During a recent club visit I was asked, “How does someone pick the service club that is right for them?”
My weak and wandering response was rooted in tired, old ideas of class, stereotypes, and competition.  I was a little surprised at myself, and took an opportunity for more thought. Lucky me – I can write a do-over.
Mission and Vision
If one were choosing a service club without the influence of personal relationships or the reputation of individual members or a club, mission and vision statements would be a logical place to start.
Mission: To empower Lions clubs, volunteers, and partners to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives globally, and encourage peace and international understanding.
Vision: To be the global leader in community and humanitarian service.
Mission: Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.
Vision: Kiwanis will be a positive influence in communities worldwide — so that one day, all children will wake up in communities that believe in them, nurture them and provide the support they need to thrive.
Mission: By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves.
Vision: Optimist International will be recognized worldwide as the premier volunteer organization that values all children and helps them develop to their full potential.
Mission: We provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.
Vision: Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in our selves.
All beautiful ideals and inspiring hopes. Does one call to you more than the others?
Beside the considerations of what a group stands for and works toward, prospective members observe the people involved. Does one see themself in the club? Does the club see the prospective member as a natural part of it? The answers are the seeds of belonging.
It’s not uncommon for Rotarians to express that they joined because they wanted something from membership, and stayed to give something in fellowship. The transformation from joining to get, to belonging to give, is the stuff of lasting change.
Belonging isn’t permanent – not even after years and years. It is a living sense that ebbs and flows.  If we find ourselves wondering if Rotary is “worth it”, we have waded out of the depths of belonging into shallows of membership – out of service into self.  When this happens, we might rediscover our inspiration: Remember our Rotary heroes, read Paul Harris, spend some time thinking about the vision of those who came before, imagine the eradication of Polio, visit a club project, or sit near a happy Rotarian and listen carefully.
Whom do you know that will enjoy belonging in Rotary? Please invite them to join us – or any service club that calls to them. My dad was an active Kiwanian, and my mom had the Optimist’s Creed posted on our refrigerator. I’ll know that a pride of Lions has made my world a better place.
Belonging’s the thing.  Together we.
Yours in Fellowship and Service,
District Governor Karen
6250 District Governor 2021-2022