The La Jolla New Generations Rotary Club uses a fresh approach to lure younger set
by Debbie Hatch
Jul 07, 2010 | 2392 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The La Jolla New Generations Rotary Club is hoping to increase its attractiveness to younger generations by using more convenient meeting times and eliminating prayer and songs used by more traditional Rotary Clubs. 	Courtesy Photo
The La Jolla New Generations Rotary Club is hoping to increase its attractiveness to younger generations by using more convenient meeting times and eliminating prayer and songs used by more traditional Rotary Clubs. Courtesy Photo
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Club members said while service remains the primary goal of the group, outside activities and social-media networking are helpful in luring younger members. 	Courtesy Photo
Club members said while service remains the primary goal of the group, outside activities and social-media networking are helpful in luring younger members. Courtesy Photo
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Red Badgers is the term the Rotary Club uses to identify its new members. The La Jolla New Generations Rotary Club hopes to spread word of its fresher approach to the Rotarian philosophy and grow its current membership from its current 40 to a goal of 100.

“It’s a full Rotary Club like any other,” said Matt Sanford, public relations chair for the club.

Recent Red Badgers include professionals from military personnel to local entrepreneurs.

The club, chartered in 2006, boasts an average age of 32 members annually, said Sanford. Fellowship, meetings and fundraisers are geared toward a younger crowd.

The group just completed a successful event called “Bowling for Water.”

“The funds raised from that project will go toward funding a clean-water project in the Sudan,” said Sanford.

While most Rotary Clubs hold meetings in the mornings, the New Generation Club holds its weekly meetings at the La Jolla Marriott from 5:30 p.m. to 7 on Wednesdays. The first 30 minutes are spent talking with other members and enjoying a happy hour. Sanford encourages anyone interested to stop by one of the meetings and see what Rotary has to offer.

As Sanford works for the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce, he emphasizes that professionals in the La Jolla area and beyond are welcome.

Social-media networking helps the club keep communications flowing. The club has a Facebook page used for updates, meeting notices and sharing pictures.

“We are about to end our fiscal year and introduce a new president,” said Sanford.

Kourtney Kennedy is the current president whose term will be complete at the end of June. Her year as president will culminate in a trip to Montreal for Rotary International’s annual meeting, where delegates from the United Nations and heads of state will attend, said Kennedy.

“We are a small cog in a huge wheel, but each of us makes a difference,” said Kennedy.

A former member of the Golden Triangle Rotary Club, Kennedy joined the New Generations Rotary simply because it fit her schedule better. She was able to attend meetings at night, allowing her to remain involved at a level that satisfied her.

“We are the first New Generations Rotary Club,” said Kennedy.

The New Generations Rotary Club does not sing or pray at meetings, practices that disguish it from a more traditional Rotary Club. Kennedy said club members want anyone to feel welcome to participate in the service organization, and club members hope to boost membership sans politics and religion.

The concept of fellowship, however, is still strong within the club.

“We have happy hours and we do things above and beyond the actual club,” said Kennedy.

The New Generations Rotary Club has a softball team and a group which trains for marathons together. Kennedy emphasized that while the organization’s intent is service rather than networking, it still offers a great deal of networking opportunities.

“First and foremost we are a new generation of spirit,” said Kennedy who foresees future members in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

“Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working professional, we want to welcome you into our club,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy sees the future of the club collaborating more with other Rotary organizations and emphasizes that they are stronger together than they are apart.

She said the New Generations Rotary Club is more hands-on and has less stringent rules when it comes to classification, as well as mandatory 100 percent participation.

Adaptation and flexibility are two manners in which the New Generation club sets itself apart from other Rotary Clubs.

“Every single week we are raising money to eradicate polio,” Kennedy said.

In more traditional Rotary Clubs, members are required to attend meeting each week. The New Generation Rotary Club acknowledges that some members travel for work or just can’t make every meeting. As such, they allow members to participate in online “make ups” through Rotary’s e-club online.

The New Generations Rotary Club also has lower dues than most Rotary Clubs, Kennedy said.

“You really have to find the club that works for you and your schedule,” said Kennedy.

For more information, visit www.ljnewgenrotary.org.
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