Rotary Club of New Bedford
SHARPEN YOUR ROTARY SKILLS
HOW IS ROTARY ORGANIZED?
When I first joined Rotary I would hear people speak of “District”, “PETS” and something called “RI”. I would read the Rotarian and see where RI did this and RI did that. I remember saying to someone at a meeting, “wow, Rhode Island sure has active Rotary Clubs”. He looked at me quizzically until he realized that I thought “RI” meant Rhode Island and not Rotary International!
THE ORGANIZATION OF ROTARY
Let’s start from the top down.
The Rotary International Board
This is a 19 member board of directors which includes the RI President and President-Elect, meets quarterly to establish policies. Traditionally, the RI President, (one year term), develops a theme and emphasis for the Rotary year. This year, (2008-2009), Rotary International President D.K. Lee’s theme is “Make Dreams Real”.
I’m sure most of us have sat on one board or another over the years and if there is one common theme with board members its, “let the staff do it!” Well, with Rotary International, the “staff” is called The Secretariat”.
Rotary headquarters is located in Evanston, Illinois with seven international offices in;
The office for RI in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) located in England, serves clubs and districts in that region.
The Secretariat’s chief operating officer is the RI general secretary, who heads a 650 member staff working to serve Rotarians worldwide.
Districts and Zones
Clubs are grouped into 534 RI Districts, each led by a district governor, who is an officer of RI. The district administration, includes assistant governors and various committees who’s role is to guide and support the clubs.
Let me take a minute to talk about this District/Club relationship. Many Rotarians see District as “those guys up there” looking down on the local clubs and dispensing rules, regulations and judgments from afar. However, the goal of the District is just the opposite. The District Governor and his or her assistants, (such as our fine Assistant District Governor Ron Melbourne), ask nothing more than to help the clubs in their district to do a better job and to have fun and fellowship in the process.
In case you didn’t know it, we are in District 7950. (This may come up on a quiz).
Rotary Zones - these are little known and less understood aspects of the organizational structure of Rotary.
Rotary Zones are nothing more than a collection of Districts. There are 34 Rotary Zones in the world. Rotary Bylaws require the composition of the zones to be reviewed at least every eight years to ensure that each zone has approximately the same number of Rotarians.
We are in Zone 31. This zone covers;
Zone 31 contains 15 districts and approximately 33,200 Rotarians
If you want a list of the districts in zone 31 just ask me otherwise I will not list them here.
Well, if I have to explain this to you then you’re a lost cause!
Each Rotary Club can sponsor a Rotaract (college) or Interact (High School) Club or Clubs.
That’s basically the structure of Rotary International at all its levels.
With all these clubs and districts and zones and stuff how does Rotary manage to find leaders year in and year out who are skilled, knowledgeable and qualified to lead at the Club, District and International level?
It all starts at PETS (which I thought was a dog food store). PETS stand for President Elect Training Seminar. This is a three day intensive seminar held in March. District 7950 joins forces with seven other Districts for this Multi-District PETS. Every President Elect must attend PETS training.
After PETS Rotary leaders can avail themselves of advanced leadership training available in a three phase Rotary Leadership Training Program that will help future district leaders attain the skills they will need to make positive contributions at all levels of Rotary Leadership.
Finally, Rotary is, and always has been, a grassroots organization with most of its service efforts being carried out at the club level. The district and international structure is designed to support the clubs and help them provide more service in their local communities and abroad.
Don’t forget to send your requests for future issues of Sharpen Your Rotary Skills to: Bob.Gencon@gmail.com