A founding principle of Rotary was to meet periodically to enjoy camaraderie and enlarge one's circle of business and professional acquaintances. As the oldest service club in the world, Rotary club members represent a cross-section of the community's owners, executives, managers, political leaders, and professionals – people who make decisions and influence policy.
Club members have many opportunities for humanitarian service, both locally and internationally. Service programs address such concerns as health care, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, and the environment. Rotarians experience the fulfillment that comes from giving back to the community.
With more than 32,000 clubs in over 200 countries & geographical areas, Rotarians gain an understanding of humanitarian issues through international service projects and exchange programs. One of Rotary's highest objectives is to build goodwill and peace throughout the world.
Rotary was founded on fellowship, an ideal that remains a major attraction of membership today. Club members enjoy the camaraderie with like-minded professionals, and club projects offer additional opportunities to develop enduring friendships. Rotary club members who travel have friendly contacts in almost every city in the world.
Weekly Rotary club programs keep members informed about what is taking place in the community, nation, and world and motivated to make a difference.
Rotary sponsors some of the world's largest youth exchange, educational exchange, and scholarship programs. Rotary clubs provide innovative training opportunities and mentoring for young leaders and involve family members in a wide range of social and service activities.
Social activities give Rotarians a chance to let loose and have fun. Every Rotary club and district hosts parties and activities that offer diversions from today's demanding professional and personal schedules. Conferences, conventions, assemblies, and social events provide entertainment as well as Rotary information, education, and service.
Encouraging high ethical standards in one's profession and respect for all worthy vocations has been a hallmark of Rotary from its earliest days. In their business and professional lives, Rotarians abide by The Four-Way Test:
Of the things we think, say or do:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it BUILD GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Rotary is an organization of successful professionals. Team building, fundraising, public speaking, planning, organization, and communication are just a sampling of the leadership skills that club members can exercise and enhance. Being a Rotary leader provides further experience in learning how to motivate, inspire, and guide others.
Diversity in Membership
Rotary's classification system ensures that a club's membership represents a variety of the community's professional men and women, including leaders in business, industry, the arts, government, sports, the military, and religion. Rotary clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.