Tuesday, June 21, 2011
International Chair, David Linett emphasized the importance of RLI in support of Rotary International’s strategic goal, “to support and strengthen Rotary Clubs”. He cited statistics from a multi-district Pets Training Chair in the United Sates that 46 % of the president-elects had less than 3 years in Rotary. It was also noted that 15% of the group were going to be president for the second time. David stressed the point that no organization can be successful unless it has knowledgeable members and good leadership. A two or three day Pets Training program is helpful, but not sufficient. Many clubs are now insisting that those in line to be president complete the three part RLI program.
The second idea was presented by John Smarge, our current RI Director. He spoke of the fact that, although our past district governors represent a valuable asset as instructors, we cannot rely on them alone as facilitators. District Governors are, without a doubt, the most knowledgeable Rotarians we have; but after their year of service, are often drafting into other Zone and RI leadership positions. This makes them, at times, difficult to recruit as RLI facilitators. John emphasized the idea that we should seek out experienced Rotarians, who may not have been a governor, district chair or assistant governor, but are effective facilitators. Facilitators differ from the traditional educator in that their primary role is not to impart knowledge, but instead to help others understand the possibilities. How often have I heard RLI participants complain that the facilitator dominated the conversation and didn’t give the opportunity to discuss the subject? Good facilitators may not be the most knowledgeable but they know the right questions to ask and where to direct others to get the right answers.
In conclusion, we need to emphasize in all our promotions to the Clubs, the impact participation in RLI can have. We also need to continue to seek a wide range of Rotarians to help with facilitation.
Eastern Carolina Region