Rotary is Opportunity

Rtn. Frank Deaver, Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, Alabama USA, explains his concept of Rotary. 

What is Rotary? Reduced to a single word, Rotary is Opportunity. 

RI Past President Clem Renouf said, "Rotary takes ordinary men [and women], and gives them extra-ordinary opportunities."

Of course, Rotary is many other things. The words "service" and "fellowship" are often employed to describe the international organization. Other descriptions are valid, of course, but perhaps there is no better single word to encompass all that Rotary stands for. Rotary is opportunity, including – perhaps starting with – service and fellowship, but extending far beyond those two basics.

Rotary is opportunity for acquaintance. 
Without Rotary, members would have much more limited local acquaintance, limited perhaps to workplace and residential neighborhood. Through Rotary, acquaintance is spread across the community, and with the benefit of the classification system, it includes representatives of most of the local businesses and professions.

Rotary is opportunity for networking. 
Paul Harris initiated that first gathering of friends because of a desire for friendly social contacts. But one of their first decisions was to limit new members to one representative from each business and profession, and emphasis was given to targeting their business relations primarily to one another. Rotarians have confidence they can turn to each other for professional or business needs.

Rotary is opportunity for personal growth. 
A member becomes a committee chairman, a club secretary, or president, and rising to expectations of the job, gains self-confidence, poise, and increased leadership ability.

Rotary is opportunity for better citizenship. 
Through weekly programs, Rotarians enlarge their understanding of government, business, and society. Through participation in community projects, they gain appreciation for local needs, and their ability to meet some of those needs.

Rotary is opportunity for mentoring. 
Through club sponsorship of Interact and Rotaract clubs, through school projects or literacy programs, members are challenged to share their expertise in situations that would not be available to them other than through Rotary.

Rotary is opportunity for ethical awareness.
Emphasis is placed on high standards of personal integrity, for example those spelled out in the Four-Way Test. These expectations call on Rotarians to practice and encourage ethical behavior in the workplace and the community.

Rotary is opportunity for world understanding. 
Through exposure to Group Study Exchange teams, to departing and returning Ambassadorial Scholars, and to Youth Exchange, Rotarians gain a multi-cultural awareness, and insight into the world society.

Rotary is opportunity – let us not overlook this – for fellowship and service.
But isn’t that included in and enlarged upon in all of the other opportunities mentioned? The word "opportunity" obviously leads us to ask, and answer, "Opportunity for what?" The opportunities mentioned here are only a beginning; many more could be added.

But the central fact remains: Rotary is Opportunity