More than just BBQ

Originally uploaded by kerner

I was twittering back and forth with Kelli this afternoon, and she asked me about Rotaract, which I had mentioned because we had a meeting today, and well, twitter is pretty much all about writing about whatever you happen to be doing at the moment.

So – Rotaract. The quickest way to describe it is Junior Rotary, or Rotary for people 30 and under (and I am very close to hitting that under boundary). But, if you don't really know what Rotary is, then that's not a very good description.

Basically, it's an organization of young professionals that meets twice a month for lunch and professional development (a speaker from the community on various topics – I think our speakers from the past couple of months have included the Exec Director of an improv theater company, the director of our local airport, a professor who studies gang violence… you get the picture. We like to have a wide variety.)

We also do social events, play in rec league sports, and do community service projects (our club mostly focuses on the needs of a residential care facility for school-age kids whose parents have lost custody of them). We do some fundraisers, but since we're all young we mostly have more time than money so we do things with the kids like throw them a Halloween party, do a Sports Day, decorate their cottages for Christmas, host an etiquette dinner, etc.

Another cool thing about Rotaract is that it is an offshoot of Rotary International which is involved in some really amazing projects worldwide, like eradicating polio. They also provide a lot of opportunities for Rotary clubs in developed parts of the world to partner with clubs in less developed regions to put in wells and other projects that are completely overseen by the Rotarians in the country where the project is taking place.

Right now I'm the president of the local Rotaract club.  Sometimes I wonder how I ended up as President because I don't generally feel very leader-ishy, but I think it seems ot just happen to me because I get excited about things that I'm involved in, want to get more involved, and somehow end up in charge.  I won't miss being president, but I've really enjoyed Rotaract to get to know a lot of people and it forces me to get involved in really good projects, even if sometimes I don't "feel like it," I'm always glad I did.

PS – this picture is not totally random. It's from the annual Rock'n Ribs BBQ festival fundraiser that all the Rotary clubs (and Rotaract) sponsor each year – we've given away over $50,000 to Ozarks area childrens' charities each of the past 2 years from the money we raised from this event.

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