In 1905, the Rotary Club was founded in Chicago. The organization got its name because in its early days, members used to “rotate” meeting at one another’s offices. But one thing hasn’t changed over the past century-plus… the Rotary’s undying commitment to its mantra of “service above self.”
Frisco has had its own Rotary chapter since 1986, and Frisco Rotary currently meets each Thursday at noon in the River Club at Toyota Stadium. Meetings are always open to members and non-members alike.
Laura Elmore is President-Elect of the Frisco Rotary, and she likes where the Frisco chapter is headed especially with the community growing exponentially.
Well, I don’t know if our Rotary so much adapting as it is growing with the community,” Ms. Elmore said. “As Frisco expands, I’m looking forward to us being able to grow our club not (just) in members. I would rather have 90 people that are really connected and involved in the community, than have 190 that only come for a lunch once a week.
From my standpoint, that’s really the Rotary’s challenge and opportunity… The growth of our community, to grow what we’re doing to affect our community positively, to grow the impact we’re having on the next generation of business leaders and teaching them by setting the example to them of service above self.”
Frisco Rotary currently has a program at Lone Star High School and recently started another at the Career and Technical Education Center (CTE). As Frisco ISD opens additional high schools in the future, Ms. Elmore expects the interest level in Rotary-backed programs to increase accordingly.
There’s a program that Rotary sponsors called ‘Interact’ and it’s basically taking Rotary to the high schools to (get them to) start understanding the Rotary principles. To start applying them in their own life and becoming involved in service,” Ms. Elmore said.
The wonderful problem that we have is that we’ve had teens from a couple of other schools that have said we want to be involved, we want this for our school. Now we need the adult volunteers to take on the responsibility to sponsor some of these other things.”
As someone who grew up in a Rotary family, Ms. Elmore became immersed in the revered civic organization at a very young age. She and her husband are both full members of Rotary and take great pride in the positive impact it has in their communities, especially here in Frisco.
Each club takes on local things that they support,” Ms. Elmore said. ”We’ve got scholarships that we provide to high school students. We work with the Boys and Girls Club and a number of non-profits here locally and support them in various ways.”
Of course, Frisco Rotary is also involved with national Rotary projects like getting water to remote villages in Nicaragua, and the organization’s ongoing push to completely eradicate polio from the world. The Frisco Rotary does its part to eradicate polio by donating the funds for 10 polio vaccinations in lieu of giving speakers at their luncheons a pin, a mug, or any other sort of gift.
As far as those interested in joining Frisco Rotary, he or she has to be sponsored by a current member, but this doesn’t mean their weekly meetings at Toyota Stadium are closed. All meetings are open to all interested parties. So, what qualities does Frisco Rotary seeks in potential new members? For Ms. Gilmore and the rest of the local chapter and the entire organization for that matter, those criteria remain pretty simple.
We’re looking for people that are committed to the community, that are committed to supporting what the organization is doing and being involved. You don’t have to own a business. Not everybody in the organization does. Some people are just employees in a business, so it has evolved over time,” Ms. Elmore said.
Primarily, Rotary seeks to answer four questions about every perspective member and activities before deciding if they are to join this highly-respected organization:
- Is it the truth for all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill?
- Will it build better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
We’re not like a country club. It’s more of a coming alongside the person to help them get involved and get started in the organization in a positive way,” Ms. Elmore said.
The main reason why Rotary has prospective members be sponsored by a current member is so that they will have the benefit of someone who is already familiar with the membership process and what it takes to be a part of the Rotary… to ensure that all members will make a great impact on the communities in which they live and work.