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Zooming is real Rotary

Steve Howe, who will be governor of Rotary District 1070 in the year 2022-2023, talking to Novus

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Rotary clubs are meeting via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

But the E-Club of District 1070, decided to do that when it was formed coming up to six years ago rather than as a necessity caused by coronavirus.

Steve Howe, who was a founder member, ‘visited’ Novus as guest speaker to talk about how the club operates. He stressed that clubs which meet in person only monthly-ish (Lockdown rules permitting) are, nonetheless, real Rotary clubs which live up to the Service Above Self motto which motivated Paul Harris and three friends who set up the international movement in 1905.

E-Clubs are different, though, to most. He said his club is more flexible, attracts more young people (it has members aged from 31-72 years of age with an average of 51), and is very diverse.

Its members live as far apart as Newport P{agnall in the south to Nottingham in the north, with members in Loughbrough and Coventry. He recalled one meeting with members taking part electronically from Mexico, Dubai, France and England.

“Our young people,” he said, “have great energy. We motor along at 100mph. We have new ideas. Our young people want to do things NOW, rather than meet soon to makes plans.”

Communications is the key, with meetings held from 8pm every Thursday evening. Apart from Zoom, the club uses Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter. Documents are stored on a shared Google Drive so there is no problem with one member having one version of a document, or a spreadsheet, or a piece of artwork, and someone else having a different, earlier, version.

Communication is greatly eased, he said, because the club uses free software called Slack, which some members of Novus have considered previously.

Before the pandemic, the E-Club members met near Steve’s home in Towester and planted a large area with wildflower seeds which thrived and was welcomed by local people who took part in developing the site at a total cost of onbly £200.

During Lockdown, some E-Club members have been helping children learn to read. Having current Disclosure and Barring Service certificates reassures parents that the online volunteers are trustworthy.

After Steve left the Novus meeting, members discussed both projects and decided they fitted well with plans that we had already discussed.

Last edited: 21:15 on Thursday, 11.02.2021