Within moments of the conclusion of our meeting Wednesday, Gail Selk was talking with our speaker, Laura Heisler, about joining the club. During lunch, Laura asked me — a question I suspect is familiar to many — “do you REALLY come EVERY week?”
Well, now that I’m president, yes, pretty much. But I went on to explain to her how for me it was a process of discovery and self-reinforcement. In the beginning, most Wednesdays, it was hard to imagine I could make the time, but I often did largely because I said I’d do something and I put it on my calendar. Gradually over time, I recognized that I always left the meeting feeling better than when I came — more energy, more enthusiasm, more vigor to go back to my office and swing the bat at whatever ball crossed the plate.
So I shared that observation with Laura. She seemed intrigued. Does the weekly meeting do that for you? I am curious. Will Laura join? We shall see.
I opened the meeting Wednesday with our membership numbers. Our current membership is 496. When the annual comparison happened last spring, our total was 523 (making us the 5th largest club in that moment in time). You can see the difference. Fortunately, President Dave got the board to look at membership rolling monthly totals, so we are accustomed to looking at trends and averages, and overall, we remain strong but challenged by a down fluctuation. (Virginia Bartelt is at the helm of the membership committee FYI and we are all honorary members. I’m an actual member, as I welcome the chance to be very hands on in this area).
Our strength in membership is due to people like Gail whose wheels are always turning, discovering the Rotarian in our midst, and to people like you blog readers who remain active club members.
But membership is not just by the numbers. It’s the quality of our individual and collective experiences and accomplishments. A recent highlight for me was when in the orientation new member Paul Karch mentioned he was reading the history of the Rotary Club of Madison book and noted the misspelling of “Wisconsin” on the sign on the cover. (See it here: AR-M355U_20100721_090429). This bit of esoterica got me to pick up the book again and fall fascinated into the story of the founding of our club.
Every week, it’s moments like that that have kept me coming back. What keeps you coming back? And in fairness, what keeps you from coming? How do you describe the club and value of membership to people you know who are prospective members?
p.s. Props to Matt Goetzke who sponsored not one, but two, members this month. He was stuck in the one-lane from Milwaukee to Madison Wednesday or would have adjourned us by ringing the bell in recognition of the importance of sponsorship.