When you engage in an activity, any activity, you have either one of two paths to follow; continue or stop. You either partake or you cease to partake, it’s as simple as that. It is of my opinion, regardless of where you are from, what your background is, what kind of job you hold, how many hats you wear throughout your day or life, if you choose to stick with whatever task you are given in your current position you will hit a certain point where you feel that it is time to take your game to the next level. Whether this is learning more about what it is you are engaged in, pushing yourself up whatever ladder is in front of you, or stepping from being a passive participant to becoming an engaged partner, you will come to the realization that to if you truly want to get the most out of whatever you are engaged in you must take it to the next level. This is my experience at any rate. When speaking to Rotarians I’ve heard this expressed in two ways; you may be part of Rotary and you may be an engaged member but until you hit your epiphany (your Aha! moment) you are not truly a Rotarian. Put in other terms, these members may be referred to as RINOs (Rotarians In Name Only). There is nothing wrong with that, it simply is what it is. It separates the boys from the men (per se); or more so in our case, those who enjoy the idea as opposed to those with full conviction.
Personally, I am one of those personality types that will throw myself into the situation and learn as much as I can about it. I like to know for myself that I have the answers and I know what is going on. Unrealistic… perhaps. But I’m a bit of a romantic like that. But one thing is for certain, I rarely give up in the quest to succeed. Having said that, I would never say that I know everything about everything. I am by no means the encyclopaedia of Rotaract, or my profession, or anything else that I engage myself in, but I do like to know a lot about the areas that I am engaged in. To that extent, I felt that now was the right time to take myself farther into the workings of Rotary to make myself a better Rotaractor and a greater resource to our local and international Rotaract community in that I enrolled myself in District 5050 Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI).
RLI was established in 1992 in New Jersey, USA, as a tool to ready Rotary club members in their area to train their members in leadership roles in their club as well as leadership in the community. The idea quickly caught on and soon spread to over 200 districts throughout the world as regions saw the value in the fast paced, centralized training model. District 5050 adopted RLI training seminars in 2003 and has been successful in promoting Rotary and leadership education for nearly 10 years now. In September 2012 a new RLI curriculum was put into place to keep the program current and engaging. An interesting note, although RLI is promoted by Rotary International it is not an official sanctioned program. This is simply because the burden to publish RLI in over 200 districts in the six official recognized Rotary languages wouldn’t only cost RI a tonne of money but it would be a logistical nightmare to coordinate.
With all of that said, This past September 2012 session of RLI saw not only one, but two Rotaractors from D5050 in attendance. Rotaract Club of Chilliwack Fraser President Desmond Devnich and myself attended the first of three sessions, the first of which was held at the Best Western in Mt. Vernon, WA. It truly was a day full of information and fellowship. Although I must admit, there was a lot of review for myself, that was part in partial to the extreme learning scenario that I tend to place myself in prior to attending. It was great to be in a room full of relative newbies to the organization though, all with an equal amount of commitment and passion towards the cause. But really, isn’t that a huge part of what makes Rotaract and Rotary so great?!
Am I a RINO (Rotaractor in name only)? No, I don’t think so. Have I truly embodied all that makes the finest Rotarian? No, I don’t think I’m quite there yet. I do however feel that I am on a path to becoming a fine leader and fabulous Rotarian. I am certain of one thing though; when I reach my epiphany, everyone will know it.