MARK DANIEL MALONEY
Here in the United States, another summer is
winding down. And for the Maloney family, every
summer ends with a return to my hometown of
Ridgway, Illinois, for the annual Popcorn Day
festival, where I am honored to serve as the
“Popcorn King,” the master of ceremonies for
the day’s events.
Regardless of the season, every family has its
own traditions. I would like to suggest a new one
for yours: Find an opportunity to introduce your
family to Rotary. One of my family’s traditions
is to take our daughters and grandsons to the
Rotary International Convention. The 2020
convention in Honolulu will be a wonderful way to
introduce your children and grandchildren to the
internationality of Rotary. We are planning many
family-oriented events for everyone to enjoy.
Any time is a fabulous time to bring family
members on a Rotary service project or to a
fundraising event. But perhaps you have not seen
many family-friendly events at your club. That is
precisely why one of my top priorities this year is
to make most Rotary events welcoming to family
We must foster a culture where Rotary does not
compete with family, but complements it. We should
never expect our members to choose between the
two. That means being realistic in our expectations,
considerate in our scheduling, and welcoming of
children at Rotary events on every level.
Often, the young professionals that Rotary needs
to attract in order to remain a dynamic 21st-century
service organization are the very people who have
the greatest family responsibilities. We must not
keep these prospective young members away from
their families by holding events on evenings and
weekends at which their children are not welcome.
For too long, we have closed the doors of many
Rotary events to children and sometimes even
spouses. What wasted opportunities these are!
Every chance we have to pass on the gift of Rotary
to young people is one we must take if we are
going to grow Rotary and ensure that the next
generation is fully engaged in our mission.
So let us open our doors and do it in a fun way,
with opportunities that make our children and
grandchildren want to learn more about Interact,
Rotaract, and Rotary membership. Start small if you
must — perhaps by holding some of your meetings
at more family-friendly times — but think about
how you can continue these kinds of events for
years to come.
Bringing children to Rotary events is not just
fun; it also exposes them to the world! Make
this a memorable year for your family — and an
unforgettable year for the ever-expanding family
of Rotary as Rotary Connects the World.