Novice and Senior Rotarians Form Robust Connections

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Have you seen Rotarians struggle to mix senior members with rejuvenated novices in ways that grow their club to benefit all?

A Rotary club’s challenge is to value traditions built on yesteryears, and at the same time open windows into refreshing opportunities suited for a new era. It takes shared visions across different generations to bring together seniors and rookies. To cultivate robust communities ready to serve together within and beyond our club, means more flexibility and finer communication.

What if we draw upon mindful tools to build Rotary’s vision forward in new approaches together that serve others across generations?

Typically, if youthful members proliferate without a sponsor’s support, the club’s culture may flex to meet young leaders’ busy lifestyles, but we leave behind seniors. We all lose when senior Rotarians take a back seat or leave in response to our neglect going forward. Conversely, when established Rotarians hold fort in former, traditional or inflexible clubs, new members tend to flee. Luckily, there are modern tools that equip us all to build on both contemporary and conventional talents in our Rotary clubs.

So how does a mentorship program, built on mindfulness, and cultivated around multiple and emotional intelligences, work as a flexible tool to build robust Rotary communities?

Mindful mentorship starts between sponsors and new members, and is based on new neural discoveries. Sponsors and new members discuss together one, several, or all of the two-footed questions listed to the left below. Questions in the left column, draw on our intrapersonal or emotional intelligence and prompt dynamic discussions over lunch, coffee or a hike. After each exchange prompted by a left column question, select one question-prompt on the right-sided list which mentors us in areas of social or interpersonal intelligence. Using these mind-guiding probes, both sponsors and newcomers will help us build and progress shared visions in our Rotary clubs across interests and service opportunities.

Two-footed questions above give us a fun reason to meet with and mentor others

To experience the roles of seniors and new members, our regular club meeting can try on how to mentor one another using this mind-guiding or mentoring tool. How so?

It’s a mere matter of Rotarians knowing and being known in ways that foster support across generations. After getting to know that one new member recently lost his job for instance, a senior Rotarian sponsor stepped up to pay his lunch at the next meeting.

Copy and distribute the questions above and explanation below to half of your club at a regular meeting, in place of a speaker. Distribute the questions above, and mentor guide below to exactly half of the room. Select as many newer members here as possible. Then invite newer members who have copies to share them with a Rotarian who differs most from them, in age, gender, beliefs, or a member they know least. Next, in a pair-share setting, each person will choose one question from each column to answer together. Then each pair joins another pair to discuss briefly what was learned, as well as ask questions they sill have related to topics discussed from the lists.

The image above illustrates how brain based mentoring works and how mind-guiding tools help us to builds on diverse talents and to cultivate and progress our Rotary clubs

Would you agree that the brain based mentorship tool can support newcomers and established Rotarians? Could this mindfulness tool also help us build inter-generational clubs that move Rotarians forward together to serve others of every background, beyond ourselves?

My Rotary club at Edmonton-Strathcona is determined to remain relevant, and our collective energy has added almost a dozen new members in the past few weeks. We are working together as a team, and mindful tools such as mind-guiding between sponsors and newcomers illustrates only one way we are accomplishing our shared vision to build a stronger club for established members, while opening fresh air spaces for new members to help energize us at every step. The results?

This brain based process, and new member mentorship, or mind-guiding tool, prepares our club for delightfully novel challenges in the times we face. We measure our results not only by on-going new memberships, but also by new vitality. Yes, among senior Rotarians who continue to share their wisdom with us, and among new members who learn to pass batons across healthy and progressive service runs.

Energy flows from mentorships with emotional and social encounters that result in improvements to our clubs as the enthusiasm builds and Rotarians recruit their colleagues to join the service ventures. Count me in! You?

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