This year, District 5910 focuses on discovering our Rotary Why. Who are we? Why does our club exist? Who do we serve? Why are we relevant? How do we become who we are meant to be in a world that is very different from when Rotary began? Hear how Karen Chapman answers her Rotary Why.
My Rotary Why

This year, District 5910 focuses on discovering our Rotary Why. Who are we? Why does our club exist? Who do we serve? Why are we relevant? How do we become who we are meant to be in a world that is very different from when Rotary began? 

These are all very deep questions with no easy answers. 

When District Governor Amy Killgore asked me to give you my Rotary Why for her monthly newsletter, I began pondering the questions — straining, really — to come up with answers. I contemplated another as well. Are we making Rotary too hard?
In many ways, I believe we are. 

I decided in order to get to my Rotary Why, I needed to go back to the first time I heard about Rotary. It was very confusing, to say the least. 

The year was 1991; I was in a meeting with my boss, the sales manager at a television station where we worked. Suddenly, he looked at his watch, rose from his chair, and abruptly announced, “I have to go. I have a Rotary meeting.”  

“What’s Rotary?” I asked, somewhat bewildered because the subject we had been discussing was fairly important.  

“It’s a club that allows department heads, business owners, and managers ONLY. We eat lunch, we hear speakers, we network, and I’m not allowed to miss a meeting or they’ll kick me out.”

Now there’s a club I really wanted to join! Rotary sounded so exclusive, so off-putting, and, for a young woman who proudly shunned sororities in college, I wanted nothing to do with it. Compared to the truth, this was a very sad commentary and a terrible introduction.

What the boss never mentioned was that Rotary serves the world, starting with the community in which we live. With coattails flying out the door, he didn’t tell me he was part of an international organization of people from all races, religions, and regions who come together for the good of humanity to help others who they don’t know and will probably never meet. He didn’t say that Rotary, single-handedly, was tackling the polio problem. He didn’t talk about the Rotarians who follow four important moral and ethical tenets and ask themselves questions about things they should think, say, and do — ideals that would solve the world’s problems if only we all practiced them. 
Nope. The bossed missed a golden opportunity that day. I don’t think he saw Rotary the way I do.
Indulge me if you will and travel forward to a different season of my life, twenty-two years later, to an older Karen, less selfish, and searching for meaning. That’s when my Rotary Journey really began. My husband had invited me to a few club meetings and service projects. Oh, I enjoyed the people I met and the things we did together, but I still couldn’t see myself as one of them. It wasn’t until I went to a District Conference in Galveston, heard inspiring stories, visited Rotarians in the hospitality suites, and met some real Rotary Movers and Doers that the veil of doubt was lifted. I joined the Spindletop Rotary Club the following year in September of 2013.
My Rotary Why was solidly answered one year later when my husband and I attended the Rotary International Convention in Syndey, Australia. There, with 20,000 other Rotarians, we laughed, we cried, we did service projects, we broke bread, we shared moments of silence and joy and happiness, we felt inspired, we were energized, we gained strength, we grew humble, we felt lucky, and we said thank you. Thank you for allowing us be part of the greatest service organization in the world.  
On the last night, back at our hotel (one of dozens that house Convention goers), we rode up to our room in a crowded elevator. Instead of looking at the floor numbers advancing above the elevator doors, I gazed around the small space surrounding me. All were strangers wearing Rotary Convention name tags. And suddenly, it hit me — these people were no strangers! We were Rotarians who didn’t speak the same languages, worship the same god, or practice the same customs, but we did wake up every day asking ourselves the same questions. 
Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all Concerned?
Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it Be Beneficial to All Concerned?
My Rotary Why has a simple answer — because I want to make the world a better place. I want to serve people who need help. I want to be kinder today than I was yesterday. I found my WHY in Rotary. 
Karen Chapman
Lone Star Rotary E-Club