 3060 organised at Ahmedabad. “It feels so good to be on my home ground,” said Desai, recommending to us the fafda-kadhi combo, and hot jalebis at breakfast.
“To be trained by our own leader, RI President (elect) John Germ is a rare occasion. It gives us lot of inspiration and prepares us for the next year,” said Rakesh Bhargava, an incoming club president.
You will not be measured by what you do as an individual, but by the relationship you have with your club.
– RIPE John Germ
The orientation seminar was chaired by Desai, with assistance from Counsellor Ashok Gupta and Coordinator Ashish Desai. Hosted by RCs Kankaria (3051), Jalore (3052) and Bulasar (3060), it brought together around 400 participants comprising next year’s presidents and secretaries, in the presence of their DGs.
Flexibility — the buzz word
Flexibility in Rotary was the underlying message conveyed by RIPE Germ repeatedly at the workshop. Addressing his ‘All Stars team,’ he asked, “Who says we have to meet at a certain time every week, or have a meal every time we meet?” For him, a Rotarian’s attendance meant his wholesome “participation in his club project.” He urged the incoming club officers to embrace change and take up challenges that improve people’s lives. He asked them to engage in the global eradication of polio, increase membership and encourage corporate partnerships. Desai summarises this simply as “PMP.”
Pepping up the incoming presidents, Germ said, “Your job is to make things happen and get your team more involved in Rotary. You will not be measured by what you do as an individual, but by the relationship you have with your club. The Presidential Citation is not for you, but for your club.”
Desai, describing his address a “deeksha given by a guru to his disciples,” summed up the working of the Strategic Planning, KPI and Presidential Citation. He urged the clubs to sign up with Rotary Club Central and Rotary Showcase to publicise their activities to the world. “Gone are the days when we served humanity silently. Now we have to tell the world what we do, only then more people will be encouraged to join Rotary. Blow your own trumpet. We want more helping hands,” he said.
The breakout sessions for each District were handled by the Districts’ senior Rotarians. Germ and Desai visited each of these classrooms and answered the queries from the presidents and secretaries. “This face-to-face with the RIPE is a unique concept,” said Desai.
One Rotarian asked why the RI dues and the registration fees for programmes such as PETS were so high. “You add a lot more to your club meetings, so your club dues are high,” said Germ. Referring to the “fancy gifts” packed in the kit, Germ said, “I see this only in this part of the world. It is unique. I like it. Don’t give it up.” The two leaders were however floored when a woman president suggested concessional dues for women Rotarians.
Another president wanted to know how to establish a partnership with corporate offices. “Identify a person in the company and make him a Rotarian. He will see for himself what Rotary does,” said Germ. Desai advised the Rotarians to invite the CEOs for a meet and tell them what Rotary does.
You have tremendous opportunities to perform in TEACH. Look around you and make Happy Schools for children.
– RID Manoj Desai
Other questions related to Rotary Global Rewards and simplification of Global Grant procedure. Lessons on planning for the year, recruiting new members and the national flagship projects — Literacy and WinS — were provided by resource persons such as PDGs Gyaneshwar Rao, Ratnesh Kashyap, Vijay Jalan, Ashok Panjwani, Dineshsinh Thakor and Y S Kothari. District Secretary (D 3060) Meera Panjwani elaborated on the secretarial responsibilities.
Desai urged the presidents to adopt at least one project of Literacy and WinS. “You have tremendous opportunities to perform in TEACH. Look around you and make Happy Schools for children,” he said, citing Ashish Desai’s efforts in installing 25,000 e-learning facilities in schools partnering with various corporate houses.
The second day was dedicated to discussions on enhancing Rotary’s public image and the use of social media. “Don’t flood your Whatsapp group with personal messages,” said PDG Ashish Desai, talking on Rotary etiquettes and the impact of social media.
“This multi-districts concept is a great idea for us to meet our friends and share thoughts on various topics. It is a wonderful opportunity to get together with our friends who were with us before the District was divided,” said Rtn Dharmendra Joshi.
Pictures by Jaishree