“As Rotarians, We Stand Up”

–submitted by 2022-23 Club President Paul Hoffmann

It is the beginning of our Rotary year and I am looking forward to my year as president of the Rotary Club of Madison. I am truly honored.

Let’s put the challenges of the pandemic behind us and rediscover what we love about Rotary.

While we have an incredible club, my goal is to leave the club even stronger with our members even more engaged.

  1. As I was thinking about Rotary and my comments today, I was thinking about what I love about Rotary.
    1. Well, there are so many things…the typical things came to mind.
      1. Our scholarships, our community grants, our exchange programs, our service projects, and of course connecting with so many people from our community. I also love to hear our speakers each week.
  • One unique thing that I love about Rotary is that we STAND UP!
    • Think back to when you first joined Rotary. One of the things that always impressed me about our club is how often we stand up.
    • As a Catholic, I can say Rotarians stand up even more often!
  • We stand up to start our meeting.
    • We stand up, united as Rotarians.
    • We stand up, out of respect for each other.
    • Out of respect for Rotary.
    • Out of respect for our country.
    • We stand up. Recite our 4-way pledge. Sing a patriotic song. Greet each other from across the table and even across the room. Smile and wave.
  • We stand up to recognize our new members. Remember how good that felt to be welcomed to the club!
    • Not just with some nice, polite clapping.
    • No, we vigorously stand up to show our respect.
    • To show them we recognize their accomplishments.
    • To say “Welcome to our club.”
    • To demonstrate we are grateful to have you join us.
    • Grateful to have your help to create lasting change.
    • I love that we honor all our new members by standing up!
  • We stand up to recognize people receiving awards from our club.
    • Whether it is for outstanding senior service, service to our club, service to our community or anytime we feel someone deserves recognition – WE STAND UP!
    • We stand up to say “I am with you”, “I recognize you”, and “I appreciate you”.
    • I love that it is not something we have to be asked to do.
    • We all just scramble to stand up and recognize someone because they provide “service above self.”
  • You get my point, as Rotarians, we stand up.
    • Not just physically, but we stand up against injustice in our community and our world.
    • We stand up by teaching young students an ethical framework to make moral decisions in their lives.
    • We stand up by providing over $750,000 a year to create lasting change.
    • We stand up and serve to make our world a better place.
  • We stand up in so many ways as Rotarians…and that is one of reasons I love being a Rotarian.
  • As I think about how we can be a stronger club, I feel it is by re-engaging you as members to help you rediscover what brought you to Rotary in the first place…and maybe has kept you in Rotary since.
  • We don’t need any more members of our club.
    • Yes, I said it. We don’t “need” any more members.
    • It would be awesome, but it is not necessary.
    • Think about it. We are a top 10 club in the world.
      • We already have 426 members of our club.
      • Amazing people. Incredible people. Interesting people. Generous people.
      • Members united because they want to serve.
      • Members connecting and building a community.
      • Members growing because of all we have to offer as a club.
      • Members that imagine the world can be a better place.
  • Let’s focus on engaging with the members we already have.
    • Let’s focus on making our members count; not counting our members.
      • Let’s connect and welcome the members we already have.
      • Let’s focus on making our club even stronger, more welcoming, more effective and more fun.
  • Let’s focus on welcoming and engaging our members.
    • I have a challenge for all of you.
      • First of all, come to our meetings when you can.  Put it back on your schedules.
        • Of course, you don’t have to. We don’t have an attendance requirement anymore.
        • But, come to the meetings to see your friends.
        • Come to the meeting to hear great speakers and learn something new.
        • Come to the meetings to meet new people.
          • I have an idea – what if you made it your goal to meet someone new at every meeting.
            • Maybe it is someone you are waiting in the buffet line with. Invite them to sit at your table.
            • Introduce yourself. Purposely, try to connect with someone.
            • I can guarantee you will end up meeting them again – at a meeting or out in the community.
            • Let’s make our meetings a welcoming place to be.
          • I have another idea. Let’s all try to get to your tables by noon – sitting down by noon.
            • Yes, the meeting will still start at 12:10 pm.
            • Give yourself at least 10 minutes to greet all the people at your table.
            • Give yourself at least 10 minutes to eat and share a meal with interesting people.
            • Please, don’t short-change your Rotary experience!
  • Let’s focus on re-engaging by doing what our club does even better.
    • For example, each year we award 25 new four-year scholarships.
      • Who in the room thinks that is amazing?
      • Now, who in the room thinks that is enough?
        • We do scholarships well. Really well. It is one of the best things we do.
        • We just might do scholarships better than any other organization in this community.
        • We get amazing scholars. We provide them with mentors.
      • What if we imagined doing it even better? We can do it.
    • Let’s bring back our Rotary Ethics Symposium and make it even better.
    • Let’s focus on making our community grants process even better.
  • Let’s re-engage as members of our club. Let’s re-engage as Rotarians.
    • Please commit to participating in a service project this year.
      • Invite your friends along to help us do a service project.
      • People will come to know us as by the good work we do.
    • Please commit to attending at least 50% of our meetings.
      • Thank you for coming to our lunch meeting today.
      • Every week our numbers are growing and it is fun to be here.
      • Invite someone to come have lunch and learn something new!
    • Please commit to go to a fellowship group, to connect with other members over a glass of wine, an amazing meal, an interesting book, a beautiful hike or bike ride, a fun day shooting clays, or helping to serve our veterans.
    • Please commit to re-engage.
      • And when we re-engage, we will naturally attract new members.
    • Let’s grow our club by making it a welcoming place – for everyone.
  • So, what do you love about Rotary?
    • And I am asking you to rediscover Rotary all over again this year.
    • I am asking you to re-engage as Rotarians.
    • Come out of your pandemic fog and let’s have some fun.
  1. Together, let’s make the Rotary Club of Madison even stronger for generations to come.
    1. Be proud you are a Rotarian.
    1. And not just any Rotarian.
    1. You are a member of the Rotary Club of Madison.
  • I look forward to a great Rotary year with all your help.
  • Thank you for being Rotarians!

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