By Lisa Cook, Rotary Service and Engagement Staff
June is Rotary Fellowships month. This is a perfect time to explore your hobbies, interests, or profession by joining one of Rotary’s fellowships. Fellowships are international, independently organized groups of people who have a common interest. With more than 100 officially recognized fellowships, there are many ways to connect with new friends outside of your club, expand your international network, and develop a more global perspective. So why should you join a Rotary Fellowship?
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 family 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, explore a shared passion or network over shared professions, 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, the International Rotary Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals has been supporting relief efforts to the war in Ukraine supplying lifesaving medications, tourniquets, coordinating and leading medical seminars on blast injuries and much more.
3. Recruit your non-member friends to Rotary
Everyone is welcome to join a Rotary Fellowship, including people who are not members of a Rotary or Rotaract club! Invite your friends 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 music events where he would start talking about the Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship and Rotary in general with 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 continues to introducing new members to Rotary.
4. Develop leadership skills
Fellowships offer members and participants leadership opportunities by creating inclusive environments to lead international groups and activities, attend events, 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 Fellowship of Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) brings together Rotarians, Rotaractors, alumni, and friends of Rotary who have an interest in leadership and personal and professional development through events where we can connect and learn from each other.
This month, we’re celebrating by sharing stories from some of our Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to learn more or to join! View the full list of Rotary Fellowships to find one that fits your interests.