During August my visits centred on clubs in Manitoba and northeastern Saskatchewan. My objective is to grasp each club’s “culture” and learn their thoughts on D5550’s 2018-2021 draft Strategic Plan. This newsletter focusses on the “club culture” discussions. 

The Rotary Club of Winnipeg

Pre-meeting fellowship at the Rotary Club of Winnipeg.
Facing the loss of long-time members, the Winnipeg Rotary Club is focussing on youth programs and has undertaken the formation of a Satellite club for younger people who have issues with both the time and the cost of belonging to a typical Rotary Club. Members were looking forward to working together with Rotarians from other Winnipeg clubs at their Ribfest (which took place August 24-26).

 Rotary Club of Winnipeg-Transcona

Winnipeg-Transcona Rotary Club at DG club visit
The Rotary Club of Winnipeg-Transcona has one word for its club culture –“progressive”. The club has had corporate members before these were introduced by Rotary International and charges its “Friends of Rotary” (who receive all the club communications) a $50 fee. 

Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie

Meeting with the Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie
Portage la Prairie Rotary Club is feeling the effects of membership attrition and transfers and is hoping to attract new members by holding fellowship meetings at different times and in different locations in the community (like the Recreational Centre, Rotary Park, etc.) and using social media, brochures and public relations. The club charges a lower fee for a new member’s first year.
Rotary Club of Selkirk
The Rotary Club of Selkirk’s Board met at Hunt’s Roadhouse Museum
The club culture of the Selkirk Rotary Club (which celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2017) has historically been that of a tight-knit, focused group that was both goal and community-oriented in projects which provide opportunities for camaraderie. However, with the flexibility introduced by the 2016 Council on Legislation, the club is “in transition”. Several older members have given up their active membership, with the result that membership is a major goal for this year. The club meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday evening of each month.
Rotary Club of Gimli
Realizing that the future involves what the Rotary club does for youth and their parents, the club culture of the Gimli Rotary Club is shifting to family and youths. It is also incorporating flexibility in its meetings, focussing on engagement, encouraging Friends of Rotary, building relationships with other community organizations and working to organize school-based and community-based Interact clubs. After meeting with the Gimli executive at noon and the Selkirk Rotary Club executive at 5 PM on the same day, I was treated to an evening with both clubs at the very interesting Hunts Roadhouse Museum, in the Petersfield area (located between the two communities).
Rotary Club of Neepawa
Meeting with the Board of the Rotary Club of Neepawa
With 32% of their members in the 40-50 age range (the rest being older), the Neepawa Rotary Club describes its club culture as being relaxed, welcoming and diversified. The club members are proud to be Rotarians, enjoy comradery and improving their community. The club’s focus is largely community service and goodwill.
Rotary Club of Minnedosa
Meeting in Minnedosa
Seventy-five years ago, the Rotary Club of Minnedosa started as a cheque-writing club, but is now a small club that is active, inclusive and focussed on hands-on activities that serve the local community’s needs. The members (equal number of men and women), all hard-working, have fun doing things with each other and with other organizations.

Rotary Club of Dauphin

Some of the members attending the meeting of the Dauphin Rotary Club
The Dauphin Rotary Club is a young club with a strong local focus on active-living fundraising events and projects. The club helps fund refugee settlements in Dauphin and recently approved significant funding of a school playground at Whitmore School and an indoor play area that is open until noon seven days a week (at a former residential school).

Rotary Club of Swan Valley

Speaking to the members of Swan Valley Rotary Club
The Rotary Club of Swan Valley focusses on serving the local community, but was seeking help to grow their small (and aging) club. The group discussion that followed the DG presentation provided the (encouraged and inspired) club members with some ideas of how to grow and strengthen their club with younger members.

Rotary Club of Nipawin

Meeting with the Board members of the Nipawin Rotary Club
The culture of the Nipawin Rotary Club is in flux – a work in progress. Having lost a few members recently, the club is considering becoming a Passport Club, taking advantage of the flexibility in meetings and membership introduced by Rotary International’s 2016 Council on Legislation.

Rotary Club of Prince Albert

Board members of the Rotary Club of Prince Albert
In the past, the Prince Albert Rotary Club tended to be an “old boys club”, but in the last four years it has undertaken proactive steps by not only increasing the diversity and the number of women and young people in the club, but also by relinquishing control of the club to the new members. The club is open to new ideas on fundraising activities and projects and mentors the development of leadership skills in its newer members.
Rotary Club of Melfort
 Club meeting at the Melfort Salvation Army Hall included family members and exchange students
The mandate of the Melfort Rotary club is “to bring the community to Rotary and Rotary to the community” by being very friendly, focused on the Youth Exchange Program, involving all of its members and forming partnerships with other organizations in the community – like the Elks, Kinsmen, Kinettes,Lions, churches and Saskatchewan government support services in northeastern Saskatchewan.  Club membership is growing slowly and the club is attracting some younger members. The Melfort Club is developing a new brochure for potential new members and looking into introducing corporate membership.

Rotary Club of Hudson Bay

 Rotary Club of Hudson Bay
The small but strong & mighty Rotary Club of Hudson Bay is friendly, too, as attested to by a new member of the club. Its projects are powered by its GROW project - the farming of a grain field whose crop is shared 50-50 with the World Food Grains Bank.
Expect more news from Saskatchewan in my next newsletter!
Elaine Thompson, DG