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Rotary's Five Avenues of Service
Category: Other | By RotaryGlobal, 9-Aug-2011 | Viewed 4761  Comments 0
26 July 2011

Rotaractor Cheryl Wong and Rotarian Celine Pasty, on site for the Rotaract Service Project: building homes for hurricane survivors with Habitat for Humanity. RI Convention, 19 May 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
When a club or organization like Rotary reaches globally over one million members there is a tendency to think that the network holding it all together is very complex. I have found it helpful to break down the overall structure into component parts. Take for example the five avenues of service.  When friends ask how Rotary manages to execute a huge number of annual service projects (as many as 150,000) the response will likely be that there is an organizational structure that allows the necessary parts to fit together.  This structure must be simple enough to accommodate the local input and yet encompassing enough for the international picture. It must include vocations which are a corner stone of Rotary as well as club fellowship and most recently a way for the new generations to become involved. It helps me to visualize the five avenues of service becoming more expansive from the club, community to country plus the two extras.

[Photo: Rotaractor Cheryl Wong and Rotarian Celine Pasty, on site for the Rotaract Service Project: building homes for hurricane survivors with Habitat for Humanity. RI Convention, 19 May 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Copyright Rotary International]

Service is provided first at a club level, then the community in which Rotarian's reside and next at the international level. Of the five avenues of service the remaining two are vocations and new generations.

Club service involves manning the club's committees. Each week they set up the meeting venue, track the attendance, arrange for the speakers, and welcome the guests, etc. Friendships and Rotarian fellowship developed during this committee work promotes a team approach. A vision of what can be done to create a better world often starts at this level.

Community service revolves around being of assistance in the community - where ever the need occurs - helping children, needy families, the aged, the handicapped etc. Do you know of a Rotary Park?

International service is very attractive to those for whom foreign destinations and often elementary humanitarian service are a calling. It is based on the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional leaders. In practical terms this means that you will be working on a project of your choosing, for which the opportunity to visit is real and at least for now is a project which is an outlet for your passion. The next two avenues of service include one's vocation and the new generations. 

Vocational Service
A corner stone of Rotary is the vocation or profession by which you earn a living or through which you devote a sizeable portion of your time at work. There is an honor and dignity which comes from a job well done. Rotary is out to link together folks that are both proud of what they do and who seek opportunities to use their knowledge to engage in service work.

New Generations
Before taking on a new project, Rotarians are encouraged to reflect broadly on new generations and how they could contribute within each avenue of service.

The Avenue of New Generations recognizes the positive change implemented by youth and young adults involved in leadership development activities, community and international service projects, and exchange programs that enrich and foster world peace and cultural understanding.

New Generations are the future of Rotary. In the job of being relevant it is helpful to know what is coming up next and who is going to take on that task.


Steven D. Rickard
Founding President of Rotarian Action Group for Microcredit

Steven D. Rickard
Steve is a passionate supporter of microcredit. He grew up with the values of his small town where credit was essential and being under-capitalized was the ruination of many small businesses. Operating a successful real estate appraisal business for more than 30 years Steve regularly used and learned the power of business loans. Steve joined Rotary in 1984 and soon adapted to the vocational, club, community and international service projects. In the search for the single best anti poverty tool and knowing that there are tens of thousands of children dying under five years of age every day of hunger and malnutrition related disease, he found microcredit. His Calgary West Rotary Club began funding microcredit projects in the late 1980's and sent their first team out to inspect a Mexican microcredit project in 1994. By the year 2000 Steve accepted the position of Calgary West Club president and in 2005 Steve became Rotary District 5360 Governor. Steve, his wife Marie, their three kids and most of their extended family and friends are regularly exposed, in the Rickard home to the passion for Microcredit. Together they are pursuing a common goal using familial values to provide hope and end the gut wrenching misery of poverty, one small loan at a time.
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