'It's a fellowship thing. We just have fun.'
- Merle Derscheid
The Rotary International theme for June is Fellowship.
When I first joined Rotary, I thought that meant friendships – getting to know one’s fellow Rotarians, building relationships and strengthening bonds between us. This seemed like a nice idea and an important one, but I was to discover that this wasn’t quite the case.
The month of June celebrates a number of groups that come under the banner of Rotary Fellowships, which are a group of international Rotarians that share a common passion. That common interest may be a hobby, a sport, a profession or an activity. In all, there are 78 different Fellowships and they are as diverse as they could possibly be.
For professionals, some of the Fellowships include: Health Professionals, Police and Law Enforcement Officers and the more general Rotary Means Business. If you are a sporting enthusiast, you could join the Fellowships for tennis, cricket, scuba diving, or cycling. And as for hobbies, the list is endless: bird watching, genealogists, cooking and caravanning to name just a few.
Many of the Fellowships have a booth at International Convention and promote their memberships there. Many have specific activities at the Convention, such as specific dinners or meetings. Some of the Fellowships have special fundraising activities where they raise money for certain projects. Others have international events such as the Fellowship of Marathon Running, who are staging a marathon in New Zealand in November 2018, combined with a sightseeing tour of the country.
What drew my attention was some of the more obscure groups, (well, obscure to me!) so I thought that perhaps I could find a brand new interest! Trying to find out a little more about the Rotary Fellowship of Go, I tried to explore their website, only to find that it was written entirely in Japanese! However a little more research enabled me to discover that Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players which had its origin in China but has become very popular in Japan and Korea.
So, not getting very far with Go, I decided to explore something else that was a little unusual – the Rotary Fellowship of Magna Graecia. This website was in Italian, but it did quite comfortably translate into English. This Fellowship brings together Rotarians who are interested in the Greek, Roman and Italian roots of modern culture. Somehow, I didn’t think that was for me, either!
So what about the Fellowship of Magicians? I wonder just how many Rotarians practice magic. Their website gave me details of two magicians (are there more members?), one from the Netherlands and one from the USA. Sadly I could only find one of their newsletters – from 2009! So, I think that maybe magicians are out of the question as well.
The Fellowship of Antique Classic and Historic Automobiles seemed more up to date, with quite an impressive website as did the one for the International Fellowship of Railroading Rotarians. But they are not really topics of interest to me.
But suddenly a couple of Fellowships that were of interest to me took my eye. The Fellowships of Quilters and Fibre Artists and the Fellowship of Genealogists seemed much more to my taste. Perhaps I have now found something to investigate further.
I am sure that if you look hard enough at the list of 78 Fellowships, you will find something that interests you. It could be a brand new adventure in Rotary life!