By Lisa Cook, Rotary Service and Engagement Staff
Rotary Fellowships are international groups that share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world, join a global community built around a hobby or profession, and enhance your Rotary experience.
Currently, 91 fellowships unite members in friendship and expand opportunities to enjoy their favorite recreational activities, sports, and professions. These groups range from cycling to skiing, Latin culture to jazz, doctors to photographers, and even wine-tasting to beer. View the complete list of Rotary Fellowships.
1) Connect with like-minded Rotary members and make friends around the world
While you regularly attend club meetings, Fellowships give you an opportunity to connect with members outside your club and district. They allow you to meet people within the Rotary network that you already have something in common with, making it easier to make new friends around the world. Developing these new relationships can help enhance our understanding of the world. You can exchange ideas with like-minded members, and learn new ways to serve through Rotary.
2) Implement service projects
Rotary members are committed to service so naturally they find new ways to serve through Fellowships. Many fellowships take on service projects leveraging their networks and resources.
For example, Beers Rotarians Enjoy Worldwide (BREW) donates 25 percent of their membership dues and any money they raise through fundraisers to the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, which apply the funds to service projects that provide clean water. The International Skiing Fellowship of Rotarians partners with organizations to train Rotary members as adaptive guides to support and promote the participation in snow sports for those with a disability.
3) Recruit your non-member friends to Rotary
A recent policy change allows anyone to join a Rotary Fellowship, including non-members! Invite your friends that you share a similar hobby or interest to join a Fellowship with you. This is a great opportunity to introduce them to Rotary.
For example, Felix Heintz, Chair & Founder of the Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship would always take his Fellowship’s flag with him to metal events where he would start talking about the Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship and Rotary in general to people he met. Some had heard of Rotary before, some hadn’t, but many were interested in joining the group. The Fellowship welcomed these members who had never been involved with Rotary before, and continue to attract new members while introducing them to Rotary.
4) Develop leadership skills
Fellowships offer members and participants leadership opportunities by creating inclusive environments to participate in activities, exchange ideas, and build a community in every corner of the world. From serving on a Fellowships’ board of directors to heading committees such as planning a special event or managing the group’s social media presence, there are so many ways to get involved.
For example, the Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association members are working with Rotarians around the world to plan district events aimed at generating peacebuilding projects. As professionals with expert knowledge and vast experience, they are leading efforts to build a more peaceful world.
Also, the Rotarian Public Health Fellowship is supporting the efforts of Rotaractors in Nicaragua to increase awareness about the rights of children through an educational campaign. The project was initially implemented in-person at children’s schools, and when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Fellowship members helped Rotaractors strengthen their efforts and continued the campaign online.
June is Rotary Fellowships Month! We’ll be celebrating by sharing inspirational stories from various Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship. Learn more about the activities they take on in the Rotary Fellowships Annual Report.
Take this quiz to test your Rotary Fellowship knowledge and check out the video below that highlights some of our Fellowships!