I am proud to be a Rotarian. Actually, I’m an honorary Rotarian thanks to Bob Daggett and the late Jack Moseley.
I loosely hold the office of song leader, which means when I am in town and attending the Wednesday Grove Rotary Meeting, the groans can be heard throughout the building since it means the club will have to sing.
I have been happy to speak at the Miami Rotary Club meeting, and as I recall I offered to lead them in a tune. I love the things that the Rotary organization stands for and all that our local clubs do for our communities.
What does this have to do with traveling? When we are on the road with our group, it seems we enjoy taking pictures of Rotary sponsored projects we see whether it’s a park bench or a medical facility, we try to pose by it. Zig and I crashed a meeting in Tortola when we saw a sign “Rotary Meets Here”.
We recently had another chance to make up a meeting, this time it was somewhere in the Baltic Sea, onboard the Viking Star during the Viking Homelands cruise to the Baltic Countries.
After a few conversations on board with fellow Rotarians that were wearing the Rotary wheel logo, conversations were started and a meeting was planned. Just sharing by word of mouth, we had more than 30 in attendance including the spouses.
This is where it gets kind of fun.
In attendance were five from Oklahoma, three from New Zealand, four from Australia, one from Georgia, two from Arizona plus some I missed.
Our meeting space in the Explorer’s Lounge offered a beautiful view of the ocean. We went around the room with informal introductions and told how many years we had been involved with Rotary. Members also talked about their local clubs and number of members, successful fundraisers, and a few of the projects that their club supported.
Just in our small gathering, it was discovered we had - a married couple in a club, a first. A first member of a club. Members of the club in New Zealand that campaigned to allow women membership back in the 1980’s. (it took two attempts), and a World’s President Award winner.
Fundraisers ranged from selling lobsters in Oklahoma to selling ads in Yellow Pages. Projects included working in dental facilities in Mexico, buying and delivering wheelchairs, repairing and repurposing Cath Labs, Annual Chili Cook-offs to benefit Dolly Pardon’s Imagination Library, dragon boat races, funding a cure for diabetes and developing solar powered oxygen equipment.
We discussed the differences and uniqueness of our countries organizations. We laughed, exchanged cards and ideas and left knowing that we were no longer strangers, but instead a group of folks that believed in a common goal for good for the world.
We hope to cross paths somewhere in the world again as we continue to live the Rotary Four-Way Test.
Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.