The Summer of 2011 saw the entire township of Rajpura, Punjab, gather at a community hall. It was a charity event organised to fund the School for Blind and Deaf, Patiala. “A well-managed and successful event” was what the local newspapers covered the next day. Watching the young brigades of a local NGO organise such an event, the then President of Rotary Club Rajpura, D 3090, Rishi Shahi, called a meeting with the NGO representatives and turned them into the Rotaract Club of Rajpura.
Rotaract is not just a social service organisation, it is an institution in itself where we learn to adapt to new situations, face difficult challenges and overcome fear of failure.
I joined that club on July 1, 2011, and this was a turning point in my life. Never in my dreams would I have imagined that one day it will be more than just a club membership for me. Six years down the line, Rotaract has become one of the most important part of my life.
The next year, I was made president of the club. It was then that my Rotaract journey took a massive turn. The first thing that I learnt being a president was leadership and this is something that directly motivates and inspires people around us.
As a club president I made up my mind to do service for the less privileged and it has been something that I have carried with me for the last six years: Education for those who can’t afford it. Literacy, according to me, is the most important weapon to fight poverty.
As club president, another important event that helped me and my team learn about Rotary culture, was hosting the District Assembly in my home club. It was attended by PRID Y P Das and other senior leaders from my district. This first exposure to senior Rotary leaders is still fresh in my mind and it has definitely made a mark on my decision-making abilities.
It’s always ‘service above self” that matters, while rewards and recognitions follow automatically if you serve with true spirit and keep following the 4-Way Test.
The journey as a president still has the best memories of my Rotaract experience and I can proudly say that I had the privilege of working with one of the finest bunch of Rotaractors.
Coming to how being a Rotaractor can help you professionally, it has instilled leadership and decision-making abilities in me, which people around me as well as my teachers acknowledge as a gift of Rotaract. To everyone, who is reading this article, Rotaract is not just a social service organisation, it is an institution in itself wherein we learn how to adapt to new situations, face difficult challenges and overcome fear of failure. Rotaract is a goldmine of building a professional network which would help one grow individually.
After serving as the club president, I have held various posts in Rotaract, notable ones being District Secretary (2014–15, 2016–17), District Editor and Literacy Chair (2015–16) and Director Media Cell in the national event Mahadan (2015–16).
When I look back at the first day in Rotaract, I feel there has been a lot of learning and my growth graph has always been on the rise.
Fast forward to 2017, I am serving as a DRR of RI District 3090. Within the span of last four years, I have travelled with IDYE teams to so many beautiful places, met so many Rotaractors from around India and abroad, and been a part of so many event teams at various levels. But now, when I look back at the first day in Rotaract, I feel there has been a lot of learning and my growth graph has always been on the rise. Attending various district training programmes, district assemblies and IDYEs, has made me realise the avenues of growth Rotaract offers and the potential Rotaract holds for the youth.
The turning point in my leadership and character came when I attended a two-day training programme in Hyderabad earlier this year under the watchful eyes of RI Director C Basker as well as Rotary Coordinators and ARCs Ashok Gupta and Gurjeet Sekhon.
For my rise in Rotaract, a lot of people have played major roles, but the ones who really influenced me were PDGs Vijay Gupta, Dharamvir Garg; PDRR Sahil Bhateja; PP RC Rajpura Rishi Shahi; PDRR Rohan Dalmia, D 3141; and PDG Ken Hall, D 9650.
From my experience in Rotaract, I would like all the young Rotaractors to understand that it’s always ‘service above self” that matters, while rewards and recognitions follow automatically if you serve with true spirits and keep following the 4-Way Test. Being in a leadership position gives us a chance to make a difference in the society and be a gift to the world, after all we are all together stronger.
(The writer is DRR of District 3090 and from RC Rajpura)