Why is Rotary pertinent in Aspen?
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
In a community with nearly 500 nonprofit organizations, it is fair to ask why Aspen needs a Rotary Club and why its members choose to join. Although there are many other organizations that do great work in the Roaring Fork Valley, I know of no other club that offers its members the combination of new friendships, business networking, service opportunities both locally and internationally, and interesting weekly speaker presentations on important topics.
Aspen Rotarians meet every Thursday morning for breakfast at the Aspen Meadows. Each week, we hear a presentation regarding important matters that affect our businesses, our schools, our local community and the world. Recent examples include a successful social-media venture capitalist, the top managers of Aspen Skiing Co. and the Aspen Music Festival and School, a tax expert and Forbes magazine contributor, and our town’s beloved Klaus Obermeyer.
We come together with close to 100 other business, government, education and nonprofit leaders representing every facet of our community. The weekly meetings offer members a chance to get to know people they might not normally encounter. The business-networking benefits have strong appeal for new members initially, but as time passes, the deeper value of friendship far outstrips the perk of business leads.
Members develop meaningful relationships through the weekly meetings and social events and by working together on common causes. This also includes members of the Snowmass Rotary Club and the other Rotary clubs of the valley.
As human beings, we have a deep desire to give back and share the fruits of our hard work with others. Yet often finding something that resonates with us is difficult. Through the Aspen Rotary Club, members have the opportunity to serve on any of more than three dozen committees that work on service projects ranging from local high school youth exchanges and college scholarships to international clean-water projects and literacy programs. Individually, it is hard to make a big impact, but collectively Rotarians make a huge difference locally and globally.
Aspen Rotarians raise more than $200,000 annually for our local and international community through the Ducky Derby. Organizing and hosting this cherished family event provides a community service in and of itself. And the proceeds from the event have benefited tens of thousands of people over the past 21 years.
We make a difference in our community. We are also part of something much larger than our single club. In fact, there are 34,000 Rotary clubs throughout the world with 1.2 million members. As Rotarians, we share a common commitment: “Service Above Self.” We are proud that Rotary is one of the largest providers of college scholarships internationally and that we help eradicate polio worldwide.
As part of an international organization, our members have access to friendships and assistance throughout the world. Rotarians are encouraged to visit other clubs while traveling as part of our global mission to build good will and peace in the world. Through these opportunities, Rotarians experience the world in a much more personal manner through connections with local residents. Regardless of whether one chooses to seek out other Rotarians during travel, it is always comforting to know that if a helping hand is needed, a Rotarian is always ready to assist.
For all these reasons, Rotary has been a cornerstone in my life for nearly 20 years. I welcome the opportunity to share the warmth and relevance of membership with others.
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