What a year it has been for our Club! As I write this, my last presidential letter for the Windmill, I'm reflective on all that our Club has accomplished this year, and am mindful that no one Rotarian made these things happen on his/her own. We succeeded only because we work together combining our skill sets and our passion for service above self.
Together, we raised enough money to purchase not one but two cows for Kenyans. Together, we adopted a new Family Memberships option, making joining Bennington Rotary Club more attractive. Together, we succeeded in our first-ever GarlicFest brochure fundraiser. Together with our District, we applied for our first global grant. Together, we raised nearly $1,000 for Australian wild fires relief. Together, we faced the challenges of a pandemic and were able to keep our valued connections while serving in new and innovative ways. Together, we looked at our community and identified where there was need, and how we could help.
As we prepare to start our new Rotary year, we do not know the new challenges we will face. We know that the world is an unstable place. We know that there will be new needs and new opportunities to help. Together, we may face difficult decisions and may need to engage in courageous conversations.
One of the conversations I hope we will have is around membership. I hope that, together, we can look around our tables and identify the voices we are missing. We know that there are business sectors that are missing (hospital? bank?), but there are other valuable perspectives we are missing as well. There are many people of color, people with disabilities, people of different sexual orientations and preferences in our community who would make outstanding Rotarians, and who will add diverse perspectives that may lead to deeper impact within our work. I hope that we will broaden our membership base and be thoughtful about both the subtle and direct ways we welcome all people into our Rotary family.
No matter what challenges we face this year, I know that Bennington Rotarians can meet them with courage, integrity and ingenuity - as long as do it together.
Yours in Rotary Service,