Like all of you, when I first joined Rotary I started receiving the monthly issue of the Rotary magazine.  The Rotary magazine does a great job at disseminating service projects happening at the club, district, national and international level.  In the March issue, I learned about technology that can map polio outbreaks, a club in Washington that converts wine barrels to planters that attract pollinators (i.e., bees), how a Rotary club in Hungary stepped up to take over a summer camp for children with Down syndrome and other cognitive disorders, and "Harvest Against Hunger", which collects leftover farm produce in the fields after harvest for families in need of food.  I even read about a Rotary Club in South Korea that volunteers at a local animal shelter for large dogs.  Large dogs are difficult to place in homes in South Korea because many people don't have enough space for the dogs.  Not to sound trite, but these stories are truly inspirational.
As I read the magazine articles, my mind turned to opportunities and challenges we have in the Brookings Rotary Club.  First, I am excited that we are reinstating the Rotary magazine minute on a monthly basis.  This magazine review will hopefully inspire you to pick up your copy of the Rotary magazine and read it!  Second, these magazine issues are full of terrific ideas for service projects.  One challenge we face in our club is identifying ideas for service projects, specifically projects that will attract younger people to Rotary.  I think about how many of our youth love pets.  Are there projects that we could undertake with the Brookings Humane Society or Animal Shelter?  Many Rotarians are currently or formerly involved in agriculture or engineering.  Are there projects we could work on that could benefit local farmers and producers, while also helping alleviate food insecurity?
I believe we must constantly be thinking of new ideas to serve Brookings.  If we fall into a rut with the same service projects we've been focused on for many years, we risk growing stale.  As my work schedule slows down this month, I'll be thinking about ways in which we can "think outside the box" with service projects and other activities that fit within our strategic plan.  I invite you to "think outside the box" as well.  If you have ideas, please share them with one of our dedicated Board members or myself.
Yours in Rotary,
Michael Gonda