Posted by Nicholas Ryall on Aug 13, 2019
On December 14, 2019 our club will officially turn ten years old. I want to thank all those who have helped the club live so long and thank all those in advance who will ensure it will continue for years to come. Let’s continue to grow this decade long tradition together in ways that make sense for our club dynamics in the constant pursuit of Service above Self!
I have always acknowledged the Toronto Twilight ended up being the first step into the rest of my life. When I first attended a meeting in 2014, after being invited by Siby after a casserole making event, I was working a minimum wage job at a local Bulk Barn (the free chocolate gets old fast) and sitting on a degree in Literature convinced that going back to school was the only real path to success. By the second meeting though, I had a conversation with Nicolas Leroy about a job opportunity as a technical writer. I also happened to sit with other visitors Geoff and Cynthia Clark who were the first of many friends I met through the club. Needless, within six months I was a full-fledged member and had full-time career in It Security.
At that point, the club was large (it felt like 30 or 40 people at least), we met every week, and voting for the board consisted of multiple nominees per position. I was certain it would be a decade or two before it would be my turn with the gavel.  I quickly learned though that the youth of our club brought with it a constant fluctuation in attendance as members got lucrative positions in different cities, countries and continents or started families which led to a very understandable change in priorities.
Fast-forward 5 years and here we are. I now can call myself president after being the sole nominee for president-elect 2 years ago. I am thankful for the faith that the club has put in my abilities and am looking forward to building off of what I believe was an outstanding year from immediate past-president Mary Wetzel. Our club is smaller that it was when I joined, but our 19 members are talented, thoughtful, and generous people who I am hoping are here to unite and take meaningful action through Rotary service. In 2019-2020, it will be our challenge to strengthen the many ways that Rotary Connects the World, but I have the utmost confidence that our club will strive for growth and leadership in our own small way.
How many total members does your club want by the end of the Rotary year? How many members will sponsor a new club member during the Rotary year?
As President, I am tasked with setting goals on My Rotary for questions like the above. This year, we have strong leadership in our membership team in Giri Chittur who took over the role of chair in the middle of last Rotary year. Last year, Mary tasked everyone to participate in membership roles and I am hoping that that will continue with multiple members forming a committee led by Giri.  Though achieving a net gain in membership is important (is 5 new members reaching for the stars?) maintaining our club’s retention of current members is more important to me.
I have started structuring our meetings to be more engaging with attendees focusing on active participation. This includes roundtable discussion on articles that come from the Rotarian. I our last two meetings we discussed women (or lack thereof) in high-level RI positions and membership experience when they attend our club. We also discussed the possibility of filling our speakers with more classification talks by our long-term members to help new members get to know them. Conducting a study of our members’ occupations to help understand the mix of membership professions could lead to the initiation of a leadership, personal, or professional development program to enhance all our members’ skills
I have also encouraged member participation in happy bucks (now you submit IOUs if you don’t have a dollar – but you will say something!) and on our website. The type of members we are looking for will no doubt want to research us online and finding a website that is up-to-date with new stories of what we are doing is important. I want to encourage all our members to send our new look bulleting to our friends and families so they can understand what our club and Rotary in general is all about. To help with this promotion, I have committed to posting on our Facebook sites (and eventually Instagram and Twitter) at least four times per month, showing how our club’s members are People of Action when using Rotary’s brand guidelines found on My Rotary.
Services and Fellowship
How many members will participate in club service activities during the Rotary year? How many members will attend your district conference? How many of your club's committee chairs will attend the district training assembly?
In the past few years, I have seen, though I don’t have the data to back it up, that those who participate in a majority of the service and fellowship events seem to get more fulfilment within Rotary. For that reason, an increase in the number of members involved in service projects is an important task for the club. Organizing family-oriented service projects that connects families of your members and local events within Toronto that allow for easy transportation I believe are important to resolve this task.
The club taking on an active role within the development of the Toronto Pokerwalk for HIV/AIDS will help us fulfil a number of goals that Rotary International has set out for all clubs:
  • Continue or establish a partnership with a corporate, governmental, or nongovernmental entity and work on a project together
  • Conduct a significant local or international service project in one of Rotary’s six areas of focus
  • Post successful club projects, with details about activities, volunteer hours, and funds raised, on
Establishing our club within our district is also very important to me. I am excited that I have seen so much interest in attending the District Conference in Muskoka. I also hope that this year we will have comparable attendance to last year’s district training assembly. Getting high a high turnout rate on Rotary Foundation elements such as the District walk and EYER will also help boost our club’s MO.
Final Thoughts
On December 14, 2019 our club will officially turn ten years old. I want to thank all those who have helped the club live so long and thank all those in advance who will ensure it will continue for years to come. Let’s continue to grow this decade long tradition together in ways that make sense for our club dynamics in the constant pursuit of Service above Self!
To quote RI President Mark Maloney:
“Rotary is indeed a family. Yet too often, the structure of membership or the demands of leadership seem to place Rotary out of reach for today’s younger professionals. Rotary can and should be an experience that complements our families instead of competing with them. When our Rotary clubs are warm, welcoming places where service and family go hand in hand, we give family-oriented young professionals the opportunity to embrace Rotary service and model positive civic engagement. And when we make the expectations of Rotary offices realistic and manageable for busy professionals, we develop the skills and networks of a new generation of Rotarians — who will become Rotary leaders.”