Posted by Mike Christie on Nov 25, 2019
The presentation and subsequent discussion were the main elements of today’s meeting.  PE Mark Sorenson described a process the Board had been going through to consider the future direction and culture of the Club.  Mark referred to a recent report from the Rotarian (available at each table) profiling a Club in Halifax which had gone through considerable change.  Truly embracing change and remaining open minded and accepting diversity might be a challenge for some. Mark’s own motivation for joining Rotary was related to enjoying the lunch style meeting and a desire to give something back to the community, but he recognized the need to ensure the longevity of the Club by becoming irresistible to new and younger members.
A Think Tank had been created by the Board and had taken several weeks to research and collect information and report back to the Board.  In essence the report provided a number of alternatives described by Mark and Gail (in no particular order of priority) as:
  1. Maintain Club as is – no change – do nothing
  2. Modify Existing Club to appeal to Younger Members
  3. Completely Revamp Existing Club to an Innovative Culture
  4. Maintain Existing Club as is and Start a Satellite Club/Charter a New Club 
The Board did not have 100% consensus on which alternative might be best and there was obviously a lot to think about.  For example, Mark described the Rotary Music Festival as perhaps needing to be little more independent so that the Club could reduce the current 80% of time and money spent on the Festival.
There were lots of questions and comments from members including, Dick Bide, Ken Fester, Lisa DesRoches, Sandy MacKay, Kitt Brand, Adolf Seiler, Jan Stalwick, Dieter Brand, Marg Mazerolle, Theresa Schile, amongst others.  Comments and suggestions were related to the need for more of this type of communication with members, making membership as diverse and the process of becoming a member as easy as possible, getting younger members is one thing but expecting to get them straight into leadership roles is quite another, when other things need to take priority in their busy lives.  Live streaming meetings would help those who can’t be present, so as to stay connected.  Rotary ideals and 4-way Test are still a good draw for any age, and different types of meetings would also help.
This is a sample of the comments which took the meeting to almost closing time and some attendees needed to leave.  No decisions made but a promise from Margie to hold further discussions on what can be done in the short and longer term, to make our Club more attractive, more diverse and to increase our impact in the community, during the December business meeting, scheduled for December 9th.   A summary of the discussion was sent out to all club members, so absentee's and "snowbirds" weren't missed.