Advice for first-time convention attendees
Rotary Youth Exchange students Misaki Matsuyama, of Japan, and Amelie Zirwes, of Germany, meet up in the House of Friendship during the 2010 RI Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Rotarians on Rotary International's official LinkedIn group are getting excited about the 2011 RI Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 21-25 May.
In a recent discussion, experienced convention goers shared their advice with first-time attendees. Here is a sample of what they had to say:
Judi Beard-Strubing, Rotary Club of Eugene Airport, Oregon, USA:
1. Don't miss a single session! Sometimes it's tempting to skip a few [and go] sightseeing, but invariably, you will regret it later when you hear from others about the inspiring speaker or wonderful session.
2. Plan ahead for the breakout sessions [or workshops] that most interest you, then make an effort to get to those sessions early.
3. Sit with new people [at] every opportunity, introducing yourself and learning about them, their Rotary club, and their country.
4. Take a camera and have your photo taken with other Rotarians in their beautiful native dress.
Participate! Ask questions! Share your experiences and best practices!
Jim Struble, Rotary Club of Dallas: A great conversation starter and learning experience is to ask the Rotarians you meet about their club’s most successful service project. Not only will [you] get great ideas to take back to your club, you will be amazed at what you hear about service projects run by clubs large and small. You will find the Rotarians you meet to be friendly, engaging, and full of enthusiasm.
Eugene Beil, Rotary Club of Hudson, Florida, USA: Trading banners or pins is fun to do in the House of Friendship. We have had lapel pins made as a miniature of our club banner. Our children love trading them. (So do I).
Karen Sekich, governor of District 5450 (Colorado, USA): Go to the House of Friendship and sit next to and talk to Rotarians from all over the world. This is always my husband’s and my favorite part of the convention -- even more exciting to us than the fabulous speakers.
Paula Gates, Rotary Club of Bossier City, Louisiana, USA: Of course, to all who are first timers, volunteer! There is no better way to meet people. My first convention was Salt Lake [City, Utah, USA]. My husband, Wayne Gates, was a veteran of these things, and he dragged me to the volunteer office and signed me up. We worked many events, and I had a blast. I met a lot of people, and I have worked every year since.
Follow the discussion on RI's LinkedIn group .