ROTARY MYTH BUSTER

There are many myths and pre-conceptions about Rotary - this page seeks to dispel them.


Rotary Myth Buster

Many thanks to the Rotary Club of Engadine in Australia for providing most of the contents of this page.

Many people don’t fully understand what we do and who we are in Rotary. There are a number of myths about Rotary that we need to debunk. So we thought we’d share with you some answers to the TOP 10 myths we bump into out there in the community

Myth 1 – Rotary is for men only

Rotary International began in 1905, and for the first 84 years of its existence, it is true that women were not admitted into membership. Rotary changed its legislation in 1989 and today women represent approximately 22% of Rotary membership in Great Britain and Ireland. Leadership positions filled by women are well above this percentage. 16 of the 45 members of Rotary Cambridge are women - 36%. They are welcome in Rotary, and we are keen to increase our female membership.

Myth 2 – Rotary is for old people

At Cambridge Rotary a majority of us are near or post-retirement but we welcome new members of any age who want to make a contribution.

Myth 3 – You have to attend every week

At Rotary Cambridge we have no requirement to attend a fixed number of meetings. We do meet on a weekly basis, variously for breakfast, lunch and evening meals, and members are encouraged to attend whenever possible, but we understand that there are many demands on everyone's time. In addition to regular club meetings, Rotarians have other ways to become involved, such as fundraising activities, community service projects, and social events. Some members are able to attend every week, but some prefer to contribute in other ways. We prefer to focus on what you can give, not what you can’t. Many of our project teams meet on Zoom to reduce travelling time and costs.

Myth 4 – Rotary is only for Doctors, Lawyers and CEOs

Rotary’s membership base is a broad cross section of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and professions. Our diversity is our strongest asset. We do have health workers and lawyers in our club but also teachers, accountants, engineers, surveyors, builders, a journalist, a graphic designer and a local radio DJ, among others. Every job and profession is represented in Rotary somewhere. Work from home? Just starting out in business? Moving up through the ranks? Made it to the top? Retired? There is a role for you in Rotary.

Myth 5 – Membership is by invitation only

Anyone can visit and join a Rotary club. There are no secret handshakes or 'member only' rituals in Rotary. We accept members from all walks of life, and have no cultural or religious barriers or expectations. Anyone who is interested can get in touch using the 'Contact' tab at the top of this page and ask to attend a meeting with at least five days notice. One of our members will gladly host you and tell you all about it. If after attending a few meetings, you have shown interest in joining a club you will more than likely be invited to join. At Rotary Cambridge, we also welcome new Associate Members for up to a year, to allow them to try us out without committing long-term.

Myth 6 – Rotary is a religious organisation or a secret society

Rotary is non-religious and non-political. We have no secret handshake, no secret meetings and no secret rituals. It is an open organisation of men and women who simply believe in helping others.

Myth 7 – All Rotarians do is have formal meals

Yes, we meet for a meal most weeks (and some of them are informal), but you’ll soon realise that’s not the only thing we do. Rotary clubs raise funds to support their charitable projects. We run several successful competitions and events for children. Behind the scenes there are many less obvious, hands-on ways that Rotarians contribute to the community. At many of our meetings we have fascinating talks from a wide range of knowledgeable speakers (click here for our programme). We also organise other social events, including walks, theatre trips, visits to places of interest and fundraising picnics.

Myth 8 – You’ve seen one Rotary club, you’ve seen them all

There are over 46,000 Rotary clubs in the world (over 1,600 in Great Britain and Ireland) and no two are the same. They are all unique, with unique members, unique projects, and unique culture. Each has its own group of officers who administer the club autonomously. One of them is just right for you!

Myth 9 – You cannot discuss your business or profession in Rotary

The first ever Rotary meeting, 1905 in Chicago, was initiated to serve the professional and social interests of its members. But as Rotary grew, members began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. Rotary is now the world’s premier humanitarian service organisation, but business networking does play a (very small) part in our activities.

Myth 10 – Rotary is an “old fashioned” organisation, with boring and ritualistic meetings

As a century old organisation, it’s reasonable to expect that there are some long observed traditions in some clubs. But the very highest levels of Rotary leadership, both at global and local level, are encouraging clubs to innovate and become more progressive in the way they do things. Every club is different. Some are more progressive, and some have a more traditional culture. But let there be no doubt, Rotary is changing for the better. Give Rotary a go TODAY!

Rotary Cambridge has eliminated many of the old fashioned meeting protocols without throwing out the essentials for the running of an efficient event.

We think these myths have been totally busted! Why don’t you try us and join an organisation that’s been going for many decades but is always evolving?

 

The graphic

The graphic was produced by Susan Rogers who worked with a designer to bring the idea to life. Part of the deal was that Rotary had the copyright for it.  Susan is a member of the newly formed Adventurers Rotary Club based in North Yorkshire.

'What We Do' Main Pages:

The winners and runners-up of our local heat

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Eden Project, Horatio Martin, District winner and 3rd place in National Final

The results of our annual competition - two of our local winners have also won at District level and one has won 3rd prize in the National Final

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At the Centre for Computing History

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We have become one of only four Rotary Clubs to be awarded a Platinum Certificate, in recognition of donations to Shelterbox of £10,200 in 2022-3

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Rotary Clubs worldwide are spear-heading the drive to eliminate polio

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We have recently started supporting this successful and worthwhile cause

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There are many myths and pre-conceptions about Rotary - this page seeks to dispel them.

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Several of our entrants last year had success at District level and one was a winner of the National final

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34 of our members and friends are walking to plant trees with Treekly

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Our annual competition for budding artists - our entrants all won the second stage District Competition last year

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Our popular event for school choirs and their families & friends raised over £15,000 for local children's charities

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We organise two-day breaks at a National Trust site in N Norfolk for young people aged 12-15 who probably won't get any other holiday

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Combating AMR is the focus of this year's President's Charity, Antibiotic Research UK

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Our members take part in many hands-on activities as listed below

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Our Junior Competition entrant has gone on to win at National Level. Our Intermediate Team won third prize in their group

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Chloe Folkes, 3rd National Prizewinner

Our Senior Winner Chloe Folkes has received 3rd Prize in the National Competition

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Past President John Martin uses his building skills to help the locals create a community centre for this deprived settlement in The Gambia, only a few miles from the luxurious tourist resorts on the coast

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We raised funds supporting Ukrainians both in Ukraine and in Cambridge & East Anglia from several events in 2022

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The East Anglian District and National Rotary Magazines feature the wide range of charitable and fellowship activities that Rotary Clubs enjoy

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We and our colleagues in the three other Cambridge clubs celebrated 100 years of Rotary service in 2022

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Our inaugural competition for budding computer experts, for the Francis Hookham Trophy

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Read the story behind this map and visit any of the operational WW2 UK RAF and USAAF airfields

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We are part of a worldwide movement of 46,000 Rotary clubs with a total of 1.4 million members. We enjoy a range of informal fellowship events while supporting local and international charities

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Cambridge Aid does great work in support of Cambridge residents in need. In 2019-21 we raised over £12,500 and we continue to support them

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RYLA offers an intensive 7-day course for 18-26 year-olds, helping them to develop as future leaders

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A sample of our members' varied interests and significant contributions to the local community

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A brief history of the Rotary Club of Cambridge together with some records which might be of interest to the wider audience

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Our members raised £1366 for Children in Need in Cambridge Market Square on 20 November 2021

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