Treasurer Susan Rogers
I was brought up in a family of service organisations. Dad was in Round Table, then 41 Club and finally Rotary. Mum was in Ladies Circle and Tangent, so it was no surprise that at 20 I joined Rotaract where I made new friends and had a great laugh whilst raising money for good causes.
A few years later I joined Ladies Circle as an 'Open Member", because I didn't have a husband in Round Table. They were great years and I was sad to leave the organisation when a combination of moving area because of work and reaching the cut off age, I had no choice. I assumed that there was nowhere for me to go next as Rotary was only open to men.
Roll on 20ish years and my dad was sadly dying. I visited him in hospital every night and we chatted about things that had been important to him, and in later life Rotary was hugely significant. The conversation then went like this:
Me: I wish i could join something like Rotary.
Dad: Why don't you join Rotary?
Me: Yeah, really! - it's only open to men!
Dad: No, we've had women for about the last 20 years
Me: You never told me!!!
Dad: You never asked....
As I had only met male Rotarians through dad, it had never crossed my mind to question it. I was about to move house and I promised dad that as soon as I moved i was going to find a local Rotary club, and that's exactly what i did, joining Wensleydale Rotary club in January 2017. At my first meeting I volunteered to be their PR officer because of my marketing background, and 6 months later I was president elect. I instantly loved Rotary and became involved with the District PR team and also volunteered to run the annual Young Writers competition. Halfway through my presidency I was asked if I'd take on the role of Assistant Governor, which basically involves looking after 10 clubs, encouraging them work together and ensuring that good ideas are shared. Historically, Rotary has struggled to find Assistant Governors, possibly because you commit to 3 years, but I have loved every second of it, indeed I think it's the best job in Rotary. During this time I also joined a strategic 'think tank' group, created the Myth Buster poster and helped with a district wide strategic research project.
Friends have said to me "Susan, you take on a lot of work for Rotary" and my reply is always "I need to make up for the 20 years when i could have been a Rotarian but didn't realise it."
A year ago I was moving house, which would mean i'd have to leave the Wensleydale club, but I didn't know which club I'd join, so I parked myself in the Rotary Global Hub for a year, which is where you a "Direct Rotarian", i.e. still a Rotarian but not a member of a specific club.
As that year was coming to an end, I started considering which club I'd join, but there were two problems. Firstly none of the local clubs met on a day / time that was convenient for me and secondly, with the cost of living starting to bite, paying for weekly meals would soonbecome an financial issue. It was at this point that Caroline, Anne and I had a discussion about how we could open up Rotary to be more accessible for people who didn't want to or were unable to attend weekly meetings with a meal, and that was the start of the Roary Club of Adventurers.........