Our E-Club was originally established as the Horizon E-Club of Rotary District 7510. At the time, e-clubs were primarily a place for Rotarians who were unable to attend regularly scheduled physical meetings or who needed to make up meetings they had missed in their own clubs. As Rotary relaxed their meeting attendance requirements, however, and some clubs started to offer electronic remote participation in meetings, the need for a place to make up missed meetings declined. This led to questions about the future of e-clubs.
In general, clubs and associations are based on some common interest. Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self” defines part of that common interest for Rotary. But “service” alone is an incredibly broad area. What service? Where? To whom? How?
In the case of many physical (terra) Rotary clubs, the common interest that brings people together is generally service to the local community. Global e-clubs, however, generally have no common geographic community. They therefore need a different reason to get people to come together. Generally, that reason is a shared passion for a kind of service, service to a particular group of people, etc.
Successful organizations also require success or the prospects of success (people generally don’t stay with organizations that are not delivering on the shared cause or passion).
As noted elsewhere, Rotary is a world-leading organization of Business and Civic Leaders dedicated to the ideal of “Service Above Self”. As a global e-club, the Rotary Dare to be Great E-Club expands that ideal to:
“Being of the greatest Service to the greatest number of people with the greatest need in our community called Earth.”
Past Rotary International President, Sir Clem Renouf, described Rotary as an organization that “provides extraordinary opportunities for ordinary people to do more with their lives than they ever dreamed possible.” It is our goal to contribute significantly to bettering the world, the whole world, for as many people as possible while creating those extraordinary opportunities for Rotarians and others to do more with their lives than they ever dreamed possible.
A few years ago a club in our District (Fanwood, Scotch Plains Rotary Club) in our District (then Rotary district 7510) initiated a program of encouraging young people to “Dare to be Great.” That led to 70 students of a local primary school raising enough money to dramatically and perhaps save the lives of 250 of the world’s poorest hungry children by paying for them to be able to have food and attend school for an entire year. That inspired a group of secondary students to call for youth around the world to come together to take coordinated action to massively impact the situation of poor children around the globe. Rotary youth and other young people from countries around the world responded that they would like to be part of that initiative.
A short time later, young people from some 40 countries got together online to discuss what the goal of their movement should be. They had already learned the think big so their deliberations included ideas such as ending child hunger, ending child poverty, ending child illiteracy, etc. (in all cases, worldwide). In the end they concluded that solving any one of those problems would leave too many other problems unresolved. They were looking for what they could do that would have the greatest positive impact on the world. Someone then reminded them of the story that giving a person a fish feeds them for a day but teaching them to fish feeds them for a lifetime. That thinking led them to their final goal: to grow an entire generation of master, global problem-solvers with the passion, determination, skills and, above all, the confidence, to take on all the world’s major problems, including those not yet known.
The actions and aspirations of those young people, became the inspiration for a reconstituted E-Club to make the goal of those young people their own and to combine it with the vision of Rotary as the place that creates extraordinary opportunities for people to do more with their lives than they ever dreamed possible. This resulted in the reconstitution of the E-Club as the “Dare to be Great E-Club with the primary focus of:
“Creating extraordinary opportunities for people, especially young people, to do more with their lives
than they ever dreamed possible by promoting and supporting efforts to grow an entire generation of
master, global problem-solvers with the passion, determination, skills and, above all, the confidence,
to take on all the world’s major problems, including those not yet known.”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Figuring out if this is needed and where +++++++++++++++++
At the time of Rotary’s founding, the scope of people’s lives and therefore of the “service” was local. Almost everything to do with one’s lives from the people who had influence over one’s life to the sources of information and news was local. The focus of “service” for local Rotary Clubs was therefore the local community.
Over the years, however, things have changed dramatically. Transportation, communication, education, etc. has made the world very small. Today, people’s lives are more likely to be impacted and influenced by people and events outside of the community where they live than by those inside the community. In addition, more people know about what’s happening in cities on the other side of the world than they know about what is happening in their local community.
This has resulted in more people being aware of more problems in the world and a better understanding of causes and potential consequences of those problems. This includes the realization that one’s own life can be significantly impacted by problems in distant places.
About the same time, many business and civic leaders began to realize that many serious problems were either not solvable locally or not efficiently solvable locally, they were beginning to realize the advantages of “economies of scale” and the necessity to leverage economies of scale to survive.