As we begin this Rotary year, we have faced many global challenges and many successes. As we continue to endure life with the COVID pandemic and ultra-contagious BA-5 variant, most of us have left our Zoom meetings in the past in favor of meeting in person. Despite Rotary’s attempt at eradicating polio with a 1982 goal to immunize every child, The United States has suffered its first case of wild polio in New York in decades. Rotary began what many believed to be an unachievable goal in 1982, partnering with WHO, UNICEF, CDC, and the Gates Foundation to overcome this devastating disease. Not only will we continue the fight, but we will succeed.
This year marks a momentous occasion in Rotary history with the induction of Jennifer Jones as the first woman president of Rotary due to the visionary leadership and determination of Dr. Sylvia Whitlock of the Duarte, California Rotary Club. When she became president of her club, Rotary International revoked the club’s charter resulting in the landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in Rotary International vs Rotary Club of Duarte, overturning the ban on women in Rotary, thus paving the way for our new president, Jennifer Jones.
Notwithstanding COVID, Rotary, for the first time in 20 years has increased its worldwide membership by almost 200,000 individuals during the pandemic. During the coming year it is my goal to help clubs increase membership, work collaboratively together, find innovative and new ways to meet, create fellowship, engage in a collaborative community, district, and global projects, and by all means, have fun!
Obsession leads to commitment. Jennifer Jones’ theme this year is Imagine. My class of district governors chose explorers as their theme. I can’t think of a better way for our District to move forward based on an integration of these three ideals. Imagine it, explore it, and commit to it. Based on these simple principles, we will move forward to increase membership, increase projects and work collaboratively together in all endeavors. We will not only succeed in embracing Rotary, but we will have fun in doing so! I look forward to a great year with each of you in Rotary fellowship. Please join me!