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Talking With Rod Rodman

November 1, 2013

Rod Rodman
Rod Rodman attends two Rotary Clubs for almost the same amount of time during the year, six months and six months. This year, he has been at the Bennington Rotary Club for five months. He joined the Bennington Rotary Club in 1995 and transferred his membership to the Orlando Rotary Club in 2002.

Looking at the differences in the clubs is most instructive. When he joined the Orlando Club it had 150 to 160 members. Now it has 90. When he joined this club, it had about 90 members and is now at 50 or 60 members. Rod sees the changes resulting from changes in society. There are no longer single workers in a family. People often don't have the time or the money to join. Also in the past many businesses paid for membership, but they don't necessarily do that now. Some of the differences in the clubs are also a result of their communities. Orlando is a big city club while Bennington reflects a smaller community. In Bennington, there is more getting together on social events and working on projects. Because many of the members in the Orlando club live in the suburbs and work in the city, there is less of the camaraderie. Given how large the Orlando club is one often doesn't know all the members and there is a great deal of turnover.

The meetings are similar. One difference is that Orlando has a piano. However, they don't sing happy birthday or acknowledge birthdays at the meetings. They don't have a newsletter, but weekly e-mails that list the birthdays. They also list the speakers which tend to be highly qualified people in the town and state. This often means that members will check who are the speakers to see if they will come to the meetings. They have a rule that no speakers are from non-profits. The Orlando club members also often get up and walk out on the speakers.

The Orlando club also does not have fines or sell raffle tickets. The older members won't allow it. They do have happy dollars. Blue jeans and shorts are also frowned upon. Again, this is the difference between a small town and a big city.

They don't have very successful fund raisers, but they do donate money to a school in Kenya. They also provide money and mentor children in low income schools. Rod and his wife, Judy, mentored a young black woman, starting when she was eight years old. They had a chance to see the problems that exist in these neighborhoods.

Although Florida is not the deep South, it is the South. Rod does think it is most valuable to visit other clubs and he has benefited from his membership in both clubs.

Author: Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)

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