What is Rotary?

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs.


Plans for RYLA 2018 are underway. Students are being interviewed and the RYLA team is on the ball. If you don’t know about RYLA please ask – it is an awesome leadership opportunity for junior and senior high school students.

The mid year planning meeting was held on Saturday, January 20 at the Seminary. The purpose of this meeting was to follow up on remaining goals for this year and prepare for next Rotary year.

Guatemala Update by Tricia Johnson

The trip has been productive and very worth while. Our trip itineraries are typically very full, and this one is no different. A list of our tasks and site visits and the reasons for each are below:

CAP in LA Parroquia, La Zona Reyna – Rotary project, celebrated the completion of purchasing and outfitting the clinic with their new medical equipment, project includes training of midwives and nurses for maternal and child health. Los Gozosos, Chimaltenango – UbF project, celebrated the donation of a transport van to an orphanage for special needs kids. A majority of the kids are lifelong residents of the facility, as they have no families that claim them.

Photos from Guatemala visit in 2017

Caracol, Caracolito, Joya Large – Rotary project, celebrated the completion of a water supply project and the eventual completion of latrines. Uspantan Hospital – Past Rotary and UbF projects, checked on past projects that have included supplying an ambulance, industrial washer and dryer for cleaning hospital linens, and ultrasound and other equipment.

Semutz and Tamborcito, La Zona Reyna – Rotary project, celebrated the start of a new water project in these two remote villages. The residents were much more accepting of us as visitors than they were the first time we visited last year. We have developed some trust in the community.

In addition to the above projects, we visited a number of proposed project sites where communities requested either a school or water project.
After leaving Uspantan, the team then reviewed the list of potential projects to assess which projects are viable for Rotary and/or UbF.


Rotary International President
2017-18, Ian Riseley, January 2018

In Rotary, our diversity is our strength. This idea dates back to the earliest years of our organization, when the classification system was first proposed. The idea behind it was simple: that a club with members who had a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities would be capable of better service than one without.

In the years since, the idea of diversity in Rotary has come to be defined more broadly. We have discovered that a club that truly represents its community is far better able to serve that community effectively. Looking ahead, it is clear how essential diversity will remain in Rotary: not only to strong service today, but to a strong organization in the future.

One of the most pressing aspects of diversity to address in our membership is the age of our members. When you look around at almost any Rotary event, it becomes immediately obvious that the age range in the room does not promise a sustainable future for our organization. Our membership is near a record high, and we are bringing in new members all the time – yet only a small minority of those members are young enough to have decades of Rotary service ahead of them. To ensure a strong and capable Rotary leadership tomorrow, we need to bring in young and capable members today.

We also cannot discuss diversity in Rotary without addressing the issue of gender. It is difficult to imagine that just three decades ago, women could not join Rotary. Although we have come a long way since then, the legacy of that misguided policy is still with us. Far too many people continue to think of Rotary as an organization only for men, and that idea has had a detrimental effect on both our public image and our membership growth. Today, women make up just over 21 percent of Rotary’s membership. While this is certainly a great improvement, we have a long way to go to meet what should be the goal of every club: a gender balance that matches the balance of our world, with as many women in Rotary as men.

Whatever brought each of us to Rotary, we stay because we find value in Rotary membership and believe that our service has value to the world. By building clubs that reflect that world in all its diversity, we will build even more enduring value in Rotary: Making a Difference.


Welcome to the New Year!

The first half of Rotary Year 2017-18 here in District 5870 was unique, to say the least, and challenging. Three major hurricanes struck Texas and Puerto Rico (I include them because they came to our rescue after Harvey hit, before a subsequent storm devastated their own island). Major earthquakes rocked our sister District 4130 in Mexico. And then a major fire leveled the resort where we had planned to host our May District Conference in Boerne. Talk about a 1 – 2 – 3 whammy!!!!

But District 5870 again shined through these tragedies like a champ. As we enter the second half of our Rotary year, let’s regroup for a super strong home stretch! Let’s resolve to keep moving forward together:

RESOLUTION #1: As Governor, I challenge each Rotary Club – and individual Rotarian – to get back on track with giving to The Rotary Foundation Annual Fund – the keystone of much of our Service Above Self. Our generosity abounds – witness our $275,000 plus giving to timely hurricane relief efforts, but our TRF commitments have lagged as a result. Our District traditionally leads the Zone in per capita and/or total giving, so let’s all pledge to get back up on that stallion and strengthen our giving trend, please!

RESOLUTION #2: “I will invite friends and associates to experience the joy and benefits of Rotary this year.” New members. We’re headed in the right direction with a net gain of 78 as I write this, but a third of our clubs have lost members. Remember one of my DG One Initiatives… if each of us invites just ONE new prospect to share our enthusiasm, that is a potential gain of over 2600 Rotarians.

RESOLUTION #3: Your District leadership team pledges to renew its expansion efforts to establish new Interact, Rotaract, and Early Act First Knight affiliates, and of course to strengthen our Rotary Club footprint itself here in Central Texas. The more members, the more good we can accomplish in our communities and the world.

RESOLUTION #4: Have fun! It’s great to be a Rotarian.

Happy New Year! Thank you for all each of you does to make District 5870 #1District Strong.