Dear 2010-2011 board,
You know that I love you guys.
Or may be you don’t remember when I told you, you were too drunk to remember, or I was too drunk to tell it explicitely, or I forgot to mention it ; however, here you know : I love you, and I miss you my friends. I want you to know that every one of you seems to me a key asset for your team : the one I worked with, of course, and those newcomers board I didn’t work with, I wish I had, after the various talk we had.
As a former board member I have some measure of what engagement you’ve jumped into this year. Enough to know that your role is hard, that it requires courage and heart, and a will for challenges. I think no european board before you had so many of these qualities. I admire every one of you as a friend, I admire you as a team. (I may even envy you for being part of such team).
So you got the point, I love you my friends. This message comes from a loving and admiring friend.
For the record, I have absolutely no idea what you’ve done this year, or how far your team has been, as I have mostly no contact with Rotaract since we met in Amsterdam in October 2010. So this message is written absolutely contextless.
And it’s with all that love and respect that I think I have to give you a feedback.
Technically, it’s not mine, it’s a feedback from my girlfriend.
You met Rebecca in Amsterdam. May be you talked with her. She’s smart, she spot the key points in no time in many situation. So I drove her to Amsterdam at the Rotaract European Meeting. She discovered the rotaractors and the week-end/convention stuff for the first time. We met the dozens, hundreds rotaractors gathered there. She saw everybody was engaged with passion for our cause : bring friendship and peace all over the world, or let’s say : changing the human world as a better, wherever we can. She felt their energy, their power, it raised her sense of engagement either.
So after we talked with people, got drunk, danced, smoked a junk or two, get diner at the Gala, as dessert was finishing, she raised an engaged question :
– “Is at all ?”
– “wtf ‘all’ ?” I replied
– “You just meet, drink, dance, and nothing more ?”
– “…” (me speachless)
– “You’re all gathered here, like 200 guys, for 3 days, willing to serve humanity, and you just dance, drink, talk ? Is that all about these week-ends ?”
It hits me.
Well, no, it’s not really “all”.
At the European Conventions, once per year, we organise a few workshops where everyone can attend. But only at the convention, and with little output I must admit.
And well, no, not for all of us. I was a Country Representative during 2 years, and then in the european board 1 year, so I know some work all along, at every week-end. The Country Rep’ meet, brainstorm, exchange on how to improve Rotaract, share experiences from their countries, all along the week-end. All right. But how many are we, the Board and the Rep’ ? less than 30. Over 200 to 300 total rotaractors attending such week-ends.
Rebecca is fucking right. We gathered 3 times per year a huge pack of powerful yet young people in the same place, originating from all over Europe and beyond, linked by friendhsip and the same values, willing to change the world as a better. I’m not sure so many good will and heart and intelligence from so many cultures are ever gathered in one event like this. And yet, we dance, talk, drink, eat. That is all.
Here you got Rebecca’s feedback, her surprise : as a regular attender, she didn’t see anything meaningful built/shared/done. Hard to hear first, but I must admit now she had spot a key point, once again.
Again, it’s a blind post, i don’t know what you’ve done this year and maybe you have this all changed. But I think the question of the outcome of these weekends, for the so many attenders, is a key question.
This post was first purposed to be an email I was writing to you my beloved board. The ending lines looked like a challenge, something like «I love you so I have to tell you this because I think you can do something about it».
Then I realized I was just repeating the same mistake again : focussing on a few people, overloading them with responsability. You guys, plus the club hosting the event can’t “organize” 200 people to work together ; you just can give them space, time, and tools and let them share and build whatever they want. But at the end, the outcome is everybody’s job. Every Rotaractor coming to a Rotaract Event can do something about it.
So, you, there, the regular rotaractor reading this. Actually, this message goes to you. You’re going to the Rotaract European Convention in a few weeks. You’ll have a unique time with unbelievable people like you :
What will you build there, for the world to change ?
With all my love,