rotary club

How to Get Help from Your Local Rotary Club


What if I told you that there are people in your community who meet weekly for the purpose of making your community a better place? What if that group of people was a resource that could help you grow Scouting in your community? Wouldn’t that be pretty great? Because that’s what your local Rotary Club is – a tremendous resource that can help you. All you have to do is ask – and know the right way to ask.


About Your Local Rotary Club

Rotary International was founded on February 23, 1905, by Chicago attorney Paul Harris. His idea was that “professionals from diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.” The name “Rotary” comes from rotating meetings at the offices of the members. Currently, Rotary International has 1.2 million members in clubs all over the world.

The purpose of Rotary is to make their communities a better place. I’ve been a Rotarian for four years now and in my experience, they’re extremely friendly groups, and their meetings are a lot of fun. On the international level, they work to eradicate polio. Locally, they work on all sorts of projects. This year my club has worked to provide coats to over a thousand children in the Norwich area.


Support For Scouting

Rotary Clubs have been strong supporters of Scouting for over 100 years. Many of the first Scout camps in the US were set up with help from rotary, and there are still a number of Camp Rotary‘s out there. From the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians‘ website.

Rotary International has been a partner with the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in serving young people since their inception. As Rotary spread around the world, its support of Scouting and Girl Guiding also spread. In 1916, Rotarians in Edinburgh, Scotland, joined by 100 local Scouts, organized a special Christmas party for children whose fathers were serving in World War I. In 1922, the Rotary Club of Manila, Philippines, established a local Scout council. Rotary Clubs from Australia to Brunei built huts for Girl Guide groups.

The principles and goals of Rotary, Scouting and Guiding are closely allied. Character-building; service to country, to others, and to self; teaching leadership skills; and becoming aware of the world around us–these are all incorporated into the programs and activities of each organization. The values expressed in Rotary International’s Motto and the Four Way Test greatly parallel those articulated in the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan.

Rotarians have long served as role models, demonstrating leadership, character, and the value of selfless service to the community. Rotary founder Paul P. Harris was himself a recipient of Scouting’s prestigious Silver Buffalo award in 1934. His and others’ efforts represent to a high degree the slogan “Every Rotarian an Example to Youth.”


What Help Can Clubs Provide?

For Scouting units, there is no shortage of things your local Rotary Club could provide. Here are just a few:

  • Volunteers – Odds are that there are some former scouts in your local club, who would probably be honored to do something to help out your pack or troop if you’d ask them. You probably won’t get Den Leaders this way, but you could get a well-connected Committee Member, Merit Badge Counselor or even a Unit Commissioner or District Volunteer.
  • Recruiting Help – When it comes time to recruit new Scouts, would the club be willing to share you’re joining night info on their Facebook page? Would members be willing to put up recruiting flyers in their businesses? Signs on their lawns?
  • District-Level Sponsorships – Rotary Clubs raise a lot of money, for the express purpose of giving it away to worthy organizations in their community. I’ve raised thousands of dollars by sending letters to Rotary Clubs and asking them to sponsor various events and projects. I’ve had particular success in asking for money to help get scouts to camp. (Remember that units can’t ask for donations, but you can help your district do so.) Keep in mind that each club has their own procedures, so you’ll want to look for that before you send any requests.
  • Buying popcorn – how would you like to be able to catch all the top business leaders in your area and ask them to buy popcorn?
  • Program Support – Perhaps you could find a merit badge counselor. Maybe a volunteer at day camp? Perhaps you could find a great spot for a Go-See-It.


How to Approach A Club

You can find the clubs near you here using the Club Finder. Find the Rotary Club you’re interested in, and visit their website. If they don’t have a website, try looking for them on Facebook. Now, you’re looking for their President’s name and contact information. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them – these are people who are giving up their time – like you are, to make a positive difference in your community. They want to hear from you.

Introduce yourself. Tell them you’d be interested in speaking at their club. Most Rotary meetings feature a speaker, and since clubs meet on either a weekly or biweekly basis, they need a lot of speakers. Even for large clubs, it can be a struggle to fill all the speaker slots. Speakers usually give a 10-15 minute talk about their organization, and what they’re doing in the community.

While you’re at the website, take a look at some of the things the club does. Are any of the parents in your pack or troop members already? Is there anything that your Pack or Troop could help them with one of their community service projects? Ask if one of their club members would like to come speak to your unit, or visit one of your campouts (if possible.)

Remember, this is all about relationship building. You want to build a connection between Scouting and Rotary in your town. These are the leaders in your community, and this connection can help open a lot of doors for you.

As with any relationship, you’ll get more out of it if you think more about what you can provide than what you’ll get in return. Aim for win-wins.


scouts rotary photo

Girl Scouts taking part in Kids Against Hunger 2011 run by the Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield Photo by WN Rotary

Additional Resources

To find the clubs in your area, click here.

The International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians

The BSA’s Rotary International and Scouting Pamphlet


Stay tuned for guides like this to Elks Clubs, Lions Clubs, Moose Lodges, American Legions, and other groups that can be of assistance.

I hope this one helps.


Photo by MDGovpics

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