When I joined Rotary many years ago, the fireside chat was a popular, simple, and effective method of communication among Rotarians. One Rotarian would invite a small number of fellow members to his home (this was before the admission of women in 1987) to talk about the value of Rotary in their lives. The evening would provide fellowship and increase knowledge about Rotary programs, including The Rotary Foundation. In some parts of the world, particularly Down Under, they were called poolside chats, but the concept was the same.
As the 111th anniversary of Rotary on 23 February approaches, I hope you will take the opportunity to spend the evening with some of your Rotary friends, men and women, to talk about Rotary, particularly the Foundation as it prepares for its centennial year in 2016-17. The anniversary falls on a Tuesday this year, and as Tuesday nights are normally not heavily booked for social activities, there are many ways to celebrate.
In today’s world, our chats about Rotary may be held online through social media avenues or in person in homes, restaurants, or pubs. I encourage Rotarians around the world to commemorate both the birthday of Rotary and the 100th anniversary of The Rotary Foundation by inviting some Rotary friends to join together in fellowship and service for conversations about the organization. Just as Rotary grew out of the idea of one individual, Paul Harris, the idea of Rotary chats can be revived by individual Rotarians and clubs in a variety of ways.
Who will step forward to try the idea in their respective clubs this year? If it is you, please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about your chat. By whatever name and method, our chats on 23 February about Rotary’s founding and the Foundation’s centennial will be good for our Rotary clubs!