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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Pike County Rotary Club member Bill Durall was installed as Rotary District 6460 Governor on Saturday evening at a ceremony held at Pittsfield’s Courtyard Café & Bakery.
Durall said the position is important in that it guides regional Rotary Clubs in their work towards Rotary’s four strategic priorities.
“My job is to help us think in terms of our new strategic priorities,” Durall said. “Those priorities are to increase our impact, expand our reach, enhance participant engagement, and to enhance our capacity to adapt.”
According to Durall, the strategic priorities outlined above were adopted in the last four or five years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered Rotary in pursuing those priorities.
Durall said he believes his primary role as District Governor is to support and encourage Rotary member clubs within the district.
Over the past year, as District Governor Elect, Durall said he has been partnering closely with rising leaders at Rotary Clubs within the District 6460.
“Serving as District Governor Elect this past year, I’ve worked to prepare people that are going to become club presidents. One of my biggest roles is helping to train them to take on their club president roles.”
Durall said he will strive to magnify the impact of Rotary by encouraging collaboration on the part of district Rotary Clubs with allied organizations.
“One thing I want to focus on is partnerships,” Durall said. “Like here in Pittsfield, we have the Lions and Rotary. Those are the two primary service organizations, but we have organizations like the American Legion and the churches. Collaboration and cooperation are the best ways to achieve success. We want to create partnerships to increase our impact. If we can engage other organizations, we can do even more.”
A challenge, according to Durall, that is faced by Rotary – and other volunteer organizations – is maintaining a viable number of members.
“Whether it’s service organizations or churches, all of us are struggling to get members,” Durall said. “Rotary is really trying hard to reach out, especially to younger people, to say ‘we want you to help us with our efforts.’”
According to Durall, many Rotary Clubs are using innovative methods to try to engage new and younger members.
“The COVID pandemic led many clubs to move to hybrid and online meetings,” Durall said. “Also, our attendance requirements have become less stringent. Some groups have started meeting only two times a month. And some clubs are only getting together for meetings once a month, and the rest of their time is spent on service activities.”
In addition, Durall said some Rotary Clubs have been set up to revolve around the specific interests of their members.
“There are also cause-based clubs now,” Durall said. “Individuals that are like-minded in their focus can start a Rotary Club.”
Durall’s term as District Governor will run from July 1, 2022, to the end of June, 2023.
Durall said the district he will govern encompasses dozens of Rotary Clubs in a large area of West-Central Illinois – roughly bound by Kewanee in the north, Highland in the south, Interstate 55 in the east, and the Mississippi River in the west.
“In the district, there are 48 clubs right now, including one E-club, that meets online,” Durall said.
Durall indicated that he was eager to start his leadership role with Rotary and to help guide the organization forward in achieving its goals.
“It’s going to be an exciting year,” Durall said. “Every year, Rotary International identifies a theme. The theme for this year is ‘imagine Rotary.’ I’m excited, because I think this year we have enormous flexibility to try new things in the pursuit of Rotary’s four strategic goals.”
Rotary is an international organization made up of business and community leaders whose motto is “Service above self.” Chartered on April 12, 1938, the Rotary Club of Pike County has a long tradition of community service; helping those in need, not only in Pike County, but throughout the world.