The first Rotary meeting was held in Chicago, Illinois, on February 23, 1905, when Paul Harris met with several friends to discuss his idea for a new service club of businessmen and professionals. Women were admitted to membership in 1989 when Rotary International amended its constitution.
Though Paul Harris was the founder of Rotary, he was not its first president. However, he was the first president of Rotary International.
What is Rotary?
“Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”; This is what you can say when someone asks, ‘What is a Rotary Club?’
Object of Rotary
- The Object of Rotary is “to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.”;
- The ideal of service is fostered through:
- Development of acquaintance as the opportunity for service.
- Promotion of high ethical standards in business and professions.
- Service in one’s personal, business and community life.
- Advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace.
4 Avenues of Service
- The Avenues of Service, which relate directly to the Object of Rotary, are:
- Club Service
- Community Service
- Vocational Service
- International Service
The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self”
As Rotarians, we seek opportunities to participate in and ‘give back’ to our communities and the world in meaningful ways, including personal involvement. In addition, each incoming Rotary International president issues his theme for the year, which is his “Call to Action”; for clubs worldwide.
Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Herbert Taylor, a Rotarian, created this code of ethics in 1932 for the struggling company he had just been hired to save from bankruptcy. It was adopted by Rotary in 1943.
Rotary Wheel Symbol
Adopted in 1923, the Rotary wheel emblem has 24 cogs and 6 spokes. It symbolizes “Civilization and Movement.”
Membership in Rotary is based on classifications describing each member’s distinct and recognized business or profession. Classifications are determined by activities or services to society, not the position held by a particular individual. For instance, one is not classified as a ‘bank president’ or a ‘banker,’ but under the classification of ‘banking’. The classification principle ensures that each Rotary Club represents a cross-section of the businesses and professions in the community.
Regular Attendance is essential for a strong and active Rotary Club. The requirements are to:
- Attend or make up at least 60% of club meetings in each half of the Rotary year.
- Attend at least 30% of one’s own club’s regular meetings in each half of the Rotary year.
- Miss no more than 4 consecutive meetings.
Absence from a Rotary meeting can be made up by attending a meeting at any other Rotary Club in the world within 14 days before or after the missed meeting.
Failure to fulfill membership requirements is considered the submission of one’s resignation from the club. When a club terminates a member for non-attendance, it is simply an acceptance of one’s resignation and is not a punitive action by the club officers.