Posted by Don Sword on Jan 13, 2018
Starting with Rotary Club of Clarenville on July 10th and finishing with the Rotary Club of Happy Valley - Goose Bay on December 20th, I visited all 47 Clubs in District 7820 (48 including the E-Club). Pat joined me on over half of those visits. We have a very large and diverse district - NL, NS, PEI and St. Pierre et Miquelon - but it is filled with wonderful Rotary clubs in great communities.
I met with each Club's Executive or Board and I asked each Rotarian in attendance to describe their club using one word. The "word cloud" above reflects what I heard. The overwhelming number of word choices were positive ones. Just look at the words used most often - Community, Fellowship, Comradery, Service, Committed, Family and Fun. 
Sometimes the words chosen were neutral or perhaps even negative - such as Transitioning, Struggling, Stagnant and Disengagement. But most of the time the Rotary leader who offered such a word recognized that positive things often come out of acknowledging that there are challenges within their club, seeking solutions and then taking action to deal with them. 
My observation was that overall those clubs that had successfully brought more women and younger members into their clubs and in particular their club's leadership positions, tended to be the clubs that were healthier and had a more positive outlook. RI President Ian Riseley has encouraged Rotary clubs to seek out more women and more younger members and my observation is that this is a sound strategic direction for clubs to pursue.
Other trends:
  1. Flexible meetings. More clubs are taking advantage of flexibility in meeting times, locations and frequency. Ever since RI's Council on Legislation in 2016  there is no longer a "right" way to hold a Rotary meeting. Many successful clubs are experimenting with new ways to do things.  
  2. Focus on "Hands-On" projects. Most clubs are responding to the desires of their members to include more opportunities for hands-on service. 
  3. Cooperation and Leverage. Both small and large clubs are making it a practice to cooperate with other Rotary clubs, other non profit organizations, or other service clubs like Lions, on selected projects. This strategy leverages the power of the Rotary club to do more with fewer members. 
  4. Planning. More clubs have, are working on, or are updating their club's strategic plan. Healthy clubs tend to be ones that are effective planners. The focus of the annual Training for Leaders of clubs (TLC) provides training and tools for clubs leaders to help them with club planning. 
  5. Three C's - Continuity, Consistency and Collaboration. More clubs have, or are working on, sustainable multi-year leadership and succession plans. Healthy clubs tend to be the ones that have leaders that work together effectively, year over year. 
  6. Fellowship. Successful clubs are fun clubs with good fellowship. They recognize the value of friendship in advancing Rotary's service objectives and work on the social side of Rotary. 
  7. Making A Difference - Locally. While all clubs strive to do more, all clubs are making a difference in their local community. Rotary clubs in our District are proud of what they have accomplished and they should be! 
  8. Making A Difference - Globally. The most successful and healthy clubs include an international element in their service. A small percentage of the overall club budget can be leveraged with help from the Rotary Foundation through District and Global Grants to make a significant impact.
  9. District Conference Excitement. I was encouraged to hear that many Rotarians from around our District, not just the incoming President or Secretary, were hoping to attend the District Conference in St. John's in May.  Don't delay - register now!
  10. RI Convention in Toronto Excitement. As of January 8, 2018 there are 129 registrations for the Toronto RI Convention from our District! For information and to register go to