Rotary for a New Generation in a New Year
Here’s a little background – and a New Year’s Resolution.
In 2021, people who were born in 2003 will turn 18 years of age – the age of majority where people are considered an adult. Some say these new adults are not of the “Millennial” generation, although they are associated with some of the same characteristics. They are after the Millennials, referred to as “Generation Z” – as opposed to many of us who are “Baby Boomers” or members of the “Greatest Generation.”
You may not believe all the stereotypes about being of a particular generation, but those new 18-year-olds probably never used a rotary dial phone or a pay phone, don’t have a VHS tape, never played an audio cassette, and never looked up a number in the Yellow Pages. And, sadly, many of these new adults have no idea what Rotary is all about.
Our club does a fair job of reaching out to young people in the Brookings area. We give scholarships to SDSU, we have a “Senior of the Month” or two join us during the school year, and we’re pretty visible through our service projects. While some young people will leave the community, others will stay or return to fulfil their roles as community leaders. We need them to know about Rotary, and our current efforts to reach young people are not enough. That’s where the New Year’s Resolution comes in.
In 2021, let’s resolve to reach out to our young people in ways that we never have before. Clearly, 2020 set a precedent of conducting our meetings virtually. While we will be back in person sometime in the new year, I think we’ll always have an online version of our in-person meetings. This will be great for our members who travel out of town, and it will be even easier to invite young people to our meetings, both in person and online. There’s even a new technology initiative in District 5610 that can assist us! Let’s actively rekindle our Rotaract Club, and maybe start an Interact Club at the high school.
The GOOD news is that Gen Z members are entrepreneurial, tech savvy, independent, competitive, and social. Give them a worthy cause, and they want to make a difference. We need to meet them. We need to engage them. They are the future of Rotary in Brookings.