I’ve had a bit of a wobble about membership lately, and have had a chat to Janice who did a great deal to put my fears to rest, but we thought perhaps it might be helpful to other people to share some of what I said to her in case others are feeling the same. My father (an ex-Rotarian) once told me when I was a schoolgirl that no matter what question you want to ask in class, someone else will always want to know the answer, so never feel silly asking. I’m hoping that applies to ‘never feel silly telling’, as well. So this was (more or less) what I emailed to Janice:
The subs coming up has given Kevin and me pause for thought. Creating the beta website has been our focus more or less since we joined Rotary and it’s given us little time to put into other eClub activities, particularly given that we already support three other voluntary groups locally. I think ‘locally’ is the key here. We do feel very out on a limb geographically as we’re such a long way from the centre of gravity. Swindon, Stroud and Gloucester represent a 3-4 hour drive for us as a round trip which more or less prevents us getting involved with projects. Meeting up clearly helps to build and maintain good working relationships but it’s just not sustainable for us at this distance. I think when the club was mooted I gained more of an impression of it being a virtual enterprise.
Before I joined, I recall I had an email conversation with you about not wanting to put myself in a situation where I felt I couldn’t contribute as I should, and this is exactly the situation I find myself in now – it was always my big concern – and both of us are left feeling we can’t provide the commitment to Rotary that any self-respecting Rotarian should be able to give. We’re quite able to attend the odd physical meeting local to us, the odd evening here and there isn’t a problem, it’s the time to put into projects and attend meet-ups that eludes us and we have the feeling that we’re not quite playing the game if we don’t turn up to anything.
As you can see, our major concern was not getting to meet-ups, as it’s easy to gain the impression from the various posts and chats that there’s a lot of that going on, so you’re bound to feel rather peripheral to events if you can’t get there. It’s lovely to meet up and A Good Thing, but the hub of a successful eclub must be virtual and a virtual contribution valued as highly as bucket shaking for charity, collecting and sorting donated items or putting in an appearance having a drink somewhere. Getting to know each other through a virtual club is a mindset we all have to get used to. Having said all that, we’e hoping to be at the City Farm next week as it fits in nicely with a trip to Devon. Hope I haven’t started a fight here btw, not my intention!