Club Growth Inspiration from Top 5 Clubs in the District|
Michael Kimani, President Rotary Club of Langata|
By Rtr. Karen Rono, Rotaract Club of Catholic University|
Langata is a dynamic club that boasts of a membership of 107 members. It is the club with the highest number of members across District 9212. We caught up with Michael Kimani, Club President Langata to gather snippets of wisdom on the growth achieved as a club and as a Rotarian.
Share with us how you joined Rotary
I joined Rotary by accident in the sense that I did not know what Rotary was about. I met this gentleman who told me they were meeting somewhere to start a Rotary Club, and I decided to tag along. It was not even somebody that I had known for a long time by then. I arrive and find like 10 people at AMREF Centre, and they were in the process of forming a Rotary Club.
Share with us your journey to being the President of one of the Big 5 Clubs in our District
We started as a club of very close members. It took about 4-6 months to get chartered. During this time, we were basically getting to know each other; fellowshipping and having fun. As a result of this many of the charter members are very close friends of mine. Besides it being a Rotary Club, this is a club of friends, and that has persisted and has enabled us to remain cohesive, albeit it still being a challenge.
Moreover, during meetings, there is a warm environment; shaking of hands and a hugging culture. There is also camaraderie. This has gone beyond those who started the club and to the members at large.
What are some of the greatest achievements, and how did your club achieve such significant growth?
I don’t think I can pinpoint on specific achievements. However, 17 years later all previous presidents except one are still active members of the club. They’ve formed a Past President Council which is the custodian of the club. They are the ones to offer guidance and most importantly, direction. Even before you become President, they sit you down and give you words of wisdom. Club history and traditions are also maintained. Things that could derail the club are kept in check. The presidency has a lot of support. Even if it’s a big club, there is a resource of experience that can be harvested from the Past President’s council.
What are some of the most significant challenges your club has experienced, and how has your club navigated these challenges?
The challenge right now is cohesion because of the sheer numbers. As for our membership profile, there are younger ones who have graduated from Rotaract, older ones who are over 60. The club range is about 28-62.
As you grow, it is easy to slip through the cracks, and that sense of belonging at some point disappears. ‘Family of Rotary‘ committee plays a considerable role in this. It has the entire database of people. They are able to coordinate and get engaged with issues our members may be encountering outside of Rotary.
Moreover, it is essential to note that an individual is a social being. If things are not going well, there will be things on the social side that consequently also have to suffer. There are also two other groups that play a considerable role: Ladies WhatsApp group where ladies engage on all aspects and men’s WhatsApp group where men discuss their concerns as they swallowship.
What are the nuggets of wisdom you could offer to clubs struggling with membership?
Every week you must attend a meeting. What will drive you to a meeting? It must be fun, and it must be enjoyable. Make your clubs friendly to members. This can be done by making your clubs fun and engaging. The first place someone experiences Rotary is at the club meeting level. They must experience it positively to come back. These can be done through allocating speakers and activities around the meeting that relate to them.
How do you intend to engage your Rotaract clubs and strengthen the bonds between Rotary and Rotaract?
Building upon what is there, we have a lot of strong ties with several Rotaract clubs: our very own Langata as well as the University of Daystar and Nairobi. I intend to maintain those strong ties, involve them in our activities. Rotaractors have a good pair of hands, very reliable and come with a lot of enthusiasm. I intend to continue with that engagement and demonstration of leadership e.g Board Meetings like the recently concluded meeting.
As we begin this Rotary Year, what are you looking forward to implementing?
Being a big club, we should also be involved in big projects. This is in terms of impact, reach, and most especially homegrown so that we can be in a position to apply for global grants.
Rotary Connects the World~