By Steve Henning, Rotary Club of Kutztown, USA, and member of the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians
In the early 1990’s, several Rotarians who were also Scouters met and discussed how to provide an outlet for other Rotarians who shared their same interest through a Rotary Fellowship. The principles and goals of Rotary and Scouting are closely aligned: serving our community, others, and ourselves, developing leadership skills, building character, and becoming aware of the world around us.
A group of British Rotarians interested in scouting formed the basis of the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians (IFSR). An organizing meeting was held at the Rotary International Convention in Mexico City in 1991 and shortly after the fellowship was approved. The Fellowship’s first formal meeting was held in Marseille, France; today we have more than 1000 members worldwide and promote the Rotary motto of Service Above Self.
IFSR is a group of Rotarians dedicated to promoting the scouting movement internationally. We aim to develop a strong international network of Rotarians with a passion for scouting. IFSR provides opportunities for social and fellowship interaction among its members. We also give active encouragement to scouting at local, national and international levels and recognize individuals who have provided exceptionally unique service to scouting and Rotary.
We are committed to supporting youth in their physical, mental and spiritual development through a strong focus on the outdoors and survival skills. We encourage youth service and honor Rotary clubs who provide service to or work with Scouts with the IFSR Youth Service Award. Below are some recent recipients of this award:
- In the Cayman Islands, seniors were in for a special treat when young ladies from the Girl Guides, Brownies and Rainbows spent the evening with them at the Cayman Brac Rotary Club’s Annual Senior Citizen Dinner. Seniors were treated to a traditional Caymanian Christmas dinner and each given a gift prepared by the Rotarians.
- In Australia, the Diamantina Scouts lost their scout hall when the building was targeted by arsonists in 2010. Through sausage sizzles and badge sales, the group raised more than USD $20,000. With the support of the Rotary Club of Belconnen, the Scouts Australia ACT branch raised the remaining USD $130,000 needed to rebuild.
- The Brentwood Noon Rotary Club of Tennessee in the United Sates held its 11th Annual Little Harpeth River Cleanup, cleaning up nearly 3,000 pounds of trash in a river that runs more than 10 miles through the city. In addition to Rotary club members, volunteers from the Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs helped.
- In England, thanks to a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles, 21 members of the 1st Sherborne Girl Guides will take part in a camping trip.
Membership in the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians is open to Rotarians, family members, program participants and alumni in any country, who are also former current members or supporters of any (girl or boy) Scout or Guide Association. Learn more on our website and join today!
Throughout the month of June, we’ll be celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.