Posted by Bob Simmons
Last week District 5540 Governor and RCFC Member Chuck Rutenberg, spoke to our club.  His extensive Rotary credentials were listed in last week’s Rotogear.  Hi talk focused on two subjects.
First, his long term interest in literacy.  The problem is extensive (35 million Americans may be functionally illiterate) and local (Aurora is in the top 3 US cities).  A brief but moving video illustrated the daily problems that life without literacy creates.  Finding and helping such adults can break the chain of illiteracy and is often the first step out of poverty.  Chuck and Rotary are involved in the cure.
The second topic was membership. Chuck has visited over 50 clubs and this is usually a significant part of the discussions. Membership at 1.2 million has been stable but not growing.  Fifty percent of members leave during their first 3 years.  Solutions include improving the value for members, talking about why we do things (and not just what we do) and tapping into the creativity of our newest members.  We watched an inspirational video about a contestant on Americas’ Got Talent.  In addition to great singing we learned about his growing adopted family-how to go from surviving to dreaming and how to make those in need become”star human beings”.  An excellent Q&A session provided some additional suggestions for improving the number & quality of Rotarians.