What’s It All About?
I have been thinking about what it means to be in Rotary and what Rotary means to us and those we serve.  Rotary really meets the needs of people of all ages - from womb to tomb.  Everyone benefits from Rotary as lives are touched all over the globe.
For instance, babies are vaccinated around the world as the eradication of polio is close at hand.  Many Rotarians have participated in National Immunization Days (NIDs) over the past 35 years.  Rotary provides mosquito nets in those areas that are exposed to malaria.  Medicines, milk for infants, solar cookers that ensure  properly cooked meals are just some of the ways children and their mothers are taken care of.  This allows for a healthy life expectancy.
In middle school, Rotary offers the LEAD (Leadership Ethics Aspirations and Determination) program.  Here, young students learn the ways of Rotary and leadership along with personal development.  In their in their two-day program these students are encouraged to become responsible leaders and set high goals for a successful life.
And, this is followed by RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Academy) where high school students spend a weekend growing in knowledge about themselves, their peers and their place in the world. 
In our District, youth is also served with Model UN, the 4-Way Speech contest and the Music Competition.
In high schools, Rotary clubs sponsor Interact clubs.  Rotarians help guide the students by identifying and carrying out projects that benefit the school and community.  The Interact club acts as a Rotary club on campus.
After high school comes college.  And Rotary is there with college based Rotaract clubs.  In District 5340, we have three college-based Rotaract clubs.  It is no easy feat to become a college Rotaract member.  Generally, there is a rigorous admission vetting.  Not everyone who wants to be in Rotaract is accepted.  That helps explain the high quality of Rotaract members.  These Rotaract members have meetings and do projects just like Rotary clubs.  They are involved in their school and, of course, the community.
Following college, the graduates, more often than not, find their way to community based Rotaract clubs.  In our District we have seven community based Rotaract clubs sponsored by Rotary clubs.
These young Rotarians meet and develop projects that are geared toward long-lasting sustainability.  They are learning leadership skills along the way.  It is common for a Rotaract member to affiliate with a Rotary club and partner with that club in doing projects together.
As younger people advance in their careers and age, giving back to the community becomes an important value.  The largest community service organization in the world often becomes the landing spot for those with a desire to serve.  
Becoming part of a Rotary club is the next logical step along the way of service and leadership.  By engaging with a Rotary club, these new members model for their children, family and friends the value of giving back.  This is inspirational to those who are witnessing the personal growth of a Rotarian.  A young, new member brings an energy and perspective that helps the club grow.  And, such a new members benefits from the wisdom and experience of the seasoned Rotarian.  After all, it is these relationships that set a path of life time fellowship and collaboration. 
When people reach a certain point in their lives when they have accumulated all they are going to acquire, the notion of leaving something behind - a legacy - becomes an important consideration.  Rotary gives us the opportunity to make a lasting mark on our community and the world.  We can improve the lives of those living in places we have never been to or will ever visit.  The highest form of charity is to give anonymously.  By donating to the Rotary Foundation, we help people we have never met or we’ll never know.  This is truly a gift.
So, you see, there is a life cycle to being part of Rotary.  There is something for everyone in each phase of life.  That’s what Rotary is all about. 
Tomorrow is Memorial Day.  I want to thank all those military veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe and allowed us to do good in the world.  For those that have served, and those that are serving, thank you so much for your unselfish service.