Thursday, February 10, 2011

To be or not to be -- in Rotary

Today, I got to eat lunch at the Windsor of Savoy with 20 or so Savoy area professionals. I was invited by Tiffany DeSpain, the director of the Savoy Recreation Center, to come as a guest and find out what being a Rotarian is all about. Rotary is a service organization made up of mostly professionals. Savoy's Rotary is pretty small next to the ones in Champaign and Urbana. Most members in the Savoy Rotary are either late 50's to early 70's or they're in their mid-to-late-30's.

Savoy is a small town only 7,100 people. And walking in, I knew I would see Fancy Nancy, one of my awesome neighbors who is the director at Windsor of Savoy. Her son and my son are buddies. And she's one of those people I always wish I got to know better. The other person I knew was greeting everyone for lunch. It was Master Hyong. I bowed and said, "Hello, sir."

There comes that point in one's life as an adult where you realize you get to call people older than you by their first name, because you, too, are an adult. This realization came to me in college when I was invited by two professors to call them by their first names. As a student, you only did that, normally, to other students. "Oh, Brian gave us an 8-page essay today." And at the bar, over a pitcher of $5 Miller Lite, that seemed fine. But to certain professors, even if they offered to have you call them their first name -- decades later, you will always call them "Dr. Mihm." There's just something about that person. Master Hyong is one of those people. He will always be Master Hyong, even when I'm done being his student. I will probably always bow. It doesn't mean I respect other instructors less. I just have a totally different relationship with them.

Anyway, lunch was a buffet. I had a salad, and a bit of pasta and some asparagus with a glass of water. Then I met the other 30-somethings at my table, and our guest speaker for the day who was from the Mahomet Rotary. She was talking about a weekend camp that Rotary sponsors for young leaders at Allerton the last full weekend every April. It's for sophomores and juniors. They do a series of leadership activities that include ropes courses, talks about how to interview for jobs, the highly effective habits of teens, life coaching, etc. There are scholarships to go to the camp that folks can apply for. But a rotary member has to nominate you to apply. So, if you're interested, let me know and I'll see if I can connect you to Tiffany. Anyway, we sat, we chatted and we ate. Then we listened to the speaker, chatted a little more about membership and left.

Other members of the group that I know -- but don't know personally -- included the Mayor of Savoy and the owner of Marble Slab. Joan Dykstra, who sits on the village board, was also in attendance as a guest.

The group says the pledge before meetings. And I can't remember the last time I said the pledge. They also say a little mantra at the beginning about making change and the importance of community service. Like Junior League there is an attendance requirement, but you only have to keep your numbers above the 50% range. And they're always looking for speakers and new members. Once a month they volunteer with a service project, and once a month they try to have some sort of social so members can become better acquainted.

Dues for the group are $160 a year, some businesses pay them. Mmm, I wonder if JODA Productions, Inc., can pay mine. :-)

I have to talk over making the 12:15 lunch time with my boss at work (since I'm hoping to work M-F next fall), but I think if she'll let me out a few minutes early, I'd really like to join the group.

1 comment:

Dana said...

It sounds very interesting. I wonder what the Champaign Rotary is like. Hmm.