The Wisdom of Rotary Presidents:  “Let’s make more use of our past officers…” (Will R. Manier, Jr., in Rotarian July 1936)

It’s virtually a truism in every club: Not only do some past presidents desire not to be bothered with mundane jobs (“I’ve done my time; leave it to the younger folks.”), they will not do a good job on something if you ask them; or they’ll accept a club job, then not be active in the position.

It’s not a truism, in most cases. In club after club, most past presidents were, are and will remain the backbone of Rotary and the foundation of the club. There are those, of course, who haven’t yet come into this century. There are those who long ago decided that Rotary was a social event, not a calling. Every once in a while you run into one who wants the prestige of being yet again a member of the Board of Directors, but doesn’t want to do any substantive work in support of his yet-again position.

What can you do? You can deal with them as individuals, not as a class of pre-historic artifacts. Separate out the ones who will work from those who won’t; find out who wants a position, but doesn’t want the labor that goes with the position; glean out those for whom Rotary is their entire social life, not to be confused with the responsibility of participating in club events of a non-social nature; finally, identify those who will work – hard – and whose Rotary principles are still intact.

Then, get on with it!