Welcome to the Grand Forks Rotary noon club. We’re glad you’ve chosen to participate in our service club. As with most organizations, you will find that the more active your participation, the more you will get out of Rotary.
In order to familiarize you with our club and Rotary International, I am providing you this brief introduction to Rotary and the organization of our club.
The basis for all Rotary activities and relationships is found in the Four-Way Test, which states:
Of the things we think, say, or do-
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Rotary was founded in Chicago in 1905 by Paul Harris. He wanted to have a way to meet with other business people to exchange ideas and concerns and promote their vocations. His efforts were met with enthusiasm and the organization grew.
The Rotary Club of Grand Forks is one of 67 clubs in District 5580. Our region made Rotary international when a club was chartered in Winnipeg in 1912. There are over 28,500 clubs in 159 countries, with over 1,193,000 members. The Grand Forks club was chartered in 1919.
Rotary requires a 60% minimum attendance of each member. Members may attend other Rotary clubs as a make-up. This information is then given to the club Secretary and counts toward your attendance at our club. You will also be given a $6.00 credit for each makeup, since part of your quarterly dues at our club includes the meal cost. You can also get a make-up for attendance by attending a Rotary sponsored function or activity. This includes board meetings and committee meetings.
You will receive a quarterly billing for your next quarter’s dues and other charges. Dues are currently $100 per quarter and include your noon meals, district dues, national dues, and magazine subscription. You are encouraged to bring guests to our meetings and will be billed $6.00 for their lunch. If your guest is a potential member, let the Associate Secretary at the entry desk know and the club will purchase their lunch.
All members are encouraged to sponsor new members. Invite a prospect to one or two meetings. If they are interested in membership, obtain a membership packet from the Associate Secretary and have the prospect fill out the application. Return the application to the Club Secretary. The prospect’s name will be published in the next two bulletins. The board will act on the application at their next meeting. If the applicant is accepted, they will be inducted at the next meeting you both attend.
As part of your orientation to the club you will be attending a Fireside Chat (held twice each year). This informal meeting in a member’s home will help familiarize you with the workings of Rotary and answer any questions you may have. You will also rotate through the Welcome Committee. This committee will help you meet the other members. It is described later in this letter.
You will receive a monthly magazine called The Rotarian. This magazine will inform you of the activities of Rotary at the national and international level.
When you join Rotary, you are assigned a classification. This classification is descriptive of your vocation, and can be held only by you and at most, one other active member. This insures that the club represents a variety of vocations and interests. After a certain age and number of years of service, you become a Senior Active member of the club. At this time your classification can then be assigned to a new member. Sometime after joining, you will be asked to give a classification talk at one of the regular meetings. You will usually be on the agenda with one other new member also giving a talk. Your talk can be about anything you wish, but usually includes your background, family, and your vocation. It needs to be only 5 to 10 minutes in length.
The club is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the club membership. Each member on this nine member board is asked to serve for three years. They meet monthly at breakfast to consider the business of the club. The board approves membership applications, requests for donations, and requests from committees. Any member may attend a meeting and members are encouraged to attend to make requests for support of their projects.
Each year District 5580 holds a conference that is sponsored by a district club. This conference is usually held in late April or early May. Members are encouraged to attend, and the club budgets to offset some of the expenses for attending members. The conference is a great way to learn about the many projects the Rotary clubs in our district support. There are opportunities to meet other Rotarians and build relationships with members in our district. Plan on attending a conference soon after becoming a member.
The bylaws of Rotary require a number of committees in the areas of Club Service, Vocational Service, Community Service, and International Service. You will be asked to serve on at least one of the committees. If you have an area that interests you, talk to the President and see if you can be assigned to that committee. Our club has the following committees.
This committee publishes a weekly newsletter sent to all club members. The newsletter highlights the activities of the most recent meeting and the talk given by the speaker. It also announces the upcoming speaker schedule and any special events of the club. It lists the committees, their members, and the club officers and directors.
The club recorder takes pictures of special events and works with the bulletin committee for their publication. An archive of photos is also maintained.
The Chaplain leads the club with a prayer before the noon meal. They may also assist as needed when requested by the President in the event of the illness or death of a member.
This committee works to encourage regular attendance, and may request a member’s sponsor to encourage attendance of a member not meeting the 60% requirement. They will also pursue programs that encourage the proposal of prospective members.
The members of this committee will lead the singing at regular meeting and special events. They are responsible for insuring that required equipment, including song books, are available.
This is one of several fund-raisers sponsored by the club. This is a pancake and sausage breakfast prepared and served by Rotarians prior to the fall Potato Bowl parade. The funds raised by this activity are used for the charitable donations of the club. This group insures that the facility is booked, food arranged, tickets sold, and members recruited to work the event. Each member is asked to sell or donate for tickets to this event.
Quarterly Program Committees
Each quarter, starting in July, a new committee is responsible for finding speakers for the noon meeting. Timely events and events of local interest are emphasized. Each quarter at least one meeting should be reserved for classification talks by new members. Most quarters also have certain traditional special programs. Some of these are the International Student Banquet in November; the High School Choirs concert, visit from Santa Claus, and Service Club Roundup in December; the Rotary Foundation Auction in March.
This committee presents information to the public about the club and its accomplishments. They insure that press releases of each month’s Student’s of the Month are sent to the Grand Forks Herald. They will also work with other committees to arrange for publicity for events and fund-raisers.
This group works with the Associate Secretary/Treasurer as needed to insure that the facilities are ready for each meeting. They will also present humorous “fines” of members who have received recent publicity or honors. These “fines” are used in the operation of the club’s activities.
Each new member is expected to serve on this committee by the second quarter after their joining. They may be asked to greet members coming to meetings, as well as help at the attendance desk at the entry to the meeting room. This will familiarize new members and current members with each other.
Students of the Month
Each month during the school year, a male and female student from the Grand Forks high schools (in rotation) are asked to be guests at our club’s meetings. They are chosen by the high school staff from among the outstanding students of the current senior class. Once during their month, the students are asked to give a brief talk about themselves, the activities they participate in, and their plans for after high school. This committee insures that the students are chosen, are able to attend, will sit with them at meetings, and introduce them to the club.
Vocational Service/Four-Way Test
This committee seeks to promote the development of young people’s careers. They also promote and administer the Four-Way Test essay contest. This is an essay contest on the Four-Way Test that allows a high school student the opportunity to win scholarship money at local, regional, and international levels. Details of the test are available from Rotary resources.
This group will work with a community group responsible for promoting timely immunization of infants. Our club has sponsored the printing and distribution of a series of stickers that are placed on parents’ calendars that serve as reminders for their children’s immunizations.
Rotary Park Committee
This committee will work with the other Greater Grand Forks Rotary clubs, the local Park Districts, and the St. Paul Rotary clubs on the creation of a Rotary Park in the greenway to be established in our cities. Funds have been reserved for this committee’s work, once the need has been determined. This group will meet with the entities involved and establish a plan for implementation of a Rotary Park.
Rotary Wraps/Special Projects
Rotary Wraps is the major community project of our club. Funds are raised annually by the raffle of a vehicle, in conjunction with the Potato Bowl. The funds are then used to buy gift certificates from local retailers that are good only for children’s clothing. The retailer is asked to match our purchase with an additional 10%. These certificates are then given to the Education Resource Center to be given to those children in our community identified as having inadequate clothing for the weather conditions. They can then be used by the children to purchase new clothing for themselves. The certificates cannot be exchanged for cash, and are not identified as being donated. This committee insures that the fund raising event takes place, and the proceeds distributed.
This committee will also be responsible for a program of Rotary Disaster Assistance. After the Flood of 97, our club is committed to helping other communities that have been affected by a weather-related disaster. The committee will establish guidelines for fund disbursement, and recommend how to fund the program.
RYLA is the Rotary Youth Leadership summer camp held for a week in Crookston in July. The committee insures that at least two students from the Grand Forks high schools attend this camp, with the tuition being paid by our club.
Service Club Roundup
This is a special annual meeting of all the Greater Grand Forks service clubs. It is cosponsored by Rotary, and held on the Tuesday during the last week in December. This group will make the arrangements for the meeting, publicize the date to the service clubs, and arrange the speaker. Traditionally the speaker has been the Editor of the Grand Forks Herald.
International Student Banquet
This event is a Thanksgiving-style evening dinner with UND’s international student community invited as our guests. The students will usually provide some native entertainment. We also encourage Rotarians to attend with their spouses and invite a student to spend Thanksgiving with them, when possible. This committee will make the arrangements for the dinner, and with the International Student group at UND.
Rotary Foundation and Scholarship
The Rotary Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation providing worldwide humanitarian grants for needy peoples and worthy projects and educational awards for international exchanges of university scholars, teachers, professionals and business people. Our club has benefited by having sponsored a number of Ambassadorial Scholarships for college students to study abroad. The applicants compete for a limited number of full scholarships at universities of their choice. This committee will assist and recruit candidates for these scholarships. They will also encourage applicants to attend a club meeting and introduce them to the club’s members.
The Foundation is supported by donations from individual Rotarians. This program encourages donations over a period of time up to a total of $1000 contributed by each Rotarian. Upon achievement of this level of giving, the member becomes a Paul Harris Fellow, and is awarded a pin and medallion. Our club helps members begin and continue giving via a donation matching program. This is done through an “auction” of these club matching donations. This committee will also conduct and report on the results of the “auction.”
World Community Service
This committee cooperates with Rotarians locally and abroad in World Community Service projects. Several of these projects are sponsored by our district and Rotarians travel to the project location at their own expense. Our district has built schools, sanitary facilities, clinics, and dug wells. The committee will promote these projects to interested Rotarians and assist in their participation.
July 1, 1998