Happy New Year Rotaractors, Rotarians, and other Partners in Service!
We are already halfway through the Rotary Year - a year unlike any other due to the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic plus the other disasters and challenges that truly test our resolve and dedication to service.
As I momentarily looked back, I realized how proud I am with the Rotaractors in the Philippines who surpassed various limitations and delivered unique ways of doing things to elevate the Rotaract experience and be of help to our fellows in need.
We were not expecting to lead and do service in this kind of situation but we have shown the Rotary world that Rotaractors are indeed pioneers of innovation, especially in times of crises. We were among the firsts to shift our usual Rotaract activities (i.e. handover, induction, new members’ orientation, and training) to virtual means. We saw a lot of creative ideas on how these usual activities can become more exciting and enriching with the use of technology. We also embraced eLearning as a tool for empowerment and reaching wider audiences.
Going virtual also became an opportunity for us to transcend the geographical boundaries of an archipelagic country and unite Rotaractors from different islands for common goals. We expanded our network and in turn the projects that we implement. We even went outside and connected with our peers from other parts of the world through virtual exchanges and joint activities. We even went far beyond our own organization to collaborate for similar objectives such as what we did with Toastmasters in the Philippines, with the major youth organizations in the country through the Philippine Festival of Youth Action, and with the rest of other like-minded organizations at the grassroots level.
We were very successful in digitizing service project delivery through online tutorials, mental health support sessions, fundraising, and information dissemination campaigns, to name a few. Some Rotaractors in the Philippines were even recognized for being role models of social responsibility and selfless leadership.
With the call for greater involvement of Rotaract in the Rotary Foundation, we have demonstrated that we can amplify our seven causes through online and social media strategies. We have also proven that we can increase our impact by expanding the reach of our donation campaigns, increasing our supporter base.
In the ushering era of elevated status for Rotaract, we used multiple digital platforms to connect with our Rotarians. We aligned with our regional Rotary and district leaders and agreed to achieve shared aspirations. We became proactive in informing the Rotary community of what we do and share best practices. We seized all available opportunities for Rotary and Rotaract clubs collaboration and laid the groundwork for long term integration in shaping the future of Rotary.
These milestones, unprecedented in a very volatile environment and unimaginable before, illustrate that we really have to trust the ingenuity of our Rotaractors. Allow us to lead the way as we do not buckle in times of challenges. We constantly look for opportunities. We focus on positive outcomes.
Halfway through the road is not an easy journey, I admit. But what made us conquer the tides is the belief that we are all on the same boat, that we are all in this together.
As we look forward to another chapter of our transformation journey with the onset of a new year, let us take the time to quickly look back on our great memories. Our inspiring accomplishments are proof that we did a good job amidst the gloomy atmosphere. Let us also thank the people who made us stronger starting with our fellow Rotaractors, our sponsor Rotary clubs, our partners in service, and our loved ones who supported our aspirations for ourselves and our communities.
I would also like to take this time to express my sincerest gratitude to all the MDIO officers, the Rotary global and regional leaders and staff, the district Rotary and Rotaract leaders, the Rotary and Rotaract club leaders, our external partners, and to the rest of the Rotaractors and Rotarians in the Philippines who were with me in the initiatives that were done to #TransformPilipinasRotaract. I could not have done everything we accomplished in the midyear without you at my back.
Let us also take the time to go back to our clubs and districts to revisit our strategic plans in the second half and for the years to come. The future may seem to be still unclear for current and incoming leaders but we can definitely clarify with ourselves where we want to go.
I believe that victory is within reach, most especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, if we all continue to work together. This I would like to keep in mind in the new year. Believe in ourselves that we can survive and accomplish more! Fill each minute, hour, and day of the coming year with something new, with something better than the last year. May we continuously have great success in Rotaract and in our personal lives!
Louie Boy De Real
Pilipinas Rotaract Multi-District Information Organization