Adventure in service

the story of Rotary---
its origin, growth, and influence


Rotary International

Copyright, 1949 and 1954, by
Ninth Printing, November, 1955

PAUL P. HARRIS, 1868-1947, Founder of Rotary
From a painting by E. M. R. Weiner


Welcome to Rotary


Welcome to the fellowship of our club. We want to know you better. We want you to know us better. We believe you possess those qualities of head and heart that make a good Rotarian. And we want you to enjoy with us the unique adventure in service that is Rotary.

Rotarians everywhere are friendly. You will find that we encourage and foster the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.

We greet you, too, as a worthy representative of your particular vocation in our community. And we hope that you will become in a way our ambassador, carrying to others in your business, craft, trade, or profession the ideals and principles of service for which Rotary stands.

You will find that Rotary recognizes the dignity of all useful occupations and promotes high ethical standards in business and professional life.

We invite you to take an active part in our broad program of service work in the community and elsewhere. We want to share with you the inner satisfaction that comes from putting service above self in our daily contacts with others.

Rotarians believe in the value of action based on unselfish motives. You will find that the "Ideal of Service" is a key to success and happiness in personal, business, and community life.

We congratulate you on becoming a member of an organization whose ideals of friendship and service have been accepted by more than four hundred twenty thousand men of ninety-three countries and geographical regions, men of diverse languages and customs, political and religious beliefs.

You will find that, through fellowship of business men and professional men at home and abroad, Rotary ever seeks the advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace for all men.


In brief form this book explains:

1. What Rotary is
its general aims and its place in our community

2. Your place in Rotary
what Rotary will do for you, your obligations and responsibilities

3. Rotary history
the origin, growth and future of Rotary

4. The four avenues of Rotary service
the expression of Rotary's program through club, vocational, community and international service

5. How Rotary is organized
details of organization at the club, district and international level

6. Your adventure in service



To encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;

2. High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve society;

3. The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal, business, and community life;

4. The advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service.



What Rotary is

You are now a member of a Rotary Club. You are ready---eager, we hope---to begin your adventure in service. And if you are like most new Rotarians, you have many questions: Just what is Rotary? What are its general aims? How can I best take my place in the local Rotary Club? What are the benefits and the responsibilities of membership? What is the history of Rotary---its origin, growth, and present status? What does the Rotary Club do in our community and elsewhere? How is Rotary organized?

What, after all, is this adventure in service, and what personal satisfaction can I expect to obtain from taking part in it?

Answers to some of these questions will be found in this book. Answers to others you must work out for yourself, in terms of yourself and your willingness to serve. For only through service can you hope to discover in the associations and fellowship of Rotary the man-building, community-building, world-building power that is Rotary.


Our Rotary club is an association of representative business and professional men of the community who have accepted the Ideal of Service as the real basis for attaining success and happiness in personal, business, and community life., What is the ideal of Service? In general it is an attitude of mind that relates persons and things with action and that has been defined in this way: "Thoughtfulness of others is the basis of service. Helpfulness to others is its expression."

You will find that the Ideal of Service guides a Rotarian in the conduct of his personal, club, business, and community affairs. It leads him to seek opportunities for developing the acquaintance and friendship of others. It makes him want to participate fully in the program and activities of his club. It encourages him to maintain high standards and correct practices in his business, trade, or profession. It causes him to be aware of community needs and to do something constructive about them.

Rotarians everywhere believe in the value of action motivated by unselfish service---a belief we express in the motto: "Service Above Self---He Profits Most Who Serves Best."


On his first visit to a Rotary club meeting, the casual observer might conceivably think that Rotary exists solely for fellowship. The new member, however, very soon discovers that Rotary is far more than getting together once a week for a meal, some songs, and a program. As you have already seen, Rotary operates on the principle that he who serves must act---not once a week, but day by day, hour by hour, as opportunities arise. When we strive individually to put the Ideal of Service into practice in our personal, business and community life, it is inevitable that collectively we come to take an active, constructive interest in civic affairs.

As representative business and professional men, many of us are bound to play important roles in the community.

You may be surprised, as new members sometimes are, to find out how many of our members are engaged in civic activities, frequently as leaders. And your pride in belonging to Rotary will increase as you become more and more conscious of the support our club gives to worthy civic projects.

Every Rotary club has the responsibility of ascertaining community needs and of inspiring constructive action by bringing them to the attention of the appropriate agency. While exercising care not to duplicate the activities of an existing organization or to trespass upon its functions, every Rotary club does have an obligation to become informed about the work done by these other groups so that community needs falling within the range of their activities can be brought promptly to their attention. Needs that cannot be effectively met by existing agencies are a proper area for Rotary activity. There is a full discussion of this in chapter four. Right now, remember that through civic consciousness and this willingness to cooperate with other groups our club not only occupies an important place in our community, but contributes greatly to its growth and welfare.

Thus we see that Rotary is an ideal in action, offering you an adventure in service in your community life as well as in your personal and business contacts. It is always well to remember that, broad as its aims are, Rotary begins with you---an individual Rotarian who accepts the Ideal of Service---and moves toward the fulfillment of its aims only as you and other Rotarians act on the basis of that ideal. With this in mind, you will find it helpful to consider next your place in Rotary, the benefits and obligations of membership as they affect you.



Your place in Rotary

As a new Rotarian you are probably wondering what benefits you can expect from belonging to our club and what responsibilities we expect you to assume as a member of it. The two go hand in hand, for we consider it axiomatic that he who puts the most into Rotary gets the most out of being a Rotarian. In this chapter we shall take a look at some of the benefits and responsibilities of being a Rotarian, not in an effort to catalogue them all, but rather to help you find quickly---and take---your place in Rotary.


Most immediate of all benefits are those growing out of the fellowship of Rotary. At our regular weekly meetings you will find many opportunities to make new acquaintances among men like yourself in the community, to exchange information with them in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and respect, to enjoy their company as you eat and talk with them in a relaxed, companionable mood. Here, too, you may meet visiting members from near and far, perhaps obtaining from them viewpoints and a broader outlook on national and international affairs.

Occurring less frequently, but nearly as important, are the various social gatherings, ladies' nights, and sports outings. Nor should we fail to mention the planned contacts with other clubs. All of these provide still further opportunities for developing acquaintance. In fact, you will soon find---as have many before you---that in Rotary your circle of friends is limited only by the radius of your own sincerity and interest.

Committee assignments provide additional benefits, especially for a new member such as yourself. Not only do you work closely with a small group under the direction of an experienced leader---the most natural setting for getting to know one another---but you also have an opportunity to learn more about the ways in which Rotary works. In the informal discussions of committee meetings you may first have the feeling of really "belonging" to Rotary, of being able to make a contribution to the club. Every new member has the same right as any other member to express his opinions, make suggestions, and otherwise take an active part in the deliberations and activities of the committee. By exercising this right, you can become better acquainted with the other members of the committee and, often, better known to the members of the club.

Another benefit is the opportunity for enlarging the scope of your interests and breadth of your knowledge about matters not directly connected with your vocation. You are certain to pick up new and interesting information from the speakers at our regular weekly meetings. Amateur or professional, from our community or a distant place, each of these men is chosen for his knowledge in a certain field of thought or endeavor. Each presents an opportunity for adding to your own information about that field, for examining a fresh point of view, perhaps, or learning more about other people's vocations, beliefs, experiences, or problems. Taking advantage of this opportunity helps you keep well informed about many matters that might otherwise escape your notice.


First and foremost you have the responsibility of regular attendance at our weekly meetings. This requirement is not just a custom of Rotary. It is based on years of experience in keeping this and other Rotary clubs alive, active, and growing. It is essential for your effectiveness as a Rotarian and for our efficiency as a club.

Let us look at it this way: Your attendance is of great value to every member of our club, including yourself. When you are present, you receive the full benefits of Rotary fellowship, club activity, friendly contacts with others. When you are present, every other member also receives the benefits of your fellowship, your interest in the activity of the club, the representation of your business or profession. Thus your presence helps to make our club a true cross-section of the business and professional life of our community, so that it can function smoothly and efficiently. But when you are absent, you deprive yourself and others of the fellowship, personal contacts, and vocational representation that are the life of Rotary everywhere.

Take a look at the gearwheel used as the insignia of Rotary. On the periphery of the wheel are twenty-four cogs. As long as all the cogs are there, the gearwheel can mesh properly with other gearwheels, can transmit its force to them. But the loss of a single cog impairs the efficiency of the wheel, may keep it from functioning at all. Your regular attendance at our weekly meetings is one of the cogs that keeps our club functioning as an effective force in our community. Let us not impair its effectiveness.

In addition to attending weekly meetings regularly, you have the responsibility of supporting the social activities of our club by your presence and participation. For a new member such as yourself these events are unusually valuable as a means of getting acquainted under informal circumstances. Once you have attended them, you will need no further encouragement to attend them regularly.

You have another responsibility: to serve your club. It is understood in Rotary that when a member is given an assignment in his club he accepts his appointment willingly and gives his best effort. You will find that your acceptance of such appointments offers many benefits. By serving efficiently and loyally, you win the respect and confidence of your fellow members. Through closer association, we get to know one another better. By working together, we generate a spirit and enthusiasm that strengthens our club and makes us better Rotarians. Each assignment given you is one more opportunity to apply the Ideal of Service to a practical situation, one more challenge to you as an individual Rotarian.

These are, in brief, the major responsibilities you have as a new member of Rotary. Others will become evident in later chapters. The ones explained here will help you take your place in our club, quickly and easily. As you are thinking about Rotary, wondering what membership in our club may come to mean to you in the years ahead, you might be interested to learn a few of the facts about the origin, growth, and present status of Rotary. These are presented in the next chapter.



The history of Rotary

On the evening of February 23, 1905, Paul P. Harris, a young lawyer in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., asked three friends to meet with him. He presented a problem that had been on his mind for some time: How might they as a group enlarge their circle of business and professional acquaintance? Would there not be mutual benefit in sharing fellowship with representatives of other vocations?

Out of the discussion that followed came the idea of a club whose membership would be limited to one representative from each business and profession. It was agreed that he should be the proprietor of his business, or a partner, or a corporate officer. Meetings were to be held at each member's place of business, in turn, so that the other members would have a better knowledge of him and of his work. Since this arrangement meant that meetings would have to be held in rotation, the name Rotary was suggested and adopted. The purpose of the club was to be mutual helpfulness.

Thus it was that Silvester Schiele, a coal dealer, Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer, and Hiram Shorey, a merchant tailor, joined with Paul Harris to constitute the first group ever gathered together in the fellowship of Rotary. These were joined immediately by Harry Ruggles, a printer, who is credited with introducing club singing, and Will Jensen, a real estate dealer. When Paul Harris declined the honor, Silvester Schiele was elected to be the first president of a Rotary club.

First "identification badge" used by Rotary Club of Chicago showing early "wagon-wheel" design of emblem, forerunner of the familiar cogwheel.

Word of the new organization spread rapidly. Soon membership increased to the point where it was no longer practical to meet at members' places of business. When the club meetings moved into restaurants and hotels, the name Rotary went along.

What about these men who joined the club during the first year of its existence? In the words of Paul. Harris:

"All were friendly and congenial, and each represented a recognized and honorable vocation different from that of the others. In some respects they were widely variant. They had been selected without regard to religious, racial, or political differences.

"The group included members of American, German, Swedish, and Irish ancestry, and representatives of the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish faiths, all products of the American melting-pot and, in that respect, fitting progenitors of the international order which they were to bring into being."

And what was it that had brought these men into the first Rotary club? Again in the words of founder Harris:

"Personal ambition had been largely responsible for the grouping. United they would stand; divided they might fall. And so they helped each other in every way that kindly heart and friendly spirit could suggest.

"The purposes of early Rotary have been frequently described as selfish, and so indeed they may seem to have been.

"Whether a member was selfish or unselfish depended, of course, upon where he found his happiness. If he found it primarily in gaining advantage for himself, he was selfish. If lie found it in helping friends, he was unselfish. Naturally both types of mind were represented in the early days of club number one, as is true everywhere."

That Paul Harris understood the real meaning of service, is apparent in the promptness and enthusiasm with which the club undertook its first venture into community service---initiating the establishment of public comfort stations in Chicago. For more than two years the fight for this civic improvement went on, resulting in the enrollment, in its support, of every important civic organization and the city and county administrations before success was assured. Rotarians of the first club accepted the challenge of their community's needs and set an example that was the forerunner of countless similar services rendered by Rotarians throughout the world.


More than three years elapsed between the establishment of the first Rotary club and formation of a second club, at San Francisco, California, U.S.A., in November, 1908. Yet by August, 1910, when the first Rotary convention was held in Chicago, there were 16 clubs in existence, 14 of which were represented. At this meeting the National Association of Rotary Clubs was organized, with Paul Harris as president and Chesley Perry as secretary. The new organization had a membership of 16 clubs, representing approximately 1,500 Rotarians.

Few Rotary "Ladies' Nights" compare, in uniqueness, with this one held by the Rotary Club in Mansourah, Egypt, in a ceremonial tent facing the Nile.

By the time of the 1912 annual convention, at Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.A., there were 50 clubs, representing about 5,000 members. Presence of delegates from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and establishment of clubs in Ireland and Great Britain the preceding year made a change in name of the organization advisable, and it became the International Association of Rotary Clubs.

Ten years later the name of the organization was shortened to Rotary International. During this interval Rotary had grown from a total of one hundred clubs in 1914 to more, than one thousand by 1922, from representation in five countries in 1912 to more than a score by 1921. The first convention to be held outside the United States was convened at Edinburgh, Scotland in 1921, setting a precedent that has been followed many times since then.

Rotary celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1955, the actual Golden Anniversary celebration period beginning on 23 February and culminating in the convention at Chicago, 29 May-2 June, with more than fourteen thousand representatives registered from sixty-four countries. Rotarians throughout the world seized upon this opportunity to re-dedicate themselves to the Ideal of Service. Not only did Rotary clubs carry on a vast array of worthwhile projects but the celebration had a tremendous impact in bringing Rotary to the attention of non-Rotarians. A motion picture, "The Great Adventure," was produced for showing during the Golden Anniversary period, and afterwards. A beautiful souvenir volume, "Rotary: Fifty Years of Service," told a fascinating story of Rotary events against a panorama of half a century. Some thirty countries issued postage stamps commemorating Rotary's Golden Anniversary, an event unprecedented for a non-governmental organization. And rarely has an organization received so much coverage through the press, radio, television and other media as did Rotary International during its Golden Anniversary.

The vitality and universal appeal of Rotary have helped it to keep on growing until today there are some nine thousand clubs in ninety-three countries or geographical regions of the world. More than four hundred twenty thousand Rotarians, representing thousands of different businesses and professions, many nationalities and races, political and religious beliefs, have a common meeting ground in Rotary, "united in the ideal of service."


There are daily examples of the cosmopolitanism of Rotary. The membership of almost every club offers an example, where it is not unusual to find members of one or more nationalities. There are clubs in certain areas which show an amazing heterogeneity in membership make-up. At one time the Rotary Club of Singapore had 23 nationalities represented within its membership. When the Rotary Club of Mombasa, principal city of Kenya, East Africa, received its charter, its membership was composed chiefly of Arabs, Indians, and Europeans.

The Rotary Club of Haifa, in Palestine, is composed of Arabs, Jews, and Christians. All through the bitter 1948-49 struggle this club did not miss a meeting although the meeting place was often under fire. Even more significant was the fact that this club with its cosmopolitan membership could meet and work together week after week on the one common ground of Rotary.

Cosmopolitan Rotary clubs are by no means confined to countries beyond the western hemisphere. It is not at all uncommon to find the membership of clubs in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and countries of South America made up of five or six or more different nationalities---all meeting and working together toward a common goal.

As a further indication of the internationality of Rotary, eleven annual conventions have been convened outside of the United States---in 1921 at Edinburgh, Scotland; in 1924 and 1942 at Toronto, Canada; 1927 at Ostend, Belgium; 1931 at Vienna, Austria; 1935 and 1952 at Mexico City, Mexico; 1937 at Nice, France; 1940 at Havana, Cuba, 1948 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 1953 at Paris, France, the largest ever held outside the U.S.A., with Rotarians registered from 76 countries.

* * * * *

You can see that Rotary did not come into being as a full-fledged international organization. Its growth has resulted from the efforts of individual members who believed in Rotary and sought to make it worthy of its manifest destiny. Rotary is still not full-fledged. Its future depends to a considerable degree on your efforts and those of other new members who keep Rotary ageless. As a new member, your adventure in service can contribute much to Rotary's advancement.

High up in the Andes, near the boundary of Argentina and Chile, stands this awe-inspiring "Christ of the Andes," symbolizing enduring peace between the two nations. Rotarians of both countries presented the beautiful plaque, "Service Above Self," which is seen at the base.



The four avenues of Rotary service

Rotary attained its present status because individual members found innumerable ways to translate a theory of service into useful activities. Rotary will continue to grow as long as we find opportunities to apply the Ideal of Service to our own lives and the lives of others, in keeping with the Object of Rotary.

Where are these opportunities to be found? First, of course, are the many activities that have to do with the operation of our own club, all of which provide opportunities for Club Service. Then there are the activities that are connected in some way with our business or profession and so present opportunities for Vocational Service. A third group of activities pertains to our various civic responsibilities and thus affords us many opportunities for Community Service. Finally, our membership in a world-wide organization reveals additional opportunities for International Service. These are the "Four Avenues of Rotary Service," which correspond closely to the four parts of the Object of Rotary. It is along these avenues that you will seek your adventure in service.


On page 10 is a formal statement of the general aim of Rotary. Incorporated into the constitution of our own club, this objective presents a constant challenge to us all. For, inspirational as it is, the ideals expressed can have no reality until we translate them into positive, constructive action.

As Rotary has grown, there has been a striking parallel between the development of its ideals and the number of Rotary clubs. The more we became aware of our potential power for good within our own communities, and even beyond, the greater became the scope of our objectives.

As early as 1906, when the Rotary Club of Chicago was giving first place in its constitution to "The promotion of the business interests of its members," the club added a new objective: "The advancement of the best interests of Chicago and the spreading of the spirit of civic pride and loyalty among its citizens."

Here is the first indication that Rotary was evolving into an organization whose members would extend their efforts into wider and wider fields of service. Here is the beginning of the "service" club as we know it today.

And in 1912 at the convention in Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.A., the original objective, which emphasized the promotion of each other's business interests, was discontinued. Thus personal gain as a moving force was officially eliminated.

Throughout succeeding years the Object of Rotary was frequently revised. At the convention held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1921, the constitution committee offered a new objective which was "to emphasize the international influence of Rotary." This objective, the greater part of its phraseology still intact, is embodied in the Object of Rotary as it stands today.

The following year, at the international convention held in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., the name of the organization was changed to Rotary International. And at this time the Object of Rotary was adopted as an integral part of the standard constitution for each Rotary club.

If you were to step into a Rotarian's home or place of business in any one of some ninety-three countries or geographical regions, you would most likely see displayed somewhere the Object of Rotary. It has been printed and distributed far and wide and has appeared in thousands of club publications and bulletins. It has been translated into many different languages. The Object of Rotary is, admittedly, lofty in sentiment, but not beyond our reach if we earnestly strive to make it an effective force in our personal and business and community life.


By Club Service, Rotary means those things that a Rotarian does to help make successful the administration of his own Rotary Club: being present at its meetings, participating in its fellowship, taking part in programs, serving on committees, serving as an officer, and paying his dues. It also means representing his club in outside activities: informing non-Rotarians as to the Object of Rotary, speaking at other Rotary clubs, attending intercity meetings and district conferences, assisting in organizing new Rotary clubs. And, last but not least, it may mean serving his club and renewing his inspiration and enthusiasm through attendance at Rotary's international convention each year.

Club Service involves members exhibiting individual capacities in giving effect to "the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service." It is the most fundamental of Rotary's fields of service, since Vocational, Community, and International Service can function effectively only where there is full appreciation of Rotary's principles and policies as exemplified through Club Service---where there is the true spirit of Rotary fellowship!

Members of the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., demonstrate building of their sectional "House of Rotary" which they designed especially for Rotary information of new members.

No man would try to build a four-story edifice (Rotary's four avenues of service) without a proper base---in Rotary that base is Club Service. You might think of it as the foundation of Rotary by picturing tiers of building blocks identified as "Attendance" --- "Classification" --- "Fellowship" --- "Programs" --- "Club Bulletin" --"Magazine" --- "Rotary Information" --- "Public Information." When you follow through with the explanation of these phases, you get a complete and orderly presentation of Rotary's field of Club Service. Not only that, but you also receive inspiration, and ideas, for service to our club.

While you will grow in knowledge as you read Rotary's literature and participate in its activities, you will find it most helpful at this time to know the vital role played in Club Service by such phases as fellowship, attendance, classifications, program, and Rotary information. Perhaps these hints will stimulate further serious study.


As you learned in an earlier chapter, it is understood in Rotary that when a member is given an assignment in his club, he accepts his appointment willingly and gives his best effort.

When you are asked to serve, accept your appointment as one that offers a rich opportunity in Rotary. Do your best to serve efficiently and loyally. Through such service and the consequent closer association with fellow members, you are sure to absorb much of the spirit and enthusiasm that permeate the whole organization. The man who derives the greatest good out of his Rotary club is he who gives his best service to it.

Your Rotary club has a Fellowship Committee whose duty it is to see that wholesome fellowship is developed amongst all members---old as well as new. This involves plans for seating arrangements, special social functions, fellowship programs, recognition of unusual service by club members---civic and otherwise---and many other activities to promote acquaintance and friendship.

In your travels you will discover that in some parts of the world, club members address each other by their first names or nicknames. This grew out of the custom begun by Paul Harris and his associates in the early days of Rotary. These men felt that this practice would help to break down barriers and further the development of friendship.

These men builded better than they knew. They left a definite imprint upon the organization. The friendly fellowship of Rotary has become one of its principal characteristics throughout the world.

These fellowship tips will help you to quickly swing into the habit of good Rotary fellowship: get to the meeting early; greet as many as you can with a warm handshake; wear your button and badge; introduce yourself to strangers; do not sit with the same fellow twice in succession; see that visitors feel at home; pay attention to the speaker; finally, do all you can to produce a pleasant atmosphere.

Be the community large or small, you are going to experience a thrill in acquaintanceship you have never known before. This is something which cannot be described to you adequately. It must be lived. You may have known some of the members for years. You may feel that you know them as intimately as it is possible to know them. Yet after you have participated in club meetings with them, week after week, after you have worked with them on committees, you are going to discover fine traits of character, and other qualities, which you had not found before. At least, that has been the experience of thousands of your fellow Rotarians in the past.


The time-proven axiom that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link also applies in Rotary. You are one of the more than 420,000 links in the chain that binds Rotary clubs together all over the world. Your failure to attend club meetings will weaken that chain and the entire Rotary organization will suffer.

Measure your own attendance record by asking yourself "Is it fair to all concerned?" If your answer is "yes" then you are truly fulfilling one of your prime responsibilities as a member of our Rotary club. You are strengthening the chain.

Recognition of the importance of attending weekly meetings, by Rotarians the world over, is attested by the fact that the majority of clubs maintain an average attendance in excess of 85 per cent. Rotarians have long since learned, as you will, that the attainment of our ideals is directly proportional to the extent to which each and every one of us accepts individual responsibility for attending club meetings.

There are times, of course, when absence from our club may be unavoidable. At such times you are expected to try to make up your attendance as provided in your club's constitution. Far from being a burden, this responsibility will lead you to interesting and enjoyable contacts beyond the boundaries of your own community. You will find a warm and friendly welcome wherever you go. You will be able to exchange information with other professional and business men. You will learn much about the extent and breadth of Rotary in other localities.

When you are traveling ask our club secretary to procure for you a copy of the "Official Directory," which lists not only the name, meeting day, place and time of meeting of every Rotary club, but the names of the president and secretary of each club. With this at hand, you should be able to find a club you can attend during the period when you are away from your club. Your Rotary membership card is the only introduction you will need.


Just as you are loaned the classification under which you were admitted to membership, the Rotary plan of membership contemplates that ultimately there shall be in the club one worthy representative of every recognized business, profession, or institution (every branch of service) active in the community.

Thus there is established a business and professional group truly representative of our community but not so large as to be unwieldy, and within which any member may freely discuss the particular activity which he represents. Such freedom of discussion is essential to the accomplishment of the work for which a Rotary club is organized.


On the day he is introduced to the club, a new member may hear, let us say, a program dealing with business relations. This is education in Vocational Service.

Programs must inspire members to measure up to privileges and responsibilities of citizenship and to play their proper role in community affairs. This is education in Community Service.

Similarly, every other committee of the club can and should speak through the program committee. Thus, through this phase of Club Service, the members learn about Rotary.

Rotarians of Hong Kong and Macao join the Rotary Club of Taipeh, China, in an intercity general forum to acquire a better understanding of Rotary.

You will find that the majority of programs given at the weekly meetings of the club can be definitely related to some aspect of one of the four avenues of service.

Rotary Information

This phase of Club Service relates not only to education you receive through programs at the weekly meetings, but to your own reading of Rotary literature, your participation in group discussions at evening "fireside meetings," forums at the club level, your attendance at district conferences and the international convention, and in many other ways. Your Rotary education is never completed---increasingly you will find media and activities to further your knowledge of the program and aims of Rotary.


Because you were selected for Rotary membership on the basis of classification, you are regarded by the other members of our club as a representative of your vocation. In turn, they expect you to share the ideals of Rotary with those non-Rotarians who are associated in any way with your business or profession, whether as employees or customers, competitors or suppliers.

Up to this point, your relationship with our Rotary club and with Rotary world-wide has been our main consideration. Now we shift to the impact of your membership on the world outside Rotary. Since the single Object of Rotary is service to others, your achievement can be measured by the thoughtfulness and helpfulness you exhibit in your relationships with non-Rotarians.

The first type of relationship develops directly from the primary characteristic of Rotary as a classification club. You were selected as a member to represent a certain business or profession. But your privilege is also a trust. You have been loaned this classification in order that you may make the influence of Rotary and its Ideal of Service felt in that business or profession. If that influence is not clearly perceptible in your daily efforts, you are failing in your trust.

This phase of Rotary is called Vocational Service to give it the broadest application. It covers the impact of Rotary on your vocation-your "calling"---your main job that occupies most of your waking hours.

When you stop to think of it, that takes in a large territory, a great many people, a remarkable variety of relationships. There are all your customers, clients, patients, or pupils. There are stores where you purchase and salesmen who wait on you. If you have a single employee or associate who is not a Rotarian, he or she must be inspired personally with the Rotary message. If there are many who work for you, your opportunity is correspondingly greater. Then there are the people in your business or profession who might be in Rotary if you did not hold the classification. It is your duty to share with these, your competitors, the Ideal of Service so that your joint contribution to society can be increased. Membership in your trade or professional association opens an even wider sphere of potential influence.

Rotarians of Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A., at right, welcome their competitors--and friends---as invited guests at a Rotary club meeting.

It is not just a matter of preaching. Though outright explanation of service in all these relationships can be helpful at times, real results in Vocational Service are registered by practical and tangible improvements achieved through your influence.

It is difficult to state in general terms exactly what those improvements should be. The only universal truth about improvements is that there is always room for them. No matter how rewarding and happy your business or professional experience may be, there are always ways in which its usefulness can be increased or expanded. Vocational service obligates you to think about these ways, to explore each of the manifold relationships of your daily occupation, and then to act in the direction that will achieve the most substantial improvements.

Similarly, no club can claim that business and professional relationships in its community are so perfect that there is no scope for Vocational Service. Such claims merely indicate that the club has not explored thoroughly the possibilities and need for such activities as courtesy contests, schools of better salesmanship, meetings between employers and employees, dissemination of the latest wrinkles on enlightened management, cultivation of cooperation between competitors for the public benefit, the education of children in the local schools in the highest standards of honesty and service, the spread of Rotary influence through members' trade and professional associations, and a host of other projects that might be used to expand vocational service in the club.

Primarily, however, vocational service is a matter for the individual Rotarian. Club projects may inform and inspire him. But, for the most part, real accomplishment can result only from his personal thought and effort in his own business or professional practice.

So, it behooves each one of us to take a long look at his daily occupation and to ask what difference being a Rotarian makes in his performance of it. Is he taking steps to broaden his usefulness to society? Is he going out of his way in friendly contacts with non-Rotarians to set them in the path of thoughtfulness and helpfulness to others? Are the standards of business or professional practice in his craft and community being raised a little higher because of his influence?

To help Rotarians in this avenue of service, Rotary International provides many aids. Chief among them are "The Four-Way Test" and the book "Service Is My Business.

The Four-Way Test

Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor, head of a large industry, believed in high principles in his personal relationships. So that these same principles might be applied to all business relationships, Rotarian Taylor adopted in 1933 The Four-Way Test [Copyright 1946, Rotary International] on vocational service as a method of applying certain simple standards to one's business plans, policies, statements, and advertising, through subjecting any transaction to the following questions:

first . . . Is it the truth?

second . . . Is it fair to all concerned?

third . . . Will it build good will and better friendships?

fourth . . . Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

A member of The Rotary Club of Palestine, Texas, U.S.A.,
explains The Four-Way Test to three high school students.

When the Board of Directors of Rotary International decided that The Four-Way Test should "be brought to the attention of the clubs as a means of furthering the vocational service phase of the Rotary program," it was distributed widely to Rotary clubs everywhere.

It has been translated into many languages. In Japan, clubs have distributed it to schools, industrial plants, railroad depots. And, in the form of small desk plaques, it has been presented by Rotary clubs to members of U. S. state legislatures on several notable occasions.

Service Is My Business

You will find that the full story of vocational service is best told in the book "Service Is My Business." Acclaimed by Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike as one of the best treatises on various business relationships, the book contains many practical examples of how the Rotary Ideal of Service is being made to work in everyday business and professional life.

Written especially for the individual Rotarian, the book was first published in 1948. It is now in its fifth English printing, and has been translated and printed in at least five other languages. It is required reading for every Rotarian interested in vocational service.


As a good citizen, you have a direct and personal interest in all things that contribute to the welfare of our community. As a Rotarian, you will find many ways of calling attention to such things and of helping bring them about. For as a club, we serve our community by studying its needs and problems and working out ways to meet and solve them, by supporting and being active in other organizations that seek the betterment of our community, by promoting good will between our community and the rural and urban areas around us, and especially by working for and with the young people of our community.

Service through fellowship, service through personal, business, and community life---these are the great and enduring fundamentals by which Rotary lives and thrives. Basically, they undertake to reconcile for us the ever-present conflict between the desire to profit for ourselves and the duty and consequent impulse to serve others.

Others can be served, however, only through positive action on our part. If Rotary is to be more than a mere state of mind, the ideals for which it stands must be translated into action by us as individuals and as members of our club. There is no other way in which we can give full meaning to the Rotary ideal.

Rotary finds its greatest outlet for useful service in the fertile fields of our community life. It endeavors to develop us as individuals and through this development to encourage us to a more active participation in community affairs. As outstanding representatives of their particular vocations, as individuals who have accepted the Rotary philosophy of service, it is not to be wondered why so many Rotarians are leaders in worth-while community projects.

Rotary clubs and their individual members are constantly on the alert for ideas which will permit them to encourage and foster the application of the Ideal of Service at the community level. But it is not the intent of Rotary to duplicate or usurp the functions of other agencies that are in a position to speak and act for the community. Rather, it is intended that Rotary should, upon ascertaining the needs of the community, assume only the responsibility of inspiring constructive action through an appropriate agency. If no suitable agency exists, the club may take upon itself the responsibility of creating one or of otherwise initiating community action.

All this does not mean that we should avoid projects calling for the collective action of our members. There are many activities in which we can engage without duplicating the efforts of other agencies, some of which are described in this chapter. But it is perhaps more in accord with the spirit of Rotary for us to engage in activities which enlist our efforts as individuals rather than those requiring corporate action by our club.

Children enjoy healthful relaxation in a Youth Play Park
provided by the Rotary Club of Aguilares, Argentina.

Ideally the solution for rendering community service is found in a harmonious combination of individual action and corporate activity. Herein lie the greatest opportunities for community service in the Rotary way without seeking credit but only the opportunity to serve.

Many Rotarians have found their greatest opportunity to serve the community has been in actively participating, as far as their abilities permit, in the work of the local chamber of commerce and similar organizations. Others have found opportunities for community service in youth work, educational activities, and civil defense.

From the seed planted by the Rotary Club of Chicago through its first civic undertaking in 1907 have grown increasing opportunities for community service in which Rotarians round the world are active. Through their activity Rotarians have indeed given true meaning to the time-honored motto "Service Above Self" and the practical ethical principle that "He Profits Most Who Serves Best."

Aid to the Handicapped

Perhaps there is no finer example of community service in action than can be found in work among crippled and otherwise handicapped children. Here is a work not only of great humanitarian and general appeal epitomizing the Rotary ideal of service but one which also offers hope to millions of children born with defects of mind and limb.

Rotary pioneered in this work in 1913---eight years after it was founded---when the Rotary Club of Syracuse, New York, became interested in the welfare and future of the neglected crippled children of the community.

Soon other Rotary clubs, one by one, assumed an active interest in this great work. Among these was the Rotary Club of Toledo, Ohio, one of whose members noticed on the back streets of the city, a youngster without arms or legs, laboriously propelling himself on a scooter-like device by forward movement of his body. The club assumed responsibility for the boy's welfare. The members financed the necessary operations, purchased braces, and other appliances. The process was long and costly. But the club never faltered in its undertaking.

Meantime in 1919 in Elyria, Ohio, the Rotary club, seeing the need to do something about the plight of crippled children, supported a movement to interest other clubs of the district in the importance of providing hospital facilities for these unfortunates. As a result of this and other efforts, the Ohio Society for Crippled Children was formed and clinics were organized on a state-wide basis.

The education---as well as care---of crippled children also began to receive attention from state authorities in Ohio and Minnesota, with the result that state legislation---directly through efforts of the Rotary Club of Columbus, Ohio---was enacted making this a state responsibility. And in Minneapolis, Minnesota, members of the Rotary club were instrumental in securing similar legislation.

The Ohio Society for Crippled Children grew into a National Society, and then---as the work spread to other countries---into the International Society for the Welfare of Cripples, by which name it is known today.

No more dramatic example is needed to testify to the practical value and humanitarian appeal of such service than the sequel to the story of the first venture of the Rotary Club of Toledo with the boy---without arms or legs---discovered on the back streets of their city. Years later, after numerous operations and experiments with modern surgical appliances, this young man walked, unassisted, into a meeting of the club, made his way to the rostrum and, looking into the faces of the astonished audience, expressed appreciation for what these men had done for him.

Opportunities for even greater service in this field still remain as Rotary expands its activities to provide help for thousands of other children around the globe who are afflicted by heart disease, blindness, and other physical abnormalities.

Other Activities

Opportunity knocks every day for the Rotarian dedicated to the principle of serving his community, his nation, and the world. He is not confined to the narrow concepts of everyday living, but sees before him constantly new vistas for service in every field of worth-while endeavor.

Take the story of the Rotary Club in Lahore, India, which "adopted" a nearby village and with its leaders worked out a plan of civic betterment. Or consider the many examples showing how members of Rotary participate in the work of youth groups in many lands.

Rotary has long been engaged in youth work. For more than 30 years-since the origination of this celebration by the Rotary Club of New York, in 1920---Rotary clubs have been sponsoring community-wide Boys and Girls Week programs. This presents an unparalleled opportunity to give constructive attention to the youth of the community.

Some of the many other youth projects in which Rotarians are participating today are Boys Camps, Boy Scouts, loan funds for deserving students, assistance for farm children in getting a successful start in the business of raising and breeding livestock and in all-round, scientific farming. It is perhaps not without significance that Rotarians the world over have long been in the forefront of the fight against juvenile delinquency, through the establishment of teen-age clubs, boy's clubs, athletic teams, and hobby fairs in their communities. More and more clubs are interesting themselves in occupational-guidance clinics and similar activities in which boys and girls, especially of high-school age, are given an opportunity, through actual workshop experience, to ascertain the vocation for which they are best suited and the kind of training they need to equip themselves for their life's work.

Rotary seeks all ways of serving youth, from sponsoring citizenship activities to inviting junior and senior high school boys to attend Rotary meetings for a month at a time so that they come to know and appreciate the meaning of the Rotary ideal in their communities and its wider meaning in relationship to thousands of Rotary clubs round the world, all united in service. Youth work is Rotary's long-term investment in the future of the community, the nation, and the world. It is another manifestation of the Ideal of Service that has banded together men of many different nationalities, professions and trades, customs and languages, into one international fellowship.

The pattern of Rotary community service, however, is as wide and varied as the countries and communities in which Rotary is established, ranging from the furtherance of understanding between farm and city dwellers through rural-urban acquaintance promotion to the study of conservation problems created by the depletion of national resources and its far-reaching effects on a nation's economy.

In many communities Rotary clubs have made traffic safety and fire prevention their concern by cooperating with local safety councils, with police, with fire-prevention bureaus of municipal fire departments, and with fire prevention committees of chambers of commerce in education, engineering, and the enforcement of traffic and fire safety ordinances.

Thus we see that in almost every phase of community life there are opportunities for service, either through our collective action as members of our own club or through our efforts as individuals. For we as individual citizens can best personify the Ideal of Service that is Rotary by participating in those many other activities, much too numerous to list, but which are as equally important to the growth and welfare of our community.

The President of Mexico and Rotarians of Leon, Mexico, examine the iron lung
donated to the community by the Rotary Club.


As set forth in the Object of Rotary, the aim of this fourth avenue of service is "to encourage and foster . . . the advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service." In no other service activity are you so likely to develop an appreciation of the full scope of Rotary, for with this aim in mind you join forces with more than four hundred twenty thousand fellow Rotarians in ninety-three countries or geographical regions in a never-ending effort to bring better understanding among the peoples of the world through personal contacts, group discussion, and student aid. As a Rotarian you know that freedom, justice, truth, sanctity of the pledged word, and respect for human rights are inherent in the principles of Rotary. Through International Service you can give evidence of your belief that these things are vital also to the maintenance of international peace and order and to human rights. Both by precept and example you can make your individual contribution to furthering peace and good will among the peoples of the world.

Anyone who gives the least thought to the problems of mankind in the twentieth century will subscribe to the importance of this goal of Rotary. International relations dominate our lives. If these phrases in the Object of Rotary mean more than an empty gesture, they imply a personal contribution as great as any a man can make to his age and generation.

How does Rotary especially equip a man to advance understanding, good will and peace between nations?

Rotary is not a political organization. It advocates no specific solutions. It exerts no pressures upon governments. It formulates no party-line to bind the individual judgments of its members. What influence, then, can Rotary bring to bear on international relations?

The simplest answer is that found in the Object of Rotary. The existence of Rotary clubs in so many countries justifies the description of "a world fellowship." And it is through this "world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service" that the individual Rotarian finds his unique opportunity.

Is it not amazing, when you come to think of it, that Rotary introduces you to personal acquaintances with more than four hundred twenty thousand like-minded men? Scattered over the globe in some nine thousand clubs, often in positions of exceptional knowledge and leadership in their nations, these men are accessible to you as allies and partners in the work of international service. You cannot know all of them personally, of course, but when the occasion arises you can approach any one of them with the assurance of sharing a common interest and purpose.

That is only one side of the unique equipment for international service found in Rotary. The other is supplied by the ability and influence of Rotary in our own community.

Contrary to prevailing superstition, the power that produces decisions in world affairs is not in the hands of diplomats or heads of states. Rather that power is controlled by public opinion as it develops at the grass roots. International affairs, in the last analysis, are local affairs. And what group of men in our community have a greater ability to influence local opinion than the members of our own Rotary club? They are the employers of labor, the teachers of youth, the directors of newspaper and radio, the men of light and leading in the town.

When the Object of Rotary refers to "world fellowship," the impact of the local club on local opinion as well as the world-wide liaison is included. Actually both aspects are involved in almost every activity of international service. When you get a letter from a Rotarian in another country giving background information or a special view of some situation that is disturbing international relations, you will not keep his message to yourself. You will tell your friends about it, and according to its significance have it reported in the club or even in the newspaper or on the radio. Contrariwise, opinions developed in an Institute of International Understanding that your club may sponsor will be transmitted for the enlightenment of Rotarians in the countries concerned. Or the efforts to mobilize international enthusiasm in your community may be directed toward meeting a need in another country in cooperation with Rotary clubs there. Victims of war in Greece and Korea, of earthquakes in Fiji and Venezuela, of floods in the Netherlands and France, of persecution in the displaced persons camps of Europe and in lands that welcome new citizens are among the many beneficiaries of international good will generated by Rotary clubs. Their extremity is the Rotarian's opportunity for personal service. his chance to develop international understanding at home and abroad.

The personal touch is the keynote for each undertaking in international service. Personal acquaintance is Rotary's prime commodity and contribution. It may seem the longest way round as an approach to the critical issues that divide the nations, but time and again it has proved the shortest way home to real and lasting understanding. Around the world, clubs that are near international boundaries cultivate personal acquaintance through inter-city meetings. Such clubs in Canada and the United States hold a good-will meeting each year in Winnipeg, Canada. Another annual gathering is at the International Peace Park, which Rotarians of Alberta, Canada, and Montana, U. S. A., persuaded their governments to establish. In Europe, inter-country committees of Rotarians foster many kinds of contact across national boundaries. Rotary in India and Pakistan is likewise cementing the ties between these two countries by conferences and exchange of students.

Perhaps the most dramatic illustration of the power of personal acquaintance to overcome differences of language, religion, and nationality is the annual International Assembly. Here are gathered for a week of hard preparation the incoming district governors of all the countries where there are Rotary clubs. Many firm and lasting friendships result from this brief experience. And you can enjoy similar contacts yourself at international conventions held each year.

Rotary Foundation Fellowships

Probably you have already heard about the Rotary Foundation Fellowships. These opportunities for advanced study in countries other than their own are given to young men and women picked as most promising by the Rotary clubs of the world. You may even have heard one of the Fellows speak at your club. In that case, you may well have been impressed by the hopeful portent for the future when leadership in the affairs of nations will pass into such hands.

The Rotary Foundation Fellowships are a remarkable illustration of personal acquaintance as an opportunity for international service. When our Rotary club sponsors a candidate, it is because our personal acquaintance with his record and abilities has impressed us. We believe that the training he will get abroad will enable him to contribute significantly to the advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace. So he gets the Fellowship. When he arrives in the country where he chooses to study, he is met by Rotarians, received in their homes, tells their clubs about his country, is given every assistance in gaining a really penetrating knowledge of the situation abroad. If personal acquaintance can supply enthusiasm, he comes back a living exponent of Rotary's purpose that will enter into everything he does. Ambassador of his own country's interests and experience while abroad, he returns a missionary of international friendship among his countrymen.

Thanks to the generosity of Rotarians in contributing to the Rotary Foundation over 700 Fellowships have been awarded. The suggestion came first in 1917 for an endowment fund to carry out "a great educational service to mankind." But it was not until 1938 that a definite program was formulated, and that was delayed by World War II. Only in 1947, with the passing of Paul Harris, the Founder of Rotary, did plans for a vigorous campaign come to life. What finer memorial to Paul could be devised than a continuing service to youth and to international understanding? It was suggested that each club contribute on the basis of ten dollars from each member. The response was electric. More than half the Rotary clubs of the world have passed that goal. A great many have far exceeded it. Increasingly, as the work of the Rotary Foundation demonstrates its value, large gifts and bequests are coming in. Already it is possible to offer a Fellowship every other year to every Rotary district in the world. But the spiritual strength of the Foundation is based on the personal sacrifice of many small contributors.

Scene from Rotary's Golden Anniversary film, "The Great Adventure," typifying value of Rotary Foundation Fellowships in contacts of students with Rotarians.

Rotary Foundation Fellowships are opened to students of exceptional promise in their senior year of college or university. Successful candidates are given the opportunity to continue their graduate studies for one year at a college or university of their choice in a country other than their own.

International Student Projects

Perhaps you know of a young man or woman who might be a worthy candidate for a Rotary Foundation Fellowship. If so, the possibility should be brought to the attention of the International Student Projects Committee of our club. But remember, to fulfill the high aims of the Rotary Foundation, only candidates of the very highest calibre are chosen.

This committee is concerned with other types of international student projects. Many clubs and districts finance their own fellowships sponsored at neighboring colleges or universities. And then, there are the thousands of students from other nations who have come to our country. It may be that our club will invite a group of them to spend a weekend in our community, getting a close-up picture of our civic, economic, and cultural life. It may be that some of these students will become regular visitors to our club, enjoying limited privileges of Rotary membership as "international guests." Perhaps, again, you may be inviting some of them to visit in your home, so that they may get a truly intimate view of family life. That sort of experience produces really deep impressions on them and on you. Once more, it illustrates how personal acquaintance raises the pitch of international understanding.

International Service Committees

There are many, many other enterprises that clubs and individual Rotarians are undertaking in international service. You need only reflect upon the vastness of the need in many countries, upon the confusion in the minds of men everywhere about international issues, upon the grudges and suspicions and barriers between nations, to realize the immensity of the task. Your membership in Rotary provides you with almost endless avenues for fruitful contribution. It is up to you to choose how you will serve, and to act upon your decision.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A., is annual World Affairs Institute attended by High school students, delegated by their local Rotary clubs.

The action station in our club is the International Service Committee. Report your interest to it. Attend its meetings. There you can get advice on our plans for action. Many clubs establish subcommittees to help in arranging international contacts for members, and to organize projects to inform public opinion in the community on international questions. To this end, Rotarians and Rotary clubs have been active in many ways. Thousands of radio discussions and talks to other groups have been given under Rotary auspices. In schools, textbooks have been provided by Rotary clubs and essay contests have been sponsored.

It's Up to You

As an individual, the task imposed by the Object of Rotary---to contribute substantially to the advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace---may seem appalling in its magnitude. So much is at stake; so limited our scope. Yet, time and again, it has been proved that the imagination and enthusiasm of one man can produce great results. Just one man, for instance, faced with the challenge of World Fellowship Week in Rotary Service, developed a series of exhibits by national governments scheduled over more than a year. Thousands of people are visiting these exhibits each month and are gaining thereby personal acquaintance with the achievements, problems, and dreams of people in other lands. One man's thought sparked the whole project.

If the splendid potential of Rotary's world fellowship is to realize its promise, the thought and effort of many men are needed. Each Rotarian pledged to international service can make a decision of great importance to the world. It's up to you to do your part.

These, then, are the four avenues along which you may seek your adventure in service. Their courses have been outlined briefly so that you may know the extent of their ramifications. Fuller understanding will come as you progress along the road and explore the countless by-ways, since the specific applications of the Rotary Ideal of Service are as varied as the needs of people everywhere. However, the principles as set forth in the Object of Rotary are few, and the way is clearly charted, and you do not make the journey alone, for the worth of fellowship and group endeavor are part of Rotary belief and amply proved by Rotary accomplishment the world over. Thus through your adventure in service you learn to know and appreciate what Rotary really does; and through your efforts along the way you help make Rotary what it is.

Rotary growth in clubs, indicated by five-year periods, has shown a constant increase despite wars and depression periods. As of 1 November, 1955, there are some 9,000 Rotary clubs and 420,000 members.



How Rotary is organized

You are a member of a local organization known as a Rotary club. This club is, in turn, a member of a world-wide association of Rotary clubs that is known as Rotary International. Generally, for administrative purposes each club is grouped with other clubs within a limited territory known as a district. As you become acquainted with the ways in which Rotary operates at each of these three levels---the club, the district, and international---you will come to appreciate the thoroughness with which Rotarians are prepared for their adventure in service and the vast opportunities that lie ahead of them---and you---for useful, effective application of that preparation.


Once a year the members of the local club hold an election to select the president, the secretary, and the directors for the coming year. The board of directors then elects a vice-president and a treasurer, and passes. on the president's committee appointments.

The board of directors is the governing body of the club. The board passes on membership proposals, approves the audit of club funds and the budget, decides time and place of all regular and special meetings, approves committee plans, and assumes responsibility for all similar administrative matters. The decisions of the board are final, subject only to an appeal to the members of the club, a two-thirds vote being required to reverse such decisions.


The clubs associated for administrative purposes within a district are under the leadership of a district governor, nominated by the clubs in the district and elected at the annual convention of Rotary International. In addition to making official visits to each of the clubs in his district, the district governor presides at two important meetings of these clubs.

The district assembly, in April or May, is a business meeting of the incoming presidents and secretaries of all clubs in the district, meeting with the governor for the express purpose of receiving information and instruction as to club administration and club activities. The training received by presidents-elect and secretaries-elect at this time has much to do with the efficient operation of their clubs after they take office on 1 July.

The district conference, held annually, is open to all members and their families. The purpose of the conference is to nominate the district governor, to further the program of Rotary through fellowship, inspirational addresses, and discussion of affairs having to do with the district and Rotary International. The conference also gives consideration to matters submitted to it by Rotary International and to any special matters originating within the district.

For the new member, especially, attendance at a district conference is a valuable experience. Here you have the opportunity of meeting the officers and members of other clubs in your district, thereby making new friends and broadening your outlook. Here, too, you gain insight into the functioning of the district, both through observation of the procedures followed and through listening to informative talks by prominent Rotarians. You will be well rewarded for the expenditure of time and money necessary for attendance at your district conference---and will be a better Rotarian for the experience.


The governing administrative body of Rotary International is the board of directors, elected by the delegates at the international convention and composed of fourteen members, one of whom is the immediate past president. Also elected at this time are a president and a treasurer. The board then selects three vice-presidents from its own membership and approves the standing and special committees that assist the board in developing the program of Rotary.

Prior to the annual international convention, there is a meeting known as the international assembly. This meeting is attended by the general officers, the newly nominated district governors, committee chairmen of Rotary International, and others designated by the board. The purpose of the meeting is to plan cooperatively the work and activities of Rotary International and its member clubs for the ensuing year. In this way the new administrative officers have an opportunity to learn from those who have had wide experience in dealing with the sort of problems that year after year confront those who have the responsibility of directing Rotary International.

More than 14,800 Rotarians and members of their families assembled for the opening session of the Golden Anniversary convention of Rotary International at Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. (1955)

The legislative body of Rotary International is the annual international convention of delegates from Rotary clubs throughout the world. These delegates receive reports from the officers of Rotary International. They consider amendments to the constitution and by-laws of Rotary International and the standard club constitution, pass on matters not covered in the constitution and by-laws and elect the international officers for the coming year.

Attendance at the convention affords you an opportunity to witness and be a part of the many outstanding activities that make the international convention unique among such gatherings. Here you can come to some realization of the vast scope and influence of Rotary International, can observe at first hand the inspiring deliberations of its assemblies, can feel the sense of responsibility among its delegates. Here, too, you have the same friendly atmosphere that characterizes all meetings of Rotarians, the same freedom to mingle with prominent business and professional men from many lands, the same opportunity to broaden your acquaintance among men who share with you a common belief in the Rotary Ideal of Service. It is an experience to be remembered---and repeated as often as possible.


The Central Office of the Secretariat of Rotary International is located in a new headquarters building in Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A. Here are located the offices of the international president and the general secretary, also the headquarters of the Rotary Foundation. Included in the Secretariat are the departments that serve governors and clubs throughout the world, supervise work relating to the international conventions, collect and disburse funds of Rotary International, prepare and distribute Rotary literature, including "The Rotarian" and "Revista Rotaria." More than 1,000 pieces of incoming mail---from all parts of the world and in many languages---are handled daily by the Central Office.

Since August, 1954, Rotary International has occupied its own headquarters building at 1600 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A., serving Rotary clubs throughout the world.

The Continental European branch of the Secretariat at Zurich, Switzerland, serves some one thousand clubs in Continental Europe, in North Africa, and in the Eastern Mediterranean region. There is also an office in London, England, that serves the clubs in Great Britain and Ireland.

Under the management of the general secretary---the active managing officer of Rotary International under the supervision of the president and the control of the board of directors---the Central Office and the Continental European Office of the Secretariat of Rotary International serve as a clearing-house for the exchange of ideas and experiences among all Rotary clubs. In addition, these offices provide useful services to all clubs, to the president and directors, the district governors, and the committees of Rotary International. But never are any of the officers too busy to greet a visiting Rotarian, to show him around and make him feel welcome.


The official magazine of Rotary is "The Rotarian," which was first published in 1911. The first issue, edited by Chesley R. Perry, was published in January of that year with 5,000 copies, under the name of "The National Rotarian." At the Portland, Oregon, convention, later in the year, the magazine was made the official. publication of the National Association of Rotary Clubs. In 1912 the name of the magazine was officially changed to "The Rotarian." And in 1933 the board of directors of Rotary International authorized the publication of "Revista Rotaria," a Spanish-language edition of the magazine.

Not only do "The Rotarian" and "Revista Rotaria" disseminate Rotary news from around the world, but they interpret and provide background information on Rotary's program through articles of timely interest to members everywhere. Authoritative articles by world leaders are featured. You will be proud to have the magazine in your home, where it will be read with interest by your family.

A few of the many publications issued by Rotary International as a service to Rotary clubs and Rotarians. Publications are also printed in languages other than English.

Rotarians in the United States and Canada pay for their subscriptions along with their club dues. Rotarians in other parts of the world may subscribe to the magazine, in either the English or Spanish editions, through their club secretary or send subscriptions directly to the Secretariat.

In addition to the official magazine, a number of Rotary district and regional groups of clubs issue Rotary publications. These appear in various languages, exemplifying the far-flung character of Rotary's development. For example, the publication for the Rotary clubs of Switzerland is printed in three languages: French, German, and Italian. Thousands of Rotary clubs have their own publications, ranging from elaborate, printed periodicals to the more simple style, each filling its own specific purpose.

Pamphlets and booklets containing program outlines, suggested discussion topics, outstanding addresses by Rotarians, and detailed information on practically every phase of Rotary are published by Rotary International. Although there is a small charge for some of this material, to cover the cost of printing, most of it may be obtained free on request from one of the following offices of Rotary International: Central Office, Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A.; Continental European Office, Zurich, Switzerland; Office for Britain and Ireland, London, W.C.1, England. Many of the publications can also be obtained from the secretary of your club.

As your interest in Rotary increases, you will find these publications invaluable, whatever your avenue of service. They not only provide you with many practical suggestions to make your committee assignments more enjoyable, but they also broaden your knowledge of the history and development of Rotary, making your adventure in service more meaningful., your accomplishment more satisfying.



Your adventure in service

You have entered into a friendly relationship with a representative group of business and professional men who are trying to exemplify through their daily lives and actions the Rotary Ideal of Service. Through fellowship with these men, you can learn much about the work of Rotary. Through cooperation with them, you can have an active part in extending the scope and breadth of the great work. Based on unselfish motives, such participation becomes an adventure in service.

Your adventure in service began the day you became a member of our club. It will continue as long as the Object of Rotary guides your actions. And even though the quest may sometimes be difficult, we are quite sure you will find it rewarding.

We have welcomed you to our midst because we believe in your ability, your sincerity, your integrity. We like your enthusiasm and look to you to help carry on the activities of our club. It is new members such as you who give Rotary its vitality, who have kept it growing steadily year after year.

We want you to enjoy your adventure in service, to find it as satisfying, as inspiring, and as challenging as we have. That is why we have tried to explain in this book what Rotary is and does.

Your adventure in club service is important both for the friendly associations it makes possible and for the help it provides in building a strong, active organization. To the extent that you keep up your attendance, meet and greet visitors, help out on programs, carry out committee assignments, and take part in the fellowship of each meeting, you make your contribution to the effectiveness of our club---and gain many lasting friendships for yourself.

Your adventure in vocational service offers you an opportunity to win the admiration and respect of others in your business or profession. By applying the Ideal of Service to your personal contacts with non-Rotarians who are in any way associated with you in your work, you help make Rotary a living force in the commercial, industrial, and professional life of our community. And, incidentally, you also improve your own standing therein.

Your adventure in community service brings the opportunity to help others help themselves. In no other way is the impact of our Rotary club upon the life of the community so often and so clearly evident as in this continual striving to improve local conditions. Just as your willingness to help supply aid and guidance to our youth exemplifies your worth as a Rotarian, so your activity in ascertaining local needs and in supporting worthy projects adds to your stature as a citizen of our community.

Your adventure in international service can vastly broaden your outlook by helping you understand the problems of those who live in other lands, who have different cultural backgrounds, who speak strange languages and hold different political and religious beliefs. If through your interest in international problems you assist in the development of a well-informed public opinion, you will not only be acting in the best interests of our own country, but you will be making a real contribution to "the advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace."

Just where your adventure in service may lead you, no one can say.

Some of us have found this adventure a source of considerable personal satisfaction; others have found it a source of great inspiration; still others, a never-ending challenge. All of us agree that this quest for a fuller and more meaningful life in terms of service to others, when motivated and executed without thought of personal gain, expresses in positive and constructive action, the spirit of Rotary which the late Canon Allan P. Shatford of the Montreal (Canada) Rotary Club defined in this way:

"The spirit of Rotary is the very essence of its soul. It is invisible, intangible, indefinable, but it is the realest thing about Rotary. It changes casual contacts into glowing friendships; transforms dull duties into inspiring privileges.

"Where the spirit of Rotary is, there is liberty. It sets us free from the bondage of prejudice and bigotry, and binds us all together in ties of understanding and brotherhood.

"The spirit of Rotary is like the gentle rain from Heaven. It cleans away selfishness, melts down the barriers that separate men, dissolves discords into harmonies, changes competition into cooperation, reveals the beauty of life and the inherent nobilities of every man."

That is what one Rotarian's adventure in service meant to him. What will yours mean to you?

of the things we think, say or do

I Is it the TRUTH?

2 Is it FAIR to all concerned?


4 Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?