Picture yourself on an airliner cruising comfortably at 35,000 feet. Suddenly the cabin loses pressure and the aircraft begins a rapid decent. Oxygen masks drop from their overhead compartments. Your seatmates are having difficulty with their masks. What should you do?
If you paid attention to the flight attendants prior to takeoff, you know that you should put your own oxygen mask on first. That way you will survive by inhaling life sustaining oxygen, enabling you to engage in assisting those in need.
Where does Rotary International and its over 34,000 member clubs get the oxygen that enables them to survive and assist those in need? Rotary International gets its oxygen from its member clubs who get their oxygen from their members.
Rotary club members should be active or retired leaders. Leaders are those who, through position and/or social influence, get others to accomplish, or assist in accomplishing, common goals. Effective leaders are not elitist, but they should be influential. The entire Rotary network should not be restrictive, but it should be selective.
Rotary clubs and administrative districts should duplicate what Rotary International does very well – connect influential leaders to each other – give them the resources and tools to help them make greater impacts and share successes. Engaged Rotarians are the Rotary network’s oxygen supply. Engaged Rotarians perpetuate Rotary’s Circle of Life.
Rotary clubs do not make communities, but Rotary clubs, inhaling the oxygen supplied by engaging, retaining, and attracting members, do make communities better.