About a year ago, Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset [RCBUS] asked its membership that exact question. The answers were not a surprise to anyone.
Most of our members join RCBUS to access the service opportunities the club offers. Our service projects address such concerns as health care, hunger, poverty, available clean water supplies, women’s issues, sustainable economies, education, and the environment. RCBUS members, local and expat, enjoy the benefits of living on Bali and are very grateful to have opportunities to give back to Bali. Our members believe what has often been quoted, “ . . . and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love.”
Tied with the opportunity to serve others as a reason for joining RCBUS was to enjoy the friendships that come with membership. The world is a complex place, getting more and more complex every day. RCBUS provides a way to find friends and enjoy fellowship, even if that fellowship is via Zoom these days. In 1905, when Rotary was founded, friendship was one of two basic tenets of the organization. RCBUS members can enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded people and build enduring friendships via our club projects. When the world reopens to travel, RCBUS members can find friendly contacts in almost every city in the world.
The second reason for joining RCBUS was to learn more about the world. One of Rotary’s highest objectives is to build peace and goodwill throughout the world. Our members come from four continents: Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. RCBUS is in the process of arranging two possible friendship exchanges, one with a club in Cologne, Germany, and one with a club in Tucson, AZ, USA. Our club talks frequently with German Rotarians via Zoom. There are over 33,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 nations. When travel opens up again, RCBUS members know that just about anywhere they travel, they can find fellow Rotarians. Because there are Rotary clubs almost everywhere, many Rotarians in need of a doctor, a lawyer, a hotel, a dentist, or just advice about what not to miss while traveling have benefited from the advice of local Rotarians.
The third reason for joining was networking combined with skill building. RCBUS is an organization of successful professionals, both current and retired. Team building, fundraising, public speaking, planning, organization, and communication are just a sampling of the leadership skills that club members can practice and build. Being a Rotary leader provides further experience in learning how to motivate, inspire, and guide others. Each member can also connect other members to their friends and business colleagues. We are business owners, restaurateurs, retired teachers, IT people, former bankers, professional fundraisers, Moms, Dads, shopkeepers, physicians, marketing experts, hospitality workers, locals, expats, and the list goes on. And we are willing to network and share our acquired expertise. We enjoy the fact that RCBUS is non-political, non-religious, and open to all cultures, genders, races, and creeds. It has no secret handshake, no secret policy, no official creed, no secret meetings, ad no rituals. It is an open society. Rotarians help each other and collectively help others.
What other possibilities does RCBUS offer? It offers members the potential for personal growth and development, leadership development, continuing education, the chance to build confidence in public speaking, access to entertainment, the development of cross-cultural social skills, access to family programs, and the chance to have fun. So why in the world would you want to join Rotary? Why, to have fun! (among other things)
On a very personal note . . ., I am so grateful for my RCBUS “family.” After dreaming about it for 37 years, my husband I retired to Ubud on 8 February, 2019. We knew only two people here whom we had met briefly in 2015 when visiting Ubud. We joined RCBUS a few months later because we liked the projects they were working on and the fact that it was a multinational club. Here are the benefits we received:
- An instant circle of friends
- A purpose through RCBUS’ many projects
- The opportunity to meet an artist who had sold some her work to the Dalai Lama
- The pleasure of meeting a former AFL player and his amazing wife who were building a clinic in Karangasem Regency, Klinik Bali Sehat, because they recognized an overwhelming need for one
- An easy way to integrate into the Ubud larger community by working on the projects
- Access to parts of Bali seldom scene by tourist by (you guessed it) working on projects
- Recommendations for a doctor, a dentist and the best places to shop for things we needed including excellent breathing treatments in one of the member’s commercial salt room
- The opportunity to lift local women up economically by teaching them a marketable skill thanks to the brilliant idea from our club president which gave life to our Sewing for Living project
- Access to Rotarians in Cologne, Germany, via Zoom
- Hospital visits when I required surgery
- An introduction to the devastation taking place in the Wehea National Forest in Kalimantan and to some of those trying to stop it
- A delightful introduction to avocado coffee (and now I’m hooked on it)
- The fun of holiday parties
- Most importantly, my RCBUS family rallied around me and took the place of my actual family when my husband of almost 50 years passed away unexpectedly right after Christmas in 2019. They were and still are “there for me.”
So, yes, “Start with Rotary and good things happen,”, particularly for me at RCBUS!
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