Posted by Jeff Benson on Jul 09, 2019

Today was Dennis Connolly’s first meeting as our new club President.  He introduced the Rotary International presidential theme, “Rotary Connects the World”.


Due to rainy skies, our hot dog feed for the Global Academy playground volunteer workers was moved indoors to Salem Covenant Church.  Everyone was most appreciative of our now legendary hog dog cooking skills.


President Dennis reminded us of the following upcoming events:

- The Board meets at 11AM, July 23rd at the Exchange.

- The Rotary picnic will be held at John and Marla Ordway’s on Saturday, July 27th, from 3-9PM.

- If you eat too much at the Rotary Picnic, you can walk it off on Sunday, July 28, at the Walk for Your Neighbors fundraiser for the Community Support Center.  The club will donate $10 for each mile walked by NBMV Rotarians up to a total of $250.

- At our July 30th Noon meeting, Dennis and the Board will lay out their vision for the coming year.

- The Flex group will meet at 7:15AM, August 1st, at the BruHouse.  All are welcome to attend.

- Don’t forget that the Stockyard Days Parade has been moved to Saturday, August 3rd.  All Rotarians are asked to be on hand at 1PM to begin preparations to serve 1,000 hot dogs to parade participants.

- The Mounds View Festival in the Park is Saturday, August 17th, and volunteers are needed to help call bingo.


Cindy Carlson passed the hat for donations to Ralph Reeder Food Shelf to take advantage of a $5,000 matching grant for this month.


Maria Klakegg returned to Norway this week after a remarkable year as our inbound exchange student.  She expressed her extreme gratitude for her exchange experience and vows to return to experience the State Fair.  She and her family would welcome visits to Norway.


Our Japanese exchange student, Nanase Hirama, will be arriving at 12:30PM on August 16th.  Mark your calendars now to ensure a warm welcome for Nanase at the airport.


Geoff Hollimon visited E.C.H.O. in Fort Myers recently and displayed some photos of the ECHO farm.  If you are ever in the Fort Myers area, you owe it to yourself to visit this amazing facility.  Contact Geoff for information on how best to visit.


Dennis gave a Happy Buck for the start of his presidency and Cindy Carlson also offered a buck to celebrate the beginning of Denny’s presidency and, coincidentally, the end of her own.


Dennis also paid a buck to thank John Marg-Patton for inviting him to join Rotary.  John had also encouraged Dennis to become president of the club. (John could be persuasive!)


Dennis also won the raffle today and that’s got to be a good omen for his year as president.


Cindy Carlson, Membership Development Director, introduced PDG and White Bear Rotarian, Jim Hunt and his co-speaker, White Bear Rotarian and District 5960 Membership Chair, Greg Bartz.  Jim Hunt began the presentation by describing membership as a strategic priority for Rotary at the District and International levels.  He said that, although total Rotary membership remains relatively constant at 1.2 million, membership in the U.S. is decreasing.  District 5960 is responding to this trend by setting a goal of 3,000 members by 2020.  That’s a net increase of 255 members, which is no small task.  Jim said that the keys to achieving this will be first attracting new members and then engaging them to ensure retention.  Jim asserted that we want to attract anyone who believes in the Four Way Test and is service minded.  He suggested that to attract new members we need to look at our club from the point of view of the prospective member.  Are we attractive to new members?  Do we meet the needs of those that we would like to attract?  Are our meetings fresh and fun?  Is our website attractive and up to date?  Are we diverse?  Are we welcoming? 


But where and how do we find these prospective members?  Jim suggested that, in addition to friends and co-workers, we look closely at non-Rotarians who attend our events and help with our service projects.  We also should be talking to youth exchange host families, Rotaractors, Interactors and members of other organizations doing good things in the community.


Greg Bartz followed up on Jim’s presentation by discussing how to engage new members to keep them in Rotary.  His suggestions were:

- Have a meaningful induction ceremony

- Have a structured new member orientation and mentoring program

- Invite new members to join a committee or team

- Involve new members in service projects

- Monitor meeting attendance and follow up


Greg encouraged us to create a membership plan but keep it simple so it can be followed.  He said that Rotarians are everywhere among us and we should always be on the lookout for likely prospects.  We should never pass up the opportunity to ask people to attend a meeting.  He said that we all have a personal story about our Rotary involvement and that we should tell to anyone who will listen.


Greg, Cindy and Jim are pictured below.