In the absence of a guest speaker at last Thursday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Pinjarra, Club President Vince Costantino posed the question to the meeting: "What is it about Rotary that is important to you?"
President Vince reminded members that August is Rotary International "Membership and New Club Development Month". Before addressing the question posed, he asked members to consider how to celebrate our Rotary club, our members, and the good we do in our community and around the world.
There are many ways to do this, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Say it loud, say it proud! Let everyone in your social network know that you are a proud member by changing your Twitter and Facebook profile to the "I'm a proud member" graphic. You can copy and save the graphic (below) as your profile picture for August. Go on, give it a go.
Watch and share. Download RI President Gary C.K. Huang’s video on membership from . Watch it at your leisure, or share it with friends to highlight the vital role membership plays in maintaining a strong and active club.
Exchange ideas. Do you have successful membership strategies that have worked well in your community? Share them with your Avenue of Service Director and Committee.
We Are Rotary. Using the hashtag #WeAreRotary, share photos to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram of your club members at work in your community or abroad to show how Rotary makes a positive impact in the world.
Making a difference. Rotary clubs are known for the high-impact service projects they undertake locally and globally. Share stories about your service projects and how they improve lives on your social media connections, and share the link with your friends and colleagues. On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can find links to see what Rotary members around the world are doing to celebrate Membership Month. or at other times of the year.
What does Rotary mean to you? Rotary members have pushed polio to the brink of eradication, delivered clean water to those in need, improved their local communities, provided scholarships to the next generation of peacemakers, and continued to do good in the world. Or it may mean any variation of that theme; it is about YOUR motivation, YOUR passion, or YOUR goals that defines "what IT is it about Rotary that is important to YOU?"
It is an opportune time to review a little about Rotary International, and the basics of the organisation's history.
Definition of Rotary:
How do you describe the organization called "Rotary"? There are so many characteristics of a Rotary club as well as the activities of a million Rotarians. There are the features of service, internationality, fellowship, classifications of each vocation, development of goodwill and world understanding, the emphasis of high ethical standards, concern for other people and many more. In 1976 the Rotary International Board of Directors was interested in creating a concise definition of the fundamental aspects of Rotary. They turned to the three men who were then serving on Rotary's Public Relations Committee and requested that a one-sentence definition of Rotary be prepared. After numerous drafts, the committee presented this definition, which has been used ever since in various Rotary publications: "Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.' Those 31 words are worth remembering when someone asks, "What is a Rotary club?"
Rotary's Wheel Emblem
A wheel has been the symbol of Rotary since our earliest days. The first design was made by Chicago Rotarian Montague Bear, an engraver who drew a simple wagon wheel, with a few lines to show dust and motion. The wheel was said to illustrate "Civilization and Movement." Most of the early clubs had some form of wagon wheel on their publications and letterheads. Finally, in 1922, it was decided that all Rotary clubs should adopt a single design as the exclusive emblem of Rotarians. Thus, in 1923, the present gear wheel with 24 cogs and six spokes was adopted by the "Rotary International Association." A group of engineers advised that the gear wheel was mechanically unsound and would not work without a "keyway" in the centre of the gear to attach it to a power shaft. So, in 1923 the keyway was added and the design which we now know was formally adopted as the official Rotary International emblem.
Some Rotary "Firsts
  • The first Rotary club meeting was in Chicago, Illinois, on 23 February 1905. .
  • The first regular luncheon meetings were in Oakland, California, chartered in 1909. .
  • The first Rotary convention was in Chicago in 1910. .
  • The first Rotary club outside of the United States was chartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1910. .
  • The first Rotary club outside of North America was chartered in Dublin, Ireland, in 1911. .
  • The first Rotary club in a non-English-speaking country was in Havana, Cuba, in 1916. .
  • The first Rotary club in South America was chartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1918. .
  • The first Rotary club in Asia was chartered in Manila, Philippines, in 1919. .
  • The first Rotary club in Africa was chartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1921. .
  • The first Rotary club in Australia was chartered in Melbourne in 1921.
Object of Rotary
In some areas of the world weekly Rotary club meetings begin with all members standing and reciting the Object of Rotary. This statement, which comes from the Constitution of Rotary, is frequently seen on a wall plaque in Rotarians' offices or places of business.
The Object of Rotary is "to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise."
The statement then lists four areas by which this "ideal of service" is fostered:
  • through the development of acquaintance as the opportunity for service;
  • the promotion of high ethical standards in business and professions;
  • through service in one's personal, business and community life;
  •  and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace.
The Object of Rotary has not always been expressed in this manner. The original Constitution of 1906 had three objects: promotion of business interests, promotion of good fellowship and the advancement of the best interests of the community.
By 1910 Rotary had five Objects, as increased emphasis was given to expanding Rotary.
By 1915 there were six Objects.
In 1918 the Objects were rewritten again and reduced to four.
Four years later they had again grown to six and were revised again in 1927. Finally, at the 1935 Mexico City Convention the six Objects were restated and reduced to four.
The last major change came in 1951 when the Objects were streamlined and changed to a single Object, which has four parts. The "ideal of service" is the key phrase in the Object of Rotary.
This ideal is an attitude of being a thoughtful and helpful person in all of one's endeavours. That's what the Object truly means.
Rotary Mottoes
The first motto of Rotary International, "He Profits Most Who Serves Best," was approved at the second Rotary Convention, held in Portland, Oregon, in August 1911.
The phrase was first stated by a Chicago Rotarian, Art Sheldon, who made a speech in 1910 that included the remark, "He profits most who serves his fellows best."
At about the same time, Ben Collins, president of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis, Minnesota, commented that the proper way to organize a Rotary club was through the principle his club had adopted - "Service, Not Self."
These two slogans, slightly modified, were formally approved to be the official mottoes of Rotary at the 1950 Convention in Detroit - "He Profits Most Who Serves Best" and "Service Above Self."
The 1989 Council on Legislation established "Service Above Self" as the principal motto of Rotary, since it best explains the philosophy of unselfish volunteer service.
The 4-Way Test
One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary "4-Way Test." It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of the Chicago-based Club Aluminium Company, which was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company was credited to this simple philosophy.
Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International during 1954-55. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than 100 languages and published in thousands of ways.
The message should be known and followed by all Rotarians.
"Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?"
President Vince ended his talk expressing the view, that for him, the Rotary Club of Pinjarra has provided an environment wherein the fellowship and friendship of like-minded people have together done "some lasting good" in the community.
Rotarian Don McClements thanked President Vince for his talk, and invited the members to express their thanks with a round of applause.