Sunday, October 6, 2013

Graduation Weekend

I wonder if I'm at the right location? I wish there was some way of telling.

While I did miss my usual Rotary club meeting in Bala Cynwyd on Wednesday I was still able to get my Rotary fix on Saturday. Somehow I was able to make myself crawl out of bed at six in the morning, pick up a couple of my fellow Rotarians, and make my way to King of Prussia for the third, and final, installment of my Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) training. By the end of the day I was a graduate.

Regional events such as this are both a great learning experience but also a tremendous social experience as well with people in attendance from a numerous states all there for the same purpose, to become better Rotarians. As always, it was a diverse group of people ranging in age (20’s to 80’s), occupation/vocation, and Rotary experience (I met people who joined within the past year as well as people who have been proud Rotarians for over 50 years). These aspects were much like my previous takeaways from other sessions and events that I have attended but there was something a little different for me on Saturday.

It all started during the registration process.  As I waited for my information to be retrieved and I was writing the check, I ran into a young man who was a guest speaker at our club earlier in the year. We had gotten together for coffee afterward to talk about Rotary and, at the time, I offered my perspective on the Rotary experience and assisted him in reaching out to other clubs. We hadn’t been able to reconnect since but now I was seeing him, a newly minted Rotarian, taking the next step in becoming a leader in his club. Albeit small, I am glad I was able to play a role in his decision to join.

Heading into the first session of the day, I took a look around the room and noticed many familiar faces. There were a handful of us that have attended level two together and now we found ourselves reuniting for round three. While we were all from different clubs, districts, and states we all picked up from where we left off as if we had known one another for years. Needless to say, my comfort level was significantly higher this time around.

With class underway time seemed to fly by with a group of excellent instructors that knew just the right direction to take us and questions to ask. It was at this point that I came to realize just how far I had come as I was able to answer questions and make contributions with certainty rather than with a tentative tone (of course, it didn’t hurt that one of the sessions was entirely about PR and communications). This third and final part of the training really was a culmination not just in the educational sense but in shifting my mentality. For the first time I felt as if I was ready to be a leader within Rotary.

I am positive that I would have come to this actualization without RLI but I have no idea how long it would have taken and whether or not I could be as an effective leader without it. In general, with the past couple of years being so tumultuous, I am glad that I have had the consistency and guidance that Rotary and my fellow Rotarians have offered to me. While our goal as Rotarians is to serve others and our communities we can’t deny the service that Rotary has offered to each and every one of us in making us better people.

Now the question remains, do I move forward and attend graduate classes or should I give back and become an instructor or both? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Video courtesy of Rick Trivane, Past President of The Rotary Club of Bala Cynwyd - Narberth and, yes, I did promote the club's raffle (mentioned in a previous post) while walking up to the front to get my certificate and pin.