June is Rotary Fellowship Month in the Rotary calendar. When we talk about Rotary Fellowships in this context, we are referring to the groups of Rotarians, Rotarian spouses and Rotaractors who join together to:
- Share a common interest in worthwhile recreational activities (sports, hobbies, etc.);
- Further their vocational development through acquaintance with others of the same profession;
- Make new friends around the world;
- Explore new opportunities for service; and
- Have fun and enhance their experience in Rotary.
Rotary Fellowships began informally in 1928 when Rotarians with a shared interest in the language Esperanto joined together. In 1947, a group of Rotarian boating enthusiasts began flying the Rotary flag from their crafts, calling themselves the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians; this fellowship now boasts the longest continuous existence. The scope of Rotary Fellowships has changed much over the years, but today their purpose is still to unite Rotarians in friendship and provide venues for enjoying their favorite recreational or professional activities.
Examples of Rotary Fellowships include: Rotarians on the Internet (ROTI), International Fellowship of Rotarians of Amateur Radio (ROAR), International Computer Users Fellowship of Rotarians (ICUFR), International Fellowship of Rotary Convention Goers, International Golfing Fellowship of Rotarians, International Fellowship of Rotarians Musicians, Rotary Global History Fellowship, etc.
The list of groups is varied and includes marathon running, scuba diving, flying, bird watching, chess, doll lovers, environment, Esperanto, go, gourmets, lawyers, magic, nurses, police and law enforcement professionals, recreational vehicles, singles, stockbrokers, venture capitalists, wine and yoga.
Rotary Fellowships operate independently of Rotary International, with their own rules, dues requirements and administrative structure. Membership is open to Rotarians, spouses of Rotarians and Rotaractors. It must be international in nature with active members in at least three countries. Each fellowship elects at least three officers to oversee the group’s administration. The Rotary Fellowships are expected to facilitate communication among their members and maintain regular communication with RI.
Fellowship provide opportunities for Rotarians to make lasting friendships outside their own Club, District or country. Fellowships contribute to the advancement of world understanding and peace. Also, Fellowships serve as an incentive for attracting new members to Rotary and retaining our existing members.
Club member Mike Wienold is the District 7710 Fellowships Committee chair. Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information about fellowships or are interested in starting a local chapter of a fellowship. Also visit the District Fellowships website at http://rotary7710.org/fellowships/.