Monday, 3 August 2015

Healthier Rotarians means a healthier community

Credit: Hawke’s Bay Tourism.

District 9930 Rotary Health Challenge 2015-2016

A Rotary imperative is for clubs to engage Rotarians in projects that meet a real need in the community.  A willing volunteer is only going to be as productive as their body and mind allow them to be.

District 9930 Governor Mike Smith has challenged his clubs to take part in a health-related project during the 2015-2016 Rotary year that addresses both of these ideals, and more, in a way that adds a sense of purpose among Rotarians and an increased vibrancy to club activities.

Clubs have been encouraged to develop and implement a Healthy Rotary Plan that includes improving the health of Rotarians, educating Rotarians about health topics and supporting health-related community activities and projects.

Working together with mutual support towards a common goal is much more interesting than going it alone, so this challenge is likely to be motivating for those for whom improving their health is on their “to do” list for some day. 

Starting with the baseline measurement of each member’s health and regular measurements to monitor progress, a steady improvement to health will be achieved through the development of a club Rotary Health Challenge plan that implements activities within and by the clubs to support active, healthy and nutritious decisions and lifestyles.  As members tend to be more comfortable with the familiar and therefore more willing to participate, such a plan can easily leverage off activities already the norm in the club, such as health and wellbeing-related speakers once a month, possibly coupled with a review of catering to ensure meals are nutritious and support good health. These would be excellent monthly meetings to invite guests or open them to the public.  Exercise is a must do part of any health programme, so doing something entirely different, such as holding a walking club meeting would get the blood pumping, as would including active options in the social programme, such as cycling, tramping, learning yoga or even a healthy cooking class.

Extending such a programme into fundraising and/or community activities is easy.  There is the annual swimarathon for polio, or create a sponsored walk or run, or simply volunteer members to support active events in the community in roles, such as marshalls.  There may be a need in the community for facilities that support healthy lifestyles, such as playgrounds, cycle pathways and skateboard parks … the options are only limited by imagination.

The success of this programme will become apparent in June 2016 when clubs’ results submitted for the Rotary Health Challenge Award are evaluated.  Imagine the healthier and more committed Rotarians and a community much more aware that Rotary can make a lasting difference to the wellbeing of its citizens.  It will be great public image for Rotary which should grow membership.  And everyone will be the better for it!