On Christmas Eve, 1968, the first manned mission to the moon entered lunar orbit. The Apollo 8 crew captured an image, now known as “Earthrise,” that gave my 13-year-old brain a broader perspective of what living on Earth meant. That perspective fueled an interest in environmental science and an age-appropriate, albeit naïve, desire to “save the world.” While life experience helped me shift that desire toward goals that are a bit more attainable, our work in Rotary is certainly aligned with that raw, initial intention.


With a deep personal and professional interest in how the brain works, I’ve learned that we can actively control our perspective. Furthermore, changing our perspective can completely change what we think and do. We can see problems, or we can see opportunities. We can pursue self-interest or betterment of the community. You’ll notice in our motto, “Service Above Self,” that our work in Rotary starts with the work of broadening our perspective beyond ourselves.

As the new MRV Rotary President, I’m encouraging us to try to broaden our collective perspective as a club just a tad. Why? Because experiencing our interconnectedness makes humans happier (there’s science that backs this up 😊). Oh, and happier Rotarians stick around longer and are more effective changemakers. Each of us has our own perspective of what Rotary is all about. Friendships. Selling raffle tickets in the cold. International fellowship trips. Funding worthwhile projects. Pounding in No Parking signs on July 3rd. Painting at Neck of the Woods. Something about polio. Writing checks. Board meetings. Traditions. Fun. High school Interact students. Whatever your perspective is, I’m here to tell you that there can be way more to Rotary than that!

Do you like your MRV Rotary friendships? How about expanding those to friends at neighboring clubs in our District? Do you like funding projects in the Valley? How about getting engaged in a global grant? Do you like sitting with your pals at meetings? How about helping a new member learn the ropes? Are you happy just writing checks and reading the newsletter? How about trying your hand at just one hands-on project? Are you super energized as a financial contributor to our work in the Valley? How about engaging as a supporter of the Rotary Foundation and Rotary’s global efforts promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, improving maternal and child care, supporting education, growing local economies and protecting the environment?

Rotary is a vastly influential force in the world, because of people like you and clubs just like ours. You can connect to a broader Rotary perspective in any way and at any level that you choose. While staying engaged in our important (and fun) work locally, please just remember that we’re all a part of something way bigger, living interconnected on a tiny blue ball floating through space.