Does Rotary Fellowship Matter?
By Tom Sturiale
A couple of weeks ago, my wife asked me why our club never had a holiday party and I did not have a good answer. So we organized one, which our club enjoyed last Thursday evening. Almost 40 members and their spouses attended and it was a good time had by all.  Maybe next year, we will plan a little further ahead and we may have more members attend. 
A few members left saying we should do this more often. True – we should! Why not?  Fun, fellowship and friendship are three important reasons to belong to Rotary. Of course, we spend a great amount of energy, time and resources on the betterment of our communities, but we also need to build upon the fellowship of our members. Club leaders should think a bit more about how the members relate to each other. Why is that important?
In every organization, loyalty to fellow workers or members is often stronger than it is to the organization. Most people will devote themselves to a cause one step at a time.  Devotion to the cause will happen first, through loyalty to fellow members, then to the larger organization, and finally to the overall cause.  As is in every human endeavor, there are zealots who are devoted to the cause first and fellowship be darned, but they are the exceptions.
Listen to soldiers from every country and every war who all spoke of their willingness to sacrifice everything for their buddies in the foxhole, in the cockpit or on the ship first before their flag and country. That is fellowship in the extreme .but it also exists in more moderate organizations such as Rotary. Increase the fellowship and the result is friends. Then, the fun will happen.
For those of us who have visited many clubs, can you tell the difference between those clubs where there is a decided level of fun, fellowship and friendship and those just plain “blah” clubs?  Sure you can. And most assuredly, so can visitors and prospective members. So in addition to all the good work we do as Rotary clubs, let us spend a little more time thinking about how we can increase the level of fellowship in our clubs. This is how we get to meet other members, new members and spouses. This is how we get to learn about members’ families and interests. This is how we get to build stronger relationships with all the members. We just may become a bit more committed to the club goals and the objectives of Rotary through those relationships. 
So what can club leaders do? Maybe a first step is a holiday party, but there are other holidays to celebrate throughout the year. How about family picnic days in the spring and summer? Or evening dinner non-business meetings with spouses? Or regular meetings where spouses are invited? We could think about inviting prospective members or friends of Rotary to these events as well. These events should be dispersed throughout the year to keep the spirit of fellowship alive and well in Rotary. Friendly and fun clubs will do a much better job in attracting new members into Rotary.
Please let me know any ideas, comments and stories about Membership you would like to share. E-mail me at
Tom Sturiale is vice chair of District 7910's Membership Committee.
Here are the Membership Corner articles that were posted during November:
November 30: A Rotary Thanksgiving